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Sep 30, 2010 02:10 PM

Going to be in Philly for the weekend. Whats the best Italian place?

Im going to be in town visiting my lady. We have a craving for some great Italian. Any suggestions? Dinic's is already a stop over thats for sure.

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  1. need some specifics:
    - which part of town?
    - what's your budget?
    - what kind of italian? (red sauce vs. regional authentic, etc)

    1 Reply
    1. re: coookie

      Cookie's right. There are a lot of variables, here, to consider as the city is rife with Italian joints that all have their supporters and detractors.. Also, do you want BYOB or a place with a full bar?

      I'm not big on South Philly/Naples-style Italian myself, so my personal favorites tend to be more Northern Italian in style and include Melograno and Branzino for BYOB, or Cichetteria 19 for a place with a full bar. But your mileage may definitely vary. Also, few dishes in the city beat Roberto Cafe's Veal Milanese.

    2. You can't beat a south Philly place on SouthBroad Street that is still my favorite Try Criniti's on Broad street a bock North of Oregon Avenue. Dishes cooked with the freshest ingrediants. All the veal dishes are great. Especially a dish called Veal Criniti, not on the menu but served up at you request. A version of Veal Scallopini cooked in a lovely red sauce with every vegetable you can think of including olives, All the portions of the specials are especially ample. Try it you'll love it. That's real Italian. Great service, friendly staff and an adequate wine list. AND moderately priced Entrees are $15 to 20. Tell them Marc sent you.
      And around the corner is POP's water ice which of late is almost as good as 20 years ago before Pop's kids decided to franchise and screwed up his original recipes. Pop's makes a great desert treat that can't be beat, finally. Get the lemon or pineapple.

      1. I'd recommend Dante & Luigi's for old school italian (cash only, alcohol served) or Carluccio's just down the street (BYOB, accepts cc) for updated classics.

        1 Reply
        1. re: urbanfabric

          urbanfabric, would love to hear a report on Carluccio's if you have time.

          --Scratch that, found your report and another. Should have used search first!

        2. The answer is Vetri - they may be the best Italian in the US. That said, the title and experience comes at a price.

          For the dining dollar, Modo Mio is beyond impressive.

          1 Reply
          1. re: uhockey

            I agree that it gets no better in Philly than Vetri, and I think the only place that approaches its level of refinement and quality of ingredients is its sister restaurant Osteria. Also not cheap, and you've got to have a tolerance for assertive salting to like it, but it would be my top pick for the OP.

            Runners up: Le Virtu for authentic Abruzzese, Melograno for a Roman-style trattoria (concentrate on the pastas), and Modo Mio for its excess and value.

          2. Wholly crap! Thank you all for the suggestions, All this made me realize I am a complete and total novice foodie. She lives in Norristown and her co-workers told her about some place called Ralph's. Im looking for the hole in the wall places with fresh mom and pop style entree's. Fancy is for sure not needed. Im in the Navy there for on a Navy budget. Just true good home cooking with a great atmosphere.

            10 Replies
              1. re: gregb

                It isn't "mom 'n pop" - it is far better and very affordable.


                1. re: uhockey

                  Completely agree! I tried to sneak one by the OP based on how good and affordable Modo Mio is.

              2. re: NavyHTguy

                You're definitely not looking for Vetri or Osteria. Those are upscale, pricier places.

                There are some good suggestions here.
                One very good one if L'Angolo, at 15th and Porter. Small, family feeling,very good food. It's byob, as are many places. Modo Mio is so loud that we can't stand it, unless you sit outside.
                Ralph's might be the perfect place for you.

                1. re: NavyHTguy

                  @NavyHTguy, Ralphs' is touristy, and out of towners generally think that's where you get the "Good red gravy" and pasta.
                  Dante & Luigi's would be my FIRST reccomendation, it's not overly priced, the atmosphere is really romatic, without being fussy or too upscale.

                  Villa DiRoma on the Italian Market is good... very good not overly priced and the locals go there to eat. (food there is maybe a notch down from D&L, but still very good and you get the whole "south philly" experience in one trip)

                  1. re: cgarner

                    second cgarner's recs - Villa D'Roma is cash only as is Ralph's I believe

                      1. re: barryg

                        Thanks barryg - I must have gotten distracted mid-comment - I thought I included D&L!

                        1. re: Bigley9

                          There's an ATM machine inside (I think) Villa Di Roma, if not, def right there on the market

                  2. re: NavyHTguy

                    Ralph's is a run-of-the-mill red gravy joint and extremely noisy; you'd have to scream at each other to be heard. Others here have given you better suggestions. I'll add two: La Locanda Del Ghittone - BYO and they take reservations, and Mr. Martino's, in South Philly, also BYO.