The magic of San Giovanni's barbecue chicken pizza is the palimpsest of ingredients, each distinct yet meshing into each other so that traces of what's above and below seep through. The owner freshly tosses and bakes every pizza at this halal restaurant upon order–no pizza under hot lamps and thrown into the oven for a quick reheating here.
After rolling a slab of soft, thick dough into a perfect circle, he slathers it in barbecue sauce and tops that with a hefty layer of mozzarella cheese, marinated barbecue chicken, all-beef pepperoni, red onions and cilantro. The halal pie gets placed inside a stone oven until the cheese oozes over the crust, and the layers fuse into a mess of cilantro-kissed, sweet barbecue, meaty, cheesy goodness with a crust that's crunchy yet moist. The original owner was an Egyptian man who's spoke of in almost-mythological tones here; some say he learned how to make pizza in Italy and others claim he's married to an Italian lady who taught him the tricks of the trade.
Regardless, the truth is that even when ownership was handed over to a
Pakistani man who added new items like tandoori chicken pizza to the
menu, San Giovanni's remains a staple in the dining room for any
self-respecting, OC Muslim–and lovers of a great slice, for that