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Jun 27, 2009 11:54 PM

Tony's Pizza Napoletana Restaurant Review, San Francisco

Tony's Pizza Napoletana is a new San Francisco North Beach restaurant from Tony Gemignani, 9 time Champion Pizza Tosser, certified pizziaolo. He also runs a the International School of Pizza. He is well qualified to make a great authentic pizza!

They serve 4 types of pizza, STG Pizza Napoletana from the 900 degree wood fired oven, Classic Italian from a Domed Brick oven, Classic American from a NY Flat Top Brick oven, and Teglia/Sicilian style from a Italian Brick Oven. Many Ingredients are imported from Italy. They also serve pasta, salads, and antipasti.

Decor, Vibe - Old hardwood floors, baffled ceiling, decorations from the first pizzeria in Naples, four pizza ovens (one is wood burning) Families were dining, couples, tourists.

Margherita pizza ($18) Limited to 73 per day, Rustic Medium Crust, Dough mixed by hand using San Felice flour then proofed in Neopolitan wood boxes, San Marzano Tomatoes, DOP, Sea Salt, Mozzarella Fior di Latte, Fresh Basil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Campania. The pizza was pretty big and had a fluffy crust. Tony explained that this was authentic and designed for folding over. The cheese was very good and mild. No sogginess here but no extra thin crunchy crust either.

Full Blog Post with pics:

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  1. Was he tossing the Neapolitan Pizzas per the video? If so, that is not proper per my pizzaiolo brother in law who works at Trianon in Napoli claiming that tossing overworks the dough resulting in a crust that holds too much air with a texture like a boboli crust. The crust in the Margherita in your picture seems to lack enough charred bubbles and seems a bit thick, but could just be the photo angle. Tony is right about the texture, Neapolitan pizza is not crisp but rather has the soft pliable texture of a good naan.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Amy G

      Maybe there's tossing pizza and then there's eating pizza. Certainly in that video there's wearing pizza.

      1. re: Amy G

        Gemignani won the Verace Pizza Napoletana competition in 2007, and the school is supposed to prepare students for VPN certification, so I presume he's stretching the Napoletana pizzas by hand and any dough-juggling would be for one of the other types.

      2. Thanks much for the report and explaining the multiple ovens and pizza styles. Yesterday was the opening day, no? I'd peeked in the window during the North Beach festival a couple weeks ago because some folks were milling about inside, and it looked ready to go.

        Tony's Pizza Napoletana
        1570 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

        1 Reply
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Yesterday was opening day. Thursday was the soft opening. The pizza tossing video was all for fun. They are serious about pizza, but fun folks to joke around with.

        2. Has ... has ... anyone tryed the thin crust New Haven-style clam and garlic pizza? Could the pizza holy grail (for me) be in SF? No reports on yelp about it.

          Anyone tried any of the other American regional styles such as Bronx, New Jersey

          How about the Manhattan vs Bronx cazone? Anyone had the stromboli?

          Menu from menupages

          Anyone know if the closing time is 10 pm or midnight for sure?

          1 Reply
          1. re: rworange

            We tried the Margherita, New Jersey and Bronx (or was it called Manhattan?). The Margherita was fantastic and I would put it in the same grouping as A16 and Flour+Water. The crust was airy & chewy and the dough was whiter than the other 2 pizzas, yet had those distinctive charred bits that come from the high heat/fast cooking. I love the other pizza around town too (Delfina, Pizzetta, Gialina), but I put those in a slightly different grouping. All are made with care & high-quality ingredients, but the first 3 put out a pizza that I would never be able to replicate at home and that I yearn for deeply (I might as well disclose that I could eat pizza every day for the remainder of my time here on earth.)

            The Bronx pizza looked and tasted like a really, really nicely made NYC-pizzeria-on-every-corner type of pie. A crunchy flat-bottomed crust with that amorphous molten slick of cheese & sauce. I grew up in NYC so this definitely made me nostalgic for playing stickball and skelzies, but also reminded me that I don't really love this kind of pizza anymore. (NYC pizza joints = SF burrito joints. Discuss.)

            The New Jersey pizza was my kind of pie....dominated by a bright sweet tomato sauce with scant cheese, with a similar crust to the Bronx pie. Very flavorful and I would return for this certainly.

            The meatballs were delicious - juicy, moist and in a nice tomato sauce. The hyped fried green beans were just OK...they weren't battered, just sort of flash-fried. Save the stomach space for more pizza.

            I highly respect the ambition of Tony...all those different styles and ovens...hope he pulls it off.

          2. My wife and I visited the other day. If you have read the press, you already know that Tony was the Neapolitan Champion at the 2007 World Pizza Cup in Naples, Italy for the Best STG Neapolitan Pizza Margherita.

            A while back, he got permission to have a wood-fired oven in the parking lot outside his pizzeria in Castro Valley for only one day, to serve the pizza that won the competition. My wife and I made the trek out from San Francisco to try this pizza, and it was well worth the effort.

            That pizza was a revelation. Thin, chewy, sweet crust. Wonderful sauce. Creamy mozzarella. Luscious basil. And, in an interesting twist, more than a dash of salt. While startling at first because it was saltier than the Margherita pizzas that we traditionally get here in the Bay Area, after a couple of bites, it became apparent that the salt brought out brightness in all the other wonderful component, uniting them in a wonderful gooey whole of pizza-goodness.

            Sadly, the Margherita pizza that we had the other Friday was a sad shadow of that pizza that we remembered. To be fair, we came on a Friday lunch in the second week of business, so perhaps Tony was back at his Castro Valley pizzeria. The pizza was...okay. The crust was thicker than and not as chewy as the crust we remembered from the parking lot. Also, it was not nearly as tasty. The sauce was bland to the point of needing salt, which was in total contrast to the brightness of the original pizza that we remembered.

            All in all, it was fine. A perfectly nice pizza. Good, but not better than the pizzas that we have had at either of the Delfina pizzerias, A-16 (back when Christophe Hille was making the pizzas), or Pizzeria Picco. And that made us sad, because the pizza we had in the parking lot would have given all of these pizzerias a run for their money.

            Combined with the pizzeria's location in the heart of the touristy part of North Beach with impossible street parking, I don't know that we will be making a return visit. Unless Tony comes back and starts making THAT pizza that we remember. Then we'll come over and refuse to leave. Until then, there are many better pizzas in the area

            1. For the many years I've posted on Chowhound, this is one of my top ten all time tips

              Clam & Garlic (thin crust) new haven style clams, mozzarella, oregano, garlic, parmigiano, olive oil

              Don't bother

              This is not New Haven style. I didn't realize there was supposed to be oregano in it until I cut and pasted the above from meupages. I don't personally think that two ground up baby clams would qualify it to be a clam pizza given there was absolutly NO clam taste. A layer of cheese covered a soft, thin crust that was nicely charred but otherwise flavorless. The dominant flavor was garlic ... garlic with a background bitterness.

              Tony, I have been served New Haven pizza, I knew New Haven pizza, New Haven pizza was a favorite of mine. Tony, this is no New Haven-style pizza

              6 Replies
              1. re: rworange

                I had a Margherita, with sausage added, the first week they opened and it was excellent..My other fave pizza in SF is A16...the wood burning ovens give both of these places an advantage..Cant believe Delfina and Gialina use conventional gas but they prove it can still make excellent pies..yummy

                1. re: lapizzamaven

                  Tony's has a number of styles that are baked td in three different types of ovens. I'm just saying that this particular pie sucked big time. Anyone going to Tony's would be better off ordering any other pizza there.

                  1. re: rworange

                    You just ordered that pie once? Hey! Things happen, maybe it was a one time occurrence. Or, maybe you were correct. But I think you should order it order again to see.

                    1. re: chipman

                      A New Haven clam pie, as I recently experienced at Pepe's, was a fantastic crust w/ lots of clams and lots of virtually, if not, raw garlic. It was sublime! As were the leftovers. This was a white pie; no cheese or tomato sauce ;)

                      1. re: chipman

                        I would have to be insane to pay $18 again for a lousy pizza that wasn't the result of a bad night, it just totally missed the mark of what it advertised itself as.

                        There is nothing they could do short of waving a magic wand over it to even get it remotely close to a New Haven pizza. The clams were like those sausage pizza's you get occassionally with tiny scattered sausage bits ... only this was absurd.

                        Once again, what I'm saying here is that I took one for the team. Tony's may bake other fine pies, but this isn't one of them. It was ill-conceived. For anyone going to Tony's, I would seriously suggest any of the other pies. As my friend said after taking a bite 'Where's the clams'

                        We both could see those little clam bits but they had absolutely no taste.

                        However, please, feel free to order one and report back I'd be interested if you were able to suck any clam flavor out of that thing.

                        I'm being a lot kinder than my friend who said he has absolutely no desire to return after that tasteless pizza. I'm still interested to give the other styles baked in different ovens a try.

                        Still, I won't be rushing back.

                        1. re: rworange

                          I really didn't see much variation in the pizzas served, sad to say. I gad the same feeling that we just ordered the wrong selection, but it's not like anything coming out of the kitchen looked any different. The crusts appeared identical in thickness and size. They looked more like California Pizza Kitchen, and the Neapolitan at the table next to me did not look like it could pass, again based on the crust alone.

                          Oh, and in case anyone would make the mistake of ordering the pizza with the fig - expect an overly sweet preserve paste spread across it. If I read correctly, it's one of the two pizzas he won an award with, but I doubt he served the judges anything close to it.

                          I'd order the meatballs again, at least.