Long before there was a fancy pizzeria on every block, there was Pauline’s, which opened in 1985 and was among the first places to serve “gourmet” pies topped with vegetables the owners grew themselves. Now, 20-some years later, the operation has expanded modestly to include a wine bar located in the alley right around the corner. Though the narrow entryway promises an underground vibe similar to Hôtel Biron, the décor within is more evocative of a Marin County home, circa early ’90s—a mash-up of gaudy tile, several paint colors and bright track lighting. But what the design lacks, the sustenance makes up for—from the chalkboard menu you can order small plates, including miniature versions of pizza (two varieties daily), chevre-stuffed peppers and an unlikely but successful salad of wilted baby kale and sliced, cooked potatoes dressed with a tart vinaigrette. Pair your selections with a glass or a bottle from the short list, which is heavy on Pauline’s “pizza reds,” made from grapes grown by Pauline’s on their vineyard in Calaveras County, and toast to a couple of decades well-spent.
260 Valencia St., 415-552-2050, paulinespizza.com