Best Italian in the City
What are your thoughts on the best Italian places in the center city area?
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.
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
Tre Scalini - byob
Sovalo (northern Italian)
sort of Northern Liberties:
Radicchio - byob, no reservations
Vetri is upscale, saved for a special occasion
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)
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.
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.
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.
Can't find real Italian food in Philadelphia????
Not too many in Philadelphia????
In addition to what you've mentioned, there are....
La Locanda del Ghiottone
Not a "red-gravy" in the bunch there, and I know I missed many, many more.
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.
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.
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.
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.