While Philadelphia might not be as famous as New York or Chicago when it comes to pizza, the city absolutely offers its share of delicious pies. Due at least in part to Philadelphia’s rich Italian heritage, it’s not unusual to spot a restaurant serving gourmet pizzas or a “Mom and Pop” shop on just about every street. Whether you’re in the mood for quick takeout, a health-conscious slice, creative toppings, brick oven, coal oven, gluten-free or even vegan, Philadelphia has a pizza for you. This list could easily contain over 25 spots, but it’s focusing on just a select few of the best sit-down restaurants serving exceptional pizza. For CBS’s list of most creative pizzas in Philadelphia, click here.
110 S. 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Since opening just a few years ago, Barbuzzo has quickly become a Midtown Village favorite. It was listed in Philadelphia Magazine among the “Best 50 Restaurants of 2013,” and Executive Chef Marcie Turney was nominated for a James Beard award the same year. Cozy and intimate, this is the perfect spot for casual dates or meals with small groups. The majority of the menu is made up of plates that are meant to be shared, which means you get to try a real variety of dishes. At least one pizza is a necessity. Chef/owner Marcie Turney studied at the Neapolitan pizza school in California before opening Barbuzzo, to ensure that her wood-oven pizzas would be top notch. The most popular pizza on the menu is the Uovo, which is topped with Brussels sprouts, cured pork, parmesan cheese, white sauce and a truffled farm egg. Other unique toppings include spicy boar sausage, carrot pesto and picked chilies. And no trip to Barbuzzo would be complete without the famous salted caramel budino dessert — it’s a must-try.
1240 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
Bufad Pizza comes from the team behind Philadelphia’s Prohibition Taproom and Café Lift. The name comes from an American-Italian slang term for someone who binges, and you’ll want to binge on the wood-fired pizza here. Since the pizzas themselves are relatively small, you could probably eat a full pie yourself. To keep your bill down, enjoy “buy one, get one free” takeout pizzas Sunday through Thursday between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. The menu changes seasonally, mixing up creative toppings like asparagus, English peas, clams and even lavender. Specials also include vegan and vegetarian options. This Callowhill spot is a BYOB.
640 N. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Part of the Vetri family of restaurants, it’s no surprise that Osteria has been ranked among Philly’s top eateries. In fact, Philadelphia Magazine recently named it the city’s best restaurant. With its warm, comfortable atmosphere, fresh pastas, wood-grilled fish and meats and gourmet thin-crust pizzas, it’s easy to see why. The Lombardo pizza is a standout specialty, featuring Bitto and mozzarella cheeses, Italian sausage and a baked egg. But it’s the simple Margherita pizza that earned Osteria a spot on the Food Network’s show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” when Marc Summers spotlighted the tomato, mozzarella and basil pie. Whatever topping you decide on, though, round out your meal with a drink from the all-Italian wine list and try the polenta budino for dessert.
Pietro’s Coal Oven Pizzeria
1714 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Located just off of Rittenhouse Square, Pietro’s is perfect for a casual date or a meal out with the entire family. The restaurant is family owned and uses a pizza recipe that has been passed down through the generations for over 60 years. Made in a 1,200-degree, hand-built coal oven, Pietro’s pizza has a distinct thin, crispy crust with just a hint of smoky flavor. Choose from nine 13” signature pizzas such as the Roma (four-cheese white pizza topped with bacon, chicken and artichokes) or The Sausage (four cheese, chicken sausage, tomatoes and spinach), or create your own 13” (also available with whole wheat crust) or 16” pizza with fresh toppings of your choice. On nice days, opt to sit outside to enjoy a little people watching and fresh air with your pizza. Pietro’s also has a South Street location and a brand new location in Radnor will be opening this spring.
420 S. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
This Stephen Starr spot strikes a balance of contemporary and cozy with industrial accents like exposed steel beams and concrete floors along with Italian details and communal seating. Like the décor, the gourmet pizza here is a blend of styles. With a perfectly crispy crust and wood-fired flavor that it gets from the brick oven, pies are a cross between New York-style and classic Neapolitan. The Society Hill pizza shop serves 12 pizza options, ranging from traditional favorites like Margherita, four cheese and pepperoni to specialty varieties such as the signature Tartufo (black truffle, fontina, parmesan and egg) or San Daniele (smoked mozzarella, prosciutto and arugula). While pizza is the obvious choice here, the menu also features soups, salads, antipasti, a few pasta dishes and an extensive list of wines, beers and creative cocktails.
112 S. 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
3200 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Homemade pasta dishes, seasonal small plates, an extensive wine list and delicious pizzas make Zavino a Midtown Village favorite. The 850-degree ovens ensure that each pizza is served with a chewy yet crunchy crust and perfectly melted cheese – never burned. The Stache is just one of the favorites, featuring both mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, pesto, arugula and a lemon vinaigrette. Those eating gluten-free will be happy to know that all of Zavino’s pizzas (except the Kennett and Polpettini) are available with gluten-free dough. When the weather’s nice, you’ll want to snag an outdoor seat or one by the floor-to-ceiling windows. Enjoying Zavino is even easier this year, as a new University City location opened in early spring of 2014. While neither location accepts reservations, you don’t have to worry about wasting time standing around waiting for a table. The “No Wait” policy allows you to stop in and give your phone number, enjoy a little shopping or walking around the neighborhood and then receive a text when your table is ready.
Michelle Hein is the social media editor for a women’s fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. If the writing gig doesn’t pan out, she constantly dreams of owning her own bakery…perhaps connected to the restaurant/bar that her lawyer fiance would love to open.
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