Top 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:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
The recently-opened, already world-famous, first ever ode to pizza museum has just one more fantastic detail to its bio: they’re BYO. Gourmet pizza conjoined with Little Baby’s (Philly’s trending gourmet ice-cream makers) let’s you feast your eyes on the unique collection of pizza memorabilia while you have a slice and sip on your favorite brew.
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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