photo credit: Rachel Lerro
Gigi Pizza might be the smallest sit-down restaurant in Philly - it’s essentially the size of a college dorm room or Gwyneth Paltrow’s pantry. But despite being physically tiny, Gigi manages to make a huge impression. They serve the best pizza in Queen Village, and some of the best in the entire city.
When you first walk into Gigi, you’ll likely think there’s a much bigger room around the corner in the back. But what you see is what you get: six tables, twelve chairs. They also don’t take reservations or have a waitlist, which means eating here can be a bit of a logistic nightmare. We’ve waited an hour at a bar across the street only to have our table given up to someone else who happened to walk in the front door right before us. To avoid that happening to you, hang out at Olly (their sister bar next door) and check back every 15 minutes to make sure you get a table.
If that sounds annoying, we don’t disagree. But the pizza you’re rewarded with is worth the wait. It’s Neapolitan style, with a fluffy, soft crust and thin bottom that’s just strong enough to hold all the toppings. The puttanesca pie with olives and anchovies is just the right amount of salty balanced with the sweet tomato sauce, and the clam and broccoli pie has a bunch of garlic butter on the dough - making the crust almost taste like garlic bread. Even the simple margherita pie is excellent, with a perfect amount of cheese sprinkled like little puddles across the sauce.
photo credit: Rachel Lerro
The dough makes its way into other dishes on the menu as well. Like the baked St. Alban’s cheese dip that should be called “pizza fondue” and, most importantly, the cannoli dip dessert. It’s essentially pizza crust coated in butter, sugar, and cinnamon, cut into pieces and served with a sweet ricotta and chocolate chip dip. Think Domino’s CinnaStix, but without the need for an “if it sucks we’ll take it back” guarantee.
The few non-pizza items on the menu, like a meat lasagna with heaps of slightly-sweet whipped ricotta and a burger pulled straight off the menu of neighboring Olly, make great add-ons to any pizza. But you shouldn’t go out of your way for them. And the drink list, like the restaurant, is small but mighty. There’s just a simple board on the wall with a few reasonably-priced options (some wine, beer, and two cocktails) which makes the process of choosing a drink easy.
Come to Gigi for a weeknight dinner when you have nothing better to do than sit at a bar and wait for some really good pizza. You might score a table immediately, or you might end up waiting for a group of 12 people to finish a three-hour dinner. It’s a gamble, but one that ends in really good pizza 100% of the time.
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Baked St. Alban’s Cheese
If you’ve never had St. Alban’s cheese before, it’s kind of like brie but more intense. Gigi melts it down and serves it with their fluffy pizza dough, so it’s essentially like a pizza fondue.
A simple pie, but the dough makes this one better than most other Neapolitan pizzas in the city. You won’t hesitate to take the last slice, even if you’re sharing it with four other people.
Broccoli & Clam Pizza
The broccoli and clam pizza is another great option, especially if you want a white-based pizza instead of a tomato-based one. This pie has garlic butter coating the crust, and is topped with cheese, bacon, olives, clams, and broccoli.
Cacio E Pepe Pizza
Of all the pizzas on the menu, the cacio e pepe is our least favorite. The toppings - a cheese sauce and cracked pepper - are fine but not super flavorful or memorable. There are better choices here.
The lasagna works great as a side dish to a margherita or the broccoli and clam pie. It’s filled with layers of meat sauce and slightly-sweet ricotta, and the pasta is cooked perfectly.
If we didn’t have to wait for a table, we’d come to Gigi just to get this cannoli dip for dessert. It’s really just pizza dough covered in butter, cinnamon, and sugar, served with chocolate chip ricotta cannoli filling. If you like Dunkaroos, Cinnastix, or anything else in the cinnamon dessert family - you’ll love this.