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Best New Authentic Pizza Place 

The Forge

The Bay Area's awash in all manner of super-serious pizza places — the kinds of restaurants where the finer points of crust density are discussed with the deepest gravity, where the chef trained for years in Rome, and where serving something like, say, chicken wings would amount to sacrilege. Forge is not one of those places; it's something much better: a thoroughly modern, unabashedly American, very Oakland pizza restaurant that's serious about quality ingredients and perfect technique — but not so serious it won't put fried cheese or, yes, wings, on the menu. The pizza is, to be clear, very good — cooked in an 800-degree oven and topped with fresh, seasonal, local ingredients, with a crust that's salty, chewy, barely blistered, and damn near perfect — but even so, the vibe is unpretentious, the prices are fairly reasonable, and the ambience is less white-tablecloth than convivial waterside brewpub. And yes, both the wings (smoked and served with a tangy, light, buttermilk dressing, a classed-up bar snack if there ever was one) and the cheese curds (high-quality mozzarella fried to high heaven and served with a rich marinara sauce) are very, very good. Seriously.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)


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