With a long history of Italian migration to Philadelphia, the prevalence of Italian cuisine throughout the city -- and that most synonymous Italian dish, pizza -- lives on today in the vast number of restaurants and shops tossing pies throughout the city. Today, however, that history is enriched by mingling cultural fare, craft innovations, and the latest generation of nascent cross-cultural chefs setting its eyes on Philly. Though it is no easy feat, we’ve gathered some of the very best pizza you need to try, from decades-old family legacies to artisanal personal pies to crispy, crunchy square al taglio. Rather just stay in and order? We’ve got you covered there, too. Take a look at our picks for the best pizza in Philadelphia.
Est. 1985 | Cedar Park Historic craft brewery with artisanal pizza One of the city’s oldest craft breweries is also home to some of the best pizza in town. The original Dock Street location supplements its rotating brews with hit-the-spot carbs, including beautiful hand-tossed pizza with stone-ground flour fired on hardwood. This is artisanal quality without the diminutive size. Even better, Dock Street, on brand with its rotating beer selection, concocts a new pizza creation every month so your tastebuds never get bored.
Est. 2017 | Center City Fast-casual al taglio square pizza counter Alice offers thick, savory squares al taglio style, giving you the option to mix and match a few different slices -- or get a mega chunk of whatever you’re craving. The space is perfect for the midday lunch pick-me-up with counter-style service, while the restaurant offers a more formal seated dining option with an expanded Italian menu (and gelato!). The all-time favorite is the signature Philly Special, created in honor of Super Bowl LII and fixed with pesto, ricotta, sun-dried tomatoes, cheese sauce, arugula, and Parmesan. It will taste like that sweet sweet victory has returned.
Est. 2019 | Kensington Instagram-famous square and round pies Pizza Gutt opened the doors of its permanent location this spring, though it had been slinging “circles and squares” during pop-ups in Callowhill’s Win Win Coffee Bar since 2017 -- and throughout other Philly establishments long before then. Thanks to a cult following on Instagram, Pizza Gutt’s hand tossed thin slices and thick juicy square pies often sell out on the daily. The spot keeps the menu simple, with a vegan option and a classic cheese and white with your choice of toppings. The no-phone establishment is walk-in only.
Est. 2013 | Bella Vista East Coast chain emphasizing organic ingredients Nomad prides itself on using local, organic produce and natural meats to make its delicious pizzas, leading the eatery to be considered one of the best in the vicinity of South Street. Even better, the spot offers a decent selection of craft beer, which comes in handy when you’re washing down a Spicy Sopressata (margherita pizza with sopressata, honey, and sea salt).
Est. 2012 | Point Breeze Mexican restaurant offering classic hand-tossed pizza Despite the plethora of Italian food all around us, it can sometimes be tough to find a classic pizza spot to be your go-to delivery option in Philadelphia. One of the classic options to diffuse this problem is Rosario’s, a South Philly staple that simultaneously boasts a delicious menu of Mexican fare. When it comes to pizza, though, you can opt for “classic” toppings or mingle the two cuisines for one of Rosario’s famous Mexican-style pizza, of which there are 12 varities.
Est. 2019 | Italian Market Corner shop with line-inducing pizzas and hoagies Angelo’s is new to Philly but not exactly new to the region -- the South Philly shop opened in the former Sarcone’s Deli spot after five years on the other side of the river in Haddonfield, New Jersey. The new location has induced round-the-block lines and midday sell-outs throughout its run so far, offering mouth-watering cheesesteak bagels and other freshly baked goods on the menu as well. As for the pizza style, owner Danny DiGiampietro has been cited many times saying Angelo’s can do them all, from Detroit to Roman to Neopolitan to Tomato and beyond, as well as classic American-style pizza sold by the slice.
Est. 2011 | East Falls Expansive outdoor deck serving Southern Italian fare Inspired by the cuisine of Naples, In Riva delivers savory Italian dishes like wood-fired pizza and small pasta dishes to get you started. For a twist on the traditional margherita, add crab and chile to your pizza (and keep your water supply close). Whatever you get, try to snag a seat on the sweeping outdoor deck.
Est. 2019 | Fishtown Expansive pizza restaurant with unique wines Pizzeria Beddia has come a long way since being proclaimed the best pizza in all of these United States in 2015. Bon Appetit’s call out of the Fishtown hole-in-the-wall sparked even longer lines and even more rage at the impossibility of scoring a pie before it sold out. At the height of the hysteria, owner and sole pizzamaker Joe Beddia closed up shop and took a year-long hiatus in preparation for a newer Pizzeria Beddia, just a few blocks away. This time, there are reservations, a phone, and a whole kitchen of pizza masters modeled after Beddia’s tactics. The important stuff is still the same, of course: perfect hand-tossed pizza of of the utmost quality.
Est. 2013 | Rittenhouse Chef Marc Vetri’s casual outpost for pizza and signature Rotolo You should definitely start with the Rotolo, which comes in a cinnamon bun-like shape and uncoils to reveal the perfect medley of pizza dough, mortadella, ricotta, and pistachio pesto. Save room for personal or shareable sized pizzas, including the signature Melanzana pizza with San Marzano tomatoes, eggplant, and stracciatella.
Est. 2010 | Gayborhood Mediterranean joint with savory pizzas and signature desserts This narrow, bi-level restaurant fills up quickly thanks to artfully made pizzas incorporating unexpected ingredients, as well as locally inspired desserts like the signature budino. For pizza, try the Uovo if you want “secret” white sauce, Parmesan, fresh greens, and a truffle farm egg as the cherry on top.
Est. 2015 | East Passyunk Cozy bi-level spot with pies honoring Southern Italian tradition The pies at Brigantessa are served unsliced, meaning you can go nuts and pull them apart with your hands like you’re in Europe, if you want to. Of course, your server will happily slice it if you prefer, and it tastes just as good. Anything with Piennolo del Vesuvio tomatoes is worth an order, and you can even get risky and douse it in Chilean oil if you really want to clear those sinuses.
Est. 2008 | Fairmount Fast-casual counter shop for quick-yet-tasty slices Sneak in a few slices from Luigi’s before a night of bar crawling in Fairmount, and you’re in line to have some of the best, fastest thin slices in town. You can also fill up on stuffed pizza like the grilled veggie and meat pie, if you’re ravenous for a feast. The spot also opens everyday at 10am, so if you’re in the market for a late breakfast pizza, you’re in luck.
Est. 1959 | Multiple locations Neighborhood institution serving traditional tomato pies Square tomato pie is definitely not for everyone, but if you’re an advocate of the red, look no further than Santucci’s. Take in the satisfying crunch of the thick crust as you find all the oozing mozzarella hidden underneath that sauce. You can also score these slices at Santucci’s North Broad restaurant, and another location is coming soon to Roxborough.
Est. 2012 | Kensington Hipster pizza haven with unique toppings and ice cream next door This thin-crust pizza is dope, but a visit here also comes with bonuses: a walk into Philly’s only Pizza Museum (!), and a passageway into Little Baby’s Ice Cream, which happens to make the perfect dessert. Try the whiz cheesesteak slice special, if you’re in the mood to truly test the limits of your stomach capacity.
Est. 2003 | Manayunk Bi-level spot with gluten-free pizza options Gluten-intolerant pizza lovers, we have found your salvation! Not only does Couch Tomato offer fresh ingredients atop unique signature pizzas big enough to feed a crowd, but customers can opt for gluten-free or whole-grain crusts, both of which are ideal if you want to pretend pizza is still part of your diet plan. Try the Godfather: a perfectly savory, prosciutto-topped-with-spinach masterpiece.
Est. 1946 | Port Richmond Old-school shop serving square pizza that's worth the wait Tacconelli’s is another Philly institution that spans generations, supplying tomato pie to the masses for nearly three-quarters of a century. If you’re not into tomato pie, though, you can opt instead for the regular, white, or margherita pies. This is a one-oven operation, so wait times can be a gamble, but that oven has enough history to rival any Philly landmark.
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Marielle Mondon is a Thrillist contributor from Philadelphia raised on pizza Fridays