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Apr 11, 2010 12:09 AM

Marra's in South Philly

I've read some old posts on this board thinking it was a good recommendation to go there (Newest ones I found were around 2-3 years old). So I had dinner there tonight and it was an abdominal experience. The waitress we had was absolutely rude and inattentive and the food was some of the worst Italian I've ever had. I'm from the New York area, born and raised Italian, and worked at an Italian restaurant for 2 years. So I have a good sense of what "good"
Italian is. I started with stuffed mushrooms and garlic bread. The must of seasoned the bread with old bay, the spice used for seasoning crabs.. it was disgusting. The stuffing for the mushrooms tasted like ground beef topped with something I tasted in a crab cake. 7 bucks for 7 tiny mushrooms. I ordered chicken parm and broccoli rob, the mozzarella wasn't even melted fully on my chicken. The sauce, tasted like prego. It was sweet and tangy, and is currently giving me a stomach ache. Chicken was bland, and broccoli rabe was not properly sauteed in garlic or oil, it just tasted old. My girlfriend ordered a personal pizza and a side order of meatballs, I think the meatballs were the worst part. Tasted like chuck meat rolled into shit. The pizza was the only OK part of the meal, but their mozzarella tasted like polli-o cheese and the sauce and dough were still very cheap and had no resemblance to pizzeria tomato sauce. Worst Italian I can remember and I certainly am very stern against eating there. I think philly residents have their old memories of good food at these places and "settle" for the garbage it has become. I want to try Dante and Luigi's, I just hope they can make some Italian food.

Marra's Restaurant
1734 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148

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  1. I don't know anyone who recommends the food there that is not pizza. I do like their house salad and soups. I agree with you that the rest of the menu is crap and service is not so good. But I love their pizza; I always order it well done. I think the crust is great; sauce is a bit sweet but works for me. Cheese seems like real mozz to me and is creamy. If you go in with any expectations besides good pizza in a casual environment, you will be disappointed.

    I was just there last week; pizza was as good as ever to my taste. Service was what I expected, but for some reason they were announcing up orders or something over a PA that was piped to entire restaurant. So every once and a while there was a loud, crackly, voice filling the whole restaurant. Kind of like when they try to announce something on the subway, but even louder. It was very annoying.

    1 Reply
    1. re: barryg

      We went for pizza and were underwhelmed. We don't plan to go back.

    2. Cut and pasted from my post of about a year ago: "Marra Bros. is off my list. Our waiter didn't even have the savvy to know he was being honored by our asking that he bring us the specialties of the house. Instead, we received the "Well, if you like veal, we got veal. If you like fish, we got fish" response. In other words, "Don't ask me to think. I just schlep plates." That was remembered far more than the food. in fact, completely more."

      Sounds like our waiter and your waitress could use a Dale Carnegie course.


      1. I have had only horrible experiences at this restaurant and have recommended people to NOT GO there. Most of the people who like that restaurant have liked it when they were younger and only have the good memories of it, and not how it is now.

        I've had both their pizza and their main menu, and its ehhh to both, Nothing great or anything to brag about.

        Dante & Luigi's from the one time I went there wasn't bad. Way better than Marra's, I would suggest going to La Fourno on S. Street in all honesty. Suprisingly one of the best dining experiences of my life and they have hands down the best tiramisu in town.

        1. to be honest i am amazed that people recommended anything but the pizza (specifically, than the white pizza). the food is very mediocre to poor and the service can be unbelievably bad. i do crave their white pizza with rabes though, but i am CONVINCED that they put butter on it, which makes my own stomach very unhappy. but i love the taste. i had a birthday dinner there with about 20-25 friends one year and they only gave us one waitress and she was awful. a friend who had worked in the restaurant business for years let her have it and i had to smooth a few feathers, but it was deserved. it sucked. they also make the worst scungili salad on the planet.

          and i grew up and still live around the corner from dante and luigi's (me being a south philly ital-american who worked in italian delis and grew up right across the street from oh, 10 or so relatives) and it is beyond way better than marra's. they can do some goofy things sometimes (sweetbreads are either amazing or meh), but they are also way better than bamonte's if you know the place. the service can be either really good or really huh? but they are never rude. to be honest, this is the only italian american joint that i recommend in philly. ralph's only makes good sausage and peppers and don't even get me started on villa di roma. if you want actual italian food (not italian american), we've got some great options for that too. but i digress....

          and hehe, but i think that i am going to chuckle about your 'abdominal' experience for a while. can't figure out if you actually meant abominable, but abdominal seems appropriate given your stomach's very negative reaction....

          3 Replies
          1. re: mazza3

            Haha Mazza I'm glad you caught my pun on words. So given your recommendation of Dante and Luigi's (I've heard mixed reviews) is there any other Italian restaurant in Philly anyone on this board can FULLY vouch for? Reading some posts, I've seen an overall "no" on Ralphs besides a few dishes, and La Fourno on South got 1 thumps up, I can really use
            some good insight from locals.. the boards with reviews are pretty old and my friends aren't well versed in Italian food or culture to know

            1. re: redsnake1234

              My favorites: Paridiso, Tre Scalini(BYO), LeVirtu (all on East Passyunk, SPhilly), Cafe Valentino (3rd/Wharton), Spasso (Front/Chestnut): all easy weeknignt parking Parking.

              1. re: redsnake1234

                I'll give two thumps up to L'angolo on Porter St.