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Best pizzas in America (F&W)

PhillyBestBYOB Jan 4, 2014 01:10 PM

I know how you all LOVE these slide shows of top whatever lists, so to skip to the chase...Osteria and Tacconnelli's from Philly are included:

http://www.foodandwine.com/blogs/2014...

I recently went to Tacconnelli's for the first time and thought it was outstanding, sort of a crispy NY-style with minimal cheese, unlike anything I've ever had before (the call ahead and reserve your dough is a bit tedious though). Not a huge fan of Osteria's pizza.

But my favorite in the Philly area is still the Neapolitean style at Vecchia in Phoenixville (get the garlicy white pizza with added soppressata, my fav).

  1. l
    littlecmad Jan 20, 2014 02:44 PM

    I prefer a good Brooklyn Pie and I don't know of any places with them in Philly! Tacconnelli's is a close second though!

    1. PhillyBestBYOB Jan 9, 2014 06:52 PM

      A fellow board member and I finally made it to Pizzeria Vetri for the first time last night. We were there early, before the crowd hit, and who should be there but Vetri himself, with business partner Jeff Benjamin (and they kindly comped us a couple of things).

      We sat at the counter (the rest is communal tables), and started off with some great beers (all bottles or cans), which is one of the strengths of PV (Russian River Damnation, Perennial Aria, the latter was absolutely killer). They also have some Gotham project wines on tap. Also tried an Italian Sloe Gin Fizz cocktail (sloe gin, bluecoat, limoncello, club soda). The cocktails are interesting: they make big batches and bottle them in-house with paper tags instead of labels to identify their contents. Tasty, but I'm not really clear on the point of bottling cocktails?

      Moving on, I quite enjoyed the one Neapolitan-style pizza we shared, the "Salsiccia" (with fennel sausage, roasted fennel, tomato, mozzarella). Although the crust is a bit unusual, extremely thin (underline extremely), but also light and airy. A bit difficult to eat by hand, but then that's why they give you a knife and fork in Naples. We can debate which local Neapolitan-style is the best, and I haven't been to all the new ones that have popped up in the last couple of years (I still prefer Vecchia!), but I'd definitely be a regular at PV if I lived nearby.

      Unexpectedly, my favorite bite of the evening was the daily special Roman-style Pizza al Taglio, which last night was topped with prosciutto and gorgonzola (and maybe something else that I didn't catch). Actually, as we were engrossed in conversation our slice got cold. So we asked them to toss it back in the oven, and what came out was even better than what went in, extra crispy and chewy at the same time.

      Let's see, what else did we have...?

      ~Wood oven salad, with roasted parsnips, carrots, celery root, turnips, prosciutto cotto, smoked scamorza--I enjoyed this, the crisp roasted vegetables juxtaposed to the tender prosciutto cotto.

      ~Fried pizza dough, with citrus fennel sugar--A giant bag, and delicate Blackfish beignets these are not. A fun, casual end to the meal, but I don't know how fewer than 6 people could finish this much fried dough.

      Finally, what about the famous Rotolo, an app with pizza dough done up like a cinnamon bun stuffed with mortadella, ricotta, pistachio pesto??? After the huge buildup, I have to say I found it pretty boring. Really mystified about all the praise that this dish has received!

      Service was friendly and fairly efficient, but it did noticeably slow down as the place filled up after 6PM (Wednesday night). I'd recommend going at 5PM to beat the rush (no reservations). Quite a bit of metered/kiosk street parking in the area.

      All in all, I really enjoyed our meal and will definitely be back.

      2 Replies
      1. re: PhillyBestBYOB
        Delucacheesemonger Jan 10, 2014 12:10 PM

        Exactly what he said.

        1. re: Delucacheesemonger
          PhillyBestBYOB Jan 11, 2014 07:39 AM

          You are on a pizza roll (or is that a rotolo).

      2. Delucacheesemonger Jan 8, 2014 08:20 AM

        Checked the list and have been to 17 of them, Lucali just two weeks ago for the third time.
        Am up for your vaunted Vecchia, let me know when.

        BTW Tacconelli's has only one 'n'.

        Not a fan of Osteria pizza, crust almost pita like. Plan to give P Vetri a try.

        1. b
          barryg Jan 6, 2014 05:20 PM

          Anyone tied nomad Roman yet?

          4 Replies
          1. re: barryg
            c
            cwdonald Jan 6, 2014 07:36 PM

            I had lunch there.. good.. but I liked Nomad (NJ) better. Prefer Neopolitan style but very good pizza. I have yet to visit the one in Queens Village.

            1. re: barryg
              bluehensfan Jan 10, 2014 11:33 AM

              I did over the weekend and was not all that impressed. It was not terrible but given the other really good pizzas (Vetri, Zavino) in town I'm not rushing back.

              1. re: barryg
                b
                barryg Jan 19, 2014 11:05 AM

                Ive been here twice now. The roman style pizza is a thinner, crispier crust than the Neapolitan at their 7th St location. They are also a little bigger. The flavors are very good. Like the other Nomad, there arent too many over-the-top varieties (though there is a large vegan selection we ignored) but the pizzas are well made with quality ingredients and good flavors. Also like the other Nomad, the crust has a distinct fermented flavor. We also tried some other dishes like the meatballs and fried brussel sprouts (special) which were very good.

                Ive probably tried 8 pies in total and only one was not cooked perfectly; it was a special with cherry tomatoes and the middle was soggy, I think that the tomatoes released water when cooked.

                Again like the other Nomad, there is a tight, well chosen draft list. Wine is more limited. I think I prefer the Neapolitan Nomad more, but this is a good place to have the neighborhood. The other upscale pizza option is Zavino; Nomad Roman is bigger and they take reservations for larger groups. I like Zavino but never loved it, I think I prefer Nomad Roman and it's nice not to have to deal with the insanity of waiting for a able at Zavino (I guess that could change if Nomad becomes more popular). Prices are very fair, and happy hour looks like a great deal with $5 personal sized pies.

                1. re: barryg
                  b
                  barryg Mar 2, 2014 08:21 AM

                  Been to Nomad Roman a couple more times since my last post, I really like having this option in Center City. They have a late night happy hour from 10pm-midnight which is a great value with $5 glasses of wine, $4 draft beer, and $5 personal pies. You don't have to sit at the bar. Awesome after-theater option and the pizza is really good.

                  Last night they had a warm burrata special served with grilled artichokes and an almond vinaigrette, really delicious. They also were serving quail a couple different ways, including on pizza with red cabbage but also as an app with polenta.

                  Considering how good of a deal happy hour is, I was surprised it was only half full on a Saturday night.

              2. PhillyBestBYOB Jan 5, 2014 02:00 PM

                Also a shout out to Olce Pizza Grille in Skippack (actually just down Skippack Pike in Cedars).

                Super thin and crispy, with interesting ingredient combinations.

                The Autumn (Brussels sprouts, gruyere, mozzarella, pecorino, prosciutto) and Shrimp Scampi (Shrimp, garlic, butter, lemon, white wine, mozzarella, parmesan, spinach) are my favorites.

                Their only fault is that I think their cheese selection tends to make things a bit salty.

                You don't hear about it much, but it was in the Philly mag Top 10 for best toppings. BYOB (decent stems). And very kid friendly.

                http://olcepizza.com

                1. s
                  sylviag Jan 5, 2014 01:10 PM

                  One comment about pizza at Tacconelli's:
                  Order the white.
                  Our favorite has always been the original white with spinach and tomatoes - and garlic, of course. Recently we tried the garlicky white with onions and peppers. Fabulous!
                  However, I tasted someone's Margarhita and was very disappointed. The red was not fresh tasting, and only the crust was special.

                  Another disappointment was Pizzeria Vetri. Our pizza had an interesting middle but it was not spread throughout the pizza, and the crust was not as good as I expected.
                  We do love those designer pizzas at Osteria.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: sylviag
                    c
                    cwdonald Jan 6, 2014 08:47 AM

                    Sylvia which pizza did you order there? I have only had their marinara and their Margherita. I have really enjoyed their pies. I wonder if simpler is better there.

                    1. re: cwdonald
                      s
                      sylviag Jan 6, 2014 08:58 AM

                      cw, do you mean you never had their white pies?
                      These are the best loved and most popular.
                      For years, we stuck to the original - white pie with garlic, spinach and tomato.
                      Now we have added the white pie with garlic, onions and peppers. One of our friends says he always gets the white pie with garlic and mushrooms.
                      Some people must like their red pie, but I didn't care for it.
                      (Although I still loved the crust.)

                      1. re: cwdonald
                        s
                        sylviag Jan 6, 2014 09:01 AM

                        Oops - maye you meant at Pizzeria Vetri.
                        We should try it again.
                        Can't remember the details of the pie - the middle was great - but I was disappointed with the crust, and the filling only covered the middle.
                        Also, we are too old for this place. Everyone there seemed like the age of our grandchildren!

                        1. re: sylviag
                          c
                          cwdonald Jan 6, 2014 09:56 AM

                          Sylviag thanks for your reply. I did mean Vetri and I am sorry for the ambiguity. What didn't you like about the crust? I found mine to be thin, hold up under the simple toppings/ sauce and really quite good.

                          Regarding the people eating there. I have only gone over the lunch hour, and found it to be a mix of professionals and what appears to be spillover crowd from the Barnes. Must depend on the time of day you go. Felt like an upscale pizza parlor.

                          1. re: cwdonald
                            s
                            sylviag Jan 6, 2014 03:16 PM

                            The crust was okay - just not as good as Tacconelli's or the way I remembered it at Vetri.
                            We really need to try it again.
                            We were there in the evening, and we were the oldest people there by far.
                            But we'll try it again!

                    2. c
                      cwdonald Jan 4, 2014 02:35 PM

                      Ironically I think Pizzeria Vetri is as good as if not better than Osteria's pizza.

                      I am a huge fan of some of the flavors at Osteria. The cotechino sausage with egg is great (though you can also get this as an appetizer with polenta)

                      Osteria also should get credit for doing two styles of pizza. Their mortadella with pistachio pesto neopolitan style is good. I hope over time they bring the similar dough and crust from Pizzeria vetri to osteria.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: cwdonald
                        c
                        Cnote11 Jan 4, 2014 08:31 PM

                        Haven't had Osteria's pizza yet, but if it is even close to Pizzeria Vetri's then I approve! I was happy to eat their pizza, as I've been severely disappointed with the pizza in the area.

                        1. re: Cnote11
                          b
                          Beulah Jan 5, 2014 09:17 AM

                          We absolutely love Osteria's pizza. Haven't been to Pizzeria Vetri yet. We like Taconelli very much and another of our faves is Al Forno in Providence, RI (one of our kids lives there). Think their pasta is the best, as well.

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