I’d never really considered the possibility that a pizza oven could have personality, until I met Bruno. The white and black-tiled dome, crafted in Naples by artisan Stefano Ferrara, is the star attraction at Pizzeria Bruno in San Diego’s North Park and yields some of the best Neapolitan style pizza in Southern California.
Of course no oven is complete without a pizzaiolo, and Peter Lutz tends to Bruno’s every need, including a steady diet of oak wood. He stands front and center in Pizzeria Bruno’s open kitchen, wearing a Detroit Tigers hat and hand molding every pie that enters Bruno’s fiery mouth. In case you forget the oven’s name, just look to the tiles.
Lutz hangs a Napoli flag at Pizzeria Bruno, which contains table and counter seats, along with a patio that gets the most play in warmer months, of which there are a lot in San Diego.
Pizzeria Bruno maintains a menu of salads, small plates and antipasti, but pizza is the reason to eat at Pizzeria Bruno. For me, any first time visit to a pizzeria must involve a Margherita ($13), the true pizza litmus taste, and Pizzeria Bruno has the pie with royal provenance on lock. The crust is pillowy, with a gentle char, a modicum of bright tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil pulled a from drawer and olive oil poured from pitcher right before serving.
Trusted SoCal sources tell me that Bruno’s Salisicce pizza is another winner, and that it’s worth investing an extra $5 on mozzarella di bufala to accentuate the Margherita pizza. I’ll see for myself on a subsequent visit. There aren’t many Southern California pizzerias that inspire cravings, but in San Diego, Pizzeria Bruno is now my pizza source.