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Philly pizza


beewilson
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My sister has recently moved from a job at Yale to one at the University of Pennsylvania and is pining and yearning for the pizzas of New Haven. Any suggestions? I've seen Taconelli's mentioned on egullet, but it sounds as if it's quite hard to get to.

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tacconelli's is not within the central part of philly.

in that respect it is somewhat hard. it is still probably no more than

a 20 minute drive from penn by way of 676 and I-95 though.

never actually been there or to new haven though, so rich and katie and others can fill in any blanks.

you call ahead of time and order your own dough. when you get there and get ahold of your pizza you eat it there standing in the street (wintertime probably not so good to do this)

the goodness won't last long enough for you to take it back to the house/other location.

others can elaborate on toppings, but i would think tomato pie would be the choice.

delorenzo's in trenton is supposedly better, but also never been.

top tomato on 11th and walnut is a recent entry into the local pizza game, and by all accounts it is well liked.

others with some local name include la fourno on south around 6th, lorenzo and sons on south at 3rd.

i understand the lombardi's on 18th (offshoot of manhattan location) isn't as good, nor are the pietro's at 2nd and south and 17th and walnut.

that's just about it for the non-franchises.

hmm, i should try some of these pizzas i guess. all this useless knowledge.

:biggrin:

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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People have been raving about Top Tomato, 11th/Walnut, but I've yet to try it. I stopped in and picked up a menu, and the offerings look impressive. As for La Fourno, the pizza is single-serving style pie, good but a little limp, so I usually ask for well-done.

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yea, been meaning to try it myself.

the one time i got a chance, was in the evening, and i just wanted a slice or 2.

evidently the only do slices during the day. not a completely disagreeble business decision, but sucked for me.

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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I stopped by Top Tomato last week. It's okay. Probably the best pizza in that neighborhood; not that that's saying much...

I had a slice of tomato/mozzarella/basil (which they didn't call margherita. I don't know why) and one of tomato (no cheese) Sicilian (which they also had an odd name for. Again, I don't know why.) They use decent ingredients for the toppings. The sauce is okay: didn't taste like canned or anything, but didn't have the fresh taste I look for in a really good pizza. Same sort of deal with the crust: maybe my slices had just been sitting around for a while, but while it wasn't limp or anything, it also wasn't crispy.

For my money, Philly's best pizza by the slice is the tomato pie at Sarcone's. (And the fact that it's dirt cheap doesn't hurt.) Marra's in South Philly makes a good pizza, too.

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I too am very fond of both Marra's and Sarcone's Bakery tomato pie.

Living near Trenton, I am spoiled with Delorenzo's nearby, but ridiculously busy most of the time.

I can however vouch for both the quality of Top Road Tavern's pizza, on Brunswick Pike in North Trenton (pretty smoky bar area though, one big demerit). And tonight I actually broke down and ordered takeout from the OTHER Delorenzo's in Trenton, this one located on Hamilton Ave and Fairmount Ave., a cousin to the original on Hudson St., and both the tomato pie and white clam pie were fabulous, yeasty charred crust, thin and light with that perfect Trenton mix of sauce and cheese on the one, clams, garlic parsley and olive oil on the other. And for all these years, I had heard it was not as good as the original Delorenzo's. Poor stupid me for listening. Andrew, the next time you make your way here, we will hit this place, much less of a wait. And a bathroom!

RP

Edited by Rich Pawlak (log)

Rich Pawlak

 

Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large

MY BLOG: THE OMNIVORE

"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"

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Coincidence is a funny thing sometimes. Saturday afternoon-- only a couple of hours after posting to this thread-- I got a call from friends who had reserved a table (and dough, natch) at Tacconeli's for 6:30 that night. I can now definitively say that all I've heard about it is true.

How good is Tacconeli's? It's hard to say; my pizza sense isn't as finely-tuned as others'. Past a certain point of deliciousness, all I can do is fit it into that small, elite group of pizzas that are as good as anything I've had. Tacconeli's is definitely in that group.

The good news is that you don't have to eat the pizza by your car. (Though it probably tastes even better that way.) They do have tables, which you need to reserve along with your dough. This appears to be quite a task: my friend started calling at 9 AM and didn't get through until 9:30. Worth the effort, though.

You can tell how good Tacconeli's is by looking at its menu. No extraneous material here-- this place does one thing, and does it well, and that's an attitude I respect. Just one page, double-sided, with the restaurant history on the back. No prices, no extraneous material of any kind, just a short explanation of the options and a recommendation against ordering more than three toppings per pie.

We ordered three pizzas (for four people... Shut up! It wasn't gluttony, it was research! Okay, a little gluttony.) One tomato pie (lots of sauce, no cheese), its inverse, a white pizza (cheese, herbs, lots of garlic) with chopped tomato, and a regular pizza with spinach.

What to say about the pizza? I think the key is in the dough: it's crispy and carbonized in a few spots. You know a pizza crust is good when you can hold it at one end and it stays, um, erect. (Sorry.) Tacconeli's crust is of this kind, and it's the focus of their pizza. Toppings, sauce and cheese-- while all excellence-- are there to enhance the bread layer: the crust isn't just a platform for a buncha greasy cheese, as is all too often the case.

The sauce is light, with a nice sweet tomato taste and some herbs. That said, I probably still like Sarcone's tomato pie better (Sarcone's sauce is thicker, and you really get a mouthful of tomato flavor.) The regular pizza was also terrific; again, the focus is on the crust, and it's not overloaded with cheese or sauce. But the real standout was the white pizza. Crust, cheese, garlic working together in a perfect balance; get a little crazy and throw some tomatoes on top for a little acid. What I liked most about the white pizza is that it showed the same kind of minimalism that the restaurant does so well. You can taste each element with every bite: it's simple, it's excellent, and I fear that it's spoiled me for other pizzas in Philly...

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Hope you got to peek in the kitchen. If not ask next time, they're glad to give you a short tour.

The hearth the bake the pies on started of baking bread in the early 20th Century. The paddle they use for getting pies in and out of the oven has to be 15 feet long.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Andrew:

My personal favorite combo at Tac's is the white pie with fresh tomato and basil, or the regular pie with spinach and sausage. YUMMMMM... :wub:

The crust is the star there, as the dough cooks to a perfect crisp, ever-so-slightly-charred-just-at-the-edges base for the delicious and fresh toppings.

Three pies for four people??? Wusses! My friends and I usually order one pie per person and fight to take home the leftovers! Of course if my one usual dining companion for Tacconelli's is with me, his two teenage boys can put away a pie apiece and still want leftovers to take home :shock:

Next time you're in the mood, let me know. I'm always game for a trip to Tac's! :biggrin:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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  • 2 years later...

My wife and I have for years always loved going to Marra's for pizza and mussels (red). It's been a wihle because we had little kids but we brought them last night (after 5 years probably) and its just like we remember. The kids were so well behaved and ate so much I think we can begin our regular visits again. My little 2 yr old was slurping the red sauce from a mussel shell - my genes, good boy :biggrin:

Warning though. Awesome top notch pizza and great mussels in red sauce but most other things are pretty darn mediocre. A huuuge pizza is like $10 and a big bowl of mussels was $7.50. Its good cheap eats!

Since my little guy was so brave, we headed over to Capogiro. Both kids had a great time. 5 yr old had the white chocolate and boy plain chocolate. I had them both try my rosemary honey goat milk. One thought I put acid on her tongue. Mussel boy?..... "mmmm"

As I said, good boy................

Evan

Dough can sense fear.

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I grew up less than a mile from taconelli's. It's really not that hard to get to.

Get off 95 at Allegheny ave, go straight down richmond street south, and then make a right on Ann st followed by a left on Belgrade and finally a left onto Somerset. Its only like 2 miles from the exit ramp if that.

You usually have to call 24 hours in advance to order your dough. Personally I like the greasy pizza at lorenzo's on south street best of all. But Tac's is good if you like the new haven style pizza (usually pretty crisp).

WhizWit.net -- My blog on Food, Life, and Politics
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For my money, Philly's best pizza by the slice is the tomato pie at Sarcone's.  (And the fact that it's dirt cheap doesn't hurt.)

It's been interesting to note how close Sarcone's is to the Italian bakery pizza tradition, just transported over the Atlantic. I've been getting in the habit of stopping in at a bakery in the afternoon for a quick slice of pizza rosso (the equivalent of Sarcone's tomato pie, though different in style) or pizza bianca (just oil and salt on top of the crust) for a little snack. Lots of bakeries have pizza by the slice (or really, by weight), too. Yum.

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My wife and I have for years always loved going to Marra's for pizza and mussels (red).  It's been a wihle because we had little kids but we brought them last night (after 5 years probably) and its just like we remember.  The kids were so well behaved and ate so much I think we can begin our regular visits again.  My little 2 yr old was slurping the red sauce from a mussel shell - my genes, good boy  :biggrin:

Congrats on raising your young'un so well! Watch out, though: he'll be pushing for a trip to Studiokitchen soon...

Anyway, I'd say that Marra's is one of the best places to bring kids. I've seen families there lots of times, and even when the rugrats are less than behaved, nobody seems to mind much.

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