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Walnut Creek Magazine

Berkeley’s Pizzeria da Laura: Pizza Lovers' Paradise

Feb 20, 2024 08:01AM ● By Fran Miller

As if the myriad of toppings doesn’t offer enough choice at Pizzeria da Laura, diners can also select their style of pie. At her corner pizza joint, in the heart of Berkeley, pizzaiola Laura Meyer offers four options: New York (thin, round), Sicilian (thick, rectangular), Detroit (a rectangular pan pizza with a thick, crisp, chewy crust and cheese to the edge), or Grandma style (thin, rectangular, and flatbread-like). It’s a pizza lover’s paradise. 

Tucked into a vibrant art deco building on bustling Shattuck Avenue, Pizzeria da Laura is Meyer’s love letter to the Bay Area, and a hospitality success story. Meyer started her entrepreneurial journey during the pandemic, with a San Francisco focaccia pop-up, where she highlighted the skills learned at the elbow of her mentor, pizza great Tony Gemignani. The popularity of “Focaccia da Laura” led to her Berkeley restaurant opening, and Meyer’s mastery of dough fermentation.

Pizzeria da Laura's vibrant interior 

At her first pizzeria job in Hayward at age 17, she met Gemignani, then later went on to work with him post-college at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco. There she honed her fermentation skills, while perfecting more than 10 regional pizza styles.

Meyer went on to win numerous awards, including first place finishes at pizza competitions in Parma, Italy, Las Vegas, and Naples, Italy. Her trophies are displayed at the entrance to Pizzeria da Laura, where the menu features prize winners like La Regina (soppressata, arugula, and prosciutto), Ray J (pepperoni, basil leaf, and creamy burrata with a drizzle of fermented honey), and a basic cheese pie that rivals New York City's best. 

New York style

Sicilian style

If pizza is not your thing, the lasagna is layered with beef and fennel sausage ragu, ricotta, mozzarella, and tomato sauce between house made pasta sheets, and the fresh fettuccine comes smothered in creamy wild mushroom white sauce. The Parmigiano Pasta is reminiscent of a French onion soup with flavor from parmigiano rinds.

No meal is complete without a craft cocktail, which rival some of the best in the East Bay. The June in January is crafted with a tequila sour Campari and warming spices; Baby It’s Cold Outside is an apple cider-meets-whiskey sour served hot or chilled.; The Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You is a dark, nutty martini made with gin, sweet vermouth, and walnut liquor. You’ll also find a selection of no-proof cocktails, beers, and wines by the glass.

Cocktails, pastas, and appetizers, such as arancini.

For dessert, the restaurant features baked goods made by their weekend bartender, Camie Day of Cinnacrums, such as warm apple pie and lemon ricotta cheesecake. The cocoa dusted tiramisu, layered and served in a coffee mug, is particularly delicious. 

Pizzeria da Laura serves lunch and dinner at 2049 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. 

Photos courtesy of Pizzeria da Laura

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