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Thursday, March 10, 2011

No. 48: Una Pizza Napoletana's Filetti

Posted By on Thu, Mar 10, 2011 at 5:43 PM

Una PIzza Napoletana's filetti, $20. - TED GRUBB/FLICKR
  • Ted Grubb/Flickr
  • Una PIzza Napoletana's filetti, $20.

SFoodie's countdown of our 92 favorite things to eat and drink in San Francisco, 2011 edition.

Anthony Mangieri, chef-owner of Una Pizza Napoletana, is a loyal man. He's been making the same four pizzas ― and only those four, until he introduced a fifth one this year ― since he started out in New Jersey more than a decade ago. Mangieri knows those pizzas like he knows the veins on his forearms or the curl of his wife's hair. He's grown attuned to all the subtle shifts in the ways flour, water, wild yeasts, and fire interact, season after season. Make the same four things that many times, and your food either gets amazing or it gets sloppy.

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His pizzas aren't sloppy.

Take the filetti, topped with garlic, basil leaves, cherry tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, and a swirl of olive oil. The cherry tomato halves and blistered basil leaves aren't laid on top in a precise grid, they're scattered just so ― but we wouldn't be surprised if the pizzaiolo's calculated out the optimal distance between fruits so that just the right number explode in steamy, sweet-tart bursts when you bite down. Same with the irregular pools of molten cheese and dabs of chopped garlic.

The blackened bubbles and char spots on his crust seem to puff up willy nilly, an elemental response of yeast to time and fire, but you can bet Mangieri notices when they're too small or too big. His pizza, like a great Pinot, seems to have been coaxed into being rather than controlled through force of will.

You may wait in line to get into Una Pizza Napoletana. You may sit at your table for 45 minutes, an hour, getting resentful as you watch the man work at his station like he's cooking for a couple of friends while they watch a Niners game. Even if this is your fourth trip to the restaurant, you may swear to yourself that no pizza is worth starving yourself for. Then your filetti will arrive, still smoking from the oven, and you will take your first bite. And you will forgive the master all over again.

Una Pizza Napoletana: 210 11th St. (at Harrison), 861-3444.

Dishes in our series so far:

92: Goat tacos from El Norteño

91: Faux shark's fin soup at Benu

90: Esperpento's alcachofas a la plancha

89: Poco Dolce's olive oil chocolate bar

88: Decantr's chicken-liver mousseline

87: Outerlands' levain bread

86: Fraîche's frozen yogurt

85: Gyro King's spinach pie

84: Tandoori fish from Lahore Karahi

83: Braised oxtail and daikon from Namu

82: Golden Gate Bakery's custard tarts

81: Commonwealth's cured foie gras with umeboshi purée

80: Star Stream's Liège-style waffle

79: Mexican hot chocolate from La Oaxaqueña

78: Meatball sandwich from Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe

77: Cheesecake from Zanze's

76: Chicken pepian at San Miguel

75: Macau iced coffee at Vega/Special Xtra

74: Comstock Saloon's Pisco Punch

73: Hai Ky Mi Gia's duck leg noodle soup

72: Sauerbraten at Walzwerk

71: Boudin noir at Cafe Bastille

70: Blackstrap molasses gingerbread at Lotta's Bakery

69: Plow's crispy potatoes

68: Prospect's Catcher in the Rye

67: Pork banh mi from Little Vietnam Cafe

66: Nakaochi at Ippuku

65: Sidekick's chocolate spritzer

64: Farmhouse Culture's horseradish-leek sauerkraut

63: Destination Baking Co.'s challah

62: Cotogna's roasted carrots

61: Hard Knox Cafe's chicken and waffles

60: The Rebel Within from Tell Tale Preserve Co.

59: The Slanted Door's Whiskey Cocktail

58: Carnitas burrito from Taqueria San Francisco

57: Sakura mochi from Benkyodo

56: Birria at Gallardos

55: BBQ pork skewers at Fil-Am Cuisine

54: JapaCurry's katsu curry

53: Vegan flan at Gracias Madre

52: Cinderella Bakery's pelmeni

51: Locavore's maple andouille sausage

50: Lumpia from Hapa SF

49: Moonlight Brewing's Reality Czeck

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.
Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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