“The best pizza in the Bay Area,” San Francisco Chronicle‘s Michael Bauer proclaimed.
Mario Batali declared owner Bruce Hill’s cuisine “the best in the country…the margherita pizza is so good, it’s enough to make you cry.”
I had heard so much about the pizza at Pizzeria Picco that I had to go check it out for myself. My friend Jen and I settled into a table at the outdoor deck on a chilly but sunny Saturday afternoon for lunch. I ordered a plate of the house-made charcuterie selection, which included spongy, nutty mortadella, sweet soppressata and smoky, spicy salumi dusted with fennel pollen. The plate was accompanied by apricot chutney and pickled sweet peppers.
Charcuterie Plate. L-R: Lardo, Salumi, Soppresata, Coppa, Mortadella
We ordered margherita pizza topped with salt cod and arugula — the pizza of the day. It was a “wet” style pizza, with a sufficient amount of tomato sauce but not too much cheese topping. This was the lightest pizza I’d ever had — the crust wasn’t dense and chewy. Rather, it was soft, with an oh-so-slightly crispiness on the outside. The salt cod was used sparingly (a good thing) and the rocket added a slight bitterness. The tomato sauce was divine — the perfect amount and slightly sweet yet tangy. My only regret was that the pizza got cold too quickly sitting outside, and when it was cold it lost its luster very quickly, turning more chewy than crispy and soggy toward the middle.
Pizza of the day: Margherita with Salt Cod, Arugula.
The meal wasn’t complete until we sampled the famous olive oil ice cream: organic Straus Dairy vanilla soft-serve ice cream, with DaVero extra virgin olive oil and sea salt sprinkled on top. “Go ahead…you can do this,” the menu urged. After hearing so many raves, I didn’t need any urging. It was the most unexpectedly delicious thing I’ve ever tasted: sweet, yet not cloying; slightly salty; and the fruity, herbaceous flavor of olive oil.
Straus Dairy Soft-Serve with Olive Oil, Sea Salt
So was this the best pizza the Bay Area had to offer? I have to say that I think it was, with crust so light it was ethereal. It isn’t as good in my mind as Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn, but they are in two totally different pizza categories: Picco’s is light, wet and subtly flavored; Grimaldi’s is smoky, chewy and loaded with toppings. Next time, I’ll be trying the margherita pizza (no toppings for distraction), making sure it stays warm, and savoring at least one of the olive oil ice cream desserts…
Pizzeria Picco, 320 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur, Calif. 415.945.8900