My husband is a connoisseur of many things—video games, headphones, pizza—his standards never wane, and he's always looking for the next, newest and best thing. Lucky for him great restaurant ideas come on a platter courtesy of one of his favorite TV shows, KQED's "Check Please Bay Area!"
Without fail Jole fires up the DVR weekly to watch Leslie Sbracco and her guests dish about their favorite places to eat in the Bay, and he was super excited to show me a recent episode featuring Capo's, the latest restaurant by pizza wiz Tony Gemignani (of Tony's Pizza Napoletana). And it was no surprise when Jole selected Capo's as our destination on our latest date night.
Nestled in North Beach on the edge of Chinatown, Capo's is the upscale backroom compared to the boisterous front that is Tony's. Once you get in you're treated like something special. As our UberX pulled up we hoped the lack of a line meant we could be seated without a reservation, and we got two seats at the end of the bar rather than wait 45+ minutes for a table. Sitting at the bar turned out to be the first of many great decisions. Bartender/waiter Zach took great care of us from the moment we sat down, guiding us through the greatest hits of the menu.
Since the pizza takes a while we began with the housemade calabrese sausage with honey. I REALLY love sausage of all kinds, on pizza, with cabbage, for breakfast, whatever, and this was one of the best I've ever had. The heat of the sausage was offset perfectly by the drizzle of honey, and as much I wanted to save room for the pizza we had coming, I pretty much ate it all by myself (sorry honey)!
Capo's serves pizza several ways, and we opted for the traditional Chicago-style deep dish, with toppings (more of that killer sausage), cheese and sauce in reserve order. This is definitely knife-and-fork stuff, and if you can eat more than one piece more power to you. We've eaten at all the Chicago-style pizza spots in town and I think we agree that Capo's is our favorite. The crust is so flaky and stands up well against the weight of all the toppings, the sauce was rich without being too spicy. And it tastes even better the next day!
We had so much food left over our plans to hit a bar in North Beach before heading home were spoiled (who wants to lug a 5 lb. box of pizza around?) So we settled in for another round of cocktails with Zach, who whipped up an off-the-menu creation for me I proclaimed the Bella Mia. It also gave us more time to chat with Sarah, the restaurant's GM, and host Mario. Seriously, everyone at Capo's was so nice it made our date night even more special.
VERDICT: Capo's is the perfect spot for a grownup night on the town, whether you're a pizza lover or just someone who likes great food and drink. We'll be going back to try more of the non-pizza options and have a few more drinks!