La Val’s Pizza

1834 Euclid Avenue (Berkeley)

La Val's slice.

Grease is La Val's signature flavor.

La Val’s pizza and I just have philosophical differences.  For example, I contend that pizza is not a vehicle for maximizing your daily grease intake.  La Val’s clearly feels otherwise; their pizza is just grease, grease, grease (and big).  Because the quality of all ingredients is low, the grease dominates the flavor, so that’s what you’ll be tasting – not cheese, tomatoes, or crust.

In the no-cheese land at the edge of the slice, the grease content is lower and the crust manages to decently hold its own.  But that’s a small section of the overall slice.

The interior of La Val’s is not much to speak about, but there is a separate take-out area and seating area for drinks.

I know, I know, you’re poor and it’s not so easy to always take the high road on pizza philosophy.  But trust me, you can do better.

Summary: Greasy! Low quality!

Verdict: Stay away!

Published in: on August 29, 2010 at 9:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pizza Rustica

5422 College Avenue (Oakland)

Pizza Rustica slice.

Pizza Rustica's hideous, basil-filled nightmare.

One look at the picture of Rustica’s Margherita pizza should tell you all you need to know.  But in case you want details, here goes:

Pizza Rustica’s red, Cirque du Soleil-ish interior is like somewhere you’d go for a date before surviving the latest Julia Roberts movie.  Also, their pizza is flavorless and their view of proportions is…misconstrued.  The main portion of their Margherita pizza was completely and utterly smothered by basil leaves.  (Did this really happen?)  As if this weren’t enough, Rustica adds an extra layer of shredded cheese on top of the basil.  (Again – really?)  Each member of the army of basil was individually OK to handle, but collectively they were a full-on assault  of basil flavor.   The pizza underneath, by the way, mostly lay lifeless.  The crust was passable, but the only time I felt like I really tasted anything was when I caught a morsel of garlic.

This was not pizza – this was a Frankensteinian monstrosity!

Summary: Cafe Rustica is a good-looking restaurant producing terrible pizza.

Verdict: Stay away!

Published in: on August 29, 2010 at 8:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Little Caesar’s Pizza

1109 University Avenue, Berkeley

Little Caesar's pizza

Little Caesar's slice in the foreground tastes just like the cardboard box in the background.

I understand.  You have fond memories of visiting Little Caesar’s pizzeria when you were a child, and they are pleasant.  Those memories became less great as Little Caesar’s got cornered into K-marts all over the country (remember K-mart?), but it was still good.  Well, that Little Caesar’s is dead.  In its place is the worst pizza in Berkeley.

I should preface my statements by saying that an entire large pizza costs $5 at Little Caesar’s.  That’s two slices or less anywhere else.  But, I counter, it tastes like cardboard.  Really – the taste is literally indistinguishable from the cardboard box it is packaged in.  I don’t know what else to say about it.  I had one slice and donated the rest to Berkeley’s homeless (and felt slightly guilty when they thanked me).

There is no interior, just a counter.  So cherish your memories and stay the hell away from Little Caesar’s in Berkeley.  It won’t be hard – it’s literally in the middle of nowhere!

Summary: Bad, bad, bad.

Verdict: Stay away!

Published in: on August 21, 2010 at 10:18 am  Leave a Comment  

Fat Slice Pizza

2375 Telegraph Avenue (Berkeley)

Fat Slice

Fat Slice's Monstrosity.

I’ll get right to it: Fat Slice probably ranks among the worst pizza in Berkeley.  In its defense, however, I don’t think it even tries to be good.

The style of pizza is (as you can imagine from the name) large, dough-y, and doesn’t skimp on the cheese.  Therefore, if you are trying to optimize calories per dollar, then Fat Slice may be right up your alley.  However, if you also like food to taste good, then you might want to reconsider.  Fat Slice’s dough, which is like a hybrid between a cheap Neopolitan and Sicilian style, is not my style – too large and soft – but others might find it OK.  The cheese – well it just tastes ‘fake’.  I don’t really know what gives cheap cheese this taste (or lack of it), but Fat Slice falls squarely into this category.  There is sauce, but it might as well have been red food coloring – I saw it, but I didn’t taste it.

By the way, although the place has a decent amount of seats, it’s pretty dirty overall and certain areas have a pungent smell.  All in all, eating at Fat Slice was just unpleasant; but, judging from the afternoon crowd (people really come back here?), I don’t imagine the place changing anytime soon.

Summary: On the short list for worst pizza in Berkeley, Fat Slice only succeeds in terms of sheer mass of pizza per slice.

Verdict: Stay away!

Published in: on August 3, 2010 at 10:33 pm  Leave a Comment