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For Xplanted New Yorkers - pizza that tastes like pizza

I've been here a little over a year (after nine years in Brooklyn) and had just about despaired of finding a pizza place where they make pizza. I'm in the Rittenhouse area and local offerings like Gusto, Tower, Fellini Cafe, Rex's, etc. range - in my opinion - from the bad to the baffling. I have the utmost respect for my new city and its denizens, but they seem willing and able to call some very strange, slouching, misshapen things "pizza" - and then to happily eat those pizza-things. Local favorites - Mama Palmas, Gianfranco's - have been, to my taste, hardly better than the dismal average (the one exception being Tacconelli's, which I thought was terrific; but given the distance and the whole reserve-your-dough thing, it's not an everyday option).

But this past Friday, at one of those nice free-pizza-in-the-conference-room lunches that make working life more pleasant, I bit into a slice of pepperoni pie that tasted stunningly, shockingly and thrillingly similar to my old friend, pizza.

So if you're in the neighborhood, and if you came here from a place where they have pizza, and if you're in the mood for a good - not amazing, but I'll happily take "good" - pizza that you can actually eat right here in Philadelphia (they'll even deliver it right to your home!), I strongly recommend:

Dolce Carini
1929 Chestnut St
(215) 567-8892

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  1. We love Dolce Carinii. Their garlic pizza is amazing.
    Another place that is nearly as good (except their sauce is a little sweeter) is Lazarro's at 17th and South. Thank you.

    1. That place has good pizza? Good to know.

      Also, try the garlic pizza from NYPD (New York Pizza Department). Comparing such to NY is not my strong suit, but it is mighty tasty.

      Though this is not germaine to the whole NY pizza question, I recently found what I believe to be the Platonic ideal (if one exists of such a bastardization) of the buffalo chicken pizza. I was skeptical, but it was mighty tasty and spicy, at Top Tomato.

      1. I am not a fan of Lazaro's but will give it a second try - we ordered it when we moved in and it was far from delectable. And my Gianfranco on Broad experiences haven't hit the mark. So we tried Paolo's pizza the other night (12 and Pine) and were very happy with their thin crust, little tiny sausage nuggets and delivery time. Now, I won't step up to place Paolo's in NY Pizza vs Philly Piza debate either, I'm jsut sayin' i like the stuff and it could be worth a try....let the NYers fill us in.

        3 Replies
        1. re: rumdrinks

          Lazaro's is much greasier than typical, so if you don't like the grease dripping off the cheese, then it's not for you. But it's close to NY style which is what the OP is looking for.

          Dolce Carini is my definite #1 (in CC West).

          1. re: JugglerDave

            Ok, so seeing as how our tastes seem to be somewhat aligned, and we both like Dolce Carini, I'd be interested to know about your other pizza favorites. You go out of your way to say Dolce Carini is your #1 "in CC West" - this implies the existence of other #1's in other parts of the city. I am, accordingly, eager to have my horizons broadened.

            P.S. Is it safe to assume that you, JugglerDave, are somehow entangled with Bride of the Juggler? (not that you have to answer that).

            1. re: GDSwamp

              First, yes Bride of the Juggler and I are married, you may occasionally see us correct (or reaffirm) each others' posts.

              Now, as far as the pizza is confirmed, I unfortunately can't add too much outside of CC West (my residence of the past 12+ years). You hit the nail on the head, about places like Gusto & Tower etc. Although I do like Pietro's and Mama Palmas for what they are (but not NY-style).

              Now about broadening horizons...

              Tomato Pie. two suggestions.
              In town, stop by Sarcone's, they have a pretty good version.

              However, for carbohydrate nirvana, go to Marchiano's Bakery in Manayunk. It's not particularly convenient, on Umbria a couple blocks west of Leverington. A good walk from either the Ivy Ridge or Manayunk R6 station.

              The tomato pie is fantastic.

              The oregenata is fantastic -- a rolled ring of dough, filled with spices, olive oil, etc. so when you slice it you get spirals of layered goodness.

              The stuffed breads, with 5-6 different varieties (think "calzone-like" but not really) are very fresh tasting. For example, in the summer they have a jersey tomato, garlic and cheese version.

        2. Pietro's is my favortie pizza in CC, followed by Mama P's. Unfortunately we just don't have many good pizza spots. How hard is it? Lazaro's is my slice spot. $2 and you get a nice size, better than average for Philadelphia slice. I used to like Gianfranco's but they haven't been good the last few times so they are cut off. NYPD is probably the only other pizza place I would say is better than average. Lorenzo's is decent if you want a slop down but other than that quite bland. I will be trying Dolce Carini in the near future though, glad I heard that on the boards as I am in need of a decent pizza place to order from. Does Dolce Carini do anything else well besides pizza?

          1. There's good pizza in Philly, but what you're looking for is New York pizza, which is best found in New York. When I lived in Michigan for a year, I was amazed at what passed for pizza there (pineapple, ham, and tomato sauce...and their cheesteaks were even more bizarre). I think one's perception of pizza is mostly whatever one is used to. We used to have a Lombardi's (part of the NY Lombardi's) that made New York pizza, but they closed over a year ago. Don't know whether you like Patsy's pizza, but Pietro's here is part of that chain.