One of my favorite things to do on a whim is hop on the Vespa and scoot to North Beach, aka “Little Italy.” It’s the closest thing to an Italian “holiday” minus the 11 hour flight. With the Italian flag painted on every telephone pole and a pizza joint on every block, it’s hard to believe you’re not in the heart of Rome! But consider it a sin to visit this part of the city without dining at Tony’s.
X Marks the Spot
On the corner of Union and Stockton Street sits Tony’s Pizza Napoletana – home to the world’s best pizza. But don’t take my word for it! Tony Gemignani is a 12-time World Pizza Champion. Now that’s a lot of good za! Featuring a four page menu of specialty pizzas and provisions, even the pickiest eaters will find a pie made for them. It’s sort of a right of passage to wait in line at least one hour for brunch/lunch in San Francisco, but I’d wait three for this stuff!
Tony’s was one of the first restaurants I ate at upon my arrival to San Francisco in 2013. I was sold after my first bite but ironically it wasn’t until 2016 that I discovered coccolis. Literally crack on a plate. There are no words to adequately describe the deliciousness. Hopefully you’ve been to New Orleans and chowed down on Cafe du Monde’s beignets. Think of coccolis as the Italian savory version. Fried dough pockets sprinkled in garlic salt, stuffed with burrata cheese. My sweet tooth is legit but these heavenly little things might just be my favorite food ON EARTH. Simply put, start with that.
I feel less guilty loading up on carbs when there are also some greens on my plate. For that reason I always order the Little Italy salad with my coccolis. It’s impressive how many people one Little Italy salad can feed. Not bad for $11. Topped with walnuts, gorgonzola and shaved parmesan, this classic concoction will pair nicely with all pies on the menu. Additional selections include: kale, caesar, and quinoa salads.
The Best Pizza EVER
There are dozens upon dozens of uniquely curated pizzas on the menu. Do yourself a favor and check out the menu ahead of time to avoid feeling overwhelmed. If you have any left over questions (you won’t have leftover food), your server will help you and hopefully his name is Mario. Anyway, if margheritas (the pizzas) are your jam, drop everything and Uber to 1570 Stockton Street like yesterday! Believe it or not, only 73 of these award winning pizzas are prepared daily. Been there ate that. No really, it’s delicious, but the St. Louis is my personal favorite! Cooked to absolute perfection, this pie consists of sweet tomato sauce and provel cheese on top of a cracker thin crust. I substitute the provel for traditional mozzarella and top it with garlic and basil. It’s out of this world. Rest assured that no crumbs are left behind. Other noteworthy pies include the: Tartufo, Honey Pie, and Detroit style pizzas.
Tony’s is open Wednesday through Sunday 12:00 – 10:00 pm and Monday 12:00 – 11 pm. Plan your meals accordingly. In other words, don’t roll up on a Tuesday. There is always a line, but if you don’t want to wait more than an hour, arrive no later than 11:30 am. Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, shamelessly making your so-called best pizza place second best one joint at a time!
Heated Patio: Yes
Bar: Wine, beer and spirits.