What usually comes to mind when I think of fusion food is something on the upscale end of the foodie spectrum. Think fine-dining with Swiss prices. Fortunately, innovative San Francisco is always ready to broaden my culinary horizons, and thus, I present to you Zante’s Pizza and Indian Cuisine, an illustration on how one can upgrade greasy take-out food to fusion fare.
The Zante’s story starts in 1986 when an Indian family bought a pizzeria in the Mission. Instead of completely changing the neighborhood feel of the place, they kept part of the traditional American-style pizza menu, added some curries, and most importantly, combined the two into their “Best Indian Pizza”.
Zante’s offers three versions of their curried Italian-inspired pie:
- the Best Indian Pizza, which is topped with spinach, eggplant, cauliflower, ginger, garlic, green onions, cilantro, lamb, tandoori chicken, shrimp and cheese.
- the Best Indian Pizza vegetarian version, which is the same as the above minus the flesh.
- the Best Indian Pizza vegan version, which is the same as the above minus the cheese.
We decided to try the vegetarian version, which was delivered in the standard white cardboard pizza box.
An Indian pizza is an aesthetically confusing experience. It looks like pizza, it has the tactile consistency of pizza, but it tastes more like curry than pizza. Like a reflex, this state of confusion was vividly displayed on my face. Even though I helped myself to a second and third slice, Niko repeatedly asked me if I liked the pizza. Overall, I did like the pizza, and I would recommend trying it as a new experience, but honestly, I prefer the old school Italian (and/or Italian-American) version. To my palate, some classics don’t need any updates.