Pizzeria Gioia

1586 Hopkins St (Berkeley)

Pizzeria Gioia slice.

Close to great, Pizzeria Gioia is pretty good but way too greasy.

The Yelp-ers are generally crazy about Pizzeria Gioia, and the pizzeria seems to be doing all it can to resemble a typical neighborhood New York pizzeria.  For example, even though it’s located in a dull area of North Berkeley, the bare interior with a few stools could easily have been ripped  from someplace in The Great Pizza City (I decided to invent an alternate nickname for New York).

The good thing about Pizzeria Gioia is that they know how to make good bread, and that’s usually the sign of a good pizzeria.  Pizzeria Gioia comes fairly close to the ideal crust with a crisp exterior with a fluffy, soft, and tearable interior.  But – and I am not one to wipe off pizza grease with a napkin and don’t like my pizza too refined – I had a problem with the grease.  There’s just too much of it.  It’s all over the dough, all over the cheese, and  altogether pools everywhere on the slice.  Greasiness may be a characteristic of New York pizza, but over-greasiness is the hallmark of bad New Jersey pizza.  In addition,  it seems very little effort was taken to produce a flavorful, impactful tomato sauce.  These shortfalls ultimately place Pizzeria Gioia in the second tier of Berkeley pizzas.

So, if you’re hanging around North Berkeley (why?), Pizzzeria Gioia might be a good place to drop by.  With a few improvements, the pizza here could rank amongst the best in Berkeley.  For now, you’ll just have to drain your pizza of grease first.

Summary: Good dough, good cheese, but too greasy with a weak tomato sauce.

Verdict: Maybe stop by.

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Published in: on August 27, 2010 at 11:38 pm  Leave a Comment