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Best Italian in South Philly ?

l
Larry Racies Mar 4, 2007 01:32 PM

It's been a long time since we were there last. What are the great ones now?
There used to be a good one where the chefs were all female. Can't remember
the name, but is it still there? Thanks in advance.

  1. s
    sylviag Mar 5, 2007 04:47 PM

    You might be thinking of August, at 13th and Wharton. The co-owners are women, and one of them is the chef. It's a small, attractive BYOB with very good food - we like it very much.
    One of our favorites is Tre Scalini, which has moved to the 1915 Passyunk Ave.
    L'Angolo, at 15th and Porter, has always been good, though it was a little off on our last visit.
    Other people have other favorites - just browse the Board.

    1. m
      mazza3 Mar 9, 2007 07:50 AM

      tough one to call, it really is personal preference. the only one i would avoid like the plague would be villa di roma. it is precisely the type of place that the people who started buca di beppo were like 'a-ha! i think i've got it!!'.

      1. b
        Buckethead Mar 9, 2007 08:33 AM

        My favorite is Mr. Martino's Trattoria, on Passyunk between Tasker and Morris. I have unfortunately never been to L'Angolo, though I have been to August and Tre Scalini. The former was OK but didn't live up to the hype, the latter was good but the menu concentrates more on seafood, which I'm not a big fan of. Mr. Martino's also has great atmosphere.

        1. b
          Bigley9 Mar 9, 2007 09:55 AM

          I also love Mr Martino's although I haven't been for a bit - my fault not theirs. I liked L'Angolo -- loved it the first time, disappointed when I returned with friends the next - seems to have to do with who is working that night.
          I do have to say that I would never call Villa d'Roma one of the "great ones" but it has its place - a diner like atmosphere with wine and red gravy - and there are nights when that is just perfect.

          1. OlderPhiladelphian Mar 9, 2007 11:24 AM

            Oh My SylviaG! You have to learn to be a little more tolerant then that! There is really nothing at all wrong with Villa Di Roma. Of course, if your heart is set on upscale, pretentious food, then it is wrong for you. But to compare it to Buca whatever breaks my heart. It is good honest food as is Ralphs.

            4 Replies
            1. re: OlderPhiladelphian
              h
              Hardart Mar 9, 2007 12:40 PM

              The food is good, but the service can be nasty and rude, esp. when there are children involved. It's not nice to be told, when half the place is empty, (a) to wait 20 minutes to be seated, and (b) to have your 3-year-old yelled at for sitting on a bar stool, when there's no place else to sit.

              1. re: OlderPhiladelphian
                s
                sylviag Mar 9, 2007 04:58 PM

                OlderPhiladelphian, you have the posters mixed up. I never said a word about Villa Di Roma. I think it's just fine for what it is. I think you were reading the post from Bigley9. It's a little confusing, with our names separated by that dotted line under the post.

                As for Tre Scalini - one of our favorites - Buckethead, you should go back and try the veal chop or the veal filets - thick, juicy, tender, and as good as you will find anywhere. I never had steak there - usually can't get past having pasta or that great veal - so I don't know about that.
                We did try Mr. Martino's once and were disappointed, but that was a long time ago and we should probably give it another try.

                1. re: sylviag
                  b
                  Bigley9 Mar 12, 2007 08:28 AM

                  Please I like Villa! It was Mazza3 who told people not to go!

                  1. re: Bigley9
                    m
                    mazza3 Mar 12, 2007 01:33 PM

                    with good reason. i grew up around the corner from villa di roma and ralph's (and dante and luigi's, the saloon, mamma yolanda's, cus' little italy, palumbo's, nostalgia, cent'anni, cafe lido, now vesuvio, etc.) and villa di roma stinks. it made me lose faith in craig laban's taste buds when i read his glowing review about it. ralph's is bleh too, but more palatable.

                    everyone is entitled to their opinion. and being an italian american, i may have higher standards of what makes a good italian restaurant because both of my grandparents were such amazing cooks and if a restaurant can't measure up to those peasants, they are definitely not worth it. if you don't want to take my opinion, that's is fine by me, but i would never recommend villa di roma to anyone (literally). ralph's does a few things right (very very good sausage and peppers), but overall they get an eh too.

              2. CindyJ Mar 9, 2007 01:06 PM

                We used to really love the food at Cucina Forte on S. 8th St. but last time we were there they kept us waiting almost an hour for a table (WITH a reservation!). Then, to add insult to injury, the waiter broke the neck of our bottle of wine with his corkscrew, and there was hardly an apology from either the waiter OR the manager..

                1. OlderPhiladelphian Mar 12, 2007 06:13 PM

                  It sounds like 50% of us folks that grew up Italian love the honesty of Villa Di Roma, while the other 50% prefer those places that offer a more upscale dining experience. Honestly, being Italian makes me no more of an expert then my grandparents.
                  p.s. My favorite spot just happens to be Cafe Casta Diva.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: OlderPhiladelphian
                    s
                    sylviag Mar 12, 2007 06:23 PM

                    I always forget that Caffe Casta Diva is Italian. It leaves me with the impression of "continental" - I'm not sure why. We haven't been there for awhile, but we always thought it was very good.
                    Unless we have a concert, we tend to go to places with street parking. We've been to the new location at Tre Scalini twice, both times with excellent results. New and pleasant waitstaff, too.

                  2. p
                    phillyfoodiegirl Mar 14, 2007 06:33 PM

                    Vesuvio at 8th and Fitzwater has great Italian food and a pretty big menu with lots of options.

                    1. Suefoo Mar 18, 2007 05:11 AM

                      Here is the main issue I have with Villa Di Roma: the bread is not great. I would say if you want that old time Italian feel there are places like Royal Villa Cafe at 17th and Jackson or Bomb Bomb or Marra's which would with the bill as well but with good bread.
                      By the way I just went to Tre Scalini in its new location and had a great meal. Lots of options for classic dishes like pasta bolognese as well as that fantastic veal chop and some innovative stuff.
                      A happy place. Great atmospheric improvement over the old spot.

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