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Una Pizza Napoletana (very long) review

pane Sep 17, 2010 10:31 PM

I joined the crowd tonight at the opening week of Anthony Mangieri's new pizza shop in SOMA.

We arrived at 5:40 and the food didn't hit our table until quarter of 8; I would expect if you pop in for dinner on a weekend, this might be the case for a while. Perhaps it's more reasonable on weekdays?

We stood in line out on the sidewalk with about 20 people in front of us--a 20-30 person line was standard from the time we arrived until the time we left, but with only 30-something seats, it takes a while to get people moving. Unlike Pizzeria Delfina, we weren't offered wine while we waited outside, so we just hung out on the bleak block at 11th and Harrison, but had the pleasure of overhearing conversations with people who had followed the Mangieri news blotter and wanted to discuss allegations (flying in water from italy) and rumors (he was into field hockey players [pixies joke, ignore]) that grease the wheel of conversation for strangers standing together for 1+hours

When you near the front of the line, you get a view of the action: Mangieri in front of the gorgeous blue tiled pizza oven, which presides over the room like a monarch on a throne. Anthony and the oven are behind a metal fence that servers enter to drop off orders; the chef himself put together each pie; his wife and a friend were servers.

When we sat down after an hour in line, the server mentioned that the orders were backed up, so ours wouldn't be taken for some time so that Anthony wouldn't be stressed out by all the waiting tickets--we ended up waiting another 30 minutes for our order to be taken, then 30 for the food to arrive. The menu includes four pizzas, a fifth pizza that wasn't available that evening, and beers, wines and beverages. No starters, and a warning on the menu that pizzas were not to be altered in any way: no substitutions, no added or deleted oil or hot pepper.

Probably because I had read just a little bit about the place, I expected the "soup nazi" treatment, but the servers and hosts were terribly nice, and Anthony himself seemed good natured about diners walking up to snap his picture without asking as if he were an orangutan at a zoo. People waiting in line drifted in to chat with him, say hello if they knew him already or introduce themselves if they didn't.

Our hostess explained that the dough is raised without yeasts, and the process takes 48 hours, hence the 150 pie limit--once they're out, they simply can't whip up more.

We ordered two 12 inch pies, and I would recommend a pie per person. By the time we were served at the 2 hours point, we were starving, and ate everything within 15 minutes.

Pizzas are $20 each--we had the Filletti (cherry tomatoes, buffalo mozz, oil, basil, salt) and the Margherita (San Marzano sauce, buffalo mozz, oil, basil, salt). The two other options available that night were Bianca (minus tomatoes/sauce) and Marinara (minus cheese).

The pizza arrived scalding hot, the cheese still bubbling in molten pools. I knew the roof of my mouth would sear into curtains, but I was hungry enough to start eating after an insufficient cool-down anyhow. Everything about the flavor was in the crust: the sauce on the Margherita was minimal, and the Filletti cherry tomatoes added a bit of interest, but really you are here for the crust.

I don't think I've thought about crust except when chewing on the frame of a pizza, but the flavor of this was so robust and insistent it blew the doors off the thin skin of oil, cheese and tomato on top. Deep, earthy and quite chewy. My only style comparison is Frank Pepe's pizza place, which was near where I grew up--Pepe's is less flavorful, but I like Frank's slightly crispier texture better.

We were happy to visit and see the master in action--I happen to love a chef who is a little bit crazy, someone who wakes up in the morning burning to create something specific, beautiful and true. I'd probably wait a while to return until the calm settles in somewhat, and I'd be happy to see what Anthony is cooking up then.

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

  1. mariacarmen Sep 17, 2010 11:55 PM

    It sounds really good but i'm not sure I'd wait that long.... planning on going this Thursday... Have you been to Tony's in North Beach yet? I haven't, but I'm wondering how the two compare, and thinking I'll try Tony's first and wait til the rush dies down at Una Pizza...

    http://www.tonyspizzanapoletana.com/

    3 Replies
    1. re: mariacarmen
      pane Sep 18, 2010 07:27 AM

      I haven't been to Tony's, and I wouldn't wait that long again either. A few people with us in line left when they figured out that they wouldn't be eating in an hour.

      1. re: mariacarmen
        Robert Lauriston Sep 18, 2010 10:05 AM

        Tony's is as maximalist as UPN is minimalist. I counted three ovens, five different doughs, four different tomato sauces, and eleven styles of pizza on the menu. Or are you asking for a comparison of their Napoletana with UPN's?

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/632240

        1. re: Robert Lauriston
          mariacarmen Sep 18, 2010 12:49 PM

          Yes, exactly.

      2. Robert Lauriston Sep 18, 2010 10:00 AM

        If you were in line at 5:40 with 20 people ahead of you, then you were the second party seated at that table? At that rate, assuming he wasn't having problems and having to throw pies away, it seems like the last of the 150 would come out of the oven around 2am.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston
          wolfe Sep 18, 2010 10:09 AM

          Sounds like one of professor Copi's problems circa 1957, if A then B.
          http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Lo...

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            pane Sep 18, 2010 11:53 AM

            My dining partner was trying to do the same math. My area of expertise is more Amis than algebra, so I have no idea--but I'd guess that yes, we were in the second seating.

          2. steve h. Sep 18, 2010 12:34 PM

            I've enjoyed Anthony's work at UPN in the East Village and I've enjoyed Tony's work in North Beach. As an aside, I gave Motorino, the outfit that took over Anthony's place in Manhattan, a visit a few weeks ago. The Bay Area may be winning the pizza wars. I'll update next month.

            1. b
              bob96 Sep 19, 2010 01:48 AM

              We managed to leave our SF vacation the day before opening, but as New Yorkers didn't think we missed much--except the predictable theater surrounding wait times, prices, and minimal (if not nasty) service. Such were the conditions of the East Village place, and Mangieri began to wear out his welcome--however intense and skilled he might be, his place never seemed to want to please customers. There are other similarly skilled pizzaioli in the world, and certainly in NY. We've enjoyed superb margheritas at Keste and Motorino, both in the $12 range, and at Motorino (Brooklyn), a lovely space, quick Saturday seating, good salumi app,, great pizze, and good wines. Can't wait to stand for 2 hours on 11th and Harrison.

              17 Replies
              1. re: bob96
                Robert Lauriston Sep 19, 2010 12:36 PM

                While Mangieri may not make conventional efforts to please customers, any chef who consistently has a line down the block, as UPN in NYC did until the end, clearly is doing so somehow.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  steve h. Sep 19, 2010 03:26 PM

                  I've eaten at Anthony's shop in Manhattan many times. Some folk like him, some absolutely hate him. He is what he is. I'm a fan of his talent and dedication. Never ran into callous behavior at his old place. The Bay Area is mighty fortunate to have so many great pizza options.

                  1. re: steve h.
                    b
                    bob96 Sep 19, 2010 09:32 PM

                    No one's doubting or diminishing his skill and dedication. And the lines were testimony to his gifts (and his small place). But for the lines he had, he also lost customers. For me (who grew up with Totonno's and other now long gone superb Brooklyn coal oven nabe joints), no pizza, no matter how authentic, was worth the price, the absurd wait, and the chance I'd run into poor service. Sorry, not with the choices.

                  2. re: Robert Lauriston
                    Ruth Lafler Sep 19, 2010 03:50 PM

                    Hype? It doesn't take very many people to form a line down the block for a place that only seats 20-30 people.

                    I think steve h. hit the nail on the head: with so many great pizza options in SF, I wonder how long the crowds will last.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                      Robert Lauriston Sep 19, 2010 04:01 PM

                      It's not like NYC has any shortage of great pizza, and before his fans were lining up in the East Village they were schlepping out to Point Pleasant, New Jersey.

                      I expect he'll do fine here. Only a few places in SF attempt hardcore Neapolitan-style pizza and nowhere else is as narrowly focused on it. Plus he's world-famous and will surely get a fair amount of fanatical tourists making pizza pilgrimages.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                        Ruth Lafler Sep 19, 2010 04:09 PM

                        Tourists will line up for anything. I'm not saying he won't be successful, but I think the pizza culture in SF is close to saturation. I'll refrain from making any judgments about the degree to which SF and NY have different attitudes toward things fashionable and famous.

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                          steve h. Sep 19, 2010 06:15 PM

                          My take is you can never have enough good pizza options. Having said that, it will be interesting to track Tony's populist approach in North Beach and Anthony's minimalist (purist?) style. I like both of these guys.

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler
                            soupçon Sep 19, 2010 07:11 PM

                            Just "close to saturation?" I'd say we have enough pizza joints to give David Chang a new punch line the next time he's in town.

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler
                              Robert Lauriston Sep 20, 2010 10:16 AM

                              I think the trend toward better pies made using top-quality ingredients and by following specific regional traditions has a long way to go, and those places are competing less with each other than with the 300 or so places that turn out average pizza.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                b
                                bob96 Sep 20, 2010 01:48 PM

                                You're right, especially as the "Vera Napoletana" brand gets commercialized, as all things do and as it has already with corner pizza margherita-style slices in NY. Not a bad thing, and in more than a few cases a boon to the quality level of those 300 other places. But there are only so many specific regional traditions in Italy for pizza (Neapolitan, of course, in perhaps no more than 4-5 styles, including vegetable pies made with pizza dough; Roman flats; Ligurian foccaccia; Sicilian schiacchiata.) The rest are, to my knowledge, mostly variants.
                                This is certainly a big enough list for me (and I imagine most folks), and I support creative use of traditional methods and best quality ingredients. Never been a better time for an American pizzavore.

                                1. re: bob96
                                  Robert Lauriston Sep 20, 2010 02:23 PM

                                  There are at least three types of pizza specific to Rome, and a number of significant types have evolved outside of Italy, e.g. Chicago deep-dish, New York coal-oven, New Haven, stromboli, Old Forge ...

                                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pizza_in...

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                    m
                                    mdg Sep 20, 2010 09:18 PM

                                    Anyone who would bring a great Detroit-style pizza to the San Francisco Bay Area could do very well, I think, especially combined with a good wine and beer selection. I'm available for consulting and research trips back to the Detroit area :).

                                    Looking forward to trying Una Pizza Napoletana once things settle down.

                                    Michael

                                    1. re: mdg
                                      Melanie Wong Dec 22, 2010 02:03 PM

                                      I've got the take-out menu for Tony's Coal-Fired Pizza and Slice House. On the pizza side of the menu it lists:
                                      "Detroit (square) (when available)
                                      red top . . . $3.75"
                                      I have no idea Detroit pizza or red top might be, but thought you'd like to know.

                                      -----
                                      Tony's Coal-Fired Pizza and Slice House
                                      1556 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                      1. re: Melanie Wong
                                        Ruth Lafler Dec 22, 2010 03:26 PM

                                        According to wikipedia, Detroit-style is a square pizza with a thick, deep-dish crust and comes with marinara sauce on top (thus, red top) rather than under the toppings.

                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                          wolfe Dec 22, 2010 04:21 PM

                                          From Melanie's link not much of a red top. I guess I left Detroit too soon, the pizza's I made and delivered from Rocky's , 7 Mile and Wyoming, in the 50's were regular.
                                          http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives...

                                        2. re: Melanie Wong
                                          m
                                          mdg Dec 22, 2010 05:33 PM

                                          This was a rave for Detroit pizza from a Detroit native, now moved to the new topic that Melanie refers to below.

                                          Michael

                                          1. re: mdg
                                            Melanie Wong Dec 22, 2010 05:36 PM

                                            Mr. Lauriston started a new topic for the Detroit slice here,
                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/755205
                                            Hope we get some reports, please check in there.

                      2. Euonymous Sep 19, 2010 09:50 PM

                        "Our hostess explained that the dough is raised without yeasts, and the process takes 48 hours"

                        Dough won't rise without yeast. If he doesn't add it from a jar, it settles in from the air in the kitchen. But I think this bit is BS.

                        Letting it rise for 48 hours is good practice. Dough that has risen in a relatively cool environment for a long time tastes much better than anything that has been rushed. It's a silly reason for the limit though, as they can always start out with more dough at the beginning. If there's any left over it will be even better the next day.

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: Euonymous
                          j
                          jsaimd Sep 20, 2010 07:49 AM

                          the hostess was probably noting that the dough is made with a starter rather than adding yeast. Possibly with wild yeast starter. Yes technically yeast, but different than what the average person thinks of as yeast.

                          1. re: Euonymous
                            Robert Lauriston Sep 20, 2010 10:18 AM

                            "Nobody makes dough like I do. It’s just flour–it’s got no yeast in it. I make a starter the day before, and then I let it rise naturally. That builds a depth of flavor that’s key. It’s kind of like a sourdough in that respect. Once I make it, I keep it going for about two days, never in a refrigerator."

                            http://blog.zagat.com/anthony-mangier...

                            I'm not sure why he says "kind of like a sourdough," sounds like that's precisely what it is.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                              steve h. Sep 20, 2010 02:42 PM

                              It is. I speak both New Jersey and New York.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                Ruth Lafler Sep 20, 2010 03:08 PM

                                Maybe because most people, especially in San Francisco, associate "sourdough" with a very specific type of bread product and he doesn't want people to get the wrong impression.

                              2. re: Euonymous
                                Robert Lauriston Sep 21, 2010 12:52 PM

                                This 2009 article says he uses old dough for the starter, so it's classic sourdough in the European tradition:

                                http://nymag.com/restaurants/cheapeat...

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                  Euonymous Sep 22, 2010 02:56 PM

                                  Which has yeast in it. My point exactly. Just because the yeast isn't spooned in from a jar doesn't mean there's none in there.

                                2. re: Euonymous
                                  s
                                  shelley195814 Nov 2, 2010 09:12 AM

                                  Dear Euonymous, Yeast is in the air, all it takes to form a biga/starter is four and water and a few days of sitting. FYI

                                  1. re: shelley195814
                                    Ruth Lafler Nov 2, 2010 10:35 AM

                                    That's what she said: "Dough won't rise without yeast. If he doesn't add it from a jar, it settles in from the air in the kitchen." Might want to read carefully before you start calling people out.

                                    Thus, it's BS to say that he doesn't use yeast. He does use yeast, just not *commercial* yeast.

                                    1. re: shelley195814
                                      Euonymous Nov 2, 2010 03:37 PM

                                      Yup, I know that. As Ruth pointed out (thanks, Ruth), that's what I said just a bit upthread. I've been baking many types of bread for a long time now and know how the processes work.

                                      1. re: Euonymous
                                        wolfe Nov 2, 2010 05:37 PM

                                        Hey RL and E give the newbie a break. I'm sure shelley will be more circumspect before she is so quik(sic) with her next FYI.

                                        1. re: wolfe
                                          b
                                          bob96 Nov 2, 2010 06:33 PM

                                          Is this thread really what comes from Neapolitan pizza? Why the agita--and yes, I know it's important to hold folks to their claims. Would it matter much at all how the dough rose as long as it tasted as it should? Does it matter if we even know? Just asking.

                                          1. re: bob96
                                            s
                                            SteveG Nov 3, 2010 05:33 PM

                                            I can't help myself. I have a post in General Chowhound about Neapolitan pizza. I hope it makes people think.

                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7447...

                                  2. Scott M Sep 21, 2010 12:10 PM

                                    Wow, thanks for the write-up.

                                    150 pies a day x $20 = $3000 (not including beverage sales)

                                    4 days a week = $12,000 a week

                                    52 weeks a year = $624,000 on just the pizza

                                    Granted there is some overhead but the location is not $$$, the room looks bare bones and his wife works as a server. Pizza ingredients are not that expensive. Throw in beer and wine sales and it's a million dollar a year business. What recession?

                                    Just curious, what was the total tab for the two of you?

                                    31 Replies
                                    1. re: Scott M
                                      steve h. Sep 21, 2010 12:28 PM

                                      The restaurant is open Wednesday through Saturday (four days).

                                      The restaurant is open 5-10 p.m. or until the dough runs out.

                                      Negotiating a lease, rehabbing the space, importing an Italian, wood-fired oven, paying for licenses/fees.

                                      Paying for supplies.

                                      Paying for utilities.

                                      Paying interest on your loans.

                                      Legal fees.

                                      Paying employees.

                                      Paying taxes.

                                      Paying insurance.

                                      This is a very expensive undertaking without a guarantee of a reasonable payback.

                                      1. re: steve h.
                                        Scott M Sep 21, 2010 12:39 PM

                                        You are right, it is only open 4 days a week. I adjusted the numbers.

                                        I suspect he runs out of dough daily. Do you have information to the contrary?

                                        It doesn't look like a lot was spent on the space other than the oven. I doubt the lease is expensive given the location. The supplies are minimal. He makes 4-5 pizzas with variations of the same ingredients ( salt/pepper, flour, water, olive oil,marinara, tomatoes, cheese). It sounds like Anthony, his wife and a friend make up the staff.

                                        I am not saying all restaurants are cheap to run, but in my opinion this one is making money "hand over fist".

                                        1. re: Scott M
                                          steve h. Sep 21, 2010 12:48 PM

                                          Anthony always ran out of dough in the East Village.

                                          Employees are employees in the eyes of the state and the federal government. They are expensive, the government insists. I expect that there are four or five employees at the new shop.

                                          Insurance is mandatory and a huge expense. Rent/supplies/utilities/taxes continue to subtract from the income. Legal fees are a part of business, accounting fees, too.

                                          In short, Anthony is not riding a carpet to fat-and-happy land. He's an artisan who works hard, understands his craft and makes few compromises. He won't get rich off of this restaurant.

                                          As I've said before on this thread, It will be interesting to track the paths of Tony up in North Beach and Anthony. Tony is a smart business man, Anthony is a purist. I like them both.

                                          1. re: Scott M
                                            Robert Lauriston Sep 21, 2010 12:57 PM

                                            The Web site lists the hours as "5pm until out of dough."

                                            He's proven that his minimalist business model is sustainable, but clearly making money is a lower priority than making the best pizza he can.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                              t
                                              TopoTail Sep 21, 2010 01:52 PM

                                              Having left Naples yesterday after eating a margherita at Da Michele for lunch, I can't resist jumping in from Palermo. Pane has something in referencing crust, because that was, for me, the defining characteristic of the pizzas I had in Naples. The scene at Da Michele was surprisingly similar to what Pane describes at Anthony's. When we got there around 1:30 in the afternoon, there were maybe 30 people milling around outside. I got a number and began a wait of well over an hour.

                                              When we finally got in, it was about 20 minutes before anyone took our order, and at least 40 until our margharita arrived. The first thing I noticed was the lack of cheese. There was way more tomato sauce than cheese, putting it out of balance for me. But before I go any further with that, I should add a tip that will be useful to others who may go there. Order the Medium, not the Normale. The latter costs 3.5 Euros, the former 3 Euros. As the local who sat down next to me as I was digging in explained, the difference between the two pies isn't size . . . it's in the amount of mozzarella. You get twice as much with the Medium.

                                              Speaking of mozzarella, they don't use buffa on the margheritas there.

                                              And to return to the crust, I can't say I detected a difference between that at Da Michele and Gino Sorbillo, another storied Neapolitan place. In both cases it was quite soft and pliable with almost a pita bread quality--perfect for folding up and eating out of hand, but lacking that crispy, chewy quality I've experienced at various Bay Area places.

                                              Bottom line: Delfina's remains my favorite margherita.

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

                                              1. re: TopoTail
                                                Robert Lauriston Sep 21, 2010 02:14 PM

                                                Traditional pizza Napoletana as codified in the Vera Pizza Napoletana regulations is soft, not crisp or chewy. Mangieri's use of sourdough is a departure from that tradition.

                                                The VPN regulations allow either buffalo-milk mozzarella or cow's milk fior di latte.

                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                  j
                                                  j mather Sep 22, 2010 02:46 PM

                                                  The VPN regs state that natural yeast is permitted. I wasn't able to find their definition for that, but I assume it would include what Mangieri is doing.

                                                  1. re: j mather
                                                    Robert Lauriston Sep 22, 2010 04:33 PM

                                                    VPN rules exclude both sourdough and overnight rising.

                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                      h
                                                      harryrodgers Sep 23, 2010 01:23 AM

                                                      Not true on either count

                                                      1. re: harryrodgers
                                                        Robert Lauriston Sep 23, 2010 08:02 AM

                                                        The VPN dough recipe specifies flour, salt, water, and fresh yeast, period, so no sourdough. Mixing is 20 minutes, first rising is two hours, second rising is four to six hours, so no overnight rising.

                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                          wolfe Sep 23, 2010 08:09 AM

                                                          Forno Bravo has translated the original Italian government document defining "Pizza Napoletana" for the EU. Enjoy!
                                                          http://www.fornobravo.com/vera_pizza_...
                                                          Is this correct?

                                                          1. re: wolfe
                                                            b
                                                            bob96 Sep 23, 2010 08:21 AM

                                                            Thaks for the link--an amazing document. As a lover of all things Neapolitan (pizza at the top) and a fierce proponent of maintaining distinctive culinary traditions, I still have to smile at the almost comic efforts of Brand Italy. As in this reg about applying sauce to a VPN:
                                                            "Using a spoon place 80g of pressed, peeled tomatoes in to the center of the pizza base, then using a spiraling motion, cover the entire surface of the base with the sauce".
                                                            I guess I should keep looking to find deputized members of the Guardia di Finanza checking things every time I go to Keste. Also, I wonder if there's a need for other such documents, like one protecting Un Vrai Croissant Français (UVCF)?

                                                          2. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                            h
                                                            harryrodgers Sep 23, 2010 11:00 AM

                                                            Robert, you are misinterpreting a VPN example/guideline recipe as a rule. VPN certification will not be denied a pizzeria because they do not use that particular formula.

                                                            1. re: harryrodgers
                                                              Robert Lauriston Sep 23, 2010 11:27 AM

                                                              The VPN specifications are similar to DOC regulations for wine. They were created by researching traditional practices, and anyone who wants to display the logo has to follow the rules. Article 2.1.1. specifies the type of yeast allowed, 2.1.2 specifies 3 grams of yeast per liter of water, 2.1.5 specifies rising time.

                                                              http://www.pizzanapoletana.org/images...

                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                h
                                                                harryrodgers Sep 23, 2010 02:58 PM

                                                                Many VPN certified pizzerias do not follow those "regulations". As I said - those are guidelines and a presentation of the "basic" neapolitan pizza. VPN certification is not based on strict adherence to every single aspect of those guidelines (or many VPN certified pizzerias both in the US and Naples would lose their certification!)

                                                                1. re: harryrodgers
                                                                  Robert Lauriston Sep 23, 2010 06:02 PM

                                                                  The regulations are strict, that's why there are so few VPN-certified pizzerias in the US. Around here, there's currently only one: A16. Coppola's place was at one time but no longer.

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

                                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                    h
                                                                    harryrodgers Sep 23, 2010 06:22 PM

                                                                    Funny you should mention A16. AFAIK they employ a 2 to 3 day rise (refrigerated I believe) which goes against those VPN "rules" you mentioned.

                                                                    Settebello use a 24 hour room temp ferment, if I recall correctly. Also VPN certified.

                                                              2. re: harryrodgers
                                                                wolfe Sep 23, 2010 11:36 AM

                                                                Repeat of above.
                                                                tradotto all'inglese
                                                                http://www.fornobravo.com/vera_pizza_...

                                                                1. re: harryrodgers
                                                                  b
                                                                  bob96 Sep 23, 2010 03:30 PM

                                                                  Ma dai...stavo scherzando un po!

                                                      2. re: TopoTail
                                                        steve h. Sep 21, 2010 02:15 PM

                                                        I'm a fan of Da Michele. Timing is important to avoid the crowds. Beer only. Very inexpensive. Showing up at 1:30 P.M.? You're doing it wrong.

                                                      3. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                        b
                                                        bob96 Sep 21, 2010 06:57 PM

                                                        Especially in a focused venue such as a good pizzeria, I just cannot see why making the bets pizza possible runs afoul of making money. Even simple thing like carefully calibrated larger size and scale and a choice of higher margin items like wine and maybe even spirits should have little to do with the quality of the pizza--and should in fact support it trough cash flow. Mangieri choses not to get rich, fine. His choice. By itself, this says nothing about the value or appeal of his offerings or undertaking. There are purists and obsessives all over, but unless they can financially sustain their businesses, what's the point?

                                                      4. re: Scott M
                                                        g
                                                        Grubbjunkie Sep 21, 2010 01:37 PM

                                                        Scott M., seems like you've got it all figured out. Let us know when your place is opening and you start making all that dough (pun intended!).

                                                        1. re: Grubbjunkie
                                                          Scott M Sep 21, 2010 02:39 PM

                                                          Without the cult-like following willing to wait 2 hours and shell out $20 a pizza I doubt I could have the same success. There are plenty of quality restaurants that close due to lack of business and plenty of over-hyped places that succeed.

                                                          1. re: Scott M
                                                            steve h. Sep 21, 2010 02:42 PM

                                                            Opening a new restaurant is always a crap shoot. I wish Anthony well. He has a seriously good track record. We'll see.

                                                            1. re: steve h.
                                                              wolfe Sep 21, 2010 02:59 PM

                                                              Lets see, 150 pizzas a day, $20 profit after material = 3000x4, 12000/week times 50(2 weeks vacation) = $600000 -rent,insurance, US and California tax/3 with at least 40 hours a week working with prep and clean up make for a comfortable living in San Francisco but hardly "hand over fist." Yes I would like to make that but according to the papers there are some public employees that do better for less.

                                                              1. re: wolfe
                                                                steve h. Sep 21, 2010 03:13 PM

                                                                Quite a lot.
                                                                When I worked for Times-Mirror, I quipped that that the budget for a new Circulation System at the Los Angeles Times had an unlimited budget and that they exceeded it.
                                                                Bottom line? Business is difficult. Times-Mirror is no more, its successor, Tribune Corp., is in bankruptcy. Launching a new restaurant is no different.
                                                                I wish Anthony well but there are no guarantees.
                                                                California is broke. Some places will hang in there, others won't. Interesting times.

                                                                1. re: wolfe
                                                                  Scott M Sep 21, 2010 03:33 PM

                                                                  Again those number are for the pizza only. Throw in the money made on beverages and his wife works as a server and collects tips.

                                                                  All I am saying is that in the world of the restaurant business it is pretty good considering a lot of people spend a lot more on location, design, menu, ingredients, staff, etc in order to get a place going.

                                                                  $20 a pie is top dollar.

                                                                  1. re: Scott M
                                                                    steve h. Sep 21, 2010 04:06 PM

                                                                    Business is tough. No one owes you a living.

                                                            2. re: Grubbjunkie
                                                              The Chowhound Team Sep 22, 2010 12:55 PM

                                                              Folks, this is getting pretty far afield from the chow. If you've been and want to share your experience at the restaurant, that's great, but speculation about their profit margins is really off-topic.

                                                              1. re: The Chowhound Team
                                                                l
                                                                lapizzamaven Sep 22, 2010 09:52 PM

                                                                thank you, Team CH!

                                                        2. re: Scott M
                                                          pane Sep 21, 2010 04:02 PM

                                                          It was my birthday so I didn't see the check, but I think it was in the $50-something range for two pizzas and bottled water.

                                                        3. m
                                                          Martin Strell Sep 26, 2010 05:02 PM

                                                          We went yesterday, for my birthday. I kind of have a tradition of trying a new pizza place on my birthday, and decided to give Una Pizza Napoletana a try. Wanted to go last time we were in NY, but we didn't have time, so I thought it was good luck when the restaurant came to me. I went with my wife and two kids (7 and 3).

                                                          This was a Saturday, and we arrived at 4:35, 25 minutes before opening. There were about 15 people in front of us, and, by the time they opened, about an equal number behind us. We easily made it for the first seating.

                                                          We ordered 3 pizza - the Margherita, the Bianca and the Filetti. We got the pizzas around one hour after we arrived and about 20 minutes after ordering, which seemed reasonable to me.

                                                          We enjoyed the pizzas. The Bianca was, by far, my favorite. The Margherita was a little gooey to me, but pizza is so subjective.

                                                          I enjoyed the theater of it all, and it was a fun birthday with some really good pizza. That all said, is this worth $20 a pie? I don't regret doing it once, but probably not again. This isn't my favorite type of pizza - I like pies with a stiffer crust, like Rotten City in Emeryville or the NY pizzas bob96 mentions above.

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

                                                           
                                                           
                                                           
                                                           
                                                           
                                                          7 Replies
                                                          1. re: Martin Strell
                                                            h
                                                            hong_kong_foodie Oct 6, 2010 02:53 PM

                                                            Just did a Margherita comparison between A16, Flour + Water, and Una Pizza Napoletana, and Una Pizza Napoletana wins hands-down. The dough is awesome and well worth the praise.

                                                            A16 was not bad, but Flour + Water was a pretty big disappointment. Not much flavor in the dough and the crust was hard and crispy, which isn't necessarily bad but not what I expected.

                                                            Go to Una Pizza Napoletana if you like flavorful, stretchy and chewy crust.

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

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

                                                            1. re: hong_kong_foodie
                                                              steve h. Oct 6, 2010 03:56 PM

                                                              UPN will be closed October 20-November 2. Seems Anthony and the wife are heading to Naples for vacation. Nice.

                                                              http://www.unapizza.com/sf/

                                                              1. re: steve h.
                                                                soupçon Oct 6, 2010 09:37 PM

                                                                Open for six weeks, then closed for vacation? Sounds like the makings of another Golden Gate Bakery.

                                                                -----
                                                                Golden Gate Bakery
                                                                1029 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                                                1. re: soupçon
                                                                  h
                                                                  hong_kong_foodie Oct 7, 2010 06:28 AM

                                                                  Except that Golden Gate Bakery is really not that special by Hong Kong standards.

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Golden Gate Bakery
                                                                  1029 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                                                  1. re: hong_kong_foodie
                                                                    wolfe Oct 7, 2010 07:45 AM

                                                                    Do you mean in terms of merchandise or in terms of vacations?

                                                                    1. re: wolfe
                                                                      h
                                                                      hong_kong_foodie Oct 7, 2010 09:28 AM

                                                                      I was referring to the egg custards at Golden Gate Bakery.

                                                                      -----
                                                                      Golden Gate Bakery
                                                                      1029 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                                                    2. re: hong_kong_foodie
                                                                      w
                                                                      walker Oct 9, 2010 02:37 PM

                                                                      A few months ago I finally got to try the egg custard tart from GG Bakery and it was the best. For those who do not commute to Hong Kong, this is an excellent choice. 2nd best for me is Yank Sing. Recently tried the ones at Asian Pearl in Millbrae and it was the only time I've left one on the plate -- really disliked the taste of the crust.

                                                                      -----
                                                                      Yank Sing
                                                                      49 Stevenson St Ste Stlv, San Francisco, CA 94105

                                                                      Asian Pearl
                                                                      3288 Pierce St, Richmond, CA 94804

                                                            2. Robert Lauriston Oct 6, 2010 04:50 PM

                                                              I tried the filetti at a wine tasting that was held there. One of the best straight-up Neapolitan pies I've had. Great ingredients. It was a trade event so not the normal experience, but I can't imagine he was doing anything different than he usually does.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                steve h. Oct 6, 2010 04:55 PM

                                                                He's a pretty focused guy. You folk (Bay Area residents) have a pretty good pizza thing going on right now.

                                                              2. mariacarmen Oct 7, 2010 08:10 PM

                                                                Please help me to understand, because i want to. Don't know enough about pizza, pizza styles, regional distinctions, etc. I am not a pizza afficionado. I and a friend (she is a chef) have made a very informal pact to try all the new pizza places in the City (and elsewhere if we decide to travel a little further), mostly based on our adoration and reverence for Pizzaiolo's pizza. So far, together, we've only tried Tony's in North Beach two weeks ago, and Una Pizza Napoletana this week. Oh and before we started this informal experiment, we went to Gialina on my recommendation. Separately, we've both had Flour and Water, and I've been to La Ciccia and Specchio's. I had Locanda da Eva's a couple nights ago. Results:

                                                                Pizzaiolo and Tony's are tied.
                                                                Next is Gialina
                                                                Locanda's is next.
                                                                La Ciccia and Specchio's were at the bottom, tho I liked La Ciccia's much better.
                                                                I've not tried A16's, nor Pizzeria Delfina's.

                                                                Today we had Una Pizza Napoletana. We both wanted to love it, as we loved Tony's. Love the space, loved the beautiful turquoise tiled pizza oven, loved the spareness, loved the saint hanging over Anthony's head, blessing the pizza.

                                                                We did not love it. At first bite, we looked at each other and went, hmmm, you know? Kinda doughy! beautifully blistered, slightly charred crust, thin and what looked like it would be a bit crispy, but the middle, while having that wetness that I love, was doughy. and not in a good way. We ordered the Margherita and the Pizza Bianco. The sauce on the margherita didn't have much depth of flavor, nor did the cheese on either, nor did the actual tomatoes' flavors stand out, wow, or were better than Tony's, especially in the face of a doughy pizza - in other words, if the toppings had been phenomenally better here than at Tony's, we might have excused a doughy pizza. Am i just not a person who likes Napoli-style pizza? Because I loved Tony's - loved it! the crust, the crispiness, yet the wetness that made the pizza slices bend down in the middle, the really really flavorful tomato sauces on each that we tried there ... for god's sake, the milkiness of the bufalo mozzarella on Tony's as compared to Anthony's..... well, there was just no comparison. Mr. Lauristan, hats off to you, and I know you liked this place, but I liked your pizza better.

                                                                I hate it when I am disappointed by hype. I go in wanting to love a highly touted place, i really do.
                                                                So, to answer my own question here, posted earlier - i think Tony's does Napoli much, much better, and I don't see what all the hype is about. And i'm sorry, because i have no desire to go back. And we didn't even have the huge wait - we got there at 5 and were only 8th in line, and I think we were served within a half our or so.

                                                                I wanted to be a true believer. But I just don't get it.

                                                                -----
                                                                Gialina
                                                                2842 Diamond St, San Francisco, CA 94131

                                                                La Ciccia
                                                                291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

                                                                Pizzaiolo
                                                                5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                                                                A16
                                                                2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

                                                                Pizzeria Delfina
                                                                2406 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115

                                                                Specchio
                                                                2331 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                                Flour + Water
                                                                2401 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                                Locanda da Eva
                                                                2826 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

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

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: mariacarmen
                                                                  lucymom Oct 14, 2010 09:18 AM

                                                                  i have to totally agree with this review. went last night. arrived around 5:30. no wait to get seated. 2 of us ordered the margherita and the ilaria (Smoked mozzarella, fresh cherry tomatoes, arugula, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt).

                                                                  the pizza comes to the table hot, which i love. honestly, with the margherita i could really taste the individual ingredients. the buffalo mozzarella was meltingly creamy and gorgeous and the olive oil which dripped on the plate, i sopped up with my crust. however, the crust was very doughy in the center, kind of undercooked. there was very little to no crispness on the bottom at all. i don't like the bottom to be all crispy. i like the combination of crispy, chewy and obviously some wetness but it was all doughy.

                                                                  will i come back again? yeah, if someone really wanted to try it but not on my own volition. we got seated immediately, but that doesn't mean you'll get your pizza soon. he makes every single order so by the time the waitress took our order, we had to wait almost an hour to get our pizza.

                                                                  i have to admit, i love his passion and dedication and i give respect to that.

                                                                  1. re: lucymom
                                                                    mariacarmen Oct 14, 2010 09:45 AM

                                                                    at least your flavors sounded better, Lucymom! I forgot to mention we both ADDED SALT to our pizzas. which was on the table. And yeah, we probably waited about 45 mins for our pizzas, which i totally get when he's making each pie to order. maybe he's trying to rush them a bit, so that people don't wait so long, and that's why they're doughy?

                                                                    1. re: lucymom
                                                                      Robert Lauriston Oct 14, 2010 09:51 AM

                                                                      I think the tenderness and lack of crispness is deliberate. That's the Neapolitan tradition.

                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                        mariacarmen Oct 14, 2010 08:11 PM

                                                                        That's exactly what i wanted to know. I thought Tony's in North Beach was also in the Neapolitan tradition, and theirs was crisper. I guess i don't like the true Neopolitan style!

                                                                  2. s
                                                                    SteveG Oct 14, 2010 03:09 PM

                                                                    I happened to pass by last night around 8:50 PM, and it looked kind of empty. Wednesday night doldrums, or are they completely out of dough by that time of the evening?

                                                                    1. s
                                                                      sugartoof Nov 2, 2010 03:17 PM

                                                                      "My only style comparison is Frank Pepe's pizza place, which was near where I grew up--Pepe's is less flavorful, but I like Frank's slightly crispier texture better."

                                                                      Was this in CT.?

                                                                      1. Melanie Wong Dec 21, 2010 04:44 PM

                                                                        Chiming in with my 2¢ on Una Pizza Napoletana, San Francisco version. On Friday I finally had a chance to try it with three friends. With the rainstorm and San Franciscans busy with holiday shopping, we figured this might be the prime opportunity to get in with a minimum of waiting. Good call, as there were only six other people at the door when the big rollaway beeped open to reveal the glass façade at 5pm. And when we left at 7pm, the place was still not full. I was the first one seated and the rest of my party arrived by 5:15pm.
                                                                        http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

                                                                        We ordered a bottle of the 2008 Falanghina to share, as well as all four pies. I asked that the pizzas be served one at a time to enjoy each at its fresh-out-of-the-oven peak and in the order chosen by the chef. Another table of four had their pies served two at a time, another option that our waitress had offered. In the order served:

                                                                        Margherita: Even though I’d read the reports of chewy rather than tender crust here, trying to cut the first slice with a knife surprised me. Thicker and firmer crust than expected, but as noted, excellent flavor and smoky nuances. Also picked up the aroma of white pepper but no bite on the tongue. Flavors were very subtle. Oddly rubbery and not very flavorful cheese.

                                                                        Bianca: Delicious flavors and a very restrained hand with the garlic, but again the cheese was tough and rubbery. Crust on this one was a little thinner. Talked too much and let my piece cool down . . . then I couldn’t cut through it with a knife and fork.

                                                                        Filetti: Serving plate for this one was warm and the pizza arrived at the table hotter and still molten. First two bites were heavenly with juicy bits of fresh tomato on a white base. Cheese was not as thick as on the Bianca and I finished eating my share before it ossified.

                                                                        Marinara: My favorite of the group with the thinnest and most tender (but not doughy) crust. Also it benefitted by being cheeseless, given the weird nature of tonight’s mozzarella di bufala. This one had a bit more salt as well, and it made the marinara taste that much more tomatoe-y. I loved the delicate nature and proportions.

                                                                        We closed out with the Neapolitan coffee. This was cloudy and vaguely mocha-tasting, served with chocolates. Our tab for four pizzas, one bottle of wine, one aranciata, and three coffees, plus tax and tip came to $42 per person.

                                                                        I’d eaten at UPN in New York, as had one friend at the table. We agreed on the differences in these pies from our experience in New York. The crust is now thicker, chewier and firmer than before. The cheese seemed less fresh, more rubbery and less creamy than in NY. Not as much olive oil was applied. The most striking difference for both of us was the salt level. The NY version had more assertive salting. The crunch of the finishing salt had been the most distinctive element for me. Besides the milder flavors, Anthony Mangieri himself seemed like a kinder and gentler version than I recall. He was smiling most of the time and would stop for a bit to converse with customers. Much different than the intense, furrowed-brow, gruff fellow I remember in NY. And he seemed genuinely delighted when we offered our thanks and good-byes, telling him that we’d made the pilgrimage to Manhattan to try his pizza.

                                                                        On the holiday rounds I chatted with a new friend who said that she passes UPN every day at 4:30pm on the way home from work. She has not eaten there yet herself due to the crowds gathered before opening. So this Wednesday and Thursday before Christmas may the best chance to eat at UPN if the rain continues. Una Pizza Napoletana will be closed from December 24 through January 4.

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

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                                          v
                                                                          vulber Dec 21, 2010 08:35 PM

                                                                          I saw a few empty seats last Friday night at around 7:30, no line. A bit surprising....

                                                                          1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                                            d
                                                                            dudesinmexico Dec 21, 2010 10:01 PM

                                                                            I was there a couple of weeks ago and I also noticed that my pizza was under-salted to the point where I did not really enjoy it...

                                                                            1. re: dudesinmexico
                                                                              Melanie Wong Dec 21, 2010 11:06 PM

                                                                              I enjoyed the second two pizzas more than the first pair, although one of my friends had the reverse preference. I think it was not so much the type of pizza but the serving temperature that made the difference with the second two being warmer. I like what UPN is doing but I find it interesting that they have changed so much from what Mangieri was making in NY. I was kind of surprised also to see salt shakers on the tables, after reading on the menu that no changes, e.g., chili or extra oil, can be made to the pizzas. For my taste, more salt would have been better.

                                                                              1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                                                h
                                                                                hungryhome Dec 22, 2010 04:40 AM

                                                                                Angelino's neapolitan pizza can stand up to anyone....with a beautiful crust, that's soft, chewy and crispy. The mushroom pizza is my favorite. Pasquali Ancona, and his son Alfredo have been cooking it there for over 20 years long before pizza from Naples was trendy in the bay area. Pasquali, himself, was born and raised in Naples and ran a pizza place on chestnut st. before opening Angelinos. Picco Pizzeria in Larkspur also makes a good pizza, those are probably the 2 best in Marin.

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Angelino Restaurant
                                                                                621 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965

                                                                          2. s
                                                                            SteveG May 23, 2011 12:19 PM

                                                                            I stopped in by myself to try a margherita Saturday night. At 7:30, the quoted wait was 45 minutes, I stepped around the corner for a beer and returned in 25 minutes to find my table just being cleared and set.

                                                                            It was a good pizza. I liked the level of blistering, I liked the flavor of the cheese, I liked the flavor of the crust, which was perfectly seasoned to my taste.

                                                                            I didn't like the subtle attitude I got when I asked for red pepper flakes or oil--the response was, "oh no, we don't have that here. Just salt." In Napoli, there was either red pepper oil in little dishes on the table, or available by request, so the authenticity police wouldn't be pulling any licenses, and I happen to like it. The waitress (Anthony's wife?) wasn't rude about it, but it didn't endear her to me.

                                                                            It wasn't a strict napoletana-style pizza. The crust was far thicker, the cheese not as soft or melty, but it was good. The girl seated at the next table over got her margherita at the same time I did, and she dissected the elements of the pizza for the benefit of her dining companion. As I was thinking so much along the same lines, I interrupted to ask what her comparison was. I thought the cheese was more flavorful than I found in Napoli, while she thought the opposite. I was there in January, while she was there at different times throughout the year had never thought about seasonal variation in the flavor. We both agreed the crust, while tasty and well-cooked, was far too thick to be authentic.

                                                                            Other random notes: my glass of Aglianico was delightful, very satisfying quality for a $12 glass of wine. When I left around 9:00, there was still pizza dough, with open tables and no wait. Looks like the $2 price increase (my pizza was $22) and the "new factor" wearing off has made this a viable eating option for people allergic to long waits.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: SteveG
                                                                              Robert Lauriston May 23, 2011 01:28 PM

                                                                              Michael Bauer just gave UPN a sort of rave yesterday ("If you're a pizza purist, Una Pizza Napoletana is the temple and Mangieri is god."), so the place may be busier for a few weeks.

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

                                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                                b
                                                                                bob96 May 23, 2011 02:14 PM

                                                                                In Naples there are no temples or gods, just good pizzerie, skilled pizzaioli, and a little more relaxed sense of the sacred and of customer service. Don't read him all that often but it does seem that this cult of personality appears to be a Bauer speciality (cf. Coppola's new place in Sonoma). Glad to see the mobs have somewhat subsided and opened up the place a bit: who know how long Mangieri will stick around?

                                                                              2. re: SteveG
                                                                                sarahlefton Aug 5, 2011 01:38 PM

                                                                                Hooray! I happened to drive down this block last night for un-pizza-related reasons with a girlfriend and noticed there was only one party waiting to eat (it was about 8:30). So we decided to pop in spontaneously. Waited 10 minutes for a table, 10 minutes to order, 20 for the pies.Server was sweet, friendly and helpful with the wines.

                                                                                We had a Filetti and a Margherita. Each was $20, so I don't know what happened to the price increase. The food was outstanding. We both preferred the Margherita but I thought you could enjoy the crust better on the Filetti. I may have imagined this.

                                                                                I have been putting off my UPN visit due to having a small baby and forgetting that there is life after 8 PM for quite some time. It was so wonderful to have this doughy, chewy, perfectly salted, perfectly blistered pizza. It beat the hell out of my recent Beretta, F+W and A16 pies, and I am hard pressed to compare it to Tony's since it's been so long since I visited North Beach.

                                                                                But I enjoyed the space, the open kitchen and the really interesting crowd of total weirdos assembled around all the tables - foodie geeks, hipsters on dates, a rowdy crowd of dudes, and a couple engaged in a really vicious politcal debate right next to us.

                                                                                Cannot wait to go back and bring my husband.

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