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Best Italian in the City

p
philly123 Jul 22, 2008 02:07 PM

What are your thoughts on the best Italian places in the center city area?

  1. b
    bananafishes Aug 18, 2008 05:27 AM

    Vetri and Osteria.

    More "traditional" Italian-American (is this what you're actually askinig?) I'd have to give to Dante and Luigi's.

    I used to love Valentino's, which I hit on my accident some years ago, but it's been slipping lately.

    1. h
      henley Aug 15, 2008 02:47 PM

      I would like to mention Melagrano. It is closed for the month of August and is reopening in September. I think it will be around 22nd and Sansom.

      I also love Savalo. They have the best ricotta gnochi with a white truffle sauce!!!! I believe they change the sauce in the summer; but, if you ask for it they will make it for you if possible.

      1. p
        parktown Jul 27, 2008 05:54 PM

        Cucina Forte on 8th Street (south of South street) is probably not the best Italian restaurant in philly, but for my money it has the best ricotta gnocchi in the city. Bread is great and highly recommend the Dream Soup, the shrimp gafara, spaghetti with clam sauce among others. Great hole in the wall, neighborhood spot. BYOB.

        1. t
          travellinfoodie Jul 24, 2008 10:22 PM

          Just a tourista from Nor Cal but ate at some restaurant called the Saloon this past Wednesday night. I thought it was fantastic overall, restaurant ambience was unique and the food was fresh and well prepared. I had a two filet entree of mediteraenean(sp?) Sea Bass and ate some steak and Salmon filets off of others plates..... all great.

          1. s
            SpdRcr069 Jul 23, 2008 08:12 AM

            Tre Scalini
            Branzino

            If you want to travel to NoLibs Solo Mio very nice BYO.

            4 Replies
            1. re: SpdRcr069
              rabidog Jul 24, 2008 08:07 AM

              it's modo mio, and yes, totally go there!!! it is one of my top 3 places overall in the city. :)

              just a quick question as there are many places listed already that i've not yet been to - would anyone mind distinguishing the italian-american places from the italian ones? i'm on a quest to find real good italian food; i think i've reached my threshold of italian-american joints for now and favor something lighter for the summer.

              1. re: rabidog
                a
                anita7707 Aug 11, 2008 12:53 PM

                I don't know if you'll find real Italian food vs. Italian-American food here. Le Virtu has an Italian chef from the Abruzzi region in Italy (where my family is from), but you may be talking about the red gravy Italian-American restaurants vs. the lighter sauces, more vegetables, less meat, no meatballs and spaghetti Italian restaurants. Not too many that I know of in Philadelphia. Like I said, Le Virtu, maybe L'Angolo, even Mama Maria's, which serves a 5 course Italian meal. Sorry I can't be more help.

                1. re: anita7707
                  p
                  Philly Ray Aug 11, 2008 02:51 PM

                  Can't find real Italian food in Philadelphia????
                  Not too many in Philadelphia????

                  In addition to what you've mentioned, there are....

                  Paradiso
                  Mr. Martino's
                  Pesto
                  Tre Scalini
                  Cucina Forte
                  Mezzaluna
                  Spasso
                  Branzino
                  La Viola
                  Osteria
                  Vetri
                  La Famiglia
                  La Buca
                  Bellini Grill
                  La Locanda del Ghiottone
                  Radicchio

                  Not a "red-gravy" in the bunch there, and I know I missed many, many more.

                  1. re: Philly Ray
                    rabidog Aug 15, 2008 07:11 AM

                    thanks all! both responses are helpful. apparently a lot of the italian-italian places, i have not been to. it's good to know what i'm getting into beforehand. thanks again!!

            2. h
              hungry100 Jul 23, 2008 07:08 AM

              I'm still a fan of Porcini on Sansom St.

              1. smackdown Jul 23, 2008 05:52 AM

                I'm going to have to go with Radicchio - actually just ate there (again) last night. We took out of town friends and they just loved it - we had such a great time and wonderful food. the Spaghetti Adriatico with mussels, clams and calamari is excellent!

                1 Reply
                1. re: smackdown
                  s
                  Schpsychman Jul 23, 2008 06:40 AM

                  L'Angolo for moderate, along with La Locanda del Ghiottone and Salento.

                2. b
                  Bigley9 Jul 22, 2008 08:35 PM

                  Vetri takes high end hands down.
                  Paradiso wowed me on my one visit (so many restaurants, so little time) I also loved Le Virtu, although others disagree.
                  Mr Martinos old style regional italian
                  Villa d'Roma - red gravy italian American
                  Osteria for Piazza di Popolo Roma style dining (not nearly as casual as it appears, beautiful people)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bigley9
                    c
                    cwdonald Aug 9, 2008 07:44 AM

                    Just had a very good dinner at Osteria last night.

                    Began with wonderful eel fritters.. not greasy.. dusted with coarse salt and a wonderful lemony mayo with it. Follow with the Polpo pizza.. flecks of red pepper wonderful octopus smokey mozzarella and thin crust... finally pasta.. robiola francobolli with royal trumpet mushrooms and thyme.. light sauce and delicious earthy mushrooms. Dessert was fresh fig and polenta pound cake with wonderful rosemary gelato on the side. A very good fresh meal, paced nicely (dining over 2 hours.. ) and very good service. Sat in the back room so didnt get as much of the din as the front of the house until the large table of eight was seated at the end of our meal. All in all a wonderful experience.

                  2. w
                    waynefoodie Jul 22, 2008 07:39 PM

                    For price and value, La Viola, especially the veal.

                    1. r
                      rocknroll52 Jul 22, 2008 03:45 PM

                      Great topic. I would like to know too. I have eaten recently at Bistro Romano which seemed to me overpriced, ordinary Italian although the grotto atmosphere was nice; also been recently to Ernesto's 1521 for pre-theater, wasn't wowed by it, and it was noisy. I guess you could count Davio's as Italian, I've been there for several business lunches and the food was always very good. I did enjoy dinner at Mezzaluna in South Philly. which had authentic Italian atmosphere and great homemade gnocchi, and you can BYOB.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: rocknroll52
                        s
                        sylviag Jul 22, 2008 07:12 PM

                        Our favorites:
                        Center City - Branzino, 17th and Spruce - byob

                        Mercato - byob - except that we don't go there, too crowded and
                        noisy for us - but we're older

                        South Philly:
                        Tre Scalini - byob
                        Paradiso

                        Northern Liberties:
                        Sovalo (northern Italian)

                        sort of Northern Liberties:
                        Radicchio - byob, no reservations

                        Vetri is upscale, saved for a special occasion

                        1. re: sylviag
                          s
                          sylviag Jul 23, 2008 07:18 AM

                          Add La Viola (on the west side of the street, less noisy) and L'Angolo to my list.
                          Good food at reasonable prices. Both byob.
                          Not quite (IMHO) the quality of my original list, but very good.
                          I liked LeVirtu, my dinner companions didn't.

                          1. re: sylviag
                            saturninus Jul 23, 2008 08:14 AM

                            I prefer Branzino and Raddichio over La Viola any day.

                      2. saturninus Jul 22, 2008 02:31 PM

                        high end - vetri
                        middle of the road - caffe casta diva
                        cheap - radicchio

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