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Early Critics Weigh in on Una Pizza Napoletana

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Since it opened about six weeks ago, Bay Area folk have been making pizza pilgrimages to Una Pizza Napoletana on its lonesome stretch of SoMa. Owner Anthony Mangieri's reputation for earth-shattering pies certainly did precede him. But will the quality of his thin-crusts overshadow the $20 price tag, limited menu and somewhat loveless surroundings? Here's the early word:

The Pretty Darn Good News: Slice says, "Whether it's the campfire smokiness picked up by the dough, the almost elastic pull of the springy crust, the curious herbal breath of charred basil, the way his oil pour seems to draw out the creamy fat of the mozzarella—whether it's any of these, all of these—I felt as if I was tasting Neapolitan pizza as I'd never tasted it before." Now add in Yelper Daniela F.'s thoughts: "Some places are full of hype. Una Pizza Napoletana simply lives up to it. One more thing just to make it super clear: the pizza is incredibly amazing. It really is. My fave: straight up margherita." [Slice, Yelp]

The Long Wait News: Within Slice's account: "...judging by the scene outside UPN at 4:45 p.m. this Saturday night—where a line had already formed by the unmarked gate, a line that would be 20 deep by the time they opened at 5 p.m.—Mangieri won't have a problem selling his pizzas." Yelper Tracy U. really couldn't handle it: Once we got inside we were ready to order right away but the server basically ignored us. While we waited for her to return to our table (about 10 minutes) a party of six was seated as well as a two top close by. We prayed they would take our order at least before the table of 6 but our server helped them first. In some restaurants this would be fine but as you can read on others reviews this place is a one man show. Now we knew we were in for the long haul. I had to convince my boyfriend not to leave because he was hungry and they offer no starters to hold you over while you are waiting for the main event. Maybe if there were some bread sticks or something there would be less angry posts on here about the wait times." [Slice, Yelp]

The Hurts-So-Good News: crutonic of Yelp felt: "It's sort of torture watching him make the pies in his imported clay oven. everything looks and smells amazing." [Yelp]

The Decor News: Thoughts from Rob C. "Minimalist pizza joint where the oven and baker take center stage. The ceiling is too high, and the tile wainscotting makes the entire space reminiscent of a large bathroom. I didn't like it, it didn't say "well-executed minimalism" to me, it said "we had no money left over for decor after we bought this big oven." Some may like it, but my feeling is that pizza making isn't interesting enough to take center stage. It's not Benihana. Yelper Sarah F. says: "the location is nothing special (unless you enjoy shopping for discount fabrics and have someone to hold your spot in line while you run across the street to browse), the decor is minimal almost to the point of sterility. [Yelp]

The Compared-To-Other Pizza News: There's a vast difference of opinion here. From Rob C.: "I had Tony's Margherita the night before, and there was no comparison. I like Delfina and Picco better, Flour+Water about the same, but they offer more choices and pasta." Chowhounder hong_kong_foodie 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." [Yelp, Chowhound]

The Bad News: Dean S. doesn't buy it: "Going out to dinner is supposed to be fun. This place takes fun, beats the crap out of it and leaves it whimpering in the corner...Because the pizza here apparently is too important for a kitchen, it must be made by a inked-out hipster on a Pizza Stage in the middle of the joint....And don't give me the schtick about how each pizza is "personally" prepared by the owner. If sous chefs are good enough for the Thomas Kellers of the world, they're dang sure good enough for this fellow. Hire some help and ditch the 'tude." [Yelp]

The Price News: More fromDean S. : "If I'm paying $20 for a small pie with limited toppings, someone damn sure better be kissing my posterior in the process." M of Chowhound felt "an extremely tasty pie, REALLY enjoyed it... unfortunately I personally can not justify the cost for what you get. Spending $10 for what amounts to 2 average size slices isn't in the cards for me." [Yelp, Chowhound]

The BS News: Eunonymous of Chowhound has something to add: "'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." [Chowhound]

From-The-Twitter News: @maiacybelle tweets from Tony's: @ tony's in n beach. Good, but not as great as UNA Pizza Napoletana. And there's a September tweet from @michelemandell: "Had the best pizza ever tonight in the church a.k.a. Una Pizza Napoletana. Give it a try, but be prepared to wait." [Twitter]

Now go on. Add your bubbling opinions to the pot here or below in the comments.

[Photo: Yelp/Tayson H.]

Una Pizza Napoletana

210 11th Street, , CA 94103 (415) 861-3444 Visit Website

Una Pizza Napoletana

210 11th Street, San Francisco, CA