Philadelphia has earned some serious pizza cred in recent years.
Not only is this city home to a combo pizza museum and restaurant (Pizza Brain), an artisan pizza truck (Pitruco) and, according to Bon Appétit’s 2015 “Ultimate Pizza Guide,” America’s very best pizza (Pizzeria Beddia), but it’s also a proving ground for the idea that this traditional food can be reinvented in infinite ways.
Whether it’s a straightforward but studious Neapolitan round, a floppy tri-corner slice with cheese to spare or a newfangled pie laden with carefully sourced ingredients, there is a pizza for every pie lover’s predilection.
Here’s a sampling of the region’s cheesiest, crispiest riches.
Fishtown’s Wm. Mulherin’s Sons throws down the pizza gauntlet with gorgeously charred pies. Pitruco-trained chefs whip up a double Margherita with Burrata and bufala mozzarella, plus goodies like the Philly-centric “Spicy Jawn,” with pepperoni, sharp provolone, long hots and coppa.
Where: Wm. Mulherin’s Sons, 1355 N. Front Street
With two Philly locations and one more in the King of Prussia Mall, Pizzeria Vetri — all with wood-fired Renato ovens — goes all out. The Neapolitan crust requires a three-day rise. Side dish standouts include mortadella- and ricotta-stuffed, pistachio-sauced “rotolo,” which looks like a savory cinnamon bun and eats like heaven.
Where: Pizzeria Vetri, Various locations including 1939 Callowhill Street
With venues in Midtown Village and University City, Zavino Pizzeria and Wine Bar builds on a Neapolitan crust and oven foundation with Kennett Square mushrooms, Berkshire pork sausage and ricotta-stuffed veal meatballs.
Where: Zavino Pizzeria and Wine Bar, Various locations including 112 S. 13th Street
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A post shared by Barbuzzo Restaurant (@barbuzzo) on Mar 16, 2017 at 8:23am PDT
Pizza may not be the sole focus at Barbuzzo, but there’s no denying the lure of Chef Marcie Turney’s famed asparago pie, with secret white sauce, fior di latte, locally cured guanciale and truffled farm egg. Seasonal options such as the Fico (figs, gorgonzola, arugula, prosciutto and walnuts) showcase her mastery of ingredients.
Where: Barbuzzo, 110 S. 13th Street
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A post shared by James Zale (@jameszale) on Mar 27, 2016 at 4:46pm PDT
Neapolitan pizza is more than a hobby in Italy — it’s the law. Chef Joe Cicala of Le Virtù earned the right to make authentic pies by winning a coveted Napoli Pizzaiolo Verace certification. His South Philly forneria Brigantessa makes irrefutable classics like Margherita and marinara, alongside some seasonally changing pies and off-menu delights.
Where: Brigantessa, 1520 E. Passyunk Avenue
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A post shared by Philly Food Dude (@phillyfooddude) on Apr 17, 2015 at 7:50am PDT
There are no wedge-shaped slices at Santucci’s — just pillowy squares with sauce over cheese, cooked in special pans that grant the dough a one-of-a-kind consistency. Santucci’s original locations populate Northeast Philadelphia; the family more recently brought their addictive pies to Bella Vista and North Broad Street.
Where: Santucci's Pizza, Various locations including 901 S. 10th Street
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A post shared by alexandra wildstein winick (@allie_wildstein) on Oct 10, 2014 at 5:48pm PDT
Diners can order pizza and only pizza at the iconic Port Richmond BYOB Tacconelli’s, where there’s a (strongly) suggested three-topping limit for the crunchy, thin-crust pies. It’s also advised that prospective patrons call the lauded pizzeria in advance to reserve their dough since it’s made in finite quantities daily.
Where: Tacconelli's, 2604 E. Somerset Street
Pizza Brain, the world’s first pizza museum and shop, showcases hundreds of pop culture pizza artifacts in rotation at its funky Fishtown headquarters. The pies feature sustainably sourced toppings framed with zany names such as the “Bob Shieldsmoose,” which brings together brisket, Maytag blue cheese and horseradish.
Where: Pizza Brain, 2313 Frankford Avenue
Bella Vista’s two-story Nomad cuts top-notch pies at the table to prevent them from getting soggy. A second location in Midtown Village serves Roman-style pizza with toppings like ’nduja sausage and Castelvetrano olives.
Where: Nomad, Various locations including 1305 Locust Street
While the menu of pies at restaurateur Stephen Starr’s family-friendly Pizzeria Stella is firmly rooted in an authentic flavor palate, a few surprises sneak in: Think garlic crema, long hot pepper pesto and aged provolone.
Where: Pizzeria Stella, 420 S. 2nd Street
Clarkville is a neighborhood bar with intriguing pizza (sour cream and potato with scallion pesto) and shareable plates (warm cauliflower salad, ricotta-stuffed peppadews).
Where: Clarkville, 4301 Baltimore Avenue
Somewhere between a gastropub and pizza parlor is Birra, serving an assortment of thin-crust pizza (including indulgent mac-and-cheese pizza), panini (try the grilled cheese) and antipasti, as well as an impressive list of craft beers.
Where: Birra, 1700 E. Passyunk Avenue
At Earth Bread + Brewery in Mt. Airy, the mozzarella is made daily in house and the oven is hand-built. Diners wash down their Nashville Hot Chicken or Vietnam Veggie flatbreads with made-on-premises beer.
Where: Earth Bread + Brewery, 7136 Germantown Avenue
Founded in 1985, the award-winning Dock Street Brewery and Restaurant serves gourmet wood-fired pizzas, char-grilled sandwiches, salads and a half-dozen unfiltered draft selections, brewed just steps from the bar in a classic German copper brewhouse.
Where: Dock Street Brewery and Restaurant, 701 S. 50th Street
Chef Jose Garces has thrown his hat into the Philly pizza ring with 24, situated between Rittenhouse Square and University City. Signature wood-fired styles include a fresh-shucked clam pie with kale, garlic, the special Italian cheese Scamorza and parmesan cream.
Where: 24, 2401 Walnut Street
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Michael (@michsoled) on Apr 30, 2015 at 2:56pm PDT
A post shared by Michael (@michsoled) on Apr 30, 2015 at 2:56pm PDT
Lorenzo and Son’s Pizza has been a South Street institution for more than 45 years. The line extends out the door many nights as people spill out of nearby bars and music venues looking for a giant slice. A slice from Lorenzo’s also makes up one half of the “Philly Taco” – a gastronomic feat of strength not for the faint of heart.
Where: Lorenzo and Sons Pizza, Various locations including 305 South Street
The rotating Roman slice specials from the wood-fired oven of Bufad Pizza feature options like an all-tomato Rossa or a killer Amatriciana with pancetta and pecorino. The regular menu specializes in Neapolitan pies.
Where: Bufad Pizza, 1240 Spring Garden Street
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A post shared by Osteria (@osteriaphilly) on Aug 9, 2017 at 3:03pm PDT
Chef Marc Vetri’s first pizza-centric establishment Osteria sets a new standard for local pizzaioli. This elegant eatery serves up wood-fired tradizionali pies topped with interesting flavor combinations, like octopus and smoked mozzarella or mortadella with Sicilian pistachio pesto.
Where: Osteria, 640 N. Broad Street
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A post shared by Caviar Philadelphia (@trycaviarphilly) on Aug 21, 2017 at 2:33pm PDT
As Philadelphia’s only full-on vegan pizzeria, Blackbird Pizzeria uses ingredients such as seitan sausage, Daiya non-dairy cheese and house-smoked tofu to cover its chewy crusts and sate non-meat-eating appetites.
Where: Blackbird Pizzeria, Various locations including 507 S. 6th Street
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Pitruco Pizza (@pitruco) on Aug 17, 2017 at 2:35pm PDT
A post shared by Pitruco Pizza (@pitruco) on Aug 17, 2017 at 2:35pm PDT
This little red truck is an extra-hot commodity. The mobile pizza oven Pitruco vends all over Philly and produces wonderful 11-inch personal pies made with a characteristic Neopolitan crust.
Where: Pitruco, Various locations including 22nd and Brown streets
East Falls’ In Riva pays homage to pizza’s beginnings with its wood-fired oven. Between a mean Margherita and creative spins such as the mushroom and zucchini pie with truffles and fontina, diners have some tough choices to make.
Where: In Riva, 4116 Ridge Avenue
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A post shared by Capofitto Forno (@capofittoforno) on Jul 20, 2017 at 1:50pm PDT
What requires 10 days, three craftsmen from Naples, 23,000 pounds of handmade bricks from Santa Maria, a “baking floor” from Sorrento and volcanic sand from Vesuvius? The glorious handmade oven at Capofitto, brought to Old City by the owners of legendary gelateria Capogiro, that’s what.
Where: Capofitto, 233 Chestnut Street
Trenton-style pizza (i.e., thin-crust, with mozzarella beneath the sauce and toppings) lives on at the multi-location, wackily capitalized SliCE. Three thriving Philly locations suggest that this New Jersey variant has more than a few fans in Philly.
Where: SliCE, Various locations including 1740 Sansom Street
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A post shared by R I O N E (@rionepizza) on Jul 10, 2017 at 8:08pm PDT
Italian-owned Center City newcomer Rione specializes in pizza al taglio, the light and crispy square slice style native to Rome. Styles rotate daily, running the gamut from staunchly traditional (the classic Margherita with nothing but red sauce, mozzarella, basil and extra virgin olive oil) to the unexpected (a thinly sliced white potato pie with rosemary and sausage).
Where: Rione, 102 S. 21st Street
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Enjay's Pizza (@enjayspizza) on Aug 28, 2015 at 12:57pm PDT
A post shared by Enjay's Pizza (@enjayspizza) on Aug 28, 2015 at 12:57pm PDT
From the minds that created the beloved Pitruco pizza truck comes Enjay’s Pizza, a small pizza joint located within the beloved college bar Smokey Joe’s Tavern. Open for dinner only (lunch on Friday), Enjay’s serves up incredible pies along with a selection of burgers, hoagies and more.
Where: Enjay's Pizza, 210 S. 40th Street
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A post shared by The Happy Wanderer (@cdipinto) on Apr 6, 2016 at 5:58pm PDT
Open 90 years, the East Passyunk landmark Marra’s exudes charm and authenticity. The thin-crust pizza, built on the same recipe the owner’s grandparents used, showcases the best of Italian-American traditions with Philly flair.
Where: Marra's Cucina Italiana, 1734 E. Passyunk Avenue
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A post shared by Square Pie (@squarepiephilly) on Jul 29, 2015 at 7:34am PDT
Square Pie, a homey Bella Vista spot, invites patrons to chow down on hefty, Brooklyn-style Sicilian crusts amped up with cured pork belly, roasted potatoes and leeks, or roasted eggplant, capers and ricotta. The highlights may be its take on what many locals believe to be Philly’s true iconic sandwich: roast pork with spinach and provolone.
Where: Square Pie, 801 E. Passyunk Avenue
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Cacia's Bakery (@caciasbakery) on May 7, 2017 at 7:31am PDT
A post shared by Cacia's Bakery (@caciasbakery) on May 7, 2017 at 7:31am PDT
For more than 50 years, Cacia’s Bakery in South Philly has been satisfying generations of customers with their high-quality pizza, breads and more. The tomato pie is a local favorite along with a wide selection of strombolis and hoagies served on housemade rolls.
Where: Cacia's Bakery, 1526 W. Ritner Street
A new Brewerytown-based offshoot of Pizza Brain, Pizza Dads also possesses the quirky sense of humor of its older sibling, with the serious pies to back it up. One standout is the Alana, a red sauce-and-mozzarella pie layered with prosciutto cotto, sliced pineapple and Grana Padano cheese.
Where: Pizza Dads, 2843 W. Girard Avenue
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A post shared by LEVEL 13 (@level_13) on Aug 22, 2017 at 12:12pm PDT
La Rosa Pizzeria has been making its square, deep-dish, huge pies for more than 30 years in South Philly. Insider’s tip: Don’t miss the potato pizza.
Where: La Rosa Pizzeria, 2106 S. Broad Street
The Couch Tomato Cafe serves up tasty pies along with sandwiches, soups, desserts and more. Try an artisan pizza made with organic house-made dough and fresh roasted tomatoes, or go for a specialty pie like the “short rib”, featuring bacon, short rib, grana padano, horseradish sauce and arugula.
Where: The Couch Tomato Cafe, Various locations including 102 Rector Street
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A post shared by @eateastcoast on Dec 24, 2016 at 10:28am PST
A casual Italian-American bar menu (mussels and linguine, square pizza) defines Stogie Joe’s. The garage door-enclosed dining area offers open-air seating in the warmer months and a fireplace when the weather gets cool.
Where: Stogie Joe's, 1801 E. Passyunk Avenue
The quintessential grab-and-go city pizza shop, Rosa’s does a brisk business. The pie is more than solid, but here’s what truly separates them from your average slice-and-a-soda pit stop: Owner Mason Wartman’s unique pay-it-forward system, which encourages patrons to purchase future slices that customers in need can capitalize on anytime they’re hungry.
Where: Rosa's Fresh Pizza, 25 S. 11th Street
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Caroline Lau (@carolineslau) on Jun 19, 2017 at 5:29am PDT
A post shared by Caroline Lau (@carolineslau) on Jun 19, 2017 at 5:29am PDT
The strict rules at Joe Beddia’s Pizzeria Beddia — no slices, no phone, cash only, two pies per party, 40-pie output per day — didn’t stop Bon Appétit from declaring he makes the country’s very best pizza. Each masterful 16-incher is topped with Jersey tomatoes, sea salt, two kinds of mozzarella, Gouda-like Old Gold and a sprinkling of oregano. (Fancier additions of arugula, house-made pork sausage, cremini, collards and pickled chiles delight, too.) Note: Pizzeria Beddia has closed at this location. Owner Joe Beddia plans to regroup and open a larger pizzeria in Fishtown in late 2018.
Where: Pizzeria Beddia, 115 E. Girard Avenue
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