Sometimes, you need pizza: a flying saucer of dough topped with rich tomato sauce and oozy mozzarella—or an arugula, prosciutto, and fig jam pie; or a lardo, squash blossoms, and pecorino masterpiece. Maybe we want that delicate crunch of singed crust; maybe we crave dough piled high with our personal combination of dream toppings. Whatever the case, Philadelphia restaurants provide. From old-school favorites like Tacconelli’s to trendy Zavino to the no-frills corner pizza shops, there’s always savory pie within a few blocks of where you—and your dining companions—are standing.
A dedicated pizzeria is the obvious choice when your entire dinner party is pro-pie, but what if your pal is no-carbing or your boyfriend craves a medium-rare filet? Fret not: just because they don’t want pizza doesn’t mean you can’t get your fix.
Philly is full of spots where you can eat your crispy favorite and your fellow diners can choose from a mostly non-pizza menu filled with the likes of short rib sliders, salmon tartare, or grilled bronzino. Here are our top picks for spots where you can satiate your pizza craving and your guests won’t be stuck with salad:
Better known as a trendy Mediterranean restaurant than a pizza purveyor, Barbuzzo in Midtown Village turns out stellar pies topped with freshly stretched cheeses and house-cured meats. The vegetable emphasis throughout the menu will please your health-conscious friends, and the pastas and meat entrees will have your pals commending you on your restaurant choice. Regardless of how satisfied your dining mates are with their menu choices, don’t be surprised if the person next to you asks to steal a slice of your pie.
This is everything you could want in a neighborhood gastropub, from live music to fire pits, from scallop-topped salads to mussels to nightly suppers to—most importantly—pizza. In fact, when you enter the enormous space, the dancing flames of the pizza morning in the open kitchen might be the first thing to catch your eye. If someone in your group has a liquid supper in mind, the 60 draft beers provide ample choices.
Nestled on a quiet corner west of the Eastern State Penitentiary, Rembrandt’s is more a neighborhood pub than a sauce-and-mozzarella joint. But they take their hearty, hand-tossed pies seriously, featuring the likes of Philly cheese steak and pierogi pizzas. Plus, Rembrandt’s inventive burger list makes it the place to go if you’re dining with a beef lover. A Philly cheese steak pizza and a dry-aged beef patty topped with pork belly, blue cheese, and a fried egg? Now that’s a great date.
This spot is steps away from Rittenhouse Square but the lack of pretense makes it feel miles farther. C19, formerly Cichetteria 19, is a Venetian-style Italian joint that also boasts a number of crowd-pleasing specialties, including organic roasted chicken and strip steak. With eight pies—four white and four red—your biggest obstacle will be choosing between the mushroom and the artichoke, mushroom, and ham versions. Our advice? Order the fig pie for a savory dessert, even if it means taking it to go. Around midnight, you’ll be glad you did.
If someone else is paying, upscale Osteria is the dinner spot to suggest. This is some serious Italian dining, but if fancy, morel-topped pizzas aren’t your pleasure, you’ll find comfort in traditional Margherita or simple marinara pies. And since most pizzas are under 20 bucks, feel free to point out to the pizza-avoidant that you’re the cheapest date in attendance. That earns you dessert.
Known as a high-decibel drinking and dancing spot for twenty-somethings, Noche is decidedly lesser known for its solid single-serving pizzas that all cost less than $10. (Plus, pies are half-price during happy hour Tuesdays and Thursdays through Saturdays.) Consider Noche the new answer to nights when some want a bite to eat and others are sticking to Jaeger bombs and Lager. You get your pie, they get their quick buzz.
The Comcast Center’s ground-floor restaurant may conjure images of men in suits making deals over $36 ribeyes or cougars in stilettos swilling martinis and preying on yuppies. While both are arguably accurate, neither picture is quite complete. Table 31 also serves a number of thin-crust options in the bar area (an excuse to linger past happy hour and make it a light meal) and throughout the restaurant at lunchtime—a pizza power lunch if there ever were such a thing.