Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

I brake for pizza e birra

House-made mozzarella and dough make Italophile spot worth slowing down for

Two dozen pizza choices
Two dozen pizza choices

I drive past it often — whenever I take the Washington Street exit from I-5 north to go to Mission Hills. But Il Centro Pizza e Birra always goes by in a blur.

Softened by large windows and a verdant dining patio

Problem is, coming off the exit ramp, you have merge into the left lane of India Street at the same time traffic is merging over to get to the freeway on-ramp a block ahead. There's usually a bit of dodging and weaving involved, and just when I've got my bearings I think, "Did that sign say pizza and beer?"

Choosing the pizza proved tough.

It did. It does. Like most of us, I'm a big fan of both, so when I drove by this week, I finally doubled back to try it. I found a chill little spot with an industrial storefront softened by large windows and a verdant dining patio. Along with 24 taps of beer, and a mix of wines from Italy and California, the place serves paninis and pastas in addition to thin-crust pizza.

Porchetta turned out to be more like thin slices of ham.

As I learned when I walked in, the secret to the food here is the shop makes both own its pizza dough and mozzarella. Including daily specials, two dozen pizza choices greeted me, and eight pretty tasty sounding sandwiches. So I tried one of each.

Pizza selections feature the likes of prosciutto, soppressata, speck, anchovies, tuna, and a litany of vegetables.

Choosing the pizza proved tough. While the menu doesn't offer pepperoni, its extensive list of specialty pies (ranging from $9-15) features the likes of prosciutto, soppressata, speck, anchovies, tuna, and a litany of vegetables. I went for the Contadina, topped with Italian sausage, black olives, and caramelized onions.

All can be made right with a sip of cold birra.

I failed to notice that particular pie is made with a cream sauce rather than tomato. The fourteen or fifteen inch pizza still tasted great, with soft, doughy crust and olive oil drizzle on a blend of fontina and mozzarella cheese — along with the garlicky sauce it pitched extra umami against the sausage's earthy spice. I did ask to try the tomato sauce on the side, and those craving a bit more acidity on their pizza will be satisfied.

Place

Pizza e Birra

3625 India Street, San Diego

My panini ate just as well. Dubbed the Notorious P.I.G., it offered both porchetta and bacon with arugula, aged cheddar, and more of that house mozzarella.

It did sound like overkill, but porchetta turned out to be more like thin slices of ham versus the thick chunks of roasted, seasoned pork belly and loin I associate with the term. The bacon was cut thicker though, and what really made the sandwich were the fresh, floury bread and that house mozzarella. The bread matched the pizza crust texture, but in sandwich form the mozzarella really stood out — creamy with a balanced salt profile. Again, with the earthiness of the arugula and savory saltiness of the meats and cheeses, a little brightness could have made the sandwich even better, but all can be made right with a sip of cold birra.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

“Medicine Show” webcast showcases Mrs. Henry’s puppeteering

Friends from Earthless, The Blank Tapes, Howlin Rain, Warish, and others join in the fun
Next Article

“Medicine Show” webcast showcases Mrs. Henry’s puppeteering

Friends from Earthless, The Blank Tapes, Howlin Rain, Warish, and others join in the fun
Two dozen pizza choices
Two dozen pizza choices

I drive past it often — whenever I take the Washington Street exit from I-5 north to go to Mission Hills. But Il Centro Pizza e Birra always goes by in a blur.

Softened by large windows and a verdant dining patio

Problem is, coming off the exit ramp, you have merge into the left lane of India Street at the same time traffic is merging over to get to the freeway on-ramp a block ahead. There's usually a bit of dodging and weaving involved, and just when I've got my bearings I think, "Did that sign say pizza and beer?"

Choosing the pizza proved tough.

It did. It does. Like most of us, I'm a big fan of both, so when I drove by this week, I finally doubled back to try it. I found a chill little spot with an industrial storefront softened by large windows and a verdant dining patio. Along with 24 taps of beer, and a mix of wines from Italy and California, the place serves paninis and pastas in addition to thin-crust pizza.

Porchetta turned out to be more like thin slices of ham.

As I learned when I walked in, the secret to the food here is the shop makes both own its pizza dough and mozzarella. Including daily specials, two dozen pizza choices greeted me, and eight pretty tasty sounding sandwiches. So I tried one of each.

Pizza selections feature the likes of prosciutto, soppressata, speck, anchovies, tuna, and a litany of vegetables.

Choosing the pizza proved tough. While the menu doesn't offer pepperoni, its extensive list of specialty pies (ranging from $9-15) features the likes of prosciutto, soppressata, speck, anchovies, tuna, and a litany of vegetables. I went for the Contadina, topped with Italian sausage, black olives, and caramelized onions.

All can be made right with a sip of cold birra.

I failed to notice that particular pie is made with a cream sauce rather than tomato. The fourteen or fifteen inch pizza still tasted great, with soft, doughy crust and olive oil drizzle on a blend of fontina and mozzarella cheese — along with the garlicky sauce it pitched extra umami against the sausage's earthy spice. I did ask to try the tomato sauce on the side, and those craving a bit more acidity on their pizza will be satisfied.

Place

Pizza e Birra

3625 India Street, San Diego

My panini ate just as well. Dubbed the Notorious P.I.G., it offered both porchetta and bacon with arugula, aged cheddar, and more of that house mozzarella.

It did sound like overkill, but porchetta turned out to be more like thin slices of ham versus the thick chunks of roasted, seasoned pork belly and loin I associate with the term. The bacon was cut thicker though, and what really made the sandwich were the fresh, floury bread and that house mozzarella. The bread matched the pizza crust texture, but in sandwich form the mozzarella really stood out — creamy with a balanced salt profile. Again, with the earthiness of the arugula and savory saltiness of the meats and cheeses, a little brightness could have made the sandwich even better, but all can be made right with a sip of cold birra.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Hard times for San Diego County cities

Hard times for 17 San Diego County cities
Next Article

Song Without a Name: gone baby gone

Melina León finds horror in an environment usually associated with safety and nurturing.
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close