13 Best Philadelphia-Area Pizza Restaurants
Delaware Valley slices your kids will love
Coming up with a list of any city’s best local pizza parlors is at least partial folly, if only because everyone has their favorite places to frequent. And who’s to say anyone’s wrong?
When it comes to kids, they aren’t usually into gourmet anyway — as anyone who’s ever seen their seen their offspring gobble down Chuck E. Cheese (aka “Yucky Cheese”) or Ellio’s frozen pizza can attest.
That said, there are some pizza joints in the Delaware Valley area that have achieved fame for one reason or another — usually, when it comes down to it, because they’re good. Here’s a baker’s dozen of places that your kids might find interesting and you’ll find delicious.
Note: This list is Pennsylvania-only; New Jersey warrants a list of its own and deserves more than a token listing or two.
2604 E. Somerset St., Philadelphia
Tacconelli’s origins date to 1918 as a bread-baking business, but after World War II original owner Giovanni Tacconelli began making tomato pies in his brick oven. That tradition continues today and remains so popular that patrons reserve their dough in advance for choices of thin-crust tomato pies and regular pizza. Cash only.
Down North Pizza
2804 W. Lehigh Ave., Philadelphia
The relatively new Down North Pizza has gained acclaim because it “exclusively employs formerly incarcerated individuals while providing culinary career opportunities at a fair wage and equitable workplace.” Which is to say that by patronizing Downs, you’re helping people get a second chance, and giving your kids a lesson in social action as a side dish. It serves Detroit-style pizza, which is square and features cheese right up until the edges, a variety often praised for its crispiness.
1313 N. Lee St., Philadelphia
Bon Apetit named Pizzeria Beddia the “best pizza in America” a couple years ago, and acclaim has rolled in every since. Owner Joe Beddia closed up his original location and expanded to a new spot in Fishtown, but the pizza is as popular as ever. The new location also has a “Hoagie Room” for parties of six, which is cool, but the $75 per-person cost means you should save it for special occasions.
100.5 S. 21st St., Philadelphia
Rione is the rare place that serves pizza al taglio, a Roman street food baked in rectangular trays and sold by either the slice (or “cut”) or by tray. Check out some of the interesting offerings on the menu at this Rittenhouse Square establishment, such as patate e rosmarino — pizza with potatoes, rosemary and mozzarella cheese.
1734 E. Passyunk Ave., Philadelphia
If you want to go old school South Philly, Marra’s is your place. Now surrounded by trendy restaurants on Passyunk Avenue, Marra’s has served Italian-American classics for more than 90 years. Aside from classics like veal parmigiana, shrimp scampi and chicken piccata, Marra’s brick oven dishes out a variety of traditional and gourmet pizzas.
7803 West Chester Pike, Upper Darby and 1233 West Chester Pike, West Chester
And if you want to go old school outside the city, head to Pica’s, which has been at the same location since 1956 after debuting in West Philly 15 years prior. A favorite of Upper Darby native Tina Fey, Pica’s rectangular pies features sauce put on top of the cheese and other toppings. Order it well done for best results. There’s also a Pica’s now in West Chester.
4330 Main St., Manayunk, Philadelphia
Not certain what kind of pizza to order? Pizza Jawn, which makes multiple styles, could be the place for you. Aside from a traditional round pie, they make thick, square Detroit-style pizzas, as well as what they call Grandma Pizza, which is 16-inch-by-16-inch square with a sesame seed bottom and sauce over the toppings. FYI — it’s rather popular these days, so order online well in advance.
Pizza Brain/Pizza Dad
2313 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia and 2843 W. Girard Ave., Philadelphia
Both locations feature a wide variety of creatively named thin crust pizzas (such as the Forbes Waggensense and the Lucy Waggle) that mix traditional and nontraditional pizza ingredients. The Frankford Avenue location also offers Milk Jawn small batch ice cream, and is home to what is billed as “the world’s first pizza museum.”
Pizza Plus West
4814 Spruce St., Philadelphia
Owner Dan Gutter — known as Pizza Gutt — has earned quite the following in recent years, initially via Instagram. Pizza Plus offers you a choice of nine-inch personal pan pizzas or 16-inch hand-tossed pies. There’s another location — Pizza Plus South — in South Philly at 1846 S. 12th St., and Gutter also owns a highly rated pizzeria called Circles + Squares in Kensington.
1939 Callowhill St., Philadelphia
Acclaimed chef Marc Vetri opened his pizza joint a few years back near the Philadelphia Museum of Art and has since expanded to locations in Rittenhouse Square and Devon. Pizzeria Vetri touts wood-fired pizza with fermented dough in both a traditional 12-inch round format and a 28-inch rectangular version.
Corropolese Italian Bakery & Deli
2014 Old Arch Road, #2, Norristown
Tomato pie is a bit different than pizza — and it’s often associated with Trenton, New Jersey — but this longtime Norristown destination (there are branches in Audubon, Royersford and Douglassville) has legions of fans. A traditional tomato pie features little more than sweet tomato sauce atop chewy, crispy bread, but it can be customized into variations more akin to pizza.
1526 W. Ritner St., Philadelphia
Sticking with the theme of tomato pies, Cacia’s has made a really good one since Dwight D. Eisenhower was in office (and there are five locations in New Jersey, too — Williamstown, Blackwood, Cherry Hill, Hammonton and Audubon). Aside from tomato pies and pizzas, you’ll find they have a superb selection of baked goods.
Drexel Hill Pizza
2585 West Chester Pike, Broomall
Not as well knows as the others on this list, “Mah Flend” has fed generations of Marple-Newtown area residents since its 1960s debut. Fans of Greek-style chewy-crust pizza will enjoy this pizza parlor, though be aware that it is, confusingly, located in Broomall, not Drexel Hill. There’s a table or two in the small store, but carryout and delivery dominate. And, not for nothing, Drexel Hill is a personal favorite of the author.
This story first appeared in the October 2021 issue of MetroKids.