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Italain in Philly burbs

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hhshames Nov 18, 2007 07:30 AM

Can anyone recommend a good Italian place to eat in the Plymouth Meeting, Whitemarsh, Bluebell, Norristown etc. area? I haven't eaten in the burbs in a while and am coming to town to visit w/ my folks for the holiday. Chains are not ideal, because they usually suck, but f you can convince me I'm wrong I am open. Thanks.

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    idia RE: hhshames Nov 18, 2007 10:06 AM

    Viggiano's in Conshy is pretty nice.
    Totaro's is another in the same area.

    1 Reply
    1. re: idia
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      hhshames RE: idia Nov 18, 2007 12:02 PM

      Totaro's menu looks great. I forgot all about that place, and it has been there forever. Have you been recently? Do you have any recommendations?

    2. rabidog RE: hhshames Nov 18, 2007 11:38 AM

      check out pepperoncini in conshohocken! it's inexpensive, cute atmosphere, and the food is delicious every time i go. it's a warm neighborhoody kind of place.

      1. Den RE: hhshames Nov 18, 2007 12:07 PM

        Totaro's on Hector is over rated and way over priced. If you want more reasonably priced good food try From the Boot in Lafayette Hill or Dolce Vita on Dekalb in Bridgeport. Both are BYOB.

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          JanR RE: hhshames Nov 18, 2007 12:18 PM

          Trattoria Totaro, a byob on Spring Mill Rd. in Conshohocken is good. This is not the same Totaro's as the expensive one on Hector St. I would also recommend Pepperoncini in Conhohocken, but not Viggiano's Went to Ristorante Castello in North Wales with several friends Friday night and everyone enjoyed it. Homemade pasta, nice atmosphere, excellent service.

          5 Replies
          1. re: JanR
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            Schpsychman RE: JanR Nov 19, 2007 11:17 AM

            Glad you liked Costello's Jan. I know the owner (Habib) and he is a really nice guy and tries really hard to make everything enjoyable for his customers. It is a lovely place, especially for a strip mall. Only drawbacks as I see it are that they will soon not be BYOB anymore and the wait for your food on a weekend can be long at times.

            I would also recommend Il Melograno in Doylestown as well (though this is not exactly in the area the poster requested). It's in the Genaurdi's shopping center on Main St. but, similarly to Costello's, is much nicer inside than you would expect for a strip mall. The owners are from Puglia and specialize in that cuisine. Not BYOB but worth trying.

            I have to try Pepperoncini and Dolce Vita now as they both sound really good.

            1. re: Schpsychman
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              JanR RE: Schpsychman Nov 21, 2007 09:36 AM

              I am sorry to hear that Ristorante Castello will soon not be byob. We will go back anyone as they were just wonderful to us. I have wanted to try Melograno for a long time. Thanks for the recommendation.

            2. re: JanR
              FriskLamb RE: JanR Nov 21, 2007 07:33 AM

              I 2nd Trattoria Totaro as worth while...They have also started to do game special evenings. service can be a little slow - but they seem to have sorted that out based on a recent visit. I also like the dining room - all be it that it is small.

              1. re: JanR
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                Haffprice RE: JanR Mar 3, 2009 11:02 AM

                Just to clarify, there are two Totaros - one is called Trattoria Totaros and they are definitely a BYO - they are located at 639 Spring Mill. There is another called Totaros Restaurant which is a full service bar and restaurant. Can be confusing but there are definitely two.

                1. re: Haffprice
                  PattiCakes RE: Haffprice Mar 3, 2009 11:37 AM

                  There might have been only one, back when this post was written in November, 2007.

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                Hopefulone RE: hhshames Nov 18, 2007 07:24 PM

                I agree with Den, From the Boot in Lafayette Hill is great and the prices are very reasonable.

                1. AmblerGirl RE: hhshames Nov 19, 2007 09:36 AM

                  Try Dolce Vita in Bridgeport. Great homemade food, family owned, kitsch-y atmosphere. I love that place!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: AmblerGirl
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                    mitchh RE: AmblerGirl Nov 19, 2007 11:47 AM

                    Basta Pasta in Skippack has very good food at reasonable prices.

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                    nevets RE: hhshames Nov 19, 2007 12:41 PM

                    We had terrible meals at Viggiano's and Totaro's. Even though we only tried each one once, the food was so bad we won't even consider going back. For good, affordable pasta try Gino's on Ridge Pike in Jeffersonville. For good veal, pasta and pizza try Ariana's in North Wales. Both are BYOB. Ariana's has linens on the table but its more than okay to show up at either wearing jeans. Ariana's is one of our favorites and they often have coupons in the Clipper magazine.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: nevets
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                      hhshames RE: nevets Nov 19, 2007 03:01 PM

                      i was thinking of trying Ristorante Castello, what do you think? I am not looking for a heavy red sauce pasta meal. I was hoping for fresh pasta and something slightly more refined. And I love a good veal milanese. And I am sorry to hear such bad things about totaro's. the menu looked good.

                      1. re: hhshames
                        AmblerGirl RE: hhshames Nov 19, 2007 05:10 PM

                        Good choice. We actually celebrated the holidays there last year with my father in law, it is decorated beautifully. It has a nice uipscalle, they often have piano music. Delicous homemade pasta, some of the best lightest gnocci I have ever tasted. A little price-y but a good choice for a special occasion.

                        1. re: AmblerGirl
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                          hhshames RE: AmblerGirl Nov 19, 2007 06:38 PM

                          Great, then the decision is made. Thanks for your input. I love a good gnocci.

                          1. re: hhshames
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                            Schpsychman RE: hhshames Nov 20, 2007 12:14 PM

                            Agree with AmblerGirl 100%. Costello's is NOT a typical heavy-red-gravy joint but an upscale and classy place. I tend to judge an Italian restaurant by two things: their gravy and their veal; both are excellent at Costello's. Actually, they cook in a much more Northern Italian fashion, lighter and with red sauce, not gravy (which I grew up on from my Sicilian mother and grandmother). You will enjoy Costello's and their pasta's are done very well.

                        2. re: hhshames
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                          nevets RE: hhshames Nov 22, 2007 06:04 AM

                          We've tried Ristorante Castello twice. The first time we tried their Thursday tasting menu and enjoyed our meal. It was good but not great. We went back on another Thursday a month or so later and the tasting menu was almost the same as the previous one so we ordered off the menu. My wife ordered Veal Marsala and said that it was okay. I do not recall what I had but it wasn't noteworthy. Maybe we ordered the "wrong" dishes, but veal marsala should be a dish that a good Italian restaurant does well. Also, the vibe of the restaurant is a bit odd, almost as if they are trying too hard to be formal and it doesn't come across as sincere. We're not in a hurry to go back even though we live close by. I'll be curious to read what other people think of their food.

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                        EastPA RE: hhshames Nov 22, 2007 07:41 PM

                        Try Gino's on Main street in Jeffersonville - right across from the Jeffersonville Golf Course. Great italian food/BYOB and reasonable prices. Never had a bad meal - dine there once per month.

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