Piesmiths at Apollo Pizza partner an array of sides and salads with made-to-order pizzas slathered with sauce, covered in cheese, and polka-dotted with a potpourri of toppings. Descend fork first in to a chicken-caesar or greek salad before eschewing silverware to grab sides—such as onion rings, jalapeño poppers, or bacon-and-cheese-topped mega fries—with hands or telepathic mind powers. A serving of 10 buffalo wings smothered in sauce round out pre-main-course noshings before a fully customizable pie arrives at tables laden with four toppings plucked from a cache of more than 15 accouterments, including roasted peppers, ricotta cheese, and sausage. Throughout the meal, diners can split 2 liters of Coca-Cola, sipping it from individual glasses or, in accordance with Italian tradition, chugging it straight from the bottle while dancing the tarantella.
When Benito Marcantuono opened his pizzeria in 1999, he chose the name Soprano's because he has a fondness for music. Three months before, however, the HBO series The Sopranos premiered, and its popularity helped this little pizzeria gain a following. That following has stayed with the eatery, due to its vast menu, which lists something for virtually anyone. New York–style pizzas, pasta, hoagies, and calzones present a wide portion of the Italian-food spectrum. Specialty pizzas take on unusual toppings such as provolone cheese, cheesesteak, and hot sauce—making for menu items that are unexpected and delicious, like a plot twist on The Sopranos.
Tongues savor the flavors of Il Giardino Pizza Cafe's lunch and dinner menus in a dining room where Pavarotti and Bocelli's arias waft past a traditional tuscan décor of potted plants and roman columns. White garlic sauce or, if it's after Labor Day, marinara sauce drenches an oceanic starter of mussels or clams ($9.50), and lunch's meaty quartet of capicola, salami, pepperoni, and ham stacks muffuletta paninis ($8.50) with piquant protein. Crème fraîche and yellow peppers ornament the spinach-ricotta-dolce pizza ($10.75), and the grilled-salmon salad's ($12.99) title character waltzes atop a stage of leafy spring-mix greens. Veal marsala ($20.99) joins up with the BYOB eatery's house-made bread, and the spaghetti pescatore ($22.99) yields more pasta than Strega Nona's magic pot.
At Apollo’s casual eatery, cooks layer freshly baked Italian rolls with a variety of deli meats and cheeses and top from-scratch pizza dough with herbs, sauce, and a house-blended mix of cheeses. When they’re not hand-tossing dough or stuffing strombolis with custom ingredients, they’re crafting homemade meat lasagna, sausage-stuffed pasta shells, and seafood plates such as fillet of flounder. They also prepare hoagies, burgers, and a sextet of salads made with garden-fresh veggies.
Flush with the success of their first restaurant, The Couch Tomato Cafe, business partners and college buddies Craig Mosmen and Michael Cassano have expanded their plant-themed empire with The Tomato Bistro. Situated in the Manayunk district among an array of boutiques, salons, and nightclubs, the comfortable yet formal dining space surrounds diners with loft seating, cut-stone walls, hardwood floors, and modern lighting fixtures.
The Bistro’s dinner menu is filled with thin-crust, New York style gourmet pizza creations topped in San Marzano sauces and Grande mozzarella cheese. Produce is ordered and prepared daily and used to cover pizzas, fill salads served with homemade dressings and rolls, and add splashes of color to otherwise lackluster chef uniforms. Gourmet small plates encourage sharing, while an intentionally limited menu of specialty pizzas, salads, wraps, paninis, and homemade soups allows The Tomato Bistro’s cooks to maintain a high level of quality.