Few major American cities boast an Italian heritage as rich as the City of Brotherly Love. That's probably why Philadelphia chefs know their stuff when it comes to pizza. Many of the finest pizzerias around town were established by Italian immigrants who built huge wood-fired brick ovens to create authentic Italian fare. Even the newer kids on the block are super-serious about their craft. For passionate pizza people who want only the best, check out these top pizza pantheons in Philly.
The Couch Tomato Cafe
102 Rector St.
Manayunk, PA 19127
Pop in to this cozy Manayunk cafe for a healthier version of the regular pizza pie. Don't expect delicious greasy cheese dripping from a thin crust, though. While a few thin crust options are available, most of these fabulous pies feature a puffy wheat, white or gluten-free crust with the perfect cheese-to-sauce ratio. Extravagantly topped, 18-inch jumbo gourmet pizzas are baked over pizza stones and sport such names as "The Godfather," "Maui Wowee" and "A Touch of Italy." For a real treat, try "The Barbie," a scrumptious concoction of chicken or roasted pork, green peppers, smoked mozzarella and Gouda cheese, caramelized onions and barbecue sauce.
Related: Top Pizza In Philadelphia
501 DeKalb St.
Bridgeport, PA 19405
Sweet sauce versus savory gravy has always been under debate in the pizza world, but for those who prefer it sweet, Franzone's will send you to heaven. People come from miles around to this Bridgeport pizza joint for its out-of-this-world, sweet-but-not-too-sweet, marinara gravy. The sauce-to-cheese ratio is about two to one, and that's the way Franzone's fanatics like it. Soft, tender dough is made daily, and the prices are just right.
Related: Top Pizza In Philadelphia
GianFranco Pizza Rustica
6 N. 3rd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
White pizza aficionados love this Old City staple for its wide variety of sauceless slices of heaven. Standard pies and specialty pizzas feature thin crust and fresh tomato gravy, but the white pie keeps customers coming back. Interesting toppings include broccoli rabe, barbecue chicken and chicken with ranch dressing. Go for the gusto with the "Taco White Pizza" or the "Roasted Garlic and Peppers White Pizza."
Marra's Italian Restaurant
1734 E Passyunk Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19148
South Philly has no shortage of pizza parlors, but Marra's tops them all for toppings. Established in the 1920s by Sal and Chiarina Mazz, this Passyunk Avenue landmark boasts its original brick oven built by Sal with bricks brought over from Mt. Vesuvius. Hundreds of celebrities have crossed the eatery's doors over the years, including Frank Sinatra and John Travolta, to bite into piping hot pies with toppings such as shrimp, clams, eggplant, anchovies, pesto and cherry peppers. Standard and gourmet toppings, a savory sauce and thin crust makes for a pizza that is arguably the best in the city.
2604 E. Somerset St.
Philadelphia, PA 19134
It's not all gravy at Tacconelli's in the Port Richmond neighborhood of Philly. These gods of the tomato know how to make a sweet, bold sauce that sits atop the best ultra thin pizza crust in the tri-state area. It all started with Giovanni Tacconelli, an Italian immigrant who came to our fair city in 1918 and handcrafted a humungous 20-square-foot brick oven. A limited amount of dough is prepared fresh daily, so it's a good idea to reserve your pizza a day ahead of time. If you're not getting take-out, grab a table near the oven to watch these pizza princes work their magic.
Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey's "Cape May County Herald" for more than a decade. A writer for numerous online publications, Susan has covered health, fitness, beauty and travel, all subjects that are near and dear to her as a married mother of seven children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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