For today’s post on our The Great San Francisco Pizza Tour of 2021 we are going to try Tony’s Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco’s Little Italy located in the North Beach neighborhood. Tony’s is a spot that we wanted to try a year ago but were too hungry to wait an hour in line with so many other Italian eateries and pizzerias around. Tony’s Pizza Napoletana’s claim to fame is chef and owner Tony Gemignani who you might remember from the Food Network and Travel Channel as winning the pizza throwing championships and pizza making competitions around the world. But, was it all just hype and marketing about making the best pizzas, or are his pizzas really that good to have people waiting in hour long lines regularly. We were about to find out.
It was a beautiful sunny day but it was super windy and cold. No problem for us, we brought warm jackets and our appetites and knew we’d soon be full of pizza and that would keep us warm from the inside out. We walked over to Tony’s Pizza Napoletana and already there was a line. San Francisco is now permitting very limited in-door dining as well as out-door dining because of COVID and Tony’s has a lot of out-door booths (that have plexiglass partitions to separate diners). All the out-door booths were full but we felt pretty good when it was our turn and the waiter took us to a table for four around the corner. There were plenty of out-door heaters so we sat down and used the QRCode to look up the menu.
The pizza menu was vast. We were not prepared for so many different kinds of pizza. Tony’s has seven different kinds of pizza: Neapolitan, Classic Italian, Sicilian, Roman, Detroit, St. Louis, New York and even Gluten Free. There were several pizzas that sounded pretty good based on their toppings. We happen to be meat-eaters when it comes to pizza so the Fratellanza (Sicilian style) sounded like a good choice with it being baked in a 550 degree gas oven, its thick pan crust and toppings of pepperoni, salami, mushrooms, Italian sausage, and oregano, and, we of course ordered ours with No mushrooms. We also ordered a Cesar salad while we waited and the portion was very generous for two people. The salad was nice and crispy (we requested no anchovies) and it came with a big long crispy crouton. The salad was pretty good, not garlicky at all nor too creamy. The utensils we were using also were solid and very nice, it’s not everyday the utensils you eat with at restaurants are memorable. So far so good!!
As we were waiting for our pizza to come out we were watching all the pizzas being served and they looked really good and were smoking hot. Many looked to be Margaritas and pepperoni pizzas, some we couldn’t tell what kind they were and a lot of folks were ordering multiple different kinds of pizzas for their table, it seemed folks wanted to try a few different ones. The line of folks waiting for seats was steady the entire time.
We waited for what seemed like over 30-40mins and finally our pizza was being served!! It came out on a long looking baking sheet and…….. There were mushrooms!! Yikes!! The waiter offered to remake it but we were starving and didn’t want to wait another 30 minutes so we opted to pick them off. Here in these photos that Gary took you can see just how big and delicious the pizza looks and how thick the crust is. The crust reminded us of fresh baked focaccia bread that was crispy around the edges and soft and warm inside. I was still disappointed about the mushrooms (I was grumpy from being hungry and waiting a year to try Tony’s Pizza Napoletana) but they were not too big and did for the most part slide off easily. First impression after taking a bite, we both thought the tomato sauce was a nice consistency (not too saucy but thicker and had a very fresh taste of San Marzano tomatoes from Italy) There was a good amount of mozzarella cheese but the chef could have been a little more generous with the salami, pepperoni and Italian sausage, but since they are making pizza the authentic Italian way, it was spot on with topping-to-slice ratio and it was all very good. As we were eating, the manager came over and apologized for the mushrooms, and also offered to make us a new pizza. The staff were all super nice and tried to ensure we were satisfied. The manager even made us a fresh cannolo with pistachios for desert as his way of apologizing. Again, the staff was incredibly sweet and really did all they could to make our meal and experience a good one. Here are pictures of the cannolo and it really was delicious with a fresh cookie shell and the sweet ricotta filling.
Let’s rate Tony’s Pizza Napoletana on a scale of 1 (being lowest) to 5 (being highest):
Style/Crust : Sicilian – 5
Sauce: Fresh vine ripened tomato- 4
Experience: Location/Staff: 5
After waiting one year to try Tony’s Pizza Napoletana we left very full and happy. There are so many pizza styles and choices to choose from (Neapolitan, Classic Italian, Sicilian, Roman, Detroit, St. Louis, New York and even Gluten Free) and endless toppings too. A suggestion if you are reading this blog post and considering going to try Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, look over the online menu so you are prepared with a good idea of the type of pizza you’ll be having and know prices are around $40 for most pizzas. Tony’s also has pastas (can’t wait to try the lasagna and spaghetti and meatballs) and all kinds of Italian sandwiches and parmigiana’s too!! If you do happen to visit Tony’s then drop us a note and share your experience or tag us on social media @crazy4thepizza #crazy4thepizza so we can see which pizza you had and read about your experience.
Stay tuned, we have lots and lots more pizza spots coming up for you all!!