Nick’s Dependable Pizza Experience
By: Nicholas Dal Porto
Few pizza places in the Bay Area have endured as long as Toto’s. Well known for its many varieties of pizza and other Italian dishes, it’s a local chain, with three restaurants – located in Belmont, San Bruno, and San Mateo. Whether you need to feed a party or just you and a friend, Toto’s is a reliable and delicious option that’s bound to be close to home.
Toto’s has been around since the early days, opening its doors in 1932, in Brooklyn, New York. Started by Caroline and Antonio (Toto) Spadarella, they decided to make pizza with traditional recipes they came across while living in Naples, Italy for the early portions of their lives. In fact, those same recipes are used by Toto’s today. After the Second World War, the couple closed up shop in Brooklyn and moved to San Francisco, opening their first pizzeria North Beach. As customers and operations grew, they opened additional restaurants, all owned by the the original family. In 1954, Toto’s started the first pizza delivery service in the city of San Francisco, making way for a multitude of restaurants to do the same. To this day, the restaurant chain is still owned and operated by the fifth generation of the Spadarella family.
Ordering from Toto’s couldn’t be easier. You can call in for pickup, delivery, or you can eat your pizza at either the Belmont or San Bruno locations (San Mateo is pickup and delivery only).
The first thing you’ll notice about the pizza is that it is hot. Like, burn you hot. For the best dining experience, wait two to three minutes for the sauce to cool down. Slices are thicker than the average, and the underlying crust is reasonably stiff. When you first bite in, you might notice the trademark sauce. To me, that’s one of the areas where Toto’s shines. It’s flavorful, and slightly sweet. The strong hints of tomato cannot go unnoticed. The cheese is average, nothing too special here. The cheese spreads out evenly, with spots to let the sauce shine through. The crust is hearty and filling. The portion on the back of each slice is rather large, so some opt to just eat until they reach it and stop. Overall, the pizza is quite good thanks to the sauce especially standing out.
Online reviews are generally positive: “Upon tasting my first bite, the sauce, cheese, and crust were dancing together on the palate in that way that’s a signal of excellent pizza: The sauce was sweet and full of tomato flavor, cheese was stringy, and crust was light and chewy. Nothing about the pizza was generic or chain-like, it reminded me of some of the good stuff I had back East.” said one Yelper. Another claimed, “The pizza dough is made in the shop fresh. You can see the guys at the counter preparing the dough. Good pizza consists of fresh dough, tomato sauce and toppings. Toto’s delivers on all fronts. The pizzas taste more like Italian pizzas with a thinner crust but with more toppings”.
Without a doubt, Toto’s is a great option if you’re looking for a plain old pizza pie. With this place’s history and experience, they’re sure to impress.
What? Toto’s Pizza – San Mateo (2727 “H” El Camino Real San Mateo, CA 94403), San Bruno (1690 El Camino Real San Bruno, CA 94066), Belmont (1250 “B” El Camino Real Belmont, CA 94002)
Is it any good? They’ve been making pizzas for 85 years, and make the dough fresh right there. With a great selections of toppings and options, they’re sure to have something you’d like.
How much? $14-$20 dollars for a pie, with toppings an additional purchase. Various drinks and other Italian dishes available.
Any tips? If you’re feeling hungry the next day and have leftovers, heat some up! Toto’s tastes great reheated or cold.