Tony's Pizza Napoletana. [Photo: Flickr/victor_lee]
Tony's Pizza Napoletana definitely has a strong reputation, with founder Tony Gemignani and his chef proteges having won no end of international pizza prizes. But its name recognition outside SF pales in comparison to that of classic New York and New Haven joints like Di Fara and Pepe's and neo-Neapolitan spots like Phoenix's Pizzeria Bianco and L.A.'s Pizzeria Mozza. Forbes writer Larry Olmsted has eaten at all of the aforementioned, and doesn't think that should be the case. While he defers from naming a single best pizza in America, he believes that "America does have a best pizzeria, Tony's in San Francisco, and it is so good I can't think of a close second – except maybe Tony's satellite locations."
Olmsted, who writes USA Today's Great American Bites column, has eaten at all the pizza world's heaviest hitters, and many more: "I've had breakfast pizza, dessert pizza, appetizer pizza and many badly misconceived pizzas. But I have never seen anything close to Tony's." His biggest praise is for the diversity of styles Gemignani offers, with seven different ovens churning out every variety from Neapolitan to New Haven. "All of the regional styles are at least very good and some are spectacular...his New Haven is even more delicious than at that city's standard-bearer, Pepe's," says Olmsted, who also dubs Tony's margherita is "as good or better than just about every other 'authentic' brick oven place in the country." His St. Louis-style pies and pizza Romana also earn praise. Get ready for longer lines, folks.