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Tony's Pizza Napoletana Restaurant Review, San Francisco

f
Foodnut8 Jun 27, 2009 11:54 PM

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:
http://www.foodnut.com/399/tonys-pizz...

  1. Robert Lauriston Oct 4, 2012 09:46 AM

    A poar on wsj.com says Tony's is now up to seven ovens. Also, he's planning to open five more restaurants.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000...

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston
      t
      tex.s.toast Oct 4, 2012 10:35 AM

      those 35 new ovens are enough for me to think maybe i should buy stock in some oven-makers.

      1. re: tex.s.toast
        Robert Lauriston Oct 4, 2012 11:35 AM

        I'm not sure any of the new restaurants will be similar to Tony's. Capo's is going to be Chicago-style, which if he's going to do the original Uno's style would take two ovens.

    2. Robert Lauriston Aug 27, 2012 09:20 AM

      I noticed that Tony's has the "coal fired 1000 degree" pizzas on the regular menu, so went to check one out in hopes that it would be similar to NY coal-oven pizza such as John's of Bleeker St. Put our name on the list at 7:30 (Sunday), the hostess took a cell phone number and said it would be around an hour and 45 minutes. After a little less than that she phoned us, we went back and were seated promptly.

      Meatball gigante with burrata ($13) appetizer was great, softball-sized juicy meatball in a bowl of delicous marinara sauce. I'd order the plain $9 version, the burrata didn't really add that much.

      I ordered the New Yorker combo ($25, 16-inch) just because of the name. If it was really cooked in a 1000-degree oven they didn't leave it in long enough: had some char but not as much as I expected, not crisp, sort of soggy and sloppy. I think that combo was a bad choice, there was just too much stuff on the pie ("mozzarella, hand crushed tomato sauce, natural casing pepperoni, sliced italian fennel sausage, ricotta, chopped garlic & oregano").

      The crust and combination of toppings were very tasty and I enjoyed it, and the price was reasonable for the quality and quantity (three of us had a slice left), but it would not make anyone looking for a NY-style pizza very happy, and it wasn't worth the long wait.

      My experience was so different from lapizzamaven's that I'm thinking the problem might have been execution. All those ovens, doughs, and regional styles are a lot to expect a staff to master.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston
        bbulkow Sep 2, 2012 02:15 PM

        Have you tried Vesta in RWC yet? It's close to Martin's West.... Vesta has the "not too many toppings" thing right.

        1. re: bbulkow
          Robert Lauriston Sep 3, 2012 10:58 AM

          I got a job close to home so never get over that way any more.

      2. l
        lapizzamaven Jun 11, 2012 02:53 PM

        Oh yeah, Tony's really took care of my friends and I this past weekend..Im embarrassed to admit that i hadnt been able to get back up to try it since i reviewed it shortly after it opened...but we had a couple of great pies, the coal-fired NYer and the wood fired margherita w/ sausage...Wow! Id been dying to try whats coming out of the coal oven since it opened and it was killer! the crust was perfectly chewy, charred and smoky, the sauce had a nice oregano/garlic flavor and was also nicely pulped and fruity and the cheeses were perfect, especially the incredibly light ricotta that really made it...the house made sausage equally awesome and everything was perfectly balanced....i wont go into the margherita except to say, sublime! Tony's menu can certainly be intimidating with all the options and different ovens but the waiter was incredibly informative about Tony's pies...i had my doubts that such an all encompassing approach could work but Tony is like the energizer bunny, everywhere at all times and hes really pulled it off...i'll have to get back soon to try some other pies...the slice option likely is transforming the one major weakness in SF pizza. SF really does have an embarrassment of pizza riches. whooppee!

         
         
        4 Replies
        1. re: lapizzamaven
          Robert Lauriston Aug 27, 2012 11:30 AM

          Are both those photos of the margherita? Our New Yorker had WAAAAAY more cheese.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            d
            Dan Wodarcyk Aug 27, 2012 10:22 PM

            The left pic is the New Yorker. There is much more cheese underneath the sauce.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston
              l
              lapizzamaven Jan 31, 2013 08:28 PM

              Hey Robert L, sorry about the delayed response...the foto on the right is the margherita w. fennel sausage...the one on the left i think was sausage and mozz NY style...there were so many styles, it really is kinda crazy but these 2 pies and my other 2 visits there were pretty much an ecstatic experience ...ridiculously flavorful....growing up in NYC, that pie probably has been my fave. firm thin and pretty spot on crisp and chew...yeah pretty damn good!

            2. re: lapizzamaven
              Robert Lauriston Sep 2, 2012 09:37 AM

              Here's a photo of the leftover slice from our New Yorker. The pie was completely covered with ricotta and mozzarella. The crust's not as dark as in the photo above, either.

               
            3. Trumpetguy Aug 27, 2011 04:16 PM

              Finally got here and found the Margherita pizza to be sublime! 45 minute wait? Sat at the bar and was served kindly and quickly. For me, the best Neapolitan pizza in SF; better than Una Pizza Napoletana. Next to Naples, the only other comparable was Keste in NYC.

              -----
              Una Pizza Napoletana
              200 11th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

              1. e
                elliora Jul 19, 2011 09:20 AM

                Will be eating here Thursday night. There are so many different kinds of pizza now, what are some of the favorites? We are going on the later side so sadly they will probably be out of the Margherita. There will be 6 or 7 of us, what would be your ideal meal with a group that size?

                1 Reply
                1. re: elliora
                  Robert Lauriston Jul 19, 2011 09:30 AM

                  With a group that big I'd get a "small" Romana, which would be enough for everybody to try a slice of each of the three sections.

                  The one at the top of my list to try is the coal oven white pie with clams and garlic.

                2. DezzerSF Apr 21, 2011 02:25 PM

                  Any updates on the Sicilian pie here?

                  1. Robert Lauriston Apr 21, 2011 01:33 PM

                    If I'm counting right, Tony's is now up to 12 different styles of pizza from five different ovens:

                    Margherita Napoletana: wood oven, San Felice flour, hand-mixed dough, medium crust
                    other Napoletanas: wood oven, Caputo flour, medium crust
                    Classic American: NY flat-top gas brick oven, medium crust
                    Classic American: NY flat-top gas brick oven, thin crust
                    Classic Italian: Italian electric brick oven, medium crust (thin on request?)
                    Romana: Italian electric brick oven, long thin crust
                    Sicilian: Italian electric brick oven, thick crust
                    Classic Italian: domed gas brick oven, medium crust
                    coal-fired (thin? not specified)
                    calzone, baked
                    calzone, deep-fried
                    Detroit-style (not on menu)

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                      Ruth Lafler Apr 21, 2011 02:05 PM

                      You mean five different ovens AND a deep fryer! :-)

                      I applaud their dedication to the full spectrum of pizza possibilities.

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler
                        steve h. Apr 21, 2011 02:14 PM

                        Tony's a wild man. His motor is always running.

                        Coal-fired pizzas are a little thinner than a typical New York pie but not much. Lombardi's, Patsy's, John's are typical examples. The coal gives good heat/good char.

                        Here's a link to a map showing New York's coal-fired ovens: http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives...

                      2. re: Robert Lauriston
                        Robert Lauriston Nov 17, 2012 11:20 AM

                        Update: now it's 17 styles of pizza from seven different ovens plus the deep-fryer:

                        California
                        calzone (baked)
                        calzone (fried)
                        classic American
                        classic American (gluten-free)
                        classic Italian (electric)
                        classic Italian (gas)
                        coal-fired
                        Detroit
                        gluten-free
                        Napoletana (Caputo flour)
                        Napoletana (San Felice flour, 73 per day)
                        New York 22"
                        Romana
                        Sicilian
                        St. Louis
                        stromboli

                      3. Robert Lauriston Dec 24, 2010 08:53 AM

                        I was in the neighborhood yesterday so dropped by the slice shop hoping to try the Detroit pie, no such luck, so we went next door and ordered a Romana. The pie is huge, rectangular, and comes out on a board.

                        There are three variations, each divided into three sections with different toppings ("no substitutions"), so it's sort of like getting three small pizzas. Two of the triple combos had one dessertish section (Gorgonzola with sweet figs and balsamic reduction or with dates, pecans, apples, and honey), which didn't sound appealing, so we got the third, which had all savory combos. Pepperoni a bit greasy a la New York "Ray's" style with oil dripping down my wrist, pesto with goat cheese was rich and creamy, ricotta with big slices of fleshy sweet-hot red peppers and linguisa was something new to me. All were pretty good, albeit a bit greasy or juicy, so messy to eat.

                        The crust was very thin but didn't get soggy. Presumably it was inspired by the famous focaccia / pizza bianca at Forno Campi de' Fiori, and the toppings were loosely inspired by Rome's pizza a taglio aka pizza rustica shops. I doubt there's anything like this in Rome.

                        The menu says a Piccola ($32) "serves 2-3," but I estimate it was roughly 12" x 27" (about as much pizza as a 20" round pie), so two people would have to have huge appetites to polish one off. Maybe two teenage boys. I think each section was cut into nine rectangular slices.

                        Coal-oven pizzas including white pie with clam and garlic are now on the menu in the restaurant. That's definitely next on my list.

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

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                          hhc Dec 24, 2010 09:36 AM

                          Edit: Detroit slice when they feel like it:
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7552...

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston
                            steve h. Dec 24, 2010 10:06 AM

                            Deb and I were at Tony's last week. We sat at the bar. Two gentlemen next to us ordered the triple combo. It's just as you described. Let the record show that the two gentlemen didn't stand a chance against this bad boy - they gave up after polishing off maybe two-thirds of the serving. The cool thing is they insisted on bringing the leftovers home. Satisfied customers.

                            1. re: steve h.
                              Robert Lauriston Dec 24, 2010 10:09 AM

                              They packed up the leftovers for us without our having to ask.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                steve h. Dec 24, 2010 10:12 AM

                                I find service at the bar to be both friendly and efficient. Tony's is a keeper.

                          2. mariacarmen Sep 24, 2010 02:47 AM

                            Don't know how much I can add to the discussion, being a pizza neophyte, but I went there tonight and tried two of Tony's pies: the Margherita and the New Yorker. We found both excellent, exceeding any pizzas I've had except for maybe Pizzaiolo, but it's very close. the Margherita had a light tomato sauce that at first blush i had to doctor a bit with the grated parm and chili flakes on the table, but after that first slice the rest of the pizza was perfect, without the need for doctoring. i don't have an explanation for this, but after that first slice i found the flavors wonderful. Again, a light sauce, a very juicy pizza, which i love, a thin crust that sagged delectably when holding it, the cheese was light yet milky, and the basil had a particular bite that reminded me almost of shiso! The crust was blistered, slightly charred, flavorful. A really great pizza, and on further thought, this margherita is better than Pizzaiolo's.

                            The New Yorker on first bite worried me that these really rich flavors would overwhelm my palate very quickly, and be just too much - fennel sausage (i really don't think our pizza had any pepperoni on it as listed on the menu, which had i noticed at the time i might have complained about, but the pizza was so good i just let it be a nagging doubt in the back of my mind and enjoyed what i had), in a very robust, slightly spicy, really depth-ful sauce - one of the best sauces i've had on a pizza, period. with the super milky and rich ricotta, the whole thing was just a rich flavor bomb in in my mouth, but again, instead of being cloying or too rich, was perfectly balanced - the sauce had enough tang to counter the creamy cheese and pungent sausage. Same great crust, tho the only very piddling complaint i could come up with is the pizza was too overloaded for that delicate crust to withstand - it sagged quite a bit more than the margherita. Still - a fantastic pizza. My friend and I thought we were going to have leftovers to take home - nope. we ate every crumb of both pies.

                            We also ordered dessert - one of tonight's offerings was an orange/olive oil torte with toasted pine nuts and raspberries. The cake was moist as can be, buttery, delicate, BUT! the raspberries were frozen, and were still frozen! unforgiveable.

                            The service overall was subpar - objects floating in a water glass, a cocktail that didn't come until after both pizzas were served, felt a bit rushed - and wine was just ok. The cocktail prices were high, in my opinion, for a pizza joint, yet i know they're on the cocktail bandwagon that has seized San Francisco. Most were $10 or more, one of my glasses of wine - a Pinot Grigio - was $8.50, and the other a Chianti - was $11.00. We spent $80+ on two pizzas and three drinks. People on this board have been commenting on how high the prices are for Una Pizza Napolitana - but these were $19 each - so I did feel they were overpriced, but then again, I had gone to try the prize winning pizza, and it was stellar, so..... overall a thoroughly enjoyable dinner, and I'd go back, and I definitely want to try their newest offshoot next door for the beef sandwich, which a friend has raved about.

                            -----
                            Pizzaiolo
                            5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: mariacarmen
                              Robert Lauriston Sep 24, 2010 10:00 AM

                              It's not exactly the same crust. The Margherita is made with San Felice flour, the other napoletana pies are made with Caputo flour.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                v
                                vulber Sep 24, 2010 11:42 AM

                                When I went the other night and tried to order, they informed me that they had already served the 73 margherita pizzas, and that if I wanted a margherita pizza, it would be made with Caputo flour. The pizza was good, but not great; and I was disappointed that they still charged me the full $19

                                1. re: vulber
                                  s
                                  sugartoof Sep 24, 2010 12:44 PM

                                  I like that they'll still make an alternative, as that's good business, but they shouldn't charge the same for an even slightly inferior product.

                                  I have high hopes for his new sandwich shop, but I'm still puzzled by the ultra positive reviews for the pizza.

                                  1. re: sugartoof
                                    tvham Sep 24, 2010 02:23 PM

                                    I've been to Tony's 6-7 times now and have eaten my way through most of the menu. So far the only disappointing pie was the Sicilian (fine but nothing special, especially for the price) We seem to always order the Margherita and the Diavola as well as the meatball appetizer.

                                    The Margherita is really solid but I can't say I like it better than A16, Pizzeria Delfina or Pizzeria Picco. It would definitely land in my top 5 though.

                                    I think the best way to go is with 5-6 people (though the wait can be brutal at peak hours, that's what Tony Nik's is for!) and order 4-5 pies. I don't think I've ever spent more than $35 per person there which is pretty good considering we always drink our fair share of wine.

                                    -----
                                    A16
                                    2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

                                    Pizzeria Picco
                                    320 Magnolia Ave, Larkspur, CA 94939

                                    Tony Nik's
                                    1534 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                    Diavola
                                    21021 Geyserville Ave, Geyserville, CA 95441

                                    Pizzeria Delfina
                                    2406 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115

                                    1. re: tvham
                                      v
                                      vulber Sep 24, 2010 04:05 PM

                                      I would also agree, that it's not as good as A16 (I do think it's better than Delfina). But my bigger problem is that it not only isn't as good as the one at A16, but that it also costs $4.50 more.

                                      -----
                                      A16
                                      2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

                                      Delfina Restaurant
                                      3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                      1. re: vulber
                                        steve h. Sep 24, 2010 04:10 PM

                                        Pizza is pretty subjective stuff. Has A16 reopened?

                                        -----
                                        A16
                                        2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

                                    2. re: sugartoof
                                      v
                                      vulber Sep 24, 2010 04:28 PM

                                      Don't forget that they're not makign an alternative because they've run out, but solely because of their own superstitiousness, so i'm not super forgiving

                                    3. re: vulber
                                      l
                                      lapizzamaven Sep 26, 2010 09:14 AM

                                      How much difference is there between San Felice and Caputo flour? If the Margherita was disappointing, i doubt the other flour wouldve made it better...

                                      1. re: lapizzamaven
                                        Robert Lauriston Sep 26, 2010 10:12 AM

                                        Two other significant differences between the two doughs might be that the 73-per-day batch is made by hand and proofed differently.

                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                          s
                                          sugartoof Sep 26, 2010 04:50 PM

                                          Sounds like the proofing, and other prep would make the most noticeable difference for most of us, unless you tasted them side by side.

                                          I have to agree, the chances of the 73 being all that much better are slim. When a pizza place is having an "on" night, everything coming out tends to be delicious.

                                          1. re: sugartoof
                                            steve h. Sep 26, 2010 05:03 PM

                                            Do pizzas taste better when Tony is baking your Pizza Margherita?

                                2. steve h. Apr 14, 2010 12:53 PM

                                  The pizza Margherita at Tony's is very good, well worth a walk from the FiDi. Crust, sauce and cheese are in harmony, something I find lacking in many shops. The oven is very good.

                                  One of life's little pleasures is wandering back to the wood-fired oven and spending a few minutes talking to Tony while he's working. He's passionate about what he does and speaks respectfully of other pizzaioli. He's not always there so that may explain some measure of inconsistency reported on this thread.

                                  I prefer pizzas in the (different) styles of both Rome and Naples. Even though I'm from NYC, I'm not a big fan of New York style pizza or the New York slice. New Haven pizza? It's good, I like a white clam pie from Pepe's. At the end of the day, however, I'll take a pizza in the style of Naples, from a wood-fired oven, every time. Roman pies (thin) are mighty tasty, too.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: steve h.
                                    Robert Lauriston Apr 14, 2010 01:18 PM

                                    Have you found a Roman-style (i.e., Baffetto-style) pie around here?

                                    Tony's "Romana" pizzas, which I'd never seen when I lived there, looked similar to some pies that were featured in a recent Saveur article about Rome.

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                      steve h. Apr 14, 2010 01:27 PM

                                      I was at Baffetto two weeks ago. Sadly, I haven't found a counterpart where I live. I'll give Tony's Roman pie a shot next time I'm in town.

                                      Best of luck on your new gig. I'm looking forward to dropping in come August.

                                  2. c
                                    chilihead2006 Apr 13, 2010 10:28 PM

                                    Getting a good pizza shouldn't have to be like winning the lottery.

                                    1. d
                                      dietndesire Mar 29, 2010 04:45 PM

                                      I have not been to this spot but I must say that it seems almost impossible for this place to be turning out truly superb pies given the breadth on the menu. Nobody needs it 3 ways, you need 1 great way. Again, have not been and if I go and it is all that and then some, I will be the first to say so.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: dietndesire
                                        y
                                        yehfromthebay Mar 29, 2010 06:30 PM

                                        I too was disappointed with the pizza (we got Margherita and the special--can't remember what it was)...but I'd go back if I happen to be in the hood for their meatballs and caesar salad. Pretty tasty stuff.

                                      2. Robert Lauriston Mar 29, 2010 10:00 AM

                                        Finally made it to this place. Wow—it's like a living pizza museum:

                                        - three different ovens: 900-degree wood fired, Italian-style domed gas brick, and NY-style flat top gas brick

                                        - at least five different doughs using at least four different flours: San Felice, Caputo, 5 Stagioni, Pendleton

                                        - at least four different tomato sauces: plain San Marzano, San Marzano blended with chopped fresh cherry tomatoes, vine-ripened, hand-crushed

                                        - at least eleven different styles of pizza: "STG" Margherita Napoletana, other Napoletanas (different crust), New Haven-style thin crust clam & garlic, "Classic Italian," "Classic American" medium and thin, "Romana" long thin white, Sicilian, stromboli, baked or fried calzone.

                                        We sat at the counter so we could watch the wood oven. Since we were there for a late lunch, they still had some of the 73 Margheritas available. I'm no expert but this was as good a class Napoletana as I've had: thin, not crisp, good, pure flavor in every component.

                                        Since the Margherita was not a huge portion for two to share, we also tried a "Classic American" thin-crust pepperoni, which the server said was New York style. I was thinking coal oven a la John's, but instead it seemed like a take on Ray's, and the server confirmed that that was the inspiration. This pie was better than any Ray's slice I've had in New York.

                                        I saw one of the huge "Romana" pizzas go by, to my knowledge such a pizza does not exist in Rome. I think it's a combination of the three main styles they have there: the pizza rustica / a taglio sold to go by the slice or weight at lunch, the thin-crust individual pies served in pizzerias, and the long, thin pizza bianca which is the local version of focaccia. I'm curious to try it but you'd want two or three people.

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

                                        28 Replies
                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                          s
                                          sugartoof Mar 29, 2010 10:36 AM

                                          "This pie was better than any Ray's slice I've had in New York."

                                          So it's a step up from greased cardboard with "cheese" product then?

                                          Anyway, either they added to their menu, or Tony should use your post as a guide to rewrite it.

                                          1. re: sugartoof
                                            Robert Lauriston Mar 29, 2010 10:49 AM

                                            The Ray's at 6th and 11th was better than that when I was living nearby in the mid-80s, but Tony's is definitely an improvement.

                                            I'm not sure they've added to their menu, it's just easy to miss how much variety they have on there.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                              s
                                              sugartoof Mar 29, 2010 11:53 AM

                                              Ray's has been fast food, junk food for some time now. The Prince St. location has devotees but it's a bit like craving an In n' Out. When people will say a certain NY burger joint satisfies an In n' Out craving, it's a strange compliment.

                                              I just found your descriptions above to be far more exciting than Tony's actual menu, and I didn't really notice a huge diversity in the crust upon execution. Great concept but I wouldn't say he's turning out the best version of any of those pies, would you? I enjoyed his sauce with the meatballs more so than his pizza. It's probably the most notable red sauce in the city.

                                          2. re: Robert Lauriston
                                            a
                                            Amy G Mar 29, 2010 11:53 AM

                                            Did your Neapolitan Margherita have any blistering? Mine was a pale golden throughout the crust with no blisters and the bottom was dried out and cardboard like which was impossible to eat with a knife and fork. It was more NY style than Neapolitan with the pizza spending close to 3 minutes in the oven. Also note that contrary to your earlier post, he is not VPN certified but certified by the Italian Association of Pizzaiolos. From my travels in Naples VPN carries much more cred.

                                            -----
                                            Pizzaiolo
                                            5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                                            1. re: Amy G
                                              Robert Lauriston Mar 29, 2010 12:10 PM

                                              That sounds like the oven wasn't up to temp. I'm sure our pie was in the oven less than two minutes. It came out medium gold with blisters all over, and it was easy to eat with knife and fork. It was not swampy like some of the pies I've had at A16, but then that's easier to control with a Margherita. They had two people working the wood oven, one assembling the pies and another baking them.

                                              I didn't say he was VPN certified, only that the school prepares students for VPN certification. Gemignani won the VPN competition in 2007 but I think the amount of time he'd have to spend in Italy to get certified is impractical for a business owner as busy as he is.

                                              -----
                                              A16
                                              2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                a
                                                Amy G Mar 29, 2010 12:40 PM

                                                Oven was definitely cold and the pizzaiolo was very tough with the dough twirling it in the air. Dough had lots of springback. Not to my liking at all.

                                                Tony's school does not prepare students for VPN certification. He is not a part of the VPN nor did he win the VPN competition. He won World Pizza Cup not the VPN event. The Pizza Cup has pizza acrobatics and is not just about Neapolitan Pizza as they judge various categories including Neapolitan.

                                                http://www.worldpizzachampions.com/team/tony_g.php

                                                The only place in the U.S. where a student can get VPN certified is Pizzeria Antica in Marina del Rey.

                                                http://verapizzanapoletana.org/vpn_fr...

                                                1. re: Amy G
                                                  s
                                                  sugartoof Mar 29, 2010 12:46 PM

                                                  Agree 100% with your description of the pizza. Crust was undercooked. I didn't see a char on any of the pizzas arriving to neighboring tables either.

                                                  I believe La Pizza Fresca in NY offers private certification.
                                                  http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives...

                                                  -----
                                                  Fresca Restaurant
                                                  2114 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115

                                                  La Pizza
                                                  133 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448

                                                  1. re: Amy G
                                                    Robert Lauriston Mar 29, 2010 01:31 PM

                                                    They were hand-stretching all the Neapolitan pies yesterday.

                                                    Gemignani has won a bunch of pizza tossing events, but what I'm talking about is his winning the Trofeo Città di Napoli at the second Campionato Internazionale per Pizzaioli in 2007.

                                                    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                      a
                                                      Amy G Mar 29, 2010 02:52 PM

                                                      That is a separate competition. The VPN competition is called Pizza Fest and is in September and only judges Neapolitan pizza. The championship you mention is in May and judges other styles such as Roman and also has a pizza tossing competition. Used to live in Naples while stationed with the Navy....

                                                      1. re: Amy G
                                                        Robert Lauriston Mar 29, 2010 04:30 PM

                                                        As I understand it, the Campionato Internazionale per Pizzaioli started in 2006, it's held in Naples in June, and Gemignani won the Trofeo Città di Napoli, which is for Neapolitan pizza, in 2007.

                                                        http://www.impresamia.com/degustazioni/7022-campania-napoli.html
                                                        http://www.pr.com/press-release/40179

                                                        If VPN has a competition, it doesn't mention it on the organization's Web site.

                                                        -----
                                                        Napoli
                                                        869 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901

                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                          a
                                                          Amy G Mar 29, 2010 05:11 PM

                                                          Here is the link to the Pizzafest which is the VPN sanctioned competition. Been to both. Pizzafest is much better.

                                                          http://www.pizzafest.info/2008/home.htm

                                                          Again, Tony's has nothing to do with VPN. He is a member of the Societa Italiana per Pizzaioli.

                                                          1. re: Amy G
                                                            Robert Lauriston Mar 29, 2010 05:18 PM

                                                            "Because of his win, the VPN - the Associazione della Verace Pizza Napoletana, or association of true Neapolitan pizza - has authorized him to open a pizza school in Castro Valley."

                                                            http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/08/15/FDAURG7UG.DTL

                                                            "Gemignani is working with Margherita Regina to develop VPN courses that he will teach in America. Students, however, will still have to finish their certification in Naples."

                                                            http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi...

                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                              a
                                                              Amy G Mar 29, 2010 11:08 PM

                                                              Hate to break it to you but the Chronicle did not do their research. Surprise surprise. Tony's has nothing to do with VPN and you can get VPN certification in Marina del Rey. I understand that you relied on the erroneous info given in the Chronicle, but there is not point in perpetuating it.

                                                              1. re: Amy G
                                                                Robert Lauriston Mar 30, 2010 09:01 AM

                                                                I never said that Tony's was certified by the VPN, and neither did the Chronicle.

                                                                VPN-certified restaurants can have off days, too. I've on occasion gotten overloaded and swampy pies at A16.

                                                                -----
                                                                A16
                                                                2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                  a
                                                                  Amy G Mar 30, 2010 09:23 AM

                                                                  You have been arguing with me on this thread about Tony's association with the VPN and you have been wrong. The link from the Chronicle mentioned that Tony's could certify students via the VPN. That is simply not true. I did not say that non VPN places don't have off days. I said you generally know what to expect. Tony stated to my companion when he inquired about the lack of blistering that he does not like to blister his pies and considers it a mistake of putting cold dough in a hot oven. Well every Neapolitan pie with blisters that I have had starts with room temp dough. So this is what he intends and his response was plain wrong.

                                                                  Every pie I have had in Naples is swampy/soupy in the center. Let it cool and it subsides. Overloaded is not excusable and definitely not a good pie sign.

                                                                  1. re: Amy G
                                                                    Robert Lauriston Mar 30, 2010 10:07 AM

                                                                    I never said Gemignani was VPN-certified or authorized to certify students. The quote from the 2007 Nation's Restaurant News article I posted above explicitly says that his students would have to go to Naples to finish their certification.

                                                                    Presumably the VPN deal the Chron reported about in 2007 either didn't happen or is still in the works.

                                                    2. re: Amy G
                                                      d
                                                      dietndesire Mar 29, 2010 06:37 PM

                                                      Best pizzerias in the US are not VPN. And even those that can be argues as some of the best is only a partial list of all the VPN establishments.
                                                      It is quite meaningless. You sign up, you pay, you say all the right things, ingredients, oven, etc.
                                                      So what, the end products are not top notch across the board of this "verification".
                                                      Who cares?

                                                      1. re: dietndesire
                                                        a
                                                        Amy G Mar 29, 2010 11:13 PM

                                                        While Una Pizza Napoletana and Motorino are not VPN certified yet top notch in my book, overall at least you know you will get a decent product with VPN certification (or at least a product that meets certain characteristics). Tony's was one of the worse wood oven pizzas I have had in recent memory. So to the extent people have come to associate VPN pizzas with a certain style, I think it is important that people know

                                                2. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                  DezzerSF Mar 29, 2010 01:50 PM

                                                  Which of the tomato sauces do they use in their Margherita? I thought it was really tasty.

                                                  1. re: DezzerSF
                                                    Robert Lauriston Mar 29, 2010 02:41 PM

                                                    As per VPN rules, San Marzano tomatoes. There's a little EVOO as well.

                                                    http://anticapizzeria.net/vpn/rules.html

                                                  2. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                    c
                                                    chilihead2006 Mar 29, 2010 04:13 PM

                                                    We went to Tony's a few months back and came away very disappointed. The menu did not specify which oven would be used and we ended up with a run-of-the-mill..and rather tasteless...pizza. I'm from NY. I travel to Italy fairly often. I know good pizza. I wouldn't go back to Tony's for a FREE pizza.

                                                    Nizza la Bella is still my fave for the Bay Area. Consistently high quality. Reminiscent of some of the best pies I've had in Italy.

                                                    1. re: chilihead2006
                                                      Robert Lauriston Mar 29, 2010 04:33 PM

                                                      The menu has indicated which pizzas are cooked in which ovens from day one, but the layout makes it easy to miss that.

                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                        s
                                                        sugartoof Mar 29, 2010 05:57 PM

                                                        It's a really confusing menu, in that it looks simple enough, but it's easy to order the wrong style. Their waitstaff aren't always the best help, and there are some major clunkers on the menu.

                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                          c
                                                          chilihead2006 Mar 29, 2010 06:49 PM

                                                          I did not see that when we were there. I'd almost be willing to bet money that it wasn't there. We also had a long chat with the waitress who knew about our interests but did not steer us away from the crappy pizza.

                                                          1. re: chilihead2006
                                                            Robert Lauriston Mar 29, 2010 07:26 PM

                                                            There's a picture of the opening day menu in the blog post linked to from the first post in this topic, it has the oven information in the same confusing layout as the current menu (though the pizzas have changed a bit).

                                                      2. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                        Robert Lauriston Mar 30, 2010 10:14 AM

                                                        Picture of the Margherita plus detail of a little blister on the crust.

                                                         
                                                         
                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                          DezzerSF Mar 30, 2010 10:35 AM

                                                          My margherita was even more blistered.

                                                           
                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                            s
                                                            sknittymama Oct 28, 2011 02:49 PM

                                                            I'm no expert, but I'd take that pizza any day!

                                                        2. g
                                                          goingoutagain Sep 13, 2009 12:11 PM

                                                          We've been there twice and had to have the same pizza both times: yes it's the most expensive thing on the menu ($38) but to have truffle pizza with lots of truffles, wild mushrooms, burrata....I am still dreaming about it. Plus a fantastic bartender who makes his own grenadine syrup (delish)....worth the wait. Best pizza in San Francisco, imo.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: goingoutagain
                                                            c
                                                            celeryroot Sep 13, 2009 03:01 PM

                                                            With lots of truffles????? Very cheap for 38....... Too early for Italian white truffles , prime season is toward very end of October . Last year they were around $4500-6000 /lb wholesale. I suspect they are using oil and mushrooms and hoping people dont question. Also , the truffles shld not be baked {white italian) but grated on in front of you. The menu says Italian truffles and Italian black are not that tasty or in season ,theyt are later.

                                                            1. re: celeryroot
                                                              Robert Lauriston Sep 14, 2009 09:53 AM

                                                              The menu says "shaved truffle from Italy." Could be white summer truffles.

                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                c
                                                                celeryroot Sep 14, 2009 10:44 AM

                                                                They arent that tasty and Im not sure anyone bothers importing them fresh. Now there are ones from Oregon but taste wise I dont think they are comparable.
                                                                Shaving almost always done at table....... and they wouldnt survive a 700 degree oven for taste. Next time Im in North Beach Ill stop by and check out. I can sniff a white truffle walking in the door.

                                                              2. re: celeryroot
                                                                Robert Lauriston Oct 8, 2009 09:33 PM

                                                                I still wonder how he can be shaving (to quote the menu) "truffles from Italy" to justify the $38 price when they're out of season. Some sort of preserve? Maybe I need to try this myself.

                                                            2. scarmoza Aug 28, 2009 08:32 AM

                                                              We've been trying and re-trying Margherita style pizzas all over California (but especially in San Francisco) this summer and for us, so far, Tony's has taken the lead. Mr. scarmoza and I talk about the taste and texture of this crust often.

                                                              Like the vast majority of pizzerias we've visited, it would be really nice if they offered better beer (and coffee) choices.

                                                              1. rworange Aug 26, 2009 11:35 PM

                                                                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
                                                                  l
                                                                  lapizzamaven Aug 27, 2009 09:53 AM

                                                                  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
                                                                    rworange Aug 27, 2009 03:35 PM

                                                                    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
                                                                      c
                                                                      chipman Aug 27, 2009 04:39 PM

                                                                      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
                                                                        Trumpetguy Aug 27, 2009 04:57 PM

                                                                        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
                                                                          rworange Aug 27, 2009 05:00 PM

                                                                          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
                                                                            s
                                                                            sugartoof Oct 9, 2009 02:56 AM

                                                                            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.

                                                                  2. k
                                                                    KS1 Jul 20, 2009 10:23 AM

                                                                    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. rworange Jul 13, 2009 06:14 PM

                                                                      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
                                                                      http://sanfrancisco.menupages.com/res...

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

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: rworange
                                                                        j
                                                                        joe_can_bike Jul 20, 2009 01:46 PM

                                                                        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. Melanie Wong Jun 28, 2009 01:28 PM

                                                                        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
                                                                          f
                                                                          Foodnut8 Jun 28, 2009 04:46 PM

                                                                          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. a
                                                                          Amy G Jun 28, 2009 10:32 AM

                                                                          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
                                                                            wolfe Jun 28, 2009 11:43 AM

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

                                                                            1. re: Amy G
                                                                              Robert Lauriston Jun 29, 2009 09:22 AM

                                                                              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.

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