Philadelphia, PA - For 19 years the corner of 23rd and Spruce Street has been home to Mama Palma’s Gourmet Pizza. La Famiglia Russo immigrated from Italy, later Renato and his sister Brunella moved to Fitler Square neighborhood and found the area to be missing some authentic Italian restaurants. In 1996, they opened Mama Palma’s where they aim to treat customers like family and create an atmosphere that is just as comfortable as eating at home.
Just like home, every meal is always freshly prepared, hot off the oven, and delicious! Even their bread and Mozzarella cheese is made fresh daily in house. Mama Palma’s gourmet pizzas are hand-made with the finest and freshest ingredients available.
The menu has such a large variety of pizza toppings to offer so many different combinations, everything you can think of from hand cut Italian pepperoni to Peking duck. They offer gluten-free and whole wheat pizza crust. There is even a section of the menu dedicated entirely to Low Fat Pizza options.
Walking into Mama Palma’s its easy to see the star of the show is their brick oven, its imported from Europe. Unlike conventional ovens, this oven can achieve a combination of roasting, baking and smoking. The intense heat from the hardwood seals in the flavor that creates the all the wonderful tastes of Mama Palma’s one of a kind pizza.
Start with their most popular selling appetizer, cooked in their brick oven- Mama Palma’s Famous Warm Polenta Bread Plate with roasted corn, fresh rosemary, roasted sweet peppers, on our own homemade polenta spread, topped with parmesan cheese, and drizzled with our garlic and herb sauce. We paired this with the Harvest Insalata which had pears, red onions, tomatoes and caramelized walnuts on a bed of arugula topped with Gorgonzola cheese and homemade champagne vinaigrette.
Then for the main event we couldn’t decide on just one pizza, so we ordered a few personal sized pizzas. Our top two favorite pies were the Juliano with three kinds of sausage: Italian, Herb, and Veal, with roasted peppers their own red sauce, topped with mozzarella cheese, and garnished with basil and the Mama Palma Special with Fresh spinach, white wine and lemon roasted garlic, fresco tomatoes, on our own garlic & herb sauce, and topped with mozzarella cheese (we also added ricotta cheese). Both these pies were loaded with toppings just how we like them.
One of the pizza specials we ordered was called Amore made with their own red sauce, topped with mozzarella cheese, prosciutto and arugula leaves drizzled with balsamic vinegar reduction. We also had to try the Veal Sausage & Brie because its so unique; made with veal sausage, brie, dijon mustard, creme fraiche, red pimento peppers, and mozzarella cheese, garnished with scallions.
Mama Palma’s serves pizza, appetizers, salads, and even homemade pasta like cavatelli, linguine, and fettuccine. The Cavatelli are a Russo family recipe for the traditional pasta topped with fresh mozzarella and spinach, served in filetto di pomodoro red sauce. We ordered the Fettuccine Bolognese with veal sausage, chopped onion and fresh garlic, cooked with filetto di pomodoro red sauce.
Mama Palma’s Chicken Parmesan is also very popular with customers. This dish is made with breaded, grilled chicken breast and penne pasta, topped with filetto di pomodoro red sauce and mozzarella cheese. Savor you meal with your favorite bottle of wine from home because this restaurant is BYOB and if you didn’t bring along any wine they also offers fine imported and domestic beers.
With six beers on tap or many bottled beers, we decided to sip on a draft of Peroni from Vigevano in Lombardy, Italy. Stop by Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to enjoy happy hour from 4-6pm with 25% off all beer and pizza. If you miss happy hour, Mama Palma’s is open for dinner Tuesday-Sunday and lunch on the weekend. Remember they offer takeout, but no delivery options for now. They also don’t take reservations, so try to beat the crowds!