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Sep 28, 2010 07:22 AM

Ristorante Arugula's - Huntingdon Valley, PA

Formerly the Huntingdon Valley Diner and then the Olympia Cafe (corner of County Line Road and Second Street Pike), there's another Italian restaurant in town, called Ristorante Arugula's. It just recently opened (perhaps in the last week or so). At first glance, the restaurant has gone through a mjor (and improved!) transformation. The entire restaurant has been gutted and redone - with attractive natural earth tones. The kitchen is now "open" for everyone to see and there are plenty of tables throughout. The menu has been completely revamped too - it's much smaller than its predecessor and the choices are few and simple.

Pricing is reasonable for the area - soup is $5, salads run $9-$12 (and they're huge!), other apps (such as calamari) will run a little higher. Entrees average between $14 and $20, with a nice selection to choose from (pastas, veal, chicken, etc.). They also have about 5 different individual pizzas to choose from ranging about $10-$12 each. They're very big, so if you're thinking of any apps before dinner, split a pizza with a friend!

Now for the pros and cons:

Pros - beautiful decor, very clean, nice selection on menu, reasonable pricing, nice portions. Oh, and it's a BYOB which is a welcome addition in Huntingdon Valley.

Cons - the restaurant is loud due to all of the hard surfaces and nothing to buffer noise (I could barely hear my husband talking and the restaurant was only 1/4 full). waitstaff could use a little polishing ("are yous ready to order?"...) and could do a better job checking on the table (i.e. for water refills) (I suspect some of the servers are fairly new to this business). The manager should also use a little discretion when speaking with his servers - the customers can hear what he's saying, and while he seems to be running a "tight ship" - perhaps his conversations with the servers should be held off the floor. A small complimentary house salad would be a nice touch to accompany entrees.

Overall - it's a nice place and I'm sure as time goes on, the service will continue to improve. I'll be curious to read what others think.

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  1. The food here is unbelievable! They have since installed sound absorbing material on the walls, and it is much quieter. I would recommend stopping back.

    1. As far as the noise goes, I disagree with the respondent above. We were there after he/she responded and it is still very noisy. I disagree about the service. I thought it was pretty good. Most dishes are very good, particularly, the Dover Sole and the grilled octopus appetizer, which while a special, was offered both times we were there. The pepper and crab meat appetizer had good peppers and a delicious sauce, but the flavor of the crab meat was off. Not sure if it was canned or just pasteurized but it did not taste like fresh crab. They tend to overcook vegetable. Perhaps they prepare them in advance. And, if you like garlic, be sure to tell them as they are light handed unless you specify.