Editor’s Note: This establishment has now sadly moved to New York.
I almost don’t want to write about this place because it’s still a hidden gem in my opinion even though it’s hardly new ie. none of my millennial friends have messaged me the likes of – ‘Omg have you been to this pizza place?? Like everyone says it’s the best. Like no seriously. We totally have to go.’ – Yet anyway.
When I first moved to America, one of the most important items on the agenda for me was to gorge on seriously decadent junk food. Shoot up intravenously with sugar, oil, butter, all sorts of fried everything with a delicious side of non-complex carbs. I had great expectations in that domain, and in some ways this great nation has been victorious in fulfilling my donut and burger filled fantasies. In others however, I have been somewhat disappointed in some of its culinary shortcomings.
Let me clarify – if there’s one thing I can say, it’s that America doesn’t make bad-tasting food. Honestly, I haven’t had one bad meal since I got here. Okay no lies, I’ve had ONE bad meal since I got here. It was called ‘sausage and biscuits with gravy’. To my knowledge a biscuit is what Americans call a cookie. Gravy is normally a meat-derived brown sauce. And a sausage isn’t flat and it’s usually made with pork, not beef. I obviously knew that I wouldn’t be getting pig on a cookie for brunch but still… it included a patty sitting on some crumpet looking thing with lumpy white gunk on top of it… I never leave food on my plate – ask anyone – I’m far more likely to ask you if I can eat your leftovers. This time my plate left the table almost the same as it was delivered to me. Call it cultural differences? I don’t know. Anyway I digress. All that to say, good job Muricah, your food generally never sucks, whereas I’ve had multiple terrible meals everywhere else in the world. The type of meal that makes you think – you had one job Chef-man (or woman), ONE JOB.
What I find quite frustrating however, is that it’s difficult to find excellent food unless you’re willing to put some serious dollah dollah bills on the table. The food won’t be bad – but it will likely be bland. Sad face. So you can imagine my disappointment when I struggled to find an above average pizza in North Beach – the Italian quarter of San Francisco. Even Tony’s Pizza – which people wait 2 hours to eat at – wasn’t all THAT impressive. It’s very good, for sure, but I would expect more from a place that is said to be the BEST in the city given the number of pizzerias around.
Enter Una Pizza Napoletana. Look at this baby.
I’m not going to ramble on for three hours. Cliff notes are as follows:
-The ingredients are seriously top quality, thus justifying the across-the-border $25 sticker price on all pizzas.
-All they serve is pizza and booze – no starters, garlic bread or dessert.
-They serve only 4 different pizzas (which all seem the exact same when you read the menu haha) – all meatless. They serve a 5th one on Saturdays – the Apollonia – which has some meat on it. That one and the Ilaria are my favs.
-The owner & pizzaiolo takes center stage in this place – him and his oven are out in the open with the diners – you can watch him at work.
-You can tell it’s family owned. Their kid is usually there (on Saturday nights anyway), playing. It’s part of this restaurant’s charm and nostalgically reminds me of provincial restaurants in Europe.
-The crust is doughy and delicious.
-Open Wednesday through Saturday from 5-9pm.
-Once there’s no more dough, that’s it, they close.
If you ever venture all the way down to SoMa in San Francisco, be sure to stop by Una Pizza Napoletana for one of the best pizzas you’ll ever eat.