Kirbie's Cravings

Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano

I’ve been on a quest to check off more restaurants on my to-do list lately. Pizzeria Bruno has been on the list for quite a while.

Pizzeria Bruno is San Diego’s first restaurant to offer Naples style wood fire pizza.  All pizzas are baked in a custom built wood-fired brick domed oven with a VPN certified pizzaiolo (pizza maker) named Peter.

After reading glowing reviews on Serious Eats and Gastronomy Blog, I knew I had to check out Pizzeria Bruno.

Truth be told, I have no previous experience with Neapolitan style pizza. Lucky for me, just days before I was about to pay Pizzeria Bruno a visit, Serious Eats published an article titled What to Expect at a Neapolitan Pizzeria.

From the article, I knew to expect personal sized pies, a wet pizza especially near the center of the pie, and inevitable charring of the crust (due to the use of a wood fire stove).

Pizzeria Bruno is a small place and reservations are recommended for large parties. On the night we visited, a big party was going to take up most of the restaurant, but we were fortunate as they agreed to squeeze in an early reservation for my group.

We had six people in our group and ordered four pies to share.

The first thing that surprised me was how quickly our pizzas baked.  The first pizza arrived within minutes of our order.

Margherita Tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil, olive oil

Just like the Serious Eats article informed me, the pizza was quite wet in the center, and the crust had visible charring.

While the pizza was wet in the center, we were still able to pick it up and eat the slices with our hands. Despite the crust being quite thin, it still maintained a nice chewy texture.

I enjoyed the simplicity of the flavors, but found the charring of the crust a little too much on this pizza. Never much of a crust eater, the bitterness of the char made me even less willing to eat my pizza crust.

Campania Tomato sauce, mozzarella, fennel sausage, cremini mushrooms, roasted onions

I enjoyed all the toppings and there was visibly less char on this pizza crust, so not bitter notes on my slice. This was my second favorite pie of the night.

Blanco (no sauce) Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, garlic, roasted onion, pancetta, arugula

This was the pizza I was most interested in trying that night, and it ended up being the most disappointing. I’ve developed a fondness for sauceless pizzas in the last few years, but this one ended up being too salty.

Both gorgonzola cheese and pancetta are naturally on the high end of the salt scale.  Combined together, and without any sauce, it really was too much. The raw argula that topped the pizza absorbed some of the salt and added a nice counterbalance, but any bites without arugula were hard to swallow.

Lasagane Tomato sauce, mozzarella, ricotta, prioscutto cotto (Italian ham), reggiano

I almost didn’t choose this one, but I’m glad I did because it ended up being my favorite pie of the night. I enjoyed the interplay of flavors between the sweetness of the ricotta, the saltiness of the ham, and the tartness of the tomato sauce.

Four pizzas was more than enough for our party and we had a few slices leftover. Service was attentive, the pizzas arrived quickly. We were in and out in under an hour.

While I enjoyed my first experience here, I have to confess, as a personal preference, Neopolitan style pizza doesn’t really top my favorites on pizza types. However, I’m still happy that Pizzeria Bruno opened up in San Diego.

4207 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92103

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11 comments on “Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano”

  1. We read about the “best pizza in town”, took the whole family. We have never left a to-go box on the table before..we did this time.. , not the worst pizza we have ever had but it was a wet soggy mess. Who voted for this place…..
    Will not be going back….. 🙁

    • Aw, I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t like your pizza here. From my understanding though, this type of pizza is supposed to be very wet/soggy. Perhaps another style is more suited for your family’s tastes? I personally prefer NY style the best.

  2. This place has been on my “to-do” list for a long time, too, but I haven’t gone yet. We almost went recently, but instead ending up going to the Chicken Pie Shop (not a bad thing). I haven’t had this style but I’ve been wanting to try it for awhile.

  3. It’s actually a bad sign that you could pick up the pizza slices and eat it with your hands, something Italians will never do (It’s always eaten with knife and fork in Italy especially Napoli). Most likely the pizza was a few seconds too long the in the oven. (a good one takes only 2 minutes). BTW it looks like they sliced your pizza, is it correct ? Which is again very unusal for such style of pizza

    • Hmm, that’s interesting. Yes it did come presliced which I was surprised to see because I had heard that they normally aren’t presliced. But I was glad they did or else we would have just had to do it ourselves.

  4. The campania is the best 🙂

  5. what a coincidence! the fam and i were just at bruno’s two weeks ago. everyone seemed to enjoy the blanca the most at our table 😉 glad you gave bruno’s a whirl. i think neopolitan pies will grow on you!

  6. I wonder why it’s ‘wet’ in the middle? Do you think it’s b/c the sauce gravitates twds the middle or maybe the sauce is too heavy?

    I haven’t had a wood fire pizza in ages!

    I’m a huge fan of thin crust pizza – does this place give you crust options?

    Nice post!

    • No, there are no crust options. I think there is only one kind of Neopolitan style crust.
      I think it’s wet especially in the center because the crust is puffy at the edges and gradually gets thinner and thinner, especially towards the center. Also when it’s sliced, the middle section is so narrow on a slice that it is hard for it to hold up.

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