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43 PIzza joints in 30 days

OlderPhiladelphian Jun 4, 2007 07:37 PM

Glen Macnow who is a sports talk host on WIP visited 43 pizza places in 30 days. Below is the rating he used. I am 67 years old and have lived in the city my whole life and can honestly say that I have never tried Tacconelli's. Something about reserving the dough that turns me off. I have had most of the others and, for me, Marra's is the best, but DeLorenzo's is right up there.

1 Tacconelli’s, Port Richmond
2. DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pie (Hudson Street), Trenton
3. Marra’s, South Philly
4. Celebre’s, South Philly
5. Lazaro’s, South Philly
6. Franzone’s, Bridgeport
7. Mama Palma’s Gourmet Pizza, Center City
8. DeLorenzo’s Pizza (Hamilton Avenue), Trenton
9. NYPD Pizza, Center City
10. Rustica, Northern Liberties
11. Gianfranco’s Pizza Rustica, Olde City
12. Vince’s Pizzeria, Northeast
13. Rizzo’s, Glenside
14. City Pizza, South Philly
15. Vito’s Pizza, Cherry Hill
16. Alex’s Pizza, Roxborough
17. Giovani Pizza, Center City
18. Sal’s Pizza Works, Marlton
19. Joe’s Pizza, Center City
20. Pietro’s Coal Oven Pizza, Center City
21. Lorenzo and Son, South Philly
22. Cenzo’s, Havertown
23. Tony A’s, Roxborough
24. King of Pizza, Cherry Hill
25. Pappous Pizza Pub, Morton
26. Franco and Mario’s, Hamilton Township
27. Bruni’s, Hammonton
28. Lorenzo’s, South Philly
29. Marino’s Pizza, Runnemede
30. Sciarrino’s, Springfield
31. Georgio’s, Downingtown
32. Napoli Pizza, South Philly
33. Francoluigi’s Pizzeria, South Philadelphia
34. Verona Pizza, Upper Darby
35. Gaetano’s, Clifton Heights
36. New England Pizza, Northeast
37. Brothers Pizza and Pasta, West Chester
38. Tony’s Place, Northeast
39. Santucci Square Pizza, Northeast
40. Italian Bistro, Northeast
41. Couch Tomato, Manayunk
42. Pica’s, Upper Darby
43. Marrone’s, Ardmore

  1. p
    Phil_A_Mignon Jul 13, 2008 08:08 PM

    Here's an update: As of right now, best pizza in Philadelphia is the brick oven pizza of Osteria, North Broad Street, Philly ... specifically, the "Lombarda". Hands down. End of sentence.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Phil_A_Mignon
      rabidog Jul 14, 2008 05:30 PM

      oh, are we revisiting this lovely thread? this is probably my most-visited thread on all of chowhounds. i'm always coming back here to see if x or y or z pizza place made it onto the list. and they never have. i agree with you that osteria's pizza is damn good. not my fave, though. and especially not when you factor in the restaurant's price. but the margherita - delicious.

      there is one place i'd like to request the chowhounders' help on. i'm a girl of addictions, and when i find something i like i beat it to death. that thing currently is george's kalamata olive (extra olives) pizza. george's is a tiny neighborhoody joint at the northern liberties / kensington border, at the 2nd/american/girard intersection. george himself is behind the counter and is a nice guy. the first time i stumbled in there i was on my way home from a show at johnny brenda's and i'd had a lot to drink, so i wasn't sure if the slice-to-go was really good or if i'd just drank too much. so i've ordered more than just a few whole pies since. the crust isn't perfect, a little doughy, but the pizza is perfectly salty (if you're a fan of either olives or salt, i think you'd like this place) and the end result of all the ingredients is a sweet sweet harmony when coupled with a few of your favorite beers. i've been washing down this pizza with varying cases of yards philly pale ale, PBC's walt wit and the victory mixed bag (hop devil, golden monkey, pils and lager) and it makes me think there's nothing better i could be doing with my summer! anyway, i would love some chowhounders to weigh in here and tell me if i'm overhyping the pie or if george's really is a hidden gem.

      slice gets an honorable mention, too. i quite enjoyed them though they need a new brand of cheese IMO. great crust.

    2. p
      phillyjazz Sep 8, 2007 05:06 AM

      I don't get the buzz about NYPD ... I went in there expecting something special, and it just like any slice at any mall across the USA. I've had the same pizza in St. Louis.

      3 Replies
      1. re: phillyjazz
        coolgeek Sep 9, 2007 03:06 PM

        NYPD's crust reminded me of Stella D'oro breadsticks.

        Did like the cheese though

        1. re: coolgeek
          fan4food Sep 10, 2007 06:59 AM

          Anyone try the pizza at "Slice" on S.10th St. (South Philly)? How does it compare to other pizza in Philly?

          1. re: fan4food
            lawgirl3278 Sep 10, 2007 07:04 AM

            Slice is my new favorite go-to for pizza. Their margherita and regular pies are delicious. Crust may be a little hard for some tastes, but I like it.

      2. arizonagirl Aug 21, 2007 07:50 PM

        Don't waste your time with Tacconelli's. There's much better on that list. There is one missing though. La Rosa in South Philly on Broad and Snyder. Now that's good pizza. Will be back in Philly in September and plan to make La Rosa my first stop.

        5 Replies
        1. re: arizonagirl
          brightman Aug 21, 2007 08:49 PM

          La Rosa suffers from dirty window syndrome. It always leaves a negative overall impression. I like Tacconelli's very much - what do you find wrong with the Tacconelli pies?

          1. re: brightman
            arizonagirl Aug 22, 2007 06:09 AM

            Have LaRosa delivered you won't even see the windows. Some of the best places around are little hole in the walls with dirty windows.

            anyway Tacconelli's is nothing special. With all the other places to pick from they are last on my list. The pizza to me is just subpar. but hey that's just my opinion. I've been to quite a few of the places on the list above and they are much better than Tacconelli's.

            1. re: arizonagirl
              fan4food Aug 28, 2007 04:29 AM

              Gianfranco's (3rd & Market St.) is my No.1

              1. re: arizonagirl
                GDSwamp Sep 10, 2007 09:53 AM

                Wrong wrong wrong! (and an illustration of the fact that taste is subjective). Tacconelli's is the best pizza in the Philly area, by a ways - in my opinion. But clearly you'd have to like the kind of pizza I like to agree with me.

                1. re: GDSwamp
                  fan4food Sep 10, 2007 10:35 AM

                  Tacconelli's is way overated.. I've eaten at their Moorestown location several times. Alfred's in Blackwood is better for that kind of pie.

          2. rabidog Aug 21, 2007 02:29 PM

            hey all. i'm slowly making my way through this list... where can i go for some pizza with a sauce that is NOT sweet? i want some good tangy sauce, something with bite.

            also non-gelatinous cheese is always a plus. :)

            3 Replies
            1. re: rabidog
              Philly Ray Aug 21, 2007 03:44 PM

              It's not on this list, but Carangi Bakery on Oregon Ave. between 12th and 13th Sts. in South Philly has sauce like that. The pizza and stromboli there are excellent.

              1. re: Philly Ray
                rabidog Sep 6, 2007 06:11 PM

                i still need to try this place. i have been craving stromboli after having a really tasty one in new brunswick.

                recently i tried marra's and pietro's. marra's has a really cute atmosphere, and the pizza was fine albeit a little greasy. much better than the pizza was the manicotti. it's really good pasta. i'll go back there.
                i went to the pietro's on south street and thought it was just OK. i expected more for the 'brick oven' title.

                still ranking my favorite is rustica in northern liberties. i'm smitten with their pesto pizza, topped with tomato slices and fresh moz, that you can get by the slice. i have yet to find a better slice. so many flavors and a crust it's a wonder they can make so crispy.

                i want to give tacconelli's another chance, but i'm just never craving pizza far enough in advance to make their cut.

                1. re: rabidog
                  Philly Ray Sep 7, 2007 08:28 PM

                  An FYI on Carangi's. The pizza is made ahead of time and sold by the piece. While it is very tasty at room temperature, you would need to take it home and heat it in the oven if you want it warm/hot. Unless you happen to be lucky enough to walk in as they are taking a pie out of the oven...MMMmmm

                  And, if you liked the manicotti at Marra's, you should try their lasagna. They make it with sausage as opposed to ground beef. Now that is some good eatin'!!!!!!!

            2. gina Jun 29, 2007 05:03 PM

              I've only tried two places from the list--NYPD and Gianfranco. They're good, but I like Tony & Joe's in Conshy, Guido's in Camden, and Pete's Pizza in Old City better, in that order.

              5 Replies
              1. re: gina
                coolgeek Jul 1, 2007 07:48 PM

                huh? I walked into Pete's once, looked at the slices, and walked out

                I don't have to taste it to know that Soho, Gianfranco's and Margherita are vastly superior Old City pies

                1. re: coolgeek
                  gina Jul 2, 2007 10:31 PM

                  I have to disagree that Margherita has a superior pie to anyplace, especially based on sight alone (psychic taste buds?) of slices sitting out on the counter. All of the slices at these places take on certain visual qualities after cooling for a while.

                  Soho is pretty good, if a little heavy on the garlic. But Margherita uses entirely too much of the stuff, besides not ever cooking their pies long enough.

                  1. re: gina
                    coolgeek Jul 8, 2007 05:41 PM


                    EVER cooking their pies long enough?

                    (polysensory, pan-geographic, pan-temporal psychic powers?)

                    I'll admit I'd take Pete's over Old City Pizza, but that's not saying much. And I'll admit that the pizzas they dish out at 2:15 AM is pretty crappy, but I stand by my overall point - Margherita is vastly superior to Pete's

                    1. re: coolgeek
                      gina Jul 8, 2007 08:58 PM

                      I've had the misfortune of actually tasting Margherita pizza slices and whole pies too many times, so I can safely say that I haven't had to use any psychic powers to form my opinion of their product. I challenge you to get (and taste) a pie from Pete's sometime--then let me know what you think.

                      Old City Pizza? Gah!!

                      1. re: gina
                        fan4food Jul 14, 2007 05:26 PM

                        i think Top Tomato(Margherita) is very good. Guidos(market st)Camden is good too.

              2. s
                sylviag Jun 13, 2007 06:30 AM

                For me, Tacconelli's pizza is so far superior to these others that I usually don't even have a desire to go elsewhere. We were at Marra's recently - good, but no Tacconelli's.
                Calling to reserve a pie is no big deal. We never had a problem with it. They need to know about how many to make. We love the original pie, white with garlic, spinach and tomatoes. It's incredible!
                Heard that the place in New Jersey closed. It was nowhere near as good.
                The only other pizza I have loved recently is Jules Thin Crust in Doylestown. Of course, you have to like a thin crust. Maybe they will open a branch in Philly!

                5 Replies
                1. re: sylviag
                  lawgirl3278 Jun 13, 2007 06:56 AM

                  The NJ Tacconelli's is not closed, I was just there Friday night and it was bustling. I've had both and they are both great. Craig LaBan even thinks the Moorestown shop is better than Port Richmond. Moorestown is much more convenient for me, so I'm happy with it. But I agree, Tacconelli's is the superior pie in the Phila area.

                  1. re: lawgirl3278
                    JCap Jun 14, 2007 06:58 PM

                    What's the oven like in Moorestown? I know that's the secret behind alot of these old school pizza joints, like Tacconelli's in Port Richmond and Lombardi's, mentioned above.

                    1. re: JCap
                      lawgirl3278 Jun 15, 2007 08:10 AM

                      It's probably the same as the one in Port Richmond, albeit newer (brick). The pies come out thin and crispy...a nice shade of brown with browned bubbles of cheese. Just the way I like it, everytime :) At Marra's & Napoli's (both which I love), I request the pie to be cooked well-done to avoid the inconsistencies of cooked pie one time, slightly cooked pie the next.

                    2. re: lawgirl3278
                      discndav Jul 11, 2008 07:11 AM

                      I tried Tacconelli's signature pizza yesterday for lunch in Moorsetown,NJ...thin crust with spinach, cheese and crushed tomatoes. The brick oven baked the crust perfectly and whatever seasonings were on the crust made it even better, overall it was spectacular! When I go back next time, I'll bring others with my own beer or wine.

                    3. re: sylviag
                      bucksguy14 Jul 2, 2007 10:52 AM

                      sylviaq - We were there last week and found out from the staff that Jules is opening another location in the fall - not Philly - Newtown!

                    4. l
                      Lex Jun 11, 2007 05:59 PM

                      Went to Pietro's on Walnut in Center City today.....it was incredible! Very good....not Lombardi's but close.........

                      1. p
                        Phil_A_Mignon Jun 7, 2007 06:46 AM

                        Hey, older Philly guy. I am a transplanted North Jerseyan (Bergen County) now living in Exton, PA (going on 5 years). I have to say that the single most frustrating thing about the greater Philly area (annoying Eagle fans aside .. ha), is the horrible pizza. I do love Macnow's food investigations (loved the best burger hunt last year).

                        I just thought I'd respond, to say thanks ... I'll now have to search these locations (again, only referring to greater Philly; obviously good za can be found in the city). But also wanted to say that if you are that big of a fan of pizza ... you, Sir, need to make the pilgrimage to the Mecca of all pizza creation: Lombardi's, NYC.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Phil_A_Mignon
                          JCap Jun 10, 2007 06:19 AM

                          I'm a philly hound working in NYC, and just had Grimaldi's (Garden City) last week- it was TREMENDOUS! Where exactly is Lombardi's? Thanks...

                          1. re: JCap
                            Lex Jun 10, 2007 08:45 PM

                            Its on Spring street...east of Broadway by 5 blocks give or take...........enjoy it is unreal.....

                            1. re: Lex
                              Rick Jun 12, 2007 06:47 PM

                              I've had both, Grimaldi's is the best pie we've ever had. Lombardi's was good, but definitely not a place we have to revisit. We had three different pizzas there and they were unremarkable enough that I only remember the white clam pie and don't remember the topping on the other two but they were pretty basic. We've been to Grimaldi's twice now and it was excellent both times, excellent.

                            2. re: JCap
                              Phil_A_Mignon Jun 11, 2007 07:28 AM


                              Lex beat me to it on the directions (below). But yeah, seriously ... it's the Promised Land of Pizza. Oldest pizzeria in the country (102 years old, original brick oven). Indescribable.

                            3. re: Phil_A_Mignon
                              OlderPhiladelphian Jun 11, 2007 05:16 PM

                              Hey Phil:
                              there used to be a Lombardi's here on 18th St. Same owners as the NYC place. Sorry to say, that I just dont get the love affair with NYC pizzas. Problem with Lombardi's is if you wait five minutes after the pizza comes out of the oven, the dough gets chewy. It is not like I am just off the farm...have been to NYC many many times. For my money, give me Marra's.

                              1. re: OlderPhiladelphian
                                Phil_A_Mignon Jun 11, 2007 09:54 PM

                                Older Philly Guy,

                                When I can walk into a pizzeria in a Philly suburb and actually order a SLICE of pizza, not a whole damn pie, just a SLICE ... which, apparently, is a foreign concept around here ... that's when I'll take this area seriously about pizza. Until then, Pennsylvania is weak when it comes to pizza. Period. Stick with what you do best, Philadelphia: cheesesteaks and decades of consistent failure with your sports franchises.

                                And here's my response to your Lombardi's criticisms: First, I don't care if there were 5 Lombardi's on 18th Street ... it's not the 102-year-old Lombardi's in NYC with the 102-year-old brick oven. Secondly, if you're at the WORLD FAMOUS Lombardi's, why would you wait 5 seconds, nevermind five minutes, to start eating that slice of heaven. I, Sir, DO have a love affair with pizza as you can tell. Blame it on my 100% Italian heritage and my 30-years in the greater NYC area, where there's an excellent pizzeria every 2.5 miles.


                                Frustrated Pizza Eater

                                1. re: Phil_A_Mignon
                                  rockhopper Jul 10, 2007 02:48 PM

                                  Today for lunch I had a slice at Villa Rosa. Yesterday I had a slice for lunch at Nicky's. Last friday I had a slice at Tony's. Last wednesday I had a slice at Scotto's.

                                  Doesn't do much for your credibility.

                                  1. re: Phil_A_Mignon
                                    mazza3 Aug 23, 2007 10:55 AM

                                    Stick with what you do best, Philadelphia: cheesesteaks and decades of consistent failure with your sports franchises.

                                    a little harsh, don't you think? to try a reasonable tactic, everybody's got a preference, and if pizza is your passion and don't think anywhere but new york has good pizza then i suggest that while you are in philly that you learn to make it yourself. homemade pizza is heavenly and the reason that i never ate store-bought pizza until college. if you are feeling a bit lazy you can even buy the dough at sarcone's. i am also of italian heritage, and a born and raised philadelphian and i know that only liking new york pizza is a new york thing, not an italian thing. i have many jewish, irish, mexican friends in new york (born and raised, not transplants) who are 'experts' on new york pizza.

                                    that being said, you might want to try slice. it placates many a particular pizza eater, was not on this list and suprisingly to me just won best of philly (din't think word had gotten out/it appealed to the masses). and i completely agree with you about the annoyingness of not being able to get a slice at most shops. why would i want to eat a whole pie when wandering around shopping? that concept has unfortunately not caught on, with few exceptions.

                                    and for the record to the original post, that is alot of pizza in a month. i am amazed that napoli beat out francoluigi's. napoli pizza is meh but people rave about francoluigi's on here. hmmm.

                                    1. re: mazza3
                                      lynnellen Sep 4, 2007 08:15 PM

                                      I moved to Philly about 11 years ago from north/central NJ and I had to give up pizza. My theory is that the Greeks make a lovely souvlaki, but not such a good pizza. It all comes out like frozen Elio's pizza from the supermarket; it's white, flat and has a funny little pattern on the bottom.

                                      Lombardi's (in Philly) was good, I used to make special trips there before they closed. They had that wickedly good pink salad dressing, too. Mmmmmmm. And the sprinkle of fresh basil on your pie. Marra's is good stuff, but it's a sit-down restaurant. I will throw in my two cents and vote for By George in the RTM, across from Iovine Bros. produce. Their slices are good, their strombolis are tasty. And Dock Street, 50th/Baltimore, is quite good, too!

                              2. b
                                brightman Jun 7, 2007 06:37 AM

                                Tacconelli's is great, and well worth the minor inconvenience of making a phone call to reserve dough. We typically reserve one pie per person, and everyone goes home with a couple slices. I am surpirised Celebre's ranked so highly. I lived around the corner from them for a couple years and was never impressed by the pies they turned out. Marra's and City Pizza at 16th and Oregon (takeout only) are my favorite South Philly pies.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: brightman
                                  rabidog Jun 8, 2007 11:27 PM

                                  ya know, i called a few months ago to reserve my dough and while they did say it was necessary since i'd be coming in on a sunday, that off hours on weekdays you may just be able to walk in.

                                  if you've ever been to the place, you'd understand why they (attempt to) have a reservation system. there's no hostess stand, no waiting area where you don't feel like you're towering over diner's tables, and on the sunday i went, we were seated a full hour after my 'reservation.' they were packed on that day. that said i do think there should be, say, a first-come first-serve mondays or something like that, for those of us who suck at planning.

                                  i dunno. i had better pizza at my favorite italian restaurant in a shady neighborhood of a DC suburb which was owned and operated by a mexican family. tacconelli's sauce was too sweet, cheese no better than the supermarket shredded moz, and it was GREASY. as far as pizza in philly, i love rustica in northern liberties (fresh moz only + capers) and tony a's out in the suburbs. tony a's has some of the best pizza sauce i've ever tasted. i always ask for extra to dip.

                                2. Den Jun 5, 2007 08:21 AM

                                  I grew up on Franzone's pizza but I'm still pretty surprised he rated it number 6.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: Den
                                    gsider Jun 5, 2007 06:22 PM

                                    the only reason Rizzo's should be on this list is because of the Big Red
                                    siscilean style with the cheese under the sauce
                                    very good

                                    1. re: gsider
                                      phillyjazz Sep 5, 2007 11:32 AM

                                      Franzone's is a very Norristown style pizza (there is also one on Ridge Pike near B.J.'s / Home Depot. The sauce IS sweet, but the crust is thin and crispy, and the cheese is a blend popular in that area which combines white cheddar with a LITTLE Mozz. It is not at all stringy like most typical Italian / Greek pies.

                                      If anyone is fond of slightly sweet sauce, Penny's up in Limerick is probably the best of the genre (and GREAT Strombolis as well ...)

                                      1. re: phillyjazz
                                        jzerocsk Sep 6, 2007 06:43 PM

                                        I've never had anything even remotely like Franzone's anywhere in Norristown. Or Conshy or Bridgeport for that matter. It's really just a "Franzone's" thing. That is to say in my house if we either want "pizza" or we want "Franzone's."

                                        If you know of any other places in the area making anything remotely like Franzone's, let us know! I'd love to try them.

                                        1. re: jzerocsk
                                          phillyjazz Sep 7, 2007 06:42 AM

                                          Charlie's at Swede Square and La Roma on DeKalb used to haver similar pies. Haven't been to either in awhile. Perotta's on Ridge near Trooper, also.

                                          Still, if you like Franzone's make the trek up Germantown Pike to Limerick and check out Penny's. They have odd hours. Crust is not as thin and crispy, but the cornmeal makes up for it. The sauce/cheese combo is great. Rather than swirl like Franzone's they pile the cheese on first, and spoon the sauce over it, letting some cheese rise above the sauce level.

                                          The result is, you NEVER see cheese slide off a Penny's slice.

                                          1. re: phillyjazz
                                            jzerocsk Sep 7, 2007 07:51 AM

                                            Thanks for the leads! Sounds like I will have to go on a little pizza tour of my own :-)

                                            1. re: jzerocsk
                                              phillyjazz Sep 7, 2007 01:59 PM

                                              I grew up just outside Norristown, so some of these may be memories from my youth (though they still exist.) Ownership (and recipes) may have changed, but Penny's has been family -owned for years (like Franzone's.)

                                              I'd make that my first stop. Marzella's in Collegeville was also popular, but Penny's is worth the extra five miles when they are open.

                                              Legend had it that most pizza shops in the Norristown area had to buy their flour/sauce/cheese from the local mob, so they were all the same. Penny's was far enough away they weren't bothered and some others paid "protection" dues to use their own suppliers.

                                              The BEST cheese steak place, Shad's, was burned down about a month after they started serving pizza, and that lent a lot of credence to the rumors.

                                    2. re: Den
                                      quazi Jun 17, 2007 06:28 PM

                                      I would agree. I have had franzone's many times but I find their sauce way to sweet. Though I would drive many a mile for their stromboli

                                    3. l
                                      lawgirl3278 Jun 5, 2007 06:28 AM

                                      If you'd like to try Tacconelli's without reserving the dough, they have a pizza shop in Moorestown, NJ. They also serve salads and you can BYOB. Craig LaBan has said he thinks Moorestown makes the better pie. It's worth the ride to NJ.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: lawgirl3278
                                        OlderPhiladelphian Jun 5, 2007 01:51 PM

                                        Do you know where in Moorestown it is?

                                        1. re: OlderPhiladelphian
                                          lawgirl3278 Jun 6, 2007 06:51 AM

                                          Easiest way to Moorestown to take the Ben Franklin Bridge to 38 East. Stay on 38 until you hit the Moorestown Mall, at the intersection before the mall make a right. You'll see Tacconelli's on your right.

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