March 14, 2014
If there is one dish with practically universal appeal, it must be pizza.
There’s something about the cheesy, sauce-laden goodness of a pizza pie that just never seems to get old, even when it’s actually a few days old (c’mon, cold pizza for breakfast is delicious).
Fortunately, finding amazing pizza in Philadelphia can be as easy as popping into the nearest neighborhood shop since this city has long been a great town for pizza.
From carefully composed wood-fired pies to perfectly greasy grab-and-go slices, Philadelphians know that the pizza options in the City of Brotherly Love are nearly endless… and awesome.
Plus, in the past few years a handful of fresh restaurants have seriously upped the ante for Philadelphia pizza. Spots like Bufad, Pizzeria Beddia and Pizza Brain turn out creative, chef-driven pies that rival any traditional entree, and then there’s Pizzeria Vetri, which was named to GQ magazine’s 2014 list of The 25 Best Restaurants in America.
Truly, word of Philadelphia’s distinction as a pizza-dishing destination has clearly spread far beyond city limits. In 2013 — for the third year in a row — Travel and Leisure magazine ranked Philadelphia as the fourth best pizza city in the country, coming in just behind the iconic pizza towns of Chicago, Providence and New York.
With so much to love about pizza in Philadelphia, we wanted to make taking advantage of this city’s offerings as easy as, ahem, pie.
We’ve compiled a list of the top spots for pizza in Philadelphia, and broken it up by neighborhood for easy browsing (and eventual eating). We largely focused on the spots that offer ample seating for pizza eaters, but also included a few grab-and-go favorites that couldn’t be left out (enter, Lorenzo’s).
Are we missing your favorite pizza place? Let us know in the comments below.
Read on for our guide to the best pizza in Philadelphia.
Midtown Village, Washington Square West, Old City and Society Hill
• Nomad Roman Pizza: Nomad Roman, the outpost from the folks behind Nomad Pizza on South Street and the Nomad pizza truck, promises Roman-style pizzas to its Midtown Village guests. From a classic margherita pizza to a spicy sausage pie, the menu is full of variety for pizza lovers. Vegans, find refuge in the animal product-free section on the menu. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• Barbuzzo: Chef Marcie Turney’s Mediterranean spot in Midtown Village has maintained its white-hot status since its opening in 2010, and delicious pizza, with crispy, thin crusts and creative toppings, is just one reason why. The “Uovo,” with Brussel sprouts and a bechamel-like white sauce, is a crowd favorite, but the “Cinghiale,” with wild boar sausage and pepperoncini, is a lesser-known gem. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• Zavino: Zavino, Midtown Village’s stand-out wine bar and pizzeria uses a gas fire, which is a little surprising given the distinct char on the pies. But it’s impossible not to love 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. There are even gluten-free versions of most pies. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• Garces Trading Company: Garces Trading Company is serious about its pizza. The Washington Square West restaurant’s pies are available in a deep-dish, Chicago-style with decidedly global toppings like royal trumpet mushrooms and house-made Italian sausage — but during brunch only. Craving pizza outside of brunch? Garces’ flatbread menu is available all the time. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• Zio’s Brick Oven Pizzeria: Zio’s Brick Oven Pizzeria supplies Midtown Village with classic ’za well into the evening on weeknights and until midnight on weekends. Choose from classics like cheese and pepperoni pies or venture beyond the norm and try a shrimp pizza. [ Take-Out | Dine-In | Slices ]
• Revolution House: Revolution House, a bi-level eatery in Old City, uses top-quality, imported tomatoes and cheese for its wood-fired pies, and builds them with a light, doughy crust. Tasty local ingredients are options as well, like the zucchini, eggplant, squash and red onion in a grilled veggie pie. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• Pizzicato: This Old City restaurant offers all manner of Italian cuisine in a family-friendly atmosphere, but pizza from its wood-burning oven is a definite highlight. The crust is thin and the ingredients fresh, like in the “Quattro Formaggi” pie, with four different cheeses and slices of pear. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• Pizzeria Stella: Pizzeria Stella, Stephen Starr’s Headhouse Square pizzeria, is wonderfully low-key, with a casual Italian menu that’s uniformly strong. But pizza is, ahem, the “star” here, and, unsurprisingly, Pizzeria Stella does it very, very well, with a slightly charred crust and toppings ranging from imported cheese and pepperoni to long hot pesto and black truffle. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• Blackbird Pizzeria: As Philadelphia’s only full-on vegan pizzeria, Society Hill’s Blackbird Pizzeria uses ingredients such as seitan sausage and Daiya non-dairy cheese to cover its chewy crusts and sate non-meat eating appetites. [ Take-Out | Dine-In | Slices ]
Rittenhouse Square and Graduate Hospital
• Mama Palma’s: Mama Palma’s is a cozy, Fitler Square favorite that has offered tasty pies to the neighborhood for years. Its specialty pizza options are exhaustive, rounding up flavors from everywhere from France to Hawaii to China, plus the folks at Mama Palma’s offer healthy options like nonfat mozzarella and whole wheat crust. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• DiBruno Bros.: The lesser-known pizza menu at DiBruno Bros. doesn’t disappoint, along with the other items in the Italian grocery store in Rittenhouse Square. The thin-crust pizza comes in flavors like margherita, quattro formaggi and a prosciutto pizza, but only available upstairs in the cafe during lunch — 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to to 3 p.m. on weekends. [ Take-Out | Dine-In | Slices ]
• Slice: With locations in Rittenhouse and East Passyunk, Slice rocks a thin crispy crust and super fresh ingredients for toppings. Indulge in flavors like margherita, pesto, buffalo chicken and truffle pizza. And don’t sleep on the pizzaz, a white pie topped with tomatoes, hot peppers and mozzarella. Also note, Slice is BYOB. [ Take-Out | Dine-In | Slices ]
• Serafina: Located just a few steps down Sansom from Slice, Serafina boasts crispy, thin-crust pizzas from a high-visibility corner a block off Rittenhouse Square. There’s a solid selection of pizza types, but, the star is the “Bianca,” with peppery baby arugula and three types of Italian cheese. The sidewalk seating also boasts prime people-watching. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• Kermit’s Bake Shoppe: Kermit’s Bake Shoppe has set up shop on an industrial stretch of Washington Avenue on the border of Graduate Hospital and Point Breeze in South Philadelphia. Part bakery and part pizza shop, Kermit’s does whole pies and slices. Highly recommended are the white mushroom pie, the sausage and peppers pie (a little spicy) and the namesake Kerminator featuring ham, gruyere, choucroute, caramelized onions and creme fraiche. [ Take-Out | Slices ]
Much more pizza, below.
• Lazaro’s Pizzeria and Grill: The always-bustling Lazaro’s serves hungry guests huge slices of pizza — practically the size of their face — at its shop on South Street West. The storefront may look like a purely grab-and-go spot, but boasts seating directly adjacent to the main entrance. [ Take-Out | Dine-In | Slices ]
Queen Village, Bella Vista, East Passyunk and South Philadelphia
• Nomad Pizza: Between its airy crust with cheese and toppings laid on thick and its Sunday evening movie nights (complete with pizza and beer), it’s easy to see why Nomad Pizza is a Bella Vista favorite. Get your pizza fix with menu items like spicy sausage pizza, shiitake mushroom pizza and arugula pizza. Although the classic Margherita di Bufala is hard to beat. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• 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 and rectangle and square-shaped pies and they’ve quickly become one of downtown’s favorite pizzerias. The rectangle pies are baked in a pan and the resulting crust is delightfully crusty, chewy and moist at the same time. You can’t go wrong with the classic topping combination of sausage and spinach. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• Lorenzo and Sons: A South Street institution since 1970, Lorenzo and Sons serves gigantic slices to the masses late into the night. Not even a devastating fire in 2012 could stop Lorenzo’s. The pizza shop rebuilt and reopened in 2013 in the same location and with same deliberately surly attitude behind the counter. Open until 3 a.m. during the week and 4 a.m. on the weekends, Lorenzo’s serves up giant slices — and pies — of cheese pizza, and only cheese, no toppings(!). (If you’re looking to to get crazy with a gastronomic feat of strength, try the Lorenzo’s/Jim’s challenge, which wraps a slice of Lorenzo’s around a cheesesteak from Jim’s.) [ Take-Out | Dine-In | Slices ]
• Kennett: Kennett is a neighborhood gem in Queen Village, and its wood-fired pies are just one of many standouts on the menu. Don’t miss the “Porchetta,” which unites bits of slow roasted pork, local farmer’s cheese, whipped lardo and honey on a crisp, paper-thin crust. That’s right — the Porchetta has whipped lardo or bacon fat dolloped on top before it goes into the oven and the resulting flavor when it comes out is sublime. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• Slice: With locations in Rittenhouse and East Passyunk, Slice rocks a thin crispy crust and super fresh ingredients for toppings. Indulge in flavors like margherita, pesto, buffalo chicken and truffle pizza. And don’t sleep on the pizzaz, a South Philly classic: a white pie topped with tomatoes, hot peppers and American and mozzarella cheese. Slice’s South Philly location boasts a few outdoor tables and a number of tables inside, so it’s a great option for a casual pizza dinner. Bonus: Slice is BYOB. [ Take-Out | Dine-In | Slices ]
• Birra: Birra brings pizza and pizza-centric creations to East Passyunk. Its pies range from margherita and roasted duck to — of all things — a mac & cheese and a cheeseburger-topped pie. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• Stogie Joe’s: This bar and restaurant on East Passyunk Avenue is known for its “upside down” square pies, which means the sauce actually goes on top of the cheese (like at Santucci’s). Choose from a classic selection of toppings like broccoli rabe, sausage, pepperoni and mushrooms — or you can go for the plain cheese pie or a white pie (no sauce). Like any good pizza shop, the dough is made fresh daily. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• Marra’s: Marra’s, a South Philadelphia institution that’s been on East Passyunk for more than 80 years, is the place to go for classic and inventive ‘za. Think margherita, meat lovers, a seafood-centric pie and more. Plus, most pizzas on the menu are available as red or white pies. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• Gennaro’s: While Gennaro’s is a relatively new addition to its South Philly neighborhood, when you walk inside it feels like it’s been around for ages. The classic pizzeria feel comes from Gennaro’s lineage which connects to the famous Lombardi’s late of Rittenhouse Square and Manhattan. You can order your pies white or red with a selection of classic topping. All pies are baked to a crisp well-done crust, and well done, indeed they are. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• La Rosa Pizzeria: La Rosa Pizzeria, a cash only spot located steps from the Snyder subway stop on the Broad Street line, delights with thick, square pizza on the cheap. Certain slices of ‘za ring in at under $2, talk about a deal. [ Take-Out | Slices ]
• Cacia’s Bakery: Cacia’s boasts several locations in the area but the original location is in the heart of South Philly on Ritner Street, where it’s been serving rectangle pies for more than 50 years. Try the red pie — topped with cheese and sauce — or sample the “Famous Tomato Pie” piled high with homemade red “gravy.” Cacia’s may also have originated the pizzaz, a white pie with tomatoes, hot peppers and American and mozzarella cheese. Slices are incredibly reasonably priced, coming in at about $1.50. [ Take-Out | Slices ]
Spring Garden, Fairmount and Callowhill
• Pizzeria Vetri: Pizzeria Vetri, chef Marc Vetri’s resident pizza place, quickly became a Spring Garden go-to for top-of-the-line pizza. Whether you’re craving quattro formaggi (four cheese), or the crudo (prosciutto, bufala mozzarella and parmesean), the neighborhood spot, located steps off of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is sure to satisfy. For those who are interested in watching the chefs whip up a pie, dine at the pizza counter. Tip: don’t sleep on the Roman-style pizza al taglio slices — the varieties change every few days and they’re all insanely delicious. [ Take-Out | Dine-In | Slices ]
• Osteria: With pies boasting delicately thin crusts and awesome toppings like pistachio pesto and fresh octopus, Osteria continues to kill it with their pizza offerings on North Broad Street. Be sure to try the lombarda pie — baked egg, bitto cheese, mozzarella and cotechino sausage — which received a nod as one of the best pizza’s in the country from Food and Wine magazine. [ Dine-In ]
• Bufad: The folks behind Cafe Lift and Prohibition Taproom opened Bufad, a pizza restaurant and BYOB on the corner of Spring Garden and 13th Streets last winter. Bufad has two delicious types of wood-fired pizzas: traditional Neapolitan round pies and Roman-style square slices. And since Bufad is BYOB, you can bring a bottle of wine or stop by Prohibition Taproom next door and pick up a fresh growler of beer to enjoy with your ‘za. [ Take-Out | Dine-In | Slices ]
• Angelino’s: In addition to the classic pizzas one expects at a quick pizza joint, Angelino’s, a BYOB in Fairmount, also serves its fair share of speciality slices, too. Look to the vodka sauce pizza for a creamy option or the spicy chorizo pie topped with chipotle BBQ sauce. [ Take-Out | Dine-In | Slices ]
• Luigi’s Pizza Fresca: Located on the corner of 24th and Fairmount streets, Luigi’s Pizza Fresca is the place to go for everything from grab-and-go slices to imaginative pizzas to pies stuffed with tasty ingredients. Luigi’s boasts indoor seating all year round, and outdoor seating in the warmer months — perfect for people watching in Fairmount. And, with locations in Marlton, NJ and Burlington, NJ it’s super easy to stop by the restaurant. [ Take-Out | Dine-In | Slices ]
Fishtown, Northern Liberties and Port Richmond
• Pizza Brain: Pizza Brain, the world’s first pizza museum and shop, promises diners a spot to enjoy crispy pies while surrounded by more than 550 pizza-centric artifacts. Choose from a solid selection of both red and white pies with toppings ranging from smoked pepperoni to sweet potato. Guests are invited to bring their choice of beer or wine to the BYO Fishtown spot. [ Take-Out | Dine-In | Slices ]
• Pizzeria Beddia: With evening-only hours from Wednesday to Saturday, Pizzeria Beddia supplies a limited number of pizzas to dedicated patrons at its Girard Avenue locale in Fishtown. The spot is largely take-out, as there are only two standing-only tables available inside. Also note that Pizzeria Beddia is cash only, only serves whole pies, is BYOB and has no phone number. But all of that just adds to the allure of what may be the best pizza in Philadelphia. (Tip: The Arrabiata is fiery hot but oh so good.) [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• Rustica: Those looking for a slice or pie of unfussy pizza, look no further. Rustica in Northern Liberties, located mere steps from The Piazza, is the go-to spot for super tasty pizza of all sort. Think cheese, pepperoni, sausage, and pick-you-own-topping pies along with more complex types like chicken pot pie and pico de gallo. [ Take-Out | Dine-In | Slices ]
• Tacconelli’s: Diners can order pizza and only pizza at Tacconelli’s where there’s a suggested three-topping limit for the crunchy, thin-crust pies. It’s also advised that patrons call the lauded Port Richmond pizzeria a day or two in advance to reserve their dough since it’s made in limited quantities daily. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
Cedar Park and University City
• Dock Street Brewing Company: The amazing pizzas at Cedar Park’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 pizza and 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, Gruyère and crème fraîche. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• City Tap House: The neighborhood haunt, located steps from UPenn’s campus, promises visitors brick oven pizza along with a hefty lineup of craft beer. Stop by City Tap House for everything from a simple margherita pizza to a more complex pie complete with mushrooms, black truffle oil, Taleggio cheese and a fried egg. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• Allegro’s: Super popular among the late-night crowd, Allegro’s is a go-to spot on the Penn campus. The menu consists of favorites like pepperoni and cheese, but also offers diners gourmet pizzas like barbecue chicken and white spinach. By day and night, find lines of folks ordering slices and entire pies for take-out, delivery and dine-in. [ Take-Out | Dine-In | Slices ]
• Zavino: The University City locale of Zavino opened its doors on Saturday, March 15 and continues to serve up the same gas-fired pizzas and ample wine list as its Midtown Village sister. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
Northeast and Northwest Philadelphia
• In Riva: In Riva is a casually elegant joint on the banks of the Schuylkill River in East Falls, boasting wood-fired pizzas that are truly something to write home about. The toppings are straightforward and high-quality, like a white clam pie with tomato and bacon, and the crust is nicely charred outside yet perfectly fluffy within. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• Pizzeria DiMeo’s: Roxborough eatery Pizzeria DiMeo’s imports its water from Sicily, ensuring that its wood-fired pies have a down-to-the-last-drop authentic flavor. Plus, the spot is BYO. Done and done. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• Earth Bread + Brewery: Talk about artisanal. Lebanon County Daisy flour 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 in the Mt. Airy resto. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• Tony’s Place: The thin-crust ’za at Tony’s Place is a solid option for quality pizza in Northeast Philly. Don’t sleep on the Best of Philly-winning tomato pie, either. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• Iron Hill Chestnut Hill: Iron Hill, a local chain, dishes up hearth-baked pizza at all of its locations — including its Chestnut Hill outpost. Stop by for beer, of course, and inventive pizza including lamb meatball and goat cheese spinach. Along with classic flavors — like the mozzarella pie — as well. [ Take-Out | Dine-In ]
• Vince’s Pizzeria: A favorite of the Northeast section of the city, Vince’s Pizzeria is a spot for those looking for melty cheese, house-made sauce and fresh toppings. Stop at the ATM before your visit, Vince’s is cash only. [ Take-Out | Dine-In | Slices ]
• Couch Tomato Cafe: Located steps from Main Street Manayunk, Couch Tomato Cafe is purveyor of fine pizza and pleaser of all, as it offers guests with white, wheat or gluten-free crusts for all of its pizzas. Choose from a menu of Neapolitan and ultra thin-crust pizzas — or design your own with a hefty offering of sauces and toppings. [ Take-Out | Dine-In | Slices ]
• Pitruco Pizza Truck: Pitruco has been baking up a storm… on wheels. The Pitruco Pizza Truck has been turning out pies with cloud-like crusts and inspired toppings since October of 2011. One of the most popular pies sports braised radicchio, wild mushrooms and sweet balsamic. Follow its Twitter for up-to-date location news and daily pizza specials. [ Take-Out ]
• Nomad Pizza Mobile: Nomad Pizza’s vintage REO Speedwagon mobile can be found satisfying customers’ appetites at festivals, parties and food truck gatherings around town. The airy crust with cheese and toppings laid on thick make for a substantial pie that eats like an entree. [ Take-Out ]
So there you have it. This is our list of our favorites pizzas in Philadelphia — be sure to let us know your favorite pies in the comments below.
And here’s one more pizza image for good measure. Happy eating!