Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Looking Back at 2011: The Ten Best Pizzas We Ate

10. Paradise Pizza
This place might want to think about delivering. If they did, I'm sure we would be eating it a lot more often than we do.

9. Tacconelli's Pizzeria
These guys make a terrific pie for sure. But it is simply impossible to avoid knocking off points for their pretentious "reserve your dough" bullshizz and service that often acts like they are doing you a favor by taking your order.

8. Perrotto's Pizza
We only ordered this pie so we could write jokes about how they share a space with The Valley Forge Beef & Ale, a sort of last bastion for reprobates that still allows smoking within its walls. We expected the pizza to taste like a carton of Marlboro's, in other words. It is actually legit. Just walk in the back entrance if you don't want to smell like a smoke stack on the way out.

7. Mack & Manco Pizza Too
The Jersey Shore (region, not show) staple knows a good sauce-to-mozzarella ratio when they see it. The fact that you can down a slice under the summer sun while listening to the seagulls squawk? That helps too. Providing the birds don't organize a sudden divebomb in search of nourishment.

6. Marzano's Pizza and Steaks
How good was this pizza? We drove out to Exton only to realize that the place had no seats. No matter. We sat at a counter and ate the whole pie with a toddler balancing tenuously in our laps. Well worth it.

5. Olce Pizza Grille
We braved a thunderstorm to head out to this Skippack spot that's nestled into an area that looks like a collection of country stores. The pizza was flavorful, foldable, and expertly prepared. Served by one of the friendliest waitresses in the history of the food service industry.

4. Mack's Pizza
To think: We were blowing out of Wildwood after a wonderful family vacation when we decided on a lark to delay our departure and grab a pie at this Boardwalk standout. Always a wonderful idea. The slices were huge, greasy, saucy, and oozing with cheese. Everything you want in a Jersey shore slice.

3. Pepperoncini Restaurant & Bar
On a rare date night, the wife and I decided to go to this place in Conshohocken. We only went because we had some sort of coupon. Being that it was slightly fancy inside, I didn't even know they served pizza. They did. We bought it. And didn't regret the choice.

2. Rubirosa
An absolutely splendid version of New York pizza! Second-best sauce I had all year. Tomatoes tasted like they were just plucked off the vine. Thing was so good Saucy Jr. sat still for longer than he has in the last six months. That is about three minutes and 22 seconds, but still.

1. Charlie's Pizzeria
This place does not look like it is going to make you the best pizza you will taste all year. It's hot as hell in there. Ambience is equivalent to your average truck stop bathroom. There are fridges lining the walls and most of the space is taken up with Miller Lite, Coors Light, MGD 40s, Budweiser, etc. One would think a place selling beer for people with no taste would offer up a pie with the same qualities. This pie was astounding. A tremendous tomato sauce is applied in abundant amounts whether you are ordering the red-top or the conventional. The cheese tastes spectacular with just the right amount of ooze. A complexly textured crust serves as the perfect base. If you should choose to get a topping (and you should), the pepperoni is spicy and distinct, supplying the customer with a taste that contrasts wonderfully with the other main ingredients. Let's be honest: The folks behind the counter? Yeah, they look like some serious characters. But when it comes to making pizza, they might as well be celebrity chefs.

The Pizza Project
Just a nibble:
Single slice:
The full pie:

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