Went with Mike of the Satan’s Minions to Top Tomato (1107 Walnut) recently to try out their pizza, and found it to be a lot better than it was the last time I tried it, which was years ago. I got the marinara with mozzarella and a buffalo chicken slice. Both were very good, the marinara being a little bit better. The red sauce is excellent. And the prices are incredibly cheap. Here was Mike’s take:
On walking in to Top Tomato, two things struck me as a bit confusing. One: where am I? The décor, while very nice and certainly way above what one expects in a pizza parlor, has the look and feel of a coffee shop in Santa Fe. Two: where’s the waiter? The various booths and tables (of which there are plenty) had numbers in little stands on each. After a minute or two with no waiter apparent, as we walked up to the counter, I was still wondering about the numbers. Perhaps they only had table service when they were busy?
Anyway, once at the counter, things took a decided turn for the better. There were at least 15 to 20 different types of slices from which to choose. And, a pleasant surprise to boot. When you go to a place with nice décor and wait service, you kind of expect the prices to be a bit on the high side. Not so here. Not only were they very reasonable ($1.75 for a plain slice), but each pie was clearly labeled with the type and price. I consider the acid test of a pizza joint to be the plain cheese slice, so I got one of those and a white slice with spinach as well.
When we paid, the wait service confusion was cleared up and we got another nice surprise. First, they gave us a number to put on our table so the counterman could bring us our hot slices when they came out of the oven. Second, they only have one size of fountain drink: all you can drink. They give you a cup and let you refill it as much as you want for a very good price. Plus, the fountain had a button for plain seltzer, which I like.
The slices were brought to our table shortly, right out of the oven. I had to do a little hunting about the restaurant for some pepper, garlic, and oregano, but other than that, it was a pretty nice lunch. The plain slice was hot, thin, and very crispy. Nothing special, but more than OK. The white slice was well above average. It had lots of spinach and big globs of ricotta all over. The ricotta was very fresh.
Overall, Top Tomato has good pizza at good prices, lots of variety, a endless soda fountain, and plenty of place to sit, all set in a nice (if somewhat un-Philadelphia like) décor. But remember, don’t wait to be seated, you’ll waste time standing that you could be eating. Overall, I give it 3.5 pepperonis.
Man, I hate giving out another 3.5, but all 3 places so far are very extremely good w/o being excellent, but I do heartily suggest all of them if you’re hungry. And Top Tomato is a borderline 4.