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Dinner in So. Philly: Tre Scalini, Mr. Martino's or ?

h
hils Nov 7, 2009 06:56 AM

Friends are coming down from the NY area, and we live for Italian food. One of these days we'll get a wonderful Italian restaurant here in Chesco, but in the meantime we know we have to travel. Where to go in So. Philly?

  1. b
    barryg Nov 7, 2009 07:02 AM

    Mr Martino's is very cute and charming, but the food at Tre Scalini blows it out of the water. Get the black papperdelle with seafood, it is outstanding. Le Virtu is also good but Tre Scalini is my favorite.

    Mr Martino's is cheaper, though, and I do like it. Tre Scalini is also BYOB but Le Virtu is not.

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    Le Virtu
    1927 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148

    1. p
      Philly Ray Nov 7, 2009 07:09 AM

      I would recommend Paradiso. Great food and service. Not a BYO. Order the pappardelle with wild mushrooms.

      http://www.paradisophilly.com/

      1. s
        sylviag Nov 7, 2009 07:21 AM

        Tre Scalini. One of our favorites for a long time.
        All the pasta is delicious. The veal filets or veal chop (not the tenders) are delicious here.

        And I agree that Paradiso is very good; go there if you want a place with a bar.

        1. b
          Buckethead Nov 7, 2009 07:25 AM

          Le Virtu is my favorite Italian place in South Philly, I was never a big fan of Tre Scalini but that may be because their menu is skewed towards seafood. I also love Mr. Martino's, the food is not as good as Le Virtu but it's like half the price. I have only been to Paradiso once but wasn't all that impressed.

          L'Angolo is another place to consider.

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          Le Virtu
          1927 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148

          1. m
            micreynolds Nov 7, 2009 08:09 AM

            Mr. Martino's has the most bang for your buck IMO. Its BYOB with a really charming atmosphere, food is cheaper and I think the balsamic chicken is great! Also, the simpler dishes are good too - like the penne with zucchini and basil and the baked ricotta are both really yummy.

            I love Le Virtu as well, however I think the vibe at Mr. Martino's is better if you are entertaining guests from out of town.

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            Le Virtu
            1927 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148

            1 Reply
            1. re: micreynolds
              b
              barryg Nov 7, 2009 09:01 AM

              I disagree somewhat, but it depends on your guests. Mr Martino's is not going to impress a foodie from New York very much, The menu is pretty blase and the food is hit or miss. It is a good casual spot and great for a date.

            2. s
              sylviag Nov 7, 2009 08:48 AM

              We eat often at Italian restaurants in South Philly. We tried Mr. Martino's a couple of times, but did not find it as good as Tre Scalini, Paradiso, or Le Virtu.
              Maybe we should give it another chance, but in the meantime, I'd say stick with one of the above. L'Angolo is certainly good, but we are often in and out of there in 45 minutes. With guests, you'd want to be able to spend more time.

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              Le Virtu
              1927 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148

              2 Replies
              1. re: sylviag
                j
                JanR Nov 12, 2009 07:05 AM

                We like Le Virtu also. However, when we left our clothing smelled strongly of fried food. This was at least a year ago. I know that a lot of the food is fried, and perhaps this is unavoidable. Have they fixed the ventilation?

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                Le Virtu
                1927 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148

                1. re: JanR
                  b
                  barryg Nov 12, 2009 08:06 AM

                  Last time I went, maybe a month or two ago, I didn't notice anything like this. Though we sat closer to the front (bar area) not the back where the kitchen is.

              2. m
                michyphilly Nov 7, 2009 11:00 AM

                I went to Mr. Martinos about 10 years ago and I didnt like it then. It may be helpful to check out Yelp on line they have alot of reviews on this rest. ,most of them bad.

                1. m
                  micreynolds Nov 7, 2009 02:52 PM

                  Never in my 10+ years living in Philly have I met a person that didn't absolutely LOVE Mr. Martino's, until I started looking at this message board, which is strange. And I usually agree with most of the opinions on this board regarding good food, hmmph. Also, the owner is quite possibly the sweetest man on earth and gives us free Frangelico after we eat from his secret stash, maybe that adds to the appeal :)

                  If the people from New York are real foodies, I agree, it's not the best spot to go to. There's not a ton of really serious foodie spots in South Philly, for that matter (excluding Bibou of course).

                  I've had GREAT meals at Le Virtu though, so if Hils is scared off by the Mr. Martino's talk, I would definitely vouch for it.

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                  Le Virtu
                  1927 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148

                  Bibou
                  1009 South 8th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: micreynolds
                    p
                    phillyjazz Nov 7, 2009 03:25 PM

                    I only tried Mr. Martino's once, but went with three other people (two were French) and we were all underwhelmed. For the cramped quarters, we expected more. It was OK, but not anything special.

                  2. s
                    sylviag Nov 8, 2009 04:20 PM

                    We just returned from a terrific dinner at Le Virtu. This may change my mind about what to recommend first.
                    First of all, the drinks were excellent. Large and well maid.
                    Service was great. Our waitress was friendly and efficient.
                    We shared the antipasto misto appetizer - $16.00. Everything on it was tasty and delicious. We are sure to order this again.
                    We each had a pasta. Most of the pastas are homemade. Mine was a pappardelle with mushrooms and truffle oil - wonderful. The pasta was like silk, and the flavors were intense. My husband had the day's special, which had a ragu or several meats. He scraped up every drop.
                    We enjoyed our meal so much that I know we will be inclined to have Le Virtu as our first choice for awhile. I'm sure we'll still return to Tre Scalini and the others, but this was really a pleasure. And the small rooms made talking possible.

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                    Le Virtu
                    1927 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148

                    1. h
                      hils Nov 10, 2009 05:34 PM

                      Thanks to each of your for responding. I now have a list of several restaurants to try and I guarantee that I will! For this Saturday night, Tre Scalini wins. Now next Saturday night, who knows?

                      Many thx all!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: hils
                        s
                        Steve Nov 11, 2009 10:16 AM

                        I had the veal dish with three mushrooms at Tre Scalini. Altrhough the veal was well prepared, it was served very wet, the pan dripping were not reduced, and the dish came out quite weak. I fared better with an arugula salad with pecorino cheese.

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