Walking around certain neighborhoods in the tightly built San Francisco should never be done on an empty stomach. The aroma emanating from the neighborhood restaurants and eateries can be over whelming.
The powerful smells that come from the local pizzerias stand out the most. It can smell so good.
If only you could eat the fumes.
But you can’t.
The weather in San Francisco makes it all possible. The ocean breeze blows out virtually every artificial or toxic industrial smell. All you have left is the incredibly mouth-watering, stomach rumbling pizza smell.
By the time you get to your neighborhood pizza joint of choice, sometimes you have to stand in a line going around the block and listen to financially successful young adults talking on their cell phones letting you know how great their life is, where they have traveled to and what property they are thinking of buying next.
You’re polite because you might be renting from them next year.
Then you finally get inside and since this pizza restaurant is so special, fresh ingredients and all, knowing that, you’re going to have to wait at least twenty minutes for it to be ready.
It better be good. Sometimes it isn’t. In San Francisco, most of the time it is.
San Francisco has made TripAdvisor’s list of the top 10 pizza restaurants in the country.
And you know what?
Word has it if you go eat some pizza at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, it will be beyond good.
It’s almost as dough (yes, that’s right) we can smell it from here.
Hey? The line died down. Why don’t we go in?
They welcome us at tonyspizzanapoletana.com, “Welcome to Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, home of 12-time World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani.
Located in the heart of San Francisco’s Little Italy, Tony brings his passion and perfection to North Beach, sharing his award winning pizzas with us all. Whether you choose the famous Pizza Margherita or the savory Cal Italia, Tony’s will not disappoint.
All of our ingredients are authentic, and imported from the Pizza Capital of the World, Napoli.
Our menu is not limited to Pizza, but also includes mouth watering pastas and genuine Italian dinners. Pair any one of our entrées with our extensive Imported and Domestic wine list and your experience will not soon be forgotten.
Be sure to sample one of our specialty cocktails such as our signature Negroni and finish your meal off with a classic digestive.”
You know what? We are all in. Shall we look at the menu? Wonderful. So much to choose from.
As we wait for our delicious delicacy, we have time to reflect upon some history. This isn’t your garden variety fast food pizza you can pick up on the fly for $10.
Tony’s pizza is special and certified.
No fancy toppings are allowed.
The official requirements of an authentic Neapolitan pizza begins with the crust.
It must be made with either San Marzano tomatoes or Roma tomatoes, which grow on the volcanic plains to the south of Mount Vesuvius, and Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, a protected designation of origin cheese made with the milk from water buffalo raised in the marshlands of Campania and Lazio in a semi-wild state.
This style pizza gave rise to the New York-style pizza that was first made by Italian immigrants to the United States in the early 20th century.
This is very important.
According to the rules proposed by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, the genuine Neapolitan pizza dough consists of wheat flour, natural Neapolitan yeast or brewer’s yeast, salt and water.
The next time you buy pizza for under $10, sink your teeth into that.
The informative group thespruceeats.com further explains, “One of its defining characteristics is that there is often more sauce than cheese. This leaves the middle of the pie wet or soggy and not conducive to being served by the slice. Because of this, Neapolitan pizzas are generally pretty small (about 10 to 12 inches), making them closer to the size of a personal pizza.
The Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN) was founded in 1984 in Naples. The organization’s goal is to certify pizzerias that use the proper artisan traditions of authentic Neapolitan pizza.
They have several requirements that must be met to gain certification, and restaurants must apply for it officially. They also have an American branch and there are currently only a few hundred restaurants in Italy and around the world that are VPN certified.”
Our pizza is almost ready.
After all of that general history, we’re now interested in Tony’s history.
Their story is a fascinating one. At tonyspizzanapoletana.com they story tell, “Since 1991 Tony has been involved in the pizza industry. Since then Tony has won numerous awards including Best Pizza Margherita at the World Pizza Cup in Naples, Italy and Best Pizza Romana at the World Championship of Pizza Makers in 2011.
Tony was the first American and non Neapolitan to win this coveted award in Naples. Now right in the heart of North Beach lies Tony’s Pizza Napoletana where Tony hand crafts the award winning pizza Margherita right out of the same oven he won in Naples, the Cirigliano Wood Burning.”
Oh, wonderful. Our pizza is ready. We’re salivating. Based upon two reviews we read at yelp.com, here is why.
“We went to Tony’s during our honeymoon and I can still taste that delicious food and the warm and happy vibes the restaurant gives off! I don’t know of a better Italian restaurant in the US on the west coast! The food is just awesome! The area the restaurant is located in (North Beach) is also very cool with fun shops, pastries and stuff to see.”
Here is another.
“I would definitely recommend this place to all the pizza lovers. They have a huge variety of different pizzas which makes me want to come back and try all the other ones.”
The experienced reviewers at sf.eater.com are on board to. They smile, “Tony’s Pizza Napoletana definitely has a strong reputation, with founder Tony Gemignani and his chef protégés having won no end of international pizza prizes.”
Well, the pizza lives up to its billing.
The fresh air outside, the entrancing smells inside and the taste of a very special pizza that you will savor for some time, that’s what the greatest San Francisco memories are made of.
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Opening Photo grapplingstars.com femcompetitor.com writer, Jeremy Fish in North Beach, San Francisco, photo via Roadtrippers