4207 Park Boulevard, University Heights
Pizzeria Bruno is among my top three go-to places for pizza in San Diego (the others being Isola Pizza Bar in Little Italy and Buona Forchetta in South Park). I think I’m just a sucker for that Neapolitan style, with its soft, chewy crust that has a hint of sweetness, and a bit of char from the wood-fired oven in which it was cooked.
At Bruno’s, I find everything I would ever look for in a go-to: casual, inexpensive, and friendly, with fare that is consistently fresh and delicious. As a bonus, Bruno’s also has an affordable wine list featuring interesting Italian wines, complete with tasting notes. I even learned a new word while reading it, sapid, which means “strong and pleasant in an interesting way.” So, my meal was not only delicious, but educational as well.
For the last few years, David and I seem to order the exact same meal on every visit. We share the mozzarella salad ($9) and the Calabrese pizza ($16), and bottle of something red. For so few ingredients, this burratacentric plate is packed with garden-fresh flavor due to the always ripe and juicy heirloom tomatoes and basil-garlic paste. A leaf of fresh basil, a drizzle of aged balsamic, a splash of olive oil, and a generous sprinkling of grated Parmesan help all the flavors coalesce.
The Calabrese, named for its very spicy Calabria peppers, also has soppressata (a dry salami typical of the same southern Italian region) and red onions. The cheese and sauce pick up enough heat from simply having touched those hot peppers. I usually pick mine off, but Diablo David leaves them in, and we both laugh as we suck in cool air to comfort our tongues.
On a recent visit, we broke the mold and actually tried something new, ordering the Salami pizza, which is topped with soppressata and Gaeta olives (named for Italian city from whence they hail). To further cool things down, I asked them to add ricotta. We liked this new combination so much that it may have become our new standard.