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Mar 8, 2008 08:46 AM

Friday Night Main Event: Salento v. Branzino

My wife and I are coming to Philadelphia to see *Ying Tong*.

We've decided to eat, beforehand, near to the theatre.

These two seem to be the best Italian choices.

Which gives the better meal? We don't care for ambiance or for which is trendier.

It's the gastronomy, stupid.

Thanks in advance for all opinions.

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  1. I've never been to Branzino, which I did not realize was Italian at all, but I am a fan of Salento. The cuisine there is similar in some respects to the wonderful food at L'Angolo in South Philly, conceded by many to be our finest Italian restaurant. (Same owners of these two). But, it is different. A little more formal, rather than casual in atmosphere,and in food presentation. Also, a definite emphasis on Pugliese recipes, rather than either NOrthern or Southern styles.

    My highest praise is that I'm somewhat of a snob re Italian food, having become used to food experiences in Italy itself. Salento feels more echt Italian than a typical good Italian restaurant in America to me.

    If you go, order the roasted artichokes appetizer. They are flown in from Rome, are huge, wonderful sauce and presentation--can be shared--for $10.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bashful3

      Been to L'Angolo, Salento and Branzino and that's how I'd rank 'em personally. Three of the best Italian's in the city, if not the three best, but I like L'Angolo and Salento better than Branzino. I think L'Angolo's food is a bit more rustic and Salento's a bit more creative and refined, but both are excellent. THE best veal chop I've had was at L'Angolo. but if it's Salento vs. Branzino I'd say the former.

    2. We prefer Branzino. We've eaten there many times and never been disappointed.
      We like L'Angolo, though I think it's slipped lately.

      We ate at Salento, after hearing raves, and didn't understand them. Some things were fine - we liked the artichoke appetizer - but otherwise we thought it was ordinary and had a heavy hand with the sauces and pasta. It wasn't terrible, but we had no desire to return.

      1. Four of us tried Branzino for the first time last night. The antipasti, pastas, and secondi were all good (although there was way too much garlic in the sauce for the branzino). The desserts we tried--ricotta cheesecake and tartufo--were surprisingly bad.