Feb 2011

Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano – San Diego (North Park)

Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano - San Diego

It used to be that the monthly trips I took to see my family in San Diego provided a breather from my food-centric world in Los Angeles. Lately, however, I’ve grown more interested in seeking out my hometown’s latest and greatest bites in between home cooked meals at mom’s and grandma’s. I owe much of my newfound excitement for San Diego’s dining scene to Erin Jackson, a Serious Eats writer covering the city’s edible beat.

Her recommendations have brought me to Hodad’s for its gluttonous double bacon cheeseburger, to Crest Cafe for its heart-stoppingly good butter-stuffed burger, and most recently, to Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano for standout Neopolitan-style pies.

Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano

Family owned and operated, Pizzeria Bruno opened in North Park in 2009. The restaurant’s centerpiece is a domed, wood-fired brick oven custom built in Naples, whose temperature can reach more than 900 degrees. The oven is manned by a VPN-certified pizzaiolo named Peter.

Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano

Joining me for dinner was The Astronomer, my mom, and my grandma. Having Bà Ngoại‘s colorful commentary and hearty appetite at the table made this meal especially memorable.

My mom chose the market salad ($8) for us to share as an appetizer. It was comprised of mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, walnuts, and olives dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette and topped with Parmigiano Reggiano. The Astronomer and I hardly ever order salads when we go out, so it was nice having Mom around to make sure that we got a serving of healthy greens before gorging on decadent pies. Thanks, Mom.

Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano - San Diego

Two pizzas would’ve sufficed for our party of four, but we went ahead and ordered three for variety’s sake. I appreciated that the pizzas arrived in a staggered fashion, with seven or so minutes between each one. I also loved that the milder pizzas came first and the punchiest one arrived last. Pizzeria Bruno has their timing down pat.

The first pie to come out of the oven was the Lasagne ($15). It was topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, ricotta, prosciutto cotto, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. The toppings were incredibly rich, but well balanced by the sunny sauce made of San Marzano tomatoes.

The crust was crisp and chewy in all the proper places, and wasn’t overly charred. The crust couldn’t hold up to the heavy toppings toward the center of the pie, but no one seemed to really mind. For me, the mark of a great crust is whether or not the end pieces are worth eating once the toppings are long gone. I ate every last end piece this evening.

Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano

My mom’s favorite pizza was the Blanco ($15), which came topped with mozzarella, Gorgonzola, garlic, roasted onions, pancetta, and arugula. This sauce-less wonder wowed us with its delightful combination of ingredients—the Gorgonzola, arugula, and pancetta provided interest and bite, while the onions, garlic, and mozzarella rounded out the flavors.

Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano

The final pizza was my grandma’s favorite. The Campania ($16) was topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, fennel sausage, roasted onions, and cremini mushrooms. We added some Italian anchovies ($2) to the mix because grandma loves her salty fishes even more than I do. The locally made  fennel sausage shined brightest in the sea of standout toppings. I was pleasantly surprised that the sausage and anchovies paired so tastily together.

Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano

We shared the house-made cannoli ($5) for dessert. Unlike the last cannoli I sampled at Mike’s Pastry in Boston, this one didn’t give me a toothache. The smooth ricotta filling was just sweet enough, while the pastry shell was fresh and crisp.

Pizzeria Bruno is a must-try for pizza lovers visiting or living in San Diego.

Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano
4207 Park Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92103-2512
Phone: 619-260-1311

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10 thoughts on “Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano – San Diego (North Park)

  1. If you judge pizzas by their crusty edges, we must go to Olio together soon! Maybe on Saturday if there are any kitchen disasters? 😉

  2. I read the Serious Eats article too. This place has been on my list but I was waiting for some more reviews. Now I definitely have to check it out.

  3. Mm… looks delicious as always. You have a pretty cool Grandma if she’s willing to eat pizza.

  4. Thanks for reviewing. I’ve been wanting to try Bruno for some time. Next time if you’re looking for pizza try URBN in North Park. They have New Haven style pizzas made from a coal-fired oven that are great. Glad to see Angelenos like myself check out places in SD.

  5. Allen – Thanks for the tip! I hope they have a clam pie on the menu. I’ve always wanted to try a New Haven clam pie 😉

    donmoocao – Grandma is the coolest! Check out her pizza eating outfit!

  6. Looks like a must try for the Huynh-Tonnu’s next visit in town. Megan has been dying to try a canoli. Love the picture of Ba Ngoai :o)

  7. Please! Please! Please stop referring to Bruno’s pizzas as pies! They are truly authentic Napoletano style pizzas. Americans (eastcoast american italians) for some reason reffer to their pizzas as that.

  8. Marco – From a food writing perceptive, the word “pie” is used for variety’s sake (i.e. not using the same words too many times), not to mean a lesser product. Unsure how the East Coast Italian Americans feel about it.

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