Pizzeria Pesto

By Phyllis Stein-Novack
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 8 | Posted Jan. 6, 2011

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Chef Claudio Conigliaro displays a classic Margherita pie, one of many that is offered at Pizzeria Pesto, 1925 S. Broad St.

Photo by Greg Bezanis

Pizza is one of those foods. I love pizza. I adore pizza. If I had a choice between foie gras and pizza, I would go for a white pie with garlic, spinach and olive oil.

There has been a boom in pizza restaurants within the past year or so. Last summer, a friend told me the owners of Pesto planned to open a pizzeria a few doors down on South Broad Street. Pizzeria Pesto is a fine addition to the ever-growing number of pizza places throughout the city.

I’ve been to Pizzeria Pesto on two occasions: lunch on a brutally windy afternoon and a recent dinner after the blizzard. I was delighted with both meals.

The chef in charge is Claudio Conigliaro who is from Genoa, the home of Christopher Columbus and pesto. He prepares his thin-crust pies with loving care and bakes them in a large gas oven.

Soup does not appear on the menu, yet our server advised that I could warm up with a bowl of stracciatella. The broth was homemade and rich with flavor. Warm, homemade rolls dusted with herbs and garlic arrived for the table.

I, along with my dining companions, Bill and John, looked forward to trying the pizza. I ordered a Caesar salad ($6.50) to nosh on before the pies arrived. The dressing did not contain anchovies but our server had the chef top my salad with a few. The dressing, however, was homemade as were the crispy croutons strewn over the crisp bits of fresh romaine.

We ordered the 12-inch pesto pizza ($9) and the classic Margherita ($8). Pesto must be prepared in the right balance of basil, garlic, olive oil and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Conigliaro’s version was smooth and imparted the right consistency. It was topped with olives and fresh mozzarella.

The Margherita was polished with a fresh tomato sauce before slices of fresh mozzarella were added along with fragrant basil leaves. It was simply delicious.

The restaurant was jumping when Edward and I went to dinner. Since it’s a BYOB, we brought a bottle of a rich-blended red from Spain.

Salads here are large enough for two. They are freshly prepared and not a bit overdressed. Arugula salad ($7) contained just a few ingredients.Top quality, fresh baby arugula, shards of Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt and pepper were tossed with one of the freshest olive oil/lemon juice vinaigrettes I’ve sampled in a long time.

The rustica salad ($7) was a Mount Etna of ingredients including mixed greens, which featured baby spinach leaves, frisee, red and green oak lettuces with more of the spicy arugula for good measure, roasted red pepper strips, six thick slices of mozzarella and slices of black olives topped with a dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Before the peppers were added, they should have been rinsed of their brine with the seeds removed. Imported olives rather than the rubbery canned ones would make this salad a star. But we gave the dressing a 10 out of 10. It was the finest balsamic vinaigrette I have ever tried in an Italian restaurant.

Seafood pizza can be tasty and a welcome change from what you might usually order. I asked our smiling waiter if we could have a white pie instead of a red one because we do not care for seafood in a tomato sauce.

The pescatora pie ($10) consisted of baby shrimp, clams and mussels which were placed on a thin skating rink of mozzarella cheese topped with olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs.

I wanted to see if the classic Margherita would arrive the same delicious way it did on my lunch. It did. Since I wanted dessert, a few slices of both pies were packed in a box.

I never turn down a cannoli ($5). The ricotta filling was slightly sweet, creamy and filled my expectations. The shells are made at the restaurant and each one is filled to order.

A cup of decaf espresso ($2) capped off a delicious evening.

Three tips of the toque to Pizzeria Pesto. SPR


Pizzeria Pesto
1925 S. Broad St.

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Comments 1 - 8 of 8
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1. Dawn Morace said... on Jan 6, 2011 at 01:35PM

“What an amazing place to eat in or for take out!!! Love the pizza, salads and sandwiches..... The service is wonderful they treat like royalty!!!
Congratulations Claudio well deserved!! And congratulations to all your family as well!!!”

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2. John Jr. said... on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:06PM

“Love this place because the PEOPLE who work there are pleasant,kind, considerate, and give you that warm family feeling. Oh Yeah and the food is great and customers at the table across from you fit right in. We got addicted this week and went there every other day.”

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3. Joseph said... on Jan 12, 2011 at 09:44PM

“I love it so,so much. it's the best cheese pizza in the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

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4. Emilia Andrews said... on Jan 15, 2011 at 12:04AM

“We had a great dinner with our 2 girls. The food was amazing. Calamari melted in your mouth. The veggie pizza's ingredients were so fresh. Why go to a chain pizza shop when you have Pizzeria Pesto in the neighborhood! You have to try it...”

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5. Vince said... on Jan 18, 2011 at 10:26AM

“I happened to be traveling in the area on business and stopped at what I thought would be a typical run of the mill pizza place for a quick slice. WOW WAS I WRONG TO ASSUNME THAT. I had an out of this world white pizza. I think it was called Pesto Pizza. It was a white pizza with black olives and what I was told was pesto sauce. It was delicious! I liked it so much I asked for a large whole pie to take home to for dinner with the family. On my way out I met and complimented the owner Claudio on what a great resturant. If you are tired of non authentic pizza places and want the real deal, then make sure to stop by.”

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6. Anonymous said... on Mar 23, 2011 at 05:58PM

“My review is based on a delivery order. I read the reviews on this page and thought I might give it a try. We ordered cheesesteaks, fries and a pizza. Everything arrived barely warm and the cheese on the pizza was slid to one side. We tried to fix it but it was too cold to maneuver. The cheesesteaks were aweful. The meat wasn't chopped up and it was fatty, which is really said in Philly. The fries were soggy. Maybe its better as an eat-in spot because these reviews do not correlate at all with what we received.”

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7. Anonymous said... on Sep 11, 2011 at 12:04PM

“7. seen advertisement in south phila review...and gave pizza special a try..not disappointed at all...great pizza...this was a delivery order”

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8. Maria said... on Sep 30, 2011 at 05:43PM

“I thank my lucky stars this place is so close to our home. Their pizza's are wonderful and their dinner entrees are the best. Their salads (I'm not a big salad eater) are out of this world. I eat every drop! I cannot give any higher praise. Little by little I'm trying each and every item on their menu.”


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