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Pizzo’s Pizzeria & Wine Bar

Restaurant Review: The most authentic Neapolitan pizza in all of San Diego County — no, in all of California — you’ll find right here in the South Bay. Owner Santino Pizzo has operated this quaint establishment at San Miguel Ranch for a little over a year and beware: Pizzo’s has already been “discovered,” so if you come for dinner on the weekends, you’ll probably have to wait in a very long line.

What makes Pizzo’s so special? First of all, pizza was invented in Naples sometime during the 18th century. An authentic pizza is made of a thin crust and sparse toppings. Pizzo’s Margherita is made of fresh mozzarella and fresh tomato sauce, exactly the way they’ve made it in the Old Country for centuries. There’s simply no better pizza anywhere for miles around.

Santino goes above and beyond just having a pizzaoilo create master pizza’s in his sparkling pizza oven. His house Chianti’s are straight from Italy. Try the Toscana, for example, to drink a little bit of heaven. There’s plenty of other selections on his long wine and beer list.

He’s also created an appetizer list that includes fresh burrata cheese (that’s mozzarella that hasn’t thickened on the inside, so it’s softer and more buttery), fried dough balls, fried calamari and bruschetta.

For vegetarians, this is the place to be: there’s several salads to choose from. I like the Tuscan: artichokes, tomatoes, mozzarella, roasted peppers, kalamata olives and pecans. Plus several pizzas are vegetarian from the eggplant to Giana’s Garden.

If you’re not such a fan of authentic pizza, try the Classic American styles, including Southwestern & Hawaiian.

Santino is still experimenting with his dinner menu, so on the weekends he’ll display dinner plates at the front table as you enter. You order by pointing to what looks best. Spaghetti and meatballs are my personal favorite.

What’s Santino’s secret for making such exquisite Italian food in the middle of Eastlake? It’s no secret at all. His grandfather was Santino Giametta from Sicily who came to San Diego in 1954. A gardener and chef, the San Diego Reader featured him in 2002. Santino Jr. learned the importance of fresh simple food straight from him and brings it to us every day of the week!

Address: 2322 Proctor Valley Road, Chula Vista

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Copyright Barbara Zaragoza. All rights reserved.

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