Best Pizza Search in SF: Tony’s Pizza

Tony’s Pizza Napoletana

Before I left for SF, I casually surveyed some people what I should seek. We had a few things booked for dinner; Chez Panisse and Quince but I was looking for lunch options. Pizza came up and in particular Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. Now, it’s highly debated who has the best pizza in SF and even more fiercely debated who has the best Neapolitan-style pizza. Heeding the advice of some, we heading to Tony’s Pizza Napoletana in North Beach.

The Cirigliano Wood Burning Oven

Tony Gemignani owns the joint and is the first American and non-Neapolitan to win Best Pizza Margherita at the World Pizza Cup back in 2007. He won the wood-burning oven in Naples and now he makes only 73 of these award-winning Margherita pizzas a day.

pancetta salad

We thought our trip was quite serendipitous so far and to be seated with a grand view of the 900-degree wood-burning oven as well as being able to order one of the limited Margherita pizzas a day felt especially lucky.

Margherita Pizza

We ordered the pancetta salad to start on the advice of our server. While he loved the flavor of the watermelon radish salad I was eying, he thought we would like the pancetta more. It was extremely fresh and the pancetta enhanced the flavor. I did think there was a tad too much balsamic and it was amazing when Tony noticed and immediately took it off our bill. Now that is some caring.

It’s so thin

The Margherita is a little bit chewier than New York style pizza. Tony’s actually carries a few different styles of pizza including a 1000-degree coal-fired oven pizza, Sicilian style, Classic Italian, Classic American and Pizza Romana.

The simple tomato, mozzarella and basil Margherita was just what I wanted after a bar hop the night before.

I enjoyed chatting with Tony about pizza in LA. He had just done a crawl and shot some shows for the Food Network. We had a quiet moment remembering Ed LaDou (innovator of the BBQ Chicken and other Cali pizzas). I was reminded how I haven’t been to Caioti in a while. It almost seemed poetic we were going to Chez Panisse later that day where California-style pizza was born but it was really Ed who made it famous.

If I lived in SF, I would love to try the other styles of pizza. Next trip!

Tony’s Pizza Napoletana

1570 Stockton Street
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 835-9888