Sure, delivery is perfect for all-nighters or for fixing that hole that the tequila just burned in your stomach. But sometimes, don’t you just crave homemade pizza with Italian herbs and spices, piled high with cheese and a crust that’s so light you could use it as a raft? If you have an eye for a big pizza pie, roll on over to these pizzerias in Santa Barbara.
900 N. Milpas St.
Price: Under $10
Nestled in downtown Santa Barbara is a cozy little pizzeria known for the top-notch taste of all its menu items. The combination menu at Sal’s Pizza includes favorites like barbeque chicken pizza, chicken pesto pizza and creamy mushroom fettuccini, which consists of bell peppers, tomatoes, olives, red onions, mushrooms and a creamy sauce. This mouthwatering dish is just one of many other specialties.
Manager Salavor Sesquirel suggests the popular TBG pasta. This dish is made with a classic mix of tomato, basil and garlic. If you’re in a more daring mood, you can add shrimp or chicken to your carbohydrate-filled delight.
Any hungry patron can look forward to the quality ingredients in every dish at Sal’s Pizza.
“Everything is homemade,” Sesquirel said. “We make it fresh.”
He also said that the restaurant is known for its friendly staff and its lunch special, consisting of a delicious slice of pizza and a drink for $5. This steal of a deal is served every day from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Sesquirel also recommends the eatery to students because of the restaurant’s inexpensive menu and array of options. Sal’s Pizza serves pizzas, pastas, salads and sandwiches for lunch and dinner, and is open Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday 3 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
So get on the road and make your way to Sal’s Pizza for a delicious meal that will add that extra cheese to your crust.
Straight From Sicily
Gino’s Sicilian Express
12 W. Figueroa St.
Price: $10 – $20
Have you ever wanted to go to a restaurant with rustic charm, deep roots in the community, delicious local ingredients and an amazing pizza to boot? If so, then Gino’s Sicilian Express is the place for you.
Manager Loren Manser said the eatery has a finger on the pulse of the tomato sauce in Santa Barbara.
“Santa Barbara is like a veggie town,” he said.
To meet the demands of its health-conscious patrons, the establishment offers a veggie pizza. Customers can put whatever type of vegetable – or meat if you have a more carnivorous palate – you want for only $5. Another favorite lunchtime treat for the clientele is the panini sandwich or the spinach pizza, which is made with olive oil, feta cheese, pine nuts and locally grown spinach. Furthermore, every dish at the restaurant is made on the premises.
“We make all the dough ourselves,” Manser said. “[We] cut the cheese ourselves.”
With great prices on entrees, as well as a daily special, students won’t break the bank at this treasure chest of an eatery. Manser said Gino’s Sicilian Express is the place to be when you’re downtown and want to save money.
A homemade slice of pizza only costs $2.75, but the restaurant offers an even more tempting special. The daily special – a slice of pizza, salad and soda for $5.50 – is quite inexpensive compared to many other downtown eateries.
The restaurant serves slices and whole pizzas, so if you’re alone or in a group, you’ll find a meal to fit your needs. Gino’s Sicilian Express is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Sunday, from 11:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. So when you’re in the mood for a pizza that tops off your taste buds, swing by this eatery for food that will twist your bread sticks.
Sifting Through the Flowers
202 State St.
Price: $10 – $20
Imagine a classy setting with a well-stocked bar, outdoor seating and spacious interior. If you’re thinking of Bougainvillea, then you’re on the right track. This establishment is more than just a pizza place. The menu includes chicken, seafood, pasta, salads, pizzas and appetizers, so there’s something for every palate.
“We’re pretty well rounded,” Manager Felicia Louie said.
One of their specialties is the alfredo pizza, which is made with Italian sausage, pesto and alfredo sauce.
Patrons who want to stop and smell the roses should visit Bougainvillea for its amazing happy hour on weekdays from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The restaurant also hosts Firestone Walker Wednesdays every week. This event lasts all day and is double the fun, with $20 buying you two large pizzas and two pints of Firestone Double Barrel beer. As an added benefit, you’ll even get to keep the glasses.
Bougainvillea is also a great place to host events or functions.
“We can do larger parties,” Louie said. “We’re not limited like some of the other restaurants.”
The eatery can accommodate groups of 20 to 40 people. If your guests enjoy eating by a fire, the restaurant boasts a large indoor fireplace, and Louie said she recommends checking out the fantastic outdoor fireplace as well.
Bougainvillea is open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. So check out Bougainvillea the next time you’re in the mood to wrap your senses in vines of flavor.
Hit Up the Big Apple
Uncle Rocco’s New York Pizza
437 State St.
Price: $10 – $20
Take your tongue on a trip to an original New York City pizzeria that moved to Santa Barbara’s eating scene five years ago.
The restaurant that has pleased patrons from all over the nation is family owned and operated. The pizzeria is known for its friendliness, and more importantly for its beer special. You can get a pint of any kind of beer on tap for only $2.50 every day from 12 p.m. until 5 p.m.
“The sign works,” said Assistant Manager Miguel Gonzalez, referring to the sign placed outside the establishment advertising the beer special.
Uncle Rocco’s New York Pizza is known for more than just its alcohol offerings. The restaurant has a wonderful menu of appetizers – including yummy baked artichokes – whole pizzas and slices. Gonzalez suggests the meatball slice as a customer favorite.
The pizzeria also offers filling calzones, made to your personal preference with marinara sauce, cheese and whatever else your heart desires.
According to Gonzalez, a large part of the restaurant’s popularity lies in its late-night hours. Situated among some of Santa Barbara’s most popular clubs downtown, stop in for a bite from midnight to 2:30 a.m. – no whole pies though, it’s slices only at that hour. It’s a great place to hang out when you’re burning the midnight marinara sauce.
Uncle Rocco’s New York Pizza is open for lunch and dinner on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 2:30 a.m. So if you’re looking to keep it in the family, swing by Uncle Rocco’s New York Pizza for a nice slice of life.
So when you’re freaking over finals or sunbathing through the summer, make sure you expand your pizza palate past Domino’s and try some of the best pies in Santa Barbara.