The making of a perfect pie is an art form. The art in spinning dough to form that perfect circular (or square) shape; stirring until dusk for the “just right” splatter of sauce; the plethora selection of cheese to create the pie’s canvas; the colorful selections of toppings to decorate that pie. The coveted and obsessively curated list of the best across the world is everyone’s passionate love affair with the one and only, pizza. After a weeks diet of nothing but melted cheese, bread, and physical support from friends, here is the (semi) definitive list of the best ten places to eat pizza in Philadelphia.
The wait is long and hours are specific, but patience is a virtue folks. Beddia is located in the infamously termed “hipster” Fishtown part of Philadelphia. Open only from Wednesday to Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., their pizzas are fresh, unique, high quality, and by their cook, Joe. If you can handle Joe not having a shop phone, or are fine waiting an hour for the pizza, you surely will not be disappointed, for you will taste his love and passion in pizza making. Grab your thick-framed (fake) glasses and head over to Fishtown (115 E. Girard Ave) and treat yourself to Beddia’s one (16 in) size pizza. Try the rainbow chard, roasted garlic, fresh cream, and scallion pie; the olive oil on the pie itself will make your head spin.
Predict you’re going to be craving pizza for dinner tomorrow? Give Tacconelli’s a call and reserve your dough. Yes, you read that right. A shop that recommends you to reserve your dough may sound strange, but it should give you validation that your pizza will be the freshest in town. Currently in their fifth generation of pizza making, Giovanni Tacconelli is making his tomato pies in a one-man, one-oven way. Tacconelli’s pizza is light on cheese and heavy on sauce to give it that crisp, light taste. Cooked in a brick oven, the tomato pies are made to order and you can even bring a bottle of wine or a case of beer to increase the flavor. Come try his margherita pie with fresh basil and mozzarella. Tacconelli’s is cash-only and is open from Wednesday to Sunday.
3. Pizza Brain
The hip kids rave about it and the urban dwellers venture over to Fishtown to eat this thin-crusted pizza. As you wait for the crew to cook your pie, you can bask in Pizza Brain's unique ambience. Check out their pizza memorabilia museum, or rummage through their pizza tattoo book for a few laughs. The "Jane" is their version of a margherita pie. Jane is a cheesey trifecta of mozzarella, aged provolone, and grana padano that is then blended with basil leaves sprinkled across the pie. Pizza Brain is also a cash-only joint just like the previous two. When you stop in, they have specific pies that are offered by the slice, and others that are only in full pie form. Do you like your pizza sauce like your wine? Choose from their red or white sauce list and enjoy the pie.
Pizza Brain (credit: Facebook/Pizza Brain)
Located in South Philly, Santucci serves their original square pizza in Philadelphia's best location for pizza – the Italian market. Alicia Santucci, granddaughter of founders Joe and Philomena Santucci, carries on the tradition of pizza making, making the family proud. Their square pizza is made differently than a regular slice. Instead of having the savory melted cheese on top, Santucci places their sliced 100% whole milk mozzarella cheese directly on top of the bread, underneath their famous Santucci sauce. Santucci is open every day, and does accept credit!
Located in the middle of north Philadelphia and Center City on the corner of 13th and Spring Garden, Bufad serves traditional Neapolitan and Roman Pizza. Bufad’s pizzas are wood-fired and there is even a vegan option – Rossa. Though, if you don’t fancy the vegan life-style, don’t fret, try their meat ragu featuring braised brisket, soppresatta (Italian dry salami), pancetta (pork belly meat), and their house-made spicy fennel sausage topped with broccoli rabe and grana (Italian hard, mature cheese). That pie right there should satisfy a weeks worth of meat cravings.
6. Nomad Pizza
Located in south Philly (611 S. 7th Street), Nomad pizza brings organic produce and natural meats to their fresh, wood-fired brick oven pizza. For the thin crust lovers, Nomad is the place to go. Try their spicy soppressata and it will surely place your taste buds in a sweet and spicy trance. The sweetness of the honey drizzled on top of the spicy salami is a palate sensation. Even tough food critic, Craig LaBan, from the Philadelphia Inquirer called Nomad pies "as close to perfection as I’ve tasted this side of Napoli.”
Located in the heart of the city, come dine at Pietro’s coal oven pizzeria and sit outside and people watch. You get the option of ordering from signature pizzas, 13 inches round, or creating your own. If you choose from one of their signature pizzas, go all out and get Roma: four cheese white pizza with chicken, bacon, and artichokes. If that sounds too hearty, go with a lighter taste of Gardinera: fresh seasonal vegetables and four cheeses.
On the corner of 13th and Sansom sits Zavino. Zavino’s atmosphere is casual, yet classy. You can order a glass of wine and slice of pizza and dine as if you were in Italy. You can even throw in some cutlery and be the classiest pizza eating person. If you like mushrooms, you must try Zavino’s Kennett pizza. Kennett includes oven roasted crimini, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms, complimented with fior di latte (mozzarella), béchamel (white sauce), roasted onions, and rosemary.
Zavino (credit: Facebook/Zavino)
Located at 2nd and Lombard, Steven Starr’s Pizzeria Stella's pizza is European-style cooked in a wood burning brick oven. The crust is thin in the middle but fluffy and chewy on the outer crust, which is the best part of a pizza. The toppings are fresh and the flavors are outstanding. Come try Stella’s decadent Tartufo pizza – black truffle, egg, and fontina.
Bufad introduced a vegan pie on this list, but Blackbird offers a menu that is vegan-centered and is certified kosher. If you’re hesitant about consuming a vegan pie, do not turn away, for their pies are exactly what your savory buds need. Their nacho pie is absolutely delectable. A pie that includes avocado, caramelized onions, jalapeno peppers, tomato sauce, and cheddar style daiya cheese, will surely take your mind off of a meaty pizza.