Restaurateur Stephen Starr is known for his high concept restaurants. Yet, it's one of his “low-concept” eateries that I frequent the most. I’m talking about Pizzeria Stella, which because it’s one block from my house, is a frequently-called contact on my iPhone. Seriously, how lucky am I that Stella is actually the closest pizza place to my house?? That’s right, when we order take-out, we order Stella. In fact, I’ve actually only eaten at the restaurant itself a handful of times. Yet, every time I do, I ask myself, “why don’t we come here more often??”
It probably goes without saying that the pizza is fantastic, but it really is. My personal favorite is the tartufo - black truffle, fontina, and parmesan, with an over easy egg that is broken and smeared across the top when it’s served (sounds kind of weird, but it’s delicious).
A close second is the San Daniele - prosciutto, smoked mozzarella and arugula (I admit, it makes me feel like I’m being healthier when there’s almost enough arugula for a salad on top of my pizza). Yum!
|A door now leads through this wall to a recently added bar.|
However, if you only ordered pizza at Pizzeria Stella, you’d be missing out, as the antipasti and insalate are also quite good. They change a little bit seasonally, but some of my favorites are the arancini (risotto balls drenched in marinara), the grilled octopus (with potatoes and fennel), and the shrimp and corn salad (off the menu for the moment, but I’m crossing my fingers for its return).
It’s also worth noting that Stella has $5 glasses of house wine, as well as a good assortment of additional wines, Italian beers and a small selection of “Italian sodas” (i.e. cocktails). Dessert options are limited to a rotating selection of house-made gelati, but they’re best known for their olive oil gelato, which they serve year-round (although, I’ll be honest, last time I went, I skipped the gelato in favor of the sgroppino Italian soda - lemon sorbet, vodka, and prosecco. I highly recommend it!)
If you live in Philadelphia, and haven’t been to Pizzeria Stella, I strongly suggest you go. And if you’re visiting Philly anytime soon, you’ll want to add it to your list of places to visit. It’s the true dining trifecta - approachable, affordable, and tastebud-tingling good.