The Best Tomato Pies In Philly, Ranked
photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO
Philadelphians have a special, square-shaped place in our hearts for tomato pie. The room-temperature dough topped with sweet sauce and oregano is versatile enough to work as a daytime snack, the main event on game day, or just something our aunt eats while gossiping about her hairdresser's divorce. While some Philly spots deck out theirs with fruity olive oil, banana peppers, or basil, others stick to the traditional Italian bakery method that originated in the 1910s. Ignore the confusing imposters (side eye to Trenton). These are the best versions in the tomato pie capital of America.
THE TOMATO PIES
Liberty Kitchen's focaccia-like slice dripping with olive oil should be the offering we give aliens to prove that Philly comes in peace. The sweet sauce takes on an almost caramelized texture. And the dough is soft, crispy, and a little charred at the same time—exactly how a tomato pie should be. Go to their Fishtown shop or Two Locals Brewing in University City and see for yourself.
Mayfair people know Nonno Ugo's for their Italian cookie trays during the holidays or maybe pepperoni bread during lunch. But this bakery also serves tomato pie slices the size of postcards. These things are equal parts tangy sauce and crust, making them wetter than most others on the list. That sauciness only works because the bulky bottom holds everything up. Get here early or call ahead. Nonno Ugo often sells out.
Sarcone's usually has a line of out-of-towners and people who live in Philly. It's not just an Italian Market tourist trap—their tomato pie is great. Expect a slice that's a little over an inch thick, soft and pillowy, and has a generous amount of tangy sauce, oregano, and parm dust. Don't get distracted by their pies topped with sausage or mozzarella. It’s the classic tomato that will make you tolerate questions about Rocky or what “jawn” means while you wait in line.
The topography of a tomato pie can either hover in flat-earther territory or have some real height. And Fiore's versions are perfectly inflated. This Kensington Italian cafe doesn't load up on sauce like most other spots do. Instead, the tomato sauce bakes into the bubbles and mounds on the crust's surface. But even if you eat the blistery crust last, like we do, you’ll still get plenty of tomato oomph.
Anyone who isn’t sure if tomato pie is pizza (it’s not) should go to Fishtown’s Pizza Shackamaxon to end the debate. The slice shop serves pizza as well as great tomato pies. So you can taste and see the difference between the two. The dough here—like with most other tomato pies—is fermented, making it a little dense but airy, and bread-like. Shackamaxon’s yeasty tomato pie slices are also giant, taking up an entire plate. And every inch of the top layer gets slapped with sauce.
Marchiano’s tomato pies have that thin, sponge-like crust action going on in the center. But it’s almost like they gave the edges a dough BBL. Long story short, the crusts are big-time bready. These only come as a half or whole pie, but one chomp of the bright, garlicky sauce will make you want way more than a single slice anyway. Bring cash to this Manayunk spot, or hit up the ATM inside.
The tomato pies at South Philly’s New York Bakery look just like a small red blanket on bread. Each rim gets a brush of EVOO, so there’s a nice, oil-slick crunch. It’s one of the saucier tomato pies in Philly. But the thick sauce gets baked just enough to stay in place. You could go dancing with it and not make a mess.
Cacia’s tomato pie is classic. It's the classic, in fact. The South Philly shop has been serving thin slices covered in tomato sauce and dotted with herbs since before phones had rotaries on them. They understand that, in order to get a good tomato pie, the dough and crust have to bring it. The edges are crunchy, and the crust tastes like it has a few bucket splashes of olive oil for a toasty finish.
Pizzeria Beddia in Fishtown is one of our favorite places to eat pizza. Naturally, they make a great version of its sauce-drunk, short cousin. The tomato pie slices here have a ton of Sicilian oregano and citrusy olive oil. And the dough ferments for 24 hours, so there's a noticeable tang. We don't eat these. We vacuum them.
The sauce on Iannelli's thin, springy tomato pie drowns the crust. So if you get sloppy with your bites on the way home, your shirt may look like the killer got you in Scream. Here's the catch: the East Passyunk spot is only open 15 days a year, or at least that's what it feels like. Get here at the rare time when they’re open or maybe just pay for expedited shipping on Goldbelly.
Mighty Bread in East Passyunk tops their sourdough tomato pie with basil. If that sounds special and fancy, that's because it is. The slightly acidic dough flavor balances out the sweet tomato sauce, and each slice has toasty air pockets inside. It’s one of those tomato pies where all of the ingredients go to the edge of the crust, so you’ll never have a boring bite.
The whole tomato pies at Conshy Bakery are massive—we’re talking 32 pieces. Finishing one could be the basis for a competitive eating contest, but the reward would be bliss (and probably a need for sweatpants). The shop also does impressive designs with parmesan cheese. So you can plan that tomato pie proposal you've been thinking about for years. Come early on weekends. They close at 1pm.
Gaeta’s deep tomato pies come with either six, 12, and 24 slices. The Northeast bakery makes a few different varieties, like versions topped with cheese, spinach, peppers, and more. But go with the classic, and you’ll eat something that’s as good as watching the Birds score. Almost.
The tomato pie at this South Philly pizza place is mostly sauce, like what the surface of a red planet like Mars would look like if it was all sweet tanginess instead of dust. But even if you can’t see the crust, this thing is still light. You're going to swallow several in one sitting.