Can You Find Proper Neapolitan Pizza in Philly?

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Osteria's wood-fired pizza Photo: Osteria

The specifics of Neapolitan pizzas are "subject to much Talmudic debate," writes Michael Idov in New York Magazine this week. But there are a few rules that all aspiring Neapolitan pizzas must follow: A twelve-inch round pie, often unsliced; a thin, soft, and chewy crust; bubbles on the rim; simple but quality sauces; a modest amount of mozzarella di bufala; and a few stingy drops of olive oil. Though New York is currently in the midst of a Neapolitan revolution, it's not the only city turning away from the familiar gloppy sauce and slithering cheese. Philly has a wealth of tomato pies and square pies, but Neapolitans are few and far between - at least until Stephen Starr ends his pizza quest and opens his Headhouse Square pizzeria.

Osteria's blistered, wafer-thin margherita pizza is as orthodox as it gets, but even purists might be swayed by the heady Lombarda topped with baked egg, bitto cheese, mozzarella, and cotechino sausage.

For a more humble (and inexpensive) version, South Philly's SliCE offers homemade, "hand crushed" tomato sauce made with San Marzano tomatoes and a crisp, almost cracker-like crust.

While the raw ingredients here may not be quite as highbrow as pizza fanatics dictate, there's a reason Tacconnelli's Pizzeria, the homely Port Richmond pizzeria has been in business for over 80 years - the wonderful crust fired in the original brick oven. Don't forget to reserve your dough.