Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano

>> Sunday, June 5, 2011

Date of Dining: 4/22/2011
Price: ~$15 per pizza
Location: 4207 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92103

The Quick Bit:
+ Great Authentic Pizzas
+ Memorable Pizza Crust
+ Fresh Ingredients used to make pizza
+ Brick Oven Style Pizza
Δ Waiting time for pizza
Δ Tomato sauce could have been seasoned better

Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano is one of those hidden neighborhood gems that only the locals know about. Every aspect of the restaurant is tailored to providing the best tasting and most authentic Naples style pizza.

Bruno starts with the best possible ingredients from fresh hand-made mozzarella to water imported from Italy to create the dough to San Marzano tomatoes for the tomato sauce to locally made artisanal fennel sausage. These ingredients are combined to make the best tasting and most authentic pizzas which are finished in Bruno's special wood-fired brick domed oven. The oven was custom crafted in Naples before being shipped to the US. Finally, Bruno's pizzaiolo (pizza chef) is Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN) certified to guarantee only the best and most authentic style Naples pizza is made.

If Bruno has a signature pizza, it's the Brunoverde. This pizza is sauceless and comes with fresh mozzarella, parmigiano reggiano, ricotta, and is topped with fresh arugula. The hallmark of the pizzas from Bruno is the amazing crust, and this pizza is the perfect platform for enjoying that crust. The cheeses melt together for a very rich cheesy flavor, but the different flavors of the cheeses are distinct enough to not cause palette boredom. The arugula is the perfect compliment as the bitterness cuts the richness of the cheese and adds the "needed acidity" even though there isn't actually any acid. The middle crust of the pizza is really soft and would require folding the pizza to eat with hands, but the outer crust of the pizza is cooked perfectly.
The Campania is a mix of mozzarella, fennel sausage, cremini mushrooms, and roasted onions. This pizza was good, but it didn't stand up to the brunoverde. The local artisanal fennel sausage provided a great mix of pork flavor, and the roasted onions and mushrooms all provided great flavor contrast. However, I felt that the pizza was under-seasoned, which totally doesn't seem possible given that it is pizza. However, upon further investigation, the tomato sauce made of the San Marzano tomatoes was simply the pureed tomatoes with nothing extra. I'm not sure if the tomato sauce is supposed to just be the pureed tomatoes or if it is always made this way, but I felt that adding some salt, garlic, and oregano to the tomato sauce would have made this pizza a home run. I did appreciate not seeing a ton of chopped parsley being sprinkled on top of my pizza though. And while this criticism is very specific, I still did really enjoy this pizza, and if it was a choice between Bruno's Campania and any other pizza in San Diego, I would still choose Bruno.

The other downside to Bruno is that they only have the one brick-domed oven, which means that on a crowded night you may have to wait up to an hour for your pizza. On the night I went it was moderately crowded and I had to wait 40 minutes for both pizzas to arrive. If one was a Bruno "fanboy," this could probably be construed as a positive since they are making pizzas the right way and not "selling out" to get them done faster.

Despite my minor criticisms, Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano is a neighborhood pizzeria that "gets it." They use the best ingredients to make the most authentic pizza they can, and they take the time to make the pizza properly. Additionally, Bruno has some nice San Diego craft beers on tap that round out the pizza experience.

Based on the excellent pizzas and the attention to authenticity, Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano earns the bit award!


Rodzilla June 15, 2011 at 11:49 PM  

great review, I've been planning to visit myself - I'll do my best to avoid busier times, or at least plan accordingly.

James June 16, 2011 at 10:24 PM  

I definitely recommend you go. Just to clarify, when I said that it can take awhile to cook the pizza, I don't mean it as a negative thing. I just want to make sure people understand that good things can sometimes take awhile to cook and that this is worth the wait. I find it very admirable that they don't sacrifice the quality of the pizza even though it gets busy.

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gastro bits is a blog that juxtaposes the geeky with the foodie; it is an attempt to be educational about food, yet entertaining at the same time.
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