FLORIDA MAN EATS A BANANA FOR BREAKFAST
...after spending the night setting alligators free in local IKEA.
In journalistic terms, that’s what’s called burying the lede. Can restaurants do something similar, though? We think so after eating at Stina Pizzeria. If you go by the name, you’d think this place was all about the pizza. When in reality, the pizza is unremarkable at best - you should really come here for the excellent, decently-priced Mediterranean food.
It’s not that the pizza at this South Philly BYOB is bad, per se - if you order the one with spicy soppressata you won’t be disappointed. But there’s so much better pizza in Philly worth checking out, not to mention that almost everything else coming out of Stina’s wood-burning oven is better than their pies. Example #1 is their $14 pide. It’s an enormous Turkish flatbread that’s shaped like a boat and looks like Noah’s Ark if the biblical ship carried taleggio and braised greens instead of goats and tigers. Stina makes three different kinds, and while they’re all incredible, the one filled with merguez, mozzarella, and tabbouleh is the one we’d take home to meet our parents.
photo credit: Kerry McIntyre
The pide isn’t the only thing you need here - if you know what to order, you can fill your table with excellent dishes, all of which don’t cost more than $18. There’s an incredibly tender octopus dish with olive tapenade, foie gras-stuffed grape leaves that we’d like to carry around in our purse at all times, and flaky, savory boreks stuffed with kashkaval cheese and drizzled in honey. Ordering the borek is like getting a little bit of dessert right in the middle of your meal, and it makes us wish this happened more often.
On top of all the great food, Stina is just a fun place to hang out. It feels like a small dinner party in a friend’s apartment - there are only a few tables so it fills up quickly, and everyone who walks in is carrying their favorite bottle of wine. Plus, there’s nowhere else in the neighborhood that can replicate that kind of experience. And while we don’t really get why Stina calls themselves a pizzeria, there are a lot of things that we don’t understand. Like why somebody would let loose a bunch of gators in a department store.
Fire Roasted Potatoes
Get one of these for the table to share, and then another one for yourself after the entire first plate is finished in seconds. These potatoes are salty, citrusy, and delicious - they need to be a part of your order here.
Kashkaval Cheese Borek
Sweet and salty at the same time, the kashkaval cheese borek is almost like a savory cheese danish with honey dripped on top.
Most of the Mediterranean dishes on the menu here are great - the manti are the exception. They’re dry and don’t have all that much flavor. You can skip them.
While we’re not huge fans of the pizzas here, we are very obsessed with the pides. They’re essentially Turkish flatbreads, and they’re shaped like little boats - holding all of the ingredients safely inside the chewy, soft dough. Our favorite is the one topped with spicy merguez, but they’re all incredible.
This is your classic shawarma sandwich, wrapped in a hot pita and filled with grilled chicken, hummus, pickles, and tabbouleh. It’s solid, but not a must-order.
Spicy Soppressata Pizza
If you’re going to get a pizza, it should be this one. The spicy soppressata complements the honey drizzled on top nicely, and the dough is great. There’s entirely too much cheese and sauce, but otherwise this is a solid pie.