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Jan 4, 2012 03:17 PM

the greatest pizza ever


I am looking for a great, classic, no-frills pizza. I'm a huge foodie who has been grooming the man in my life to appreciate wood-fired, fig-and-prosciutto/crispy eggplant/burrata pizzas, but someone wants a basic pizza for his birthday and I'm unwilling to let quality or taste slide!

I'd like to surprise him with a basic but quality pizza. Delivery is good, but not mandatory, and we're based on the border of Philadelphia proper and Rockledge. Will travel for good pizza, but having it show up at the door would make for a fun surprise. Thanks for your help in advance!

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  1. Surprise him with a day trip. Lucali's in Brooklyn is worth all the hype. It is a perfect Neopolitan pizza. For me, though Tacconelli's would be my pick, the white with spinach and chopped tomatoes.l am not a fan of Barbutto or Zavino as the middle puddles, nor am l a fan of Osteria. Thus l guess l am on the pizza fringe. And boy are you going to get opinions

    1 Reply
    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

      I don't love Tacconelli's but most people do; you're not that far from there and it's a casual, no-frills place that just pumps out pies (BYOB). Totally accessible for basic pizza lovers and pizza snobs alike. Don't forget to reserve your dough in advance. Delivery is usually a failure for better pies; they are usually thin crust and just can't take the steaming in the box. Fresh out of the oven is always best.

      With the caveat that I haven't eaten from these places in a few years, Frank's in Elkins Park and The Pizza Box in Glenside always made great pies; the former for basic cheese and simple toppings, and the latter for slightly fancier (spinach & ricotta, eggplant parm, etc). There's a chance Frank's may deliver to Rockledge. Pizza Box has a very casual order-at-the-counter eat in area. You could of course do pick up from either.

      I agree that pizza taste is a very personal thing, I find that a lot of it depends on what you grew up eating. Most people in the US didn't grow up eating wood-fired pies with figs on them, and I think most people--I know I do--appreciate those pizzas differently from a causal Friday-night-delivery pie.

    2. A very subjective and broad topic , isn't it ? I have found this to be an informative link which discusses many aspects of this ubiquitous food. I am not sure it will assist in your search for "greatest ever" as it only widens the search. Good Luck!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bacchus101

        thank you! I will be sure to check this out.

      2. The end product you desire should not sit in a car for 30 minutes and infuse with the aroma of corrugated cardboard. You need this right out of the oven and consume it while sizzling hot. I'm in the NW 'burbs and am partial to Olce in Cedars and Parc Bistro in Skippack - both have the thin crusted pie with the esoteric toppings you seek. However, delivery of such might be like asking for Sunday brunch at La Croix to arrive by FedEx in a picnic basket. It just doesn't work. You gotta be there.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Chefpaulo

          I think "esoteric toppings" is exactly what the OP is NOT seeking. Sometimes you just want a good, old-school pie, and it sounds like Mr. cstecyk wants precisely that.

          1. re: travelmad478

            OK... I misread that one. But the two establishments mentioned can do the same. However, i stand fast on the 30-minute cardboard boxed ride for anything of quality.

            1. re: Chefpaulo

              Agreed. The boxed ride is certainly not my first choice. But I will be sure to check out Olce and Parc Bistro. Though this original Philly pizza foray is for something simple, I am always interested in esoteric toppings! I appreciate the suggestions!

        2. This probably won't work for his birthday ambiance-wise but your post made me immediately think of an amazing pizza I recently had at the Pitruco food truck. It is a mobile wood fired pizza oven and you guys should definitely try it out at some point.

          4 Replies
          1. re: mleighn

            Tacconelli's in Maple Shade, NJ (across from the Moorestown Mall), walk in... order pizza, BYOB, can't be beat!

            1. re: discndav

              Anyone ever compared the two Tacconelli locations? I have never been to Maple Shade location and always been skeptical that it is indeed as good as the original.

              1. re: cwdonald

                You're right to be skeptical. Nowhere nearly as good as the original.
                As to the original - for us, it is the best.
                I'm not comparing it to designer pizzas like the ones at Osteria - just delicious, crisp, tasty thin-crust pizza. We always get the original white pizza with garlic, spinach and tomatoes. Heavenly!

                1. re: sylviag

                  Agree exactly, both on Maple Shade location as well as what pie l get on Somerset St.

          2. The pizza at Stella (2nd just about South downtown) can stand with the best pies anywhere. And a nice thing (with regard to your goals for the man in your life) is that their pepperoni is terrific but pies are small, so you can order a frillier one alongside if you want. Plus there are in-betweeners on the menu with frilly-sounding ingredients and solid, old-fashioned pizza goodness, and good salads and small plates as well.

            6 Replies
            1. re: GDSwamp

              +1. Was skeptical of the place a bit at first, but good pizzas attempted in the Neapolitan style(not sure if it fits the standards exactly).

              On another note, I too am wondering about the Maple Shade location of Tacconelli's. I live very close to there, but haven't yet made the trip, and it would be much more convenient than driving to Kensington.

              1. re: GDSwamp

                Stella's on the corner of 2nd & Lombard. They do takeout, but I don't think the pizza would survive a trip back to Rockledge.

                1. re: barryg

                  I suppose I should have included this in my original response, but I can attest to this. Had half of a pizza there and half when I got back(granted I'm a longer distance away and made a few stops); it was not the same. Can't say I thought it was bad, but I am probably in the minority on this one, and I wouldn't suggest another to do takeout there.

                  1. re: tzanghi

                    The margherita pie at Zavino is pretyy simple and good. I am a big fan of Pitruco's margherita pie too. Can't say that I was enthralled by Stella's soggy crust though. I have taken out from Zavino and it makes it fine to Delaware...

                    1. re: bluehensfan

                      Stella's crust is seldom soggy in my experience, so if you tried it only once and were put off by sogginess, maybe give it another shot.

                      On the other hand if you've tried it multiple times and still have a sogginess complaint, it's possible we have different definitions of "soggy", and then we're really screwed.

                      1. re: GDSwamp

                        Nah, mine was a one-and-done trip to Stella. Problem is these days I really like Zavino...