WHO/WHAT: Slice (Italian Market location)

WHERE: 1180 South 10th Street, Philadelphia PA 19147 (10th and Federal)

CUISINE: Genuine Italian South Philly Pizza Pie

VIBE: Humble, low key, simplicity. The interior is a combination between a pizza parlor and an upscale Italian restaurant, offering a full view of the kitchen where you can actually watch your food get made fresh. Weather permittig, I always bypass the indoor dining for the outdoor tables that offer a surprisingly scenic view of Capitolo Park. The staff is astonishingly friendly, offering a family atmosphere where everyone from the wait staff to the owner has time to stop and talk and they remember you after only a few visits.

MENU HIGHLIGHTS: Although Slice is not 100% vegan, or for that matter 100% vegetarian, it has still earned a very special place in my heart as they are the only restaurant that I have been able to find that offers a selection of pizzas that are both gluten free and vegan. Despite the fact that they don’t cater exclusively to animal free enthusiasts, I don’t believe anyone with such dietary restrictions would have trouble finding something that meets their deepest foodie needs and desires at Slice. My lovely gluten free-vegan-nearly-impossible-to-feed-girlfriend had almost written off the idea that she would ever be able to enjoy quality pizza until we found out that Slice offers a gluten free crust (along with vegan cheese). For that, I would like to personally thank you Slice, because nobody deserves to live without pizza.

My favorite thing at Slice is definitely the pizazz pizza, which feature a combination of American and mozzarella cheese, with hot pepper and tomato toppings. As if the dual cheese wasn’t delightful enough, the hot pepper taste actually seeps into the entire pie so that each slice is expertly highlighted with a tinge of peppery greatness. The tomatoes are remarkably fresh, reminding you just how close they are to the Italian Market. The crust, which they boast is made fresh daily, is ultra-thin, highlighting the taste without interfering with it.

The truffle pizza is another crowd pleaser. It comes out of the oven literally overflowing with Portobello mushrooms and artichokes which are masterfully baked into mozzarella cheese, extra virgin olive oil and garlic, creating a uniquely blended white pizza.  They finish the pie with truffle oil, which I must confess I don’t really know much about aside from the fact that everything it touches seems to turn into culinary gold and this is no exception. This pie actually made me realize how much I never knew I liked artichokes.

Slice’s fries are an added bonus to their excellent selection of pizzas. You come for the pizza and end up raving about the fries, they have traditional French fries and sweet potato fries, no matter what your flavor is, you can’t go wrong. The fries are fresh cut and are a nice alternative to everyday, run of the mill fries. They are super thin but not fried to a crisp and they are not overly greasy. They can be served with sea salt, old bay, Parmesan cheese or truffle oil. My choice, sweet potato fries with seas salt, simply magnificent.

MENU LOWLIGHTS: The only negatives are that the gluten free crust only comes in a small size and I’m not so sure that they can recreate every one of their specialty pies perfectly with vegan cheese. But hey, it’s gluten free, vegan pizza, where the hell else are you going to find that? Other than that, the only thing I’m disappointed with is the fact that I haven’t been able to try every single vegetarian menu item and visit every one of Slice’s locations, but you can bet I will.

PRICE RANGE: Pies range from $10 to $20

RATING: 8/10