Zavino Wine Bar Pizzeria
112 South 13th Street, Philadelphia PA 19107 (at Sansom Street; map); 215-732-2400; zavino.com
Pizza style: Neapolitan-inspired
Oven type: Gas-fired brick oven
The skinny: Having studied under Jim Lahey of NYC's Sullivan Street Bakery and Co., the small, individual-size pizzas here have the characteristics of good bread
Price: Margherita, $12; spinach pizza, $13
On a recent trip to Philadelphia, my friend and I decided to drop by Zavino Wine Bar Pizzeria to try a pizza after navigating through the cramped corridors of the Reading Terminal Market. Zavino is located in what I was told was the "Midtown Village" district of downtown Philly, right across from famed Capogiro Gelato.
The space is narrow and inviting; the menu, small and select. Aside from pizzas, the joint serves small plates of veggies, cured meats, and cheese. For lunch that day there were seven pies being offered, one of which was a Margherita. We settled on the spinach pizza after a strong recommendation from our waiter.
Owner Stephen Gonzales studied his craft with Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery and pizzeria Company, so writes friend of Serious Eats Joy Manning. It's easy to see Lahey's influence in the dough at Zavino—the crust has a tangy flavor and even its thickness suggests something closer to bread than pizza crust.
Here's a look at the undercarriage:
The charred spots were sparse, and where it wasn't charred, it was pale. The top of the pizza, which was blanketed in spinach, gave way to a nice mixture of goat cheese, tomato, and pecorino. Yet due to the thickness of the crust, the middle was a just a little too gummy.
I loved the strong punch of garlic, as well as the quality of the cheese. In all, a nice place for a reasonably priced pizza that easily feeds two.
You can order a glass of wine and linger for as long as you like in the restaurant, which opens out onto bustling side alley off of 13th Street.