The best pizza in Philadelphia is hidden in an alleyway under the Market–Frankford Line. Located on a quiet street in Fishtown, the new Pizzeria Beddia is laden with the myth of superlatives—it has the most open space, the tastiest slice, the creamiest soft serve. Owned by Joe Beddia, a reluctant superhero of a chef known for his Clark Kent glasses and penchant for slouchy t–shirts, the new location isn’t meant to be compared to the old. They’re nothing alike. 

The old Pizzeria Beddia, which sold its final pizza during the spring of 2018 after five years in business, was the size of moderately priced studio apartment and located in the shadow of a McDonald's and a millenial beer garden. Ordering a pie was a Herculean task—customers couldn’t call to order ahead, or sit at a table, or make alterations to his classic offerings. You ate what you were given—a doughy thin crust pizza layered with an impactful tomato sauce and a healthy helping of cheese—and liked it, even if it meant you had to wait in line for eight hours or visit on a Monday at 4 p.m. because they sold out the first two times. The old Pizzeria Beddia was good because it was hard. The new version is good because it’s easy.

Photo: Ethan Wu

A collaboration between Beddia and the owners of Lebanese hot–spot Suraya, the new iteration is both homey and minimalistic, with natural light casting shadows on sparsely dressed wooden tables. At the restaurant’s center is a circular marble bar that feels more expansive than its 28–bottle wine list—more than double the number of food options. This Pizzeria Beddia is warm and inviting and smells a little like an Italian grandmother’s spice cabinet. It says, Welcome. Come Inside. Fall in love with everything about us. 

Bits of quirk are sprinkled throughout the open space. A smiling kawaii cloud floats over the bar, reminding patrons to laugh a little—this isn’t that kind of fine dining. Chubby, neon stars reminiscent of middle school doodles line the back walls to provide the same effect. Even the menu is imbued with childlike wonder, designed in a font that’s half chicken scratch, half bold block lettering. In short, Joe Beddia wants you to know he doesn’t care—not about the praise, or the hype, or the next business venture. All he wants is for you to have fun, and a couple of pizzas while you’re at it. 

Photo: Ethan Wu Joe Beddia at the counter

The meal began with tomato pie, a Philadelphia classic known for its lack of cheese and abundant red sauce. Pizzeria Beddia’s take is textbook. The dough verges on being a focaccia, thick and chewy with air pockets providing a balanced lightness. Dipped in olive oil and coated with two layers of tomato sauce, it tastes best at room temperature. Soggy with subtle flavors, like the punch of Sicilian oregano, it reminds you that simple can be special. 

The same can be said of their Tuscan kale salad. An easy mix of kale, sun gold cherry tomatoes, sunflower seeds, and a mint–infused crème fraîche dressing, this starter tastes like a late summer afternoon. The kale lacks its typical bitter flavor, allowing the toppings to take the lead. The dressing is thick, like a well-prepared ranch, but lacks that indescribable tangy flavor. It has a quiet, cool aftertaste—thanks in part to the mint—and pairs well with the vibrant crunch of sunflower seeds. It’s a salad for people who buy produce at farmers' markets, using the simplicity of a freshly cut tomato or a new bushel of kale to create something refined.

Then came the pizza: the “angry” Pizza Arrabbiata coated in a tomato sauce steeped with chilis and topped with a smattering of serrano and flecks of basil. It’s lip–stinging in the best way possible, kind of like a first kiss or a box of Hot Tamales snuck into a movie theater. The basil mutes some of the spice, giving the pizza an addictive kick. The crust feels novel, a mix between a flatbread pie and the doughy crust of the greasiest New York dollar slice. It’s chewy with a crunch that rests at the edges, with those large bubbles that give every good pizza its character.

Make no mistake—this isn’t a pie that you order casually, like when you’re drunk off cheap beer or looking for a dinner that’ll satisfy that group of friends who can never decide on what to order. This is a pie reserved for life’s specials, bursting with the flavors of fresh excitement. It’s not quite angry, like the menu says, but rather tenacious, using spice to build a heat that rests on your tongue long after the final bite. 

Photo: Ethan Wu

Ultimately, Pizzeria Beddia is more than its hype. It’s not the best pizza in America. But it is the best pizza experience, filled with adventure and familiarity in every bite.

TL;DR: The best pizza in Philadelphia

Location: 1313 N Lee St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19125

Hours: Monday – Sunday: 5 p.m. — 11 p.m.

Price range: $$$