Capo’s is the brainchild of a serious pizza lover, Tony Gemignani, who already owns other Italian restaurants in San Francisco with emphasis on pizzas. Capo’s opened in November 2012 in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco. It is a theme restaurant, focusing on American gangsters, from Al Capon to Sam Giancana and some lower level Capos. He also successfully created an interior reminiscent of 1920’s Chicago with a tin ceiling, bare brick walls and semicircular upholstered booths with a traditional phone booth with a working phone.
Since there are no reservations accepted except for six or more, we were prepared to wait. However we were greeted by two pleasant hostesses and were promptly seated. In looking around, it became evident that this is a real family restaurant.
The menu is built around pizzas, but other traditional Italian dishes were also available, such as Lasagna and Spaghetti with Meatballs. The pizzas come in 10 different combinations of ingredients (plus create your own) baked in one of four ways; deep dish, stuffed, cast iron pan and cracker thin crust. The crusts are made with Ceresota flour, also used in the Midwest. It takes 25-35 minutes for the pizzas to arrive after ordering. The wait staff is very professional and knowledgeable about the menu and how to pace the service based on the orders. You start with a complimentary bowl of Pasta and Fagioli. We followed the Antipasto, Chicken Vesuvio, and Frank Nitti Pizza with cracker thin crust, and ended with Vanilla Gelato and Bread Pudding. We ate family-style because the portions were of a size that lent itself to sharing. Since Capo’s is tied to the Prohibition Era, they have an unusually large selection of whiskeys.
You get a real bang for the buck at Capo’s. I highly recommend this establishment and plan to return. There are many more interesting dishes to try and savor.
Occupation: Writer/Freelance Journalist
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: La Mar
Reviewed Capo's: Thursday, January 2, 2014
San Francisco pizza lovers have a worthy new option in Capo’s. As a rule of thumb, pizza places that dabble in multiple styles of pies tend to be lacking. Capo’s proved an exception to this rule. As a third restaurant in famed North Beach pizza-maker Tony Gemignani’s portfolio, Capo’s has an old-school, speakeasy-style vibe and decor. The wait for a walk-in table can be long--on a mid-week visit with no reservations we waited an hour for a table--but that wait just speaks to the restaurant’s popularity and the excellence of its pies and classic Italian fare.
I recommend bringing a huge appetite and several friends with you so that you can enjoy a sampling of the rich, hearty and extremely filling Italian delights that Capo’s serves up. We ordered Baked Mostaccioli with house-made Italian sausage, deep dish Old Chicago Pizza and cracker-thin crust Pizza Margherita.
The Baked Mostaccioli arrived first. Delicious with just the right amount of chew and a zesty, sweet, chunky tomato sauce, the homemade Italian sausage was a hit with the table. The Pizza Margherita arrived next with a thin crust that was crisp and cracker-like on the bottom with good chew under the thin layer of cheese and sauce. Thin strips of fresh-cut basil topped the pie, another huge hit with everyone. The deep dish Old Chicago, a traditional cornmeal crust with a base of mozzarella under a thick layer of chunky tomato with meatballs, sausage and veggie and dollops of ricotta on top, was an intense pie. Deep dish aficionados will love this hyper-traditional pie and its copious amount of toppings. When I got home, I weighed a quarter of the pizza that I had leftover and it hit the scale at 1.6-pounds which would put the total pie at 6.4 pounds. It’s a lot of food. Hence the recommendation above to bring friends.
I’d definitely recommend Capo’s and would suggest that you sit in one of the giant booths if possible. They’re the best way to take in the decor and enjoy the friendly, unrushed dining experience.