7. Hyper Healthy — Pizza
Our 16th Annual Best of the Best Selections
Best Hyper-Healthy Food
360 Lancaster Ave., Malvern
484-318-7537 / TheAMFactory.com
Real food. Real good. That’s the promise from Malvern’s new all-day café, serving hyper-healthy breakfast and lunch sustainably. The kitchen is grain-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, cashew-free, GMO-free and dairy-free (except for some goat cheese, which makes sense). The produce is organic and the meats are pasture-raised. And despite those constraints, the menu includes plenty of tempting options: açai smoothie bowls, cauliflower cheesesteak, grain-free bagels, chicken and homemade waffles, lemon square smoothies. All served in a bright, sleek space that makes you want to live clean as well as eat clean and healthy.
Best Indian Cuisine
Rasa Indian Cuisine
Village at Painters Crossing Shopping Center
1201 Wilmington Pk., Chadds Ford
484-800-8109 / RasaUS.com
Dell and Sudha Joshi brought tastes of their original homes—Dell’s southern Hyderabad and Sudha’s northern Delhi—to Chadds Ford with Rasa Indian Cuisine. The result: a delicious lunch buffet—long tables laden with offerings savory, spicy and sweet, from masala chai to kheer. Bites of samosa and pakoda evoked memories of the subcontinent’s best street food. Entrees of paneer, dal and butter chicken were fit for heads of state—in fact, the restaurant’s Chef Zamin has fed two U.S. Presidents. With walls the warm orange of turmeric spice and aromas of ginger and fresh naan, Rasa lives up to its name, meaning “flavor.”
Best Italian Mainstay
Il Granaio Italian Restaurant & Bar
711 Concord Rd., Glen Mills. 610-459-8469
184 Bridge St., Phoenixville. 484-924-8423
Handmade spinach ravioli stuffed with crab and red bell peppers, with shrimp, sun-dried tomatoes, sweet peas in brandy cream sauce—just one of many reasons loyal fans return to the Glen Mills and Phoenixville locations (Antica in Chadds Ford is also affiliated). One fan said he could eat there every week and not get tired. Fresh local ingredients and house-made pastas get raves (spinach gnocchi, agnolotti porcini, fettuccini aragosto), as do pork and fish specials. Add polished service, BYOB option with no corkage fee (there’s also a bar), plus the complimentary homemade limoncello shot at the end and you have a collection of popular dining destinations.
Best Taste of Northern Italy
114 E. State St., Kennett Square
610-444-2244 / LaVeronaPA.com
Savor a bit of northern Italy with a memorable meal at La Verona. Choose a table in the friendly bar, near the dining room’s fireplace or by the windows to watch State Street (or patio dining in season) as you enjoy fine dining with impeccable service at this consistently excellent spot. A limoncello martini, Peroni on tap or affordable wine selection complements a wide array of choices from pizza (love the white Vernona) to authentic Italian classics. Favorites include the calamari and pasta dishes—shout outs for the spinach and mushroom and the lobster ravioli—and veal marsala. Owners Sam and Jack Mavraj’s motto is “Let us spoil you.” And they do.
Aneu Kitchen + Juicery
1556 E. Lancaster Ave., Paoli. 610-251-9600
1225 Montrose Ave., Bryn Mawr. 610-525-1711
Owner Meredith Coyle has been involved in the local food biz for decades. Her current interest in clean eating—making comfort food that’s healthy food—has caught our attention, along with Philly Mag’s, when they gave a shout out for her fresh juice—suggesting a lemon, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, grapeseed oil concoction for their “Best Of” in 2019. We toast Aneu Day shots—lemon, spinach, kale, parsley, cucumber, celery, green apple—that perked up November’s Notable Kitchen Tour & Chef’s Tasting fundraiser for the Philly Orchestra. Wowza! Find your own fave.
Best Business Lunch
125 W. Market St., West Chester
484-760-6100 / PietrosPrime.com
Pietro’s is a Zagat-rated steakhouse—also a Best of Philly pick—in downtown West Chester with a history. Pietro Giunta was early to West Chester. His great granddaughter Marisa opened the steakhouse about 12 years ago, continuing the family legacy. It was an immediate success. The cuts of beef—strip, fillet, rib-eye—are superior and tender. Charred black, yet blood red (or pink, as you prefer) inside. It’s made to your order and cooked perfectly. Enjoy a business lunch, perhaps an ice-cold martini, with appetizer of shrimp, crab, oysters or calamari. Take your time. With some fortitude, perhaps you’ll revive Don Draper’s two-martini—or was it three?—lunch.
Best Mediterranean Cuisine
40 E. Gay St., West Chester
610-696-4100 / OpaTavernaPhilly.com
Sit down to homemade hummus sprinkled with chopped parsley, gyros and gracious souvlaki platters with an unsurpassed housemade Greek tsatziki sauce at Opa Taverna. Open since last April by owners of the former Opa Opa (about a block up Gay Street), its wicker lamps that cast warm light, stone wall and cozy corner sofa-seating for a group create an inviting space. Locals and out-of-towners are talking about the good food, large portions and pleasant staff. Currently a BYOB, the restaurant has applied for a liquor license, so check to see if you should bring your own ouzo or favorite Mediterranean wine.
Most Pancake Week-Worthy
Glen Eagle Square
509 Wilmington-West Chester Pk., Glen Mills
484-800-8070 / AveKitchen.com
Whether you’re celebrating National Pancake Week in February or National Pancake Day in September, there’s a stack at Avenue Kitchen that could turn a picky eater into a breakfast lover. In a chic tan and white space with pretty paper sculptures suspended from the warehouse-high ceilings, opt for simple pancakes powdered with sugar and garnished with a strawberry, or go for chocolate chip, banana or peanut butter drenched in maple syrup. Go outside the box on Pancake Day and luxuriate in brioche French toast or Avenue’s thick chocolate waffle topped with award-winning crème brûlée sauce, crackly caramelized sugar, bananas and strawberries.
Toninos Pizza & Pasta Company
235 Lancaster Ave., Malvern
610-240-9566 / ToninosPizzaAndPasta.com
Whole pie or by the slice. Neopolitan or Sicilian. Square or round. Thin crust or thick. A 14-, 18- or 30-inch pie (Lorenzo’s & Sons is a mere 28 inches). You can get any pizza you want at Tonino’s Pizza & Pasta Co. Yes, there’s also a full menu of entrees at this family-run BYOB with plenty of regulars on a Friday night, but the pizza here is special. Choose a gourmet pizza (spinach, broccoli, vegetarian, seafood), build your own, or pick an Old World, Salad Pie, Chicken alla Vodka or Everything pizza. We love the Grandma Pizza, a square pie that’s been called “a life changer.” Taste for yourself.