This Week's Review: Ragazza

Categories: 'Eat'
Lara Hata
Ragazza's nettle pizza was one of the successes.
Pizza pizza pizzapizzapizzapizza. Hey, Kauffman, you just reviewed a pizza place last week, I can hear you say. (My editor was the first to say it for you.) Why you want to review Ragazza, sister restaurant to Gialina, this week?

In fact, I set out to combine Una Pizza Napoletana and Ragazza into one review, but the two restaurants turned out to be too different, too singular, to lump together. (I also visited Paisan in Berkeley to make it a threesome. While the pizza there was decent, it wasn't memorable enough to endure Bay Bridge traffic for again.)

The first of its kind in the Haight/Fillmore/Western Addition, Ragazza offers what some people call "expensive pizza" and others a modestly priced bistro meal -- snipe all you want about how pizza has overtaken the city, but it's an affordable splurge for a lot of people, and when we quality-obsessed San Franciscans do pizza well, it can be fantastic.

At Ragazza, I most enjoyed treating the pizza as one element in a small-plates meal, and Sharon Ardiana's filled out the menu with enough small, vegetable-oriented dishes to do that. When her pies are on, they're as good as Gialina's, one of my favorite spots in the city. Unfortunately, every meal had serious flaws as well as serious pleasures, and those flaws were never the same ones. Ardiana's got a good concept, a good pizza dough, and a good space. Now all she has to do is calm the chaos.

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