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The Best Pizza in Philadelphia

Best spots to grab a slice in the city

It’s no surprise that Philadelphia, a city with such a rich Italian heritage, is a haven for delicious gourmet pizza.

And in recent years, the pizza offerings around town have only gotten better as a new class of Philadelphia restaurants have entered the fray, specializing in pies that have turned pizza into a meal worth dining out for. These eateries are serious about their craft, building custom wood-fired ovens — like those frequently found in Naples, Italy, the birthplace of the pizza — to create pizzas that are more authentic and more delicious than ever before.

And that’s just the beginning—there’s a world of pizza secrets to explore in the Philadelphia region, from a suburban “speakeasy” to some rightfully picky pizza makers to dough-throwing classes in chefs’ open kitchens.

Here are just a few ways to take a passion for the pie even deeper:

Traditional Pies

Pizzeria Vetri

Pizzeria Vetri is the fifth Philadelphia restaurant of celebrity chef Marc Vetri and his first to exclusively focus on the pie. With an 8,500-pound wood-burning oven, the Fairmount parlor is sure to turn out pizza like no other.
Details: 1939 Callowhill Street

Tacconelli’s

Diners can order pizza and only pizza at Tacconelli’s, where there’s a three-topping limit for the crunchy, thin-crust pies. It’s also advised that wanna-be patrons call the lauded Port Richmond pizzeria in advance to reserve their dough since it’s made in finite quantities daily.
Details: 2604 E. Somerset Street, (215) 425-4983

Nomad Pizza

Not content to simply serve up what is quickly becoming regarded as one of the region’s top pies, Nomad Pizza entertains the nibbling masses with free movie nights on Sundays. Those in the know know that Nomad’s Neapolitan-style pies are cut at the table to prevent them from getting soggy. A second location, serving Roman pizza, is in the works for Midtown Village.
Details: 611 S. 7th Street, (215) 238-0900

Pizza Brain

The world’s first pizza museum and shop, Pizza Brain has more than 550 artifacts in rotation and serves up its own gas oven-fired pies with sustainably sourced toppings at its Fishtown headquarters.
Details: 2313 Frankford Avenue, (215) 291-2965

Pizzeria Beddia

The rules are strict at Fishtown’s Pizzeria Beddia: no slices, no cash and no phone. The whole 16-inch pizzas, however, delight and enchant with toppings such as cremini mushrooms, escarole, pickled chiles and green garlic.
Details: 115 E. Girard Avenue

Santucci’s Pizza

Stop at the ATM and prepare for square as there are no wedge-shaped slices at Santucci’s Pizza. While Santucci’s original locations populate Northeast Philadelphia, the family recently introduced the Bella Vista neighborhood to the addictive square-shaped pies.
Details: 4010 Cottman Avenue, (215) 332-4333; 901 Tyson Avenue, (215) 934-5868; 4050 Woodhaven Road, (215) 281-2900; 2313 W. Venango Street, (215) 288-2900; 3862 Terrace Street, (215) 483-8333, santuccis.com; 901 S. 10th Street, (215) 825-5304

Tony’s Place

Around Valentine’s Day, love birds cozy up in the tiny booths at old-school favorite Tony’s Place in Northeast Philly to feast on the Best of Philly-winning tomato pie, which comes in a heart-shaped form for a limited time each year.
Details: 6300 N. Frankford Avenue, (215) 289-3044

Penny’s Pizza

Enter through the back door at “speakeasy” Penny’s Pizza in Limerick, which is only open Thursday through Sunday, from 2:00 to 8:30 p.m., to enjoy the pies made with a cornmeal-dusted dough.
Details: 68 W. Ridge Pike, Limerick, (610) 489-3636

La Porta

The menu at Peter McAndrew’s La Porta in Media warns patrons: “Do not try to alter your pizza in any way, hence it may compromise its integrity!” In other words, don’t question the thin crust with its areas of char or the floppy nature of the “malfatti,” half-pie, half-stromboli—or risk looking like a pizza naif.
Details: 1192 N. Middletown Road, Media, (610) 358-5104

Mama Palma’s

One of the original purveyors of gourmet pizza in Philly, Mama Palma’s keeps the health of its patrons in mind. Any cheese can be swapped out for a soy variation, plus there’s a whole section of the menu devoted to low-fat toppings.
Details: 2229 Spruce Street, (215) 735-7357

Top of the Line

Barbuzzo

Any pizza at Midtown Mediterranean wine bar Barbuzzo can be upgraded with La Quercia prosciutto for the bargain price of $4—even the famed asparagus pie, with secret white sauce, fior di latte and truffled farm egg.
Details: 110 S. 13th Street, (215) 546-9300

Pizzeria DiMeo’s

Roxborough newcomer Pizzeria DiMeo’s imports its water from Sicily, ensuring that its wood-fired pies have a down-to-the-last-drop authentic flavor.
Details:8500 Henry Avenue, (215) 621-6134

Osteria

Patrons can enjoy Osteria’s award-winning pizzas at the restaurant’s Kitchen Table, which seats between eight and 14 people for a private, family-style meal. Don’t take our word for it, as former Double Dare host Marc Summers says these pies are among the best he’s ever ate. Details: 640 N. Broad Street, (215) 763-0920

Garces Trading Company

Garces Trading Company is serious about its pizza: The restaurant’s sourdough crust is made with duck fat, and the pies are available in a deep-dish, Chicago-style with decidedly global toppings like boquerones and merguez sausage. 1111 Locust Street, (215) 574-1099

La Porta

The menu at Peter McAndrew’s La Porta in Media warns patrons: “Do not try to alter your pizza in any way, hence it may compromise its integrity!” In other words, don’t question the thin crust with its areas of char or the floppy nature of the “malfatti,” half-pie, half-stromboli—or risk looking like a pizza naif.
Details: 1192 N. Middletown Road, Media, (610) 358-5104

Birra

The inventive, decidedly new-school pies at Birra (porchetta with arugula pesto and fontina; duck confit with caramelized onion) can also be served bowl-style (baked upside down and inverted into a personal-sized deep dish). Even better, all pizza is served until 1:00 a.m.
Details: 1700 E. Passyunk Avenue, (267) 324-3127

Neighborhood Favorites

Pizzeria Stella

Stephen Starr’s Headhouse Square pizzeria is wonderfully low-key, with a casual Italian menu that’s uniformly strong (seriously, try the rock shrimp all’amatriciana). But pizza is, ahem, the “star” here, and, unsurprisingly, they do it very well, with a slightly charred crust and toppings ranging from imported cheese and pepperoni to long hot pesto and tuscan kale.
Details: 2nd & Lombard Streets, (215) 329-8000

Dock Street Brewery

The amazing pizzas at University City’s favorite brewpub are sometimes overlooked on account of the great selection of microbrewed beers. But do yourself a favor and head here for both the pizzaand the beer. The pizza’s chewy crust is thicker than most on our list, designed to support wildly creative toppings like the “Flammenkuche” pie’s onion, bacon, gruyere and creme fraiche. And, like we said, Dock Street’s pies are literally the perfect pairing for a few of their tasty craft beers.
Details: 701 S. 50th Street, (215) 726-2337

Serafina

This new entry to Rittenhouse Square is all about seeing and being seen, but its crispy, thin-crust pizza manages to deliver as well. The star is the “Bianca,” with peppery baby arugula and three types of Italian cheese.
Details: 130 S. 18th Street, (215) 977-7755

Revolution House

Revolution House uses top-quality, imported tomatoes and cheese for its wood-fired pies, and builds them with a light, doughy crust. Tasty local ingredients are included as well, like the zucchini, eggplant, squash and red onion in a grilled veggie pie.
Details: 200 Market Street, (215) 625-4566

Zavino

Midtown Village’s stand-out wine bar and pizzeria uses a gas fire, which is a little surprising given the distinct char on their pies. But it’s impossible not to love them for creations like “The Stache,” which loads pistachio pesto, arugula and two cheeses onto a whole-wheat crust, and “The Polpettini,” featuring ricotta-stuffed veal meatballs that are simply out of this world. They even offer gluten-free versions of most pies.
Details: 112 S. 13th Street, (215) 732-2400

Earth Bread + Brewery

Talk about artisan. Lebanon County Daisy flour, the country’s oldest continuously operating mill, is the foundation for the flatbreads at Earth Bread + Brewery, the mozzarella is made daily in house and the whole production is baked in a hand-built oven.
Details: 7136 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-6666

Kermit’s Bake Shoppe

Order a pizza (creative toppings include almond basil pesto, long hots, crucalo and house-smoked BBQ chicken), and get it delivered via bike from hipster spot Kermit’s Bake Shoppe in Southwest.
Details: 2204 Washington Avenue, (267) 639-4267

In Riva

In Riva is a casually elegant joint on the banks of the Schuykill River in East Falls, boasting wood-fired pizzas that are truly something to write home about. The monthly classes at In Riva’s pizza bar allow attendees to get in on the secrets of Chef Arthur Cavaliere’s Neapolitan, wood-fired creations.
Details: 4116 Ridge Avenue, (215) 438-4848

Health-Conscious Slices

Bufad Pizza

The rotating Roman slice specials from Bufad Pizza’s wood-fired oven regularly feature a vegan (just tomatoes) and a vegetarian option (potato with goat cheese and arugula, perhaps). Every Sunday, eat-in diners who buy one Neopolitan pizza get a second one for free while supplies last.
Details: 1240 Spring Garden Street, (215) 238-9311

Jules Thin Crust

A steadily growing local mini-chain, Jules Thin Crust has won fans for its high-quality organic ingredients, interesting vegetarian combinations and the option for whole wheat or gluten-free crust. Multiple locations

Blackbird

As Philadelphia’s only full-on vegan pizzeria, Society Hill’s Blackbird uses ingredients such as seitan sausage, Daiya non-dairy cheese and cornmeal-crusted mushrooms to cover its chewy crusts and sate non-meat eating appetites.
Details: 507 S. 6th Street, (215) 625-6660

Bake 425

It’s all DIY at Bryn Mawr’s “take and bake” shop Bake 425, which specializes in fresh not-baked pizzas made from organic, local ingredients (with gluten-free options).
Details: 1012 W. Lancaster Avenue, (610) 525-6425

On-the-go Goodness

Pitruco’s

Pitruco’s won Philly Mag’s Best of Philly designation for best pie, making the little red truck an even hotter commodity. Call ahead and beat the lunch line for their wonderful 11-inch personal pizzas, and follow @PitrucoPizza on Twitter for daily specials.
Details: 33rd & Arch Streets (Tuesday and Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.); 16th Street & John F. Kennedy Boulevard (Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.); 10th & Fitzwater Streets (Thursday, 4:30-8:00 p.m.); (484) 602-5454

Nomad Pizza

Since opening a Philadelphia location in Bella Vista in January, Nomad has quickly become a neighborhood favorite. And just a few bites of their pizza make it easy to see why Nomad’s been so successful: airy crust with cheese and toppings laid on thick, for a substantial pie that eats like an entree. And when delivery won’t cut it, Nomad Pizza’s vintage REO Speedwagon mobile unit is available for pizza parties of up to 150 guests.
Details: 611 S. 7th Street, (215) 238-0900

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