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Feb 29, 2012 03:52 PM

LA Chowhound Looking For Great Italian/Other Stuff

I'm a dedicated hound coming into Philly for three days and staying at the Loews.

Due to the one grievous lack in Los Angeles -- Italian food -- I am wondering if there might be a classic Italian place that people would send me...

Also if there's any other suggestion along the lines of "only in Philly" I would love to hear that too!


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  1. What is your budget? Are you willing to go to BYO or prefer a restaurant with a liquor license? Are you interested in pasta and meats? Or are you also interested in pizzas?

    2 Replies
    1. re: cwdonald

      I usually shy away from fancy and like more homey/casual/divey places. Dont care about liquor. Love to find the perfect Philly pizza :D

      1. re: echoparkdirt

        Villa Di Roma on 9th street in the Italian Market fits your deescription. All the waitresses will call you "Hon".

    2. Aside from Villa Di Roma, other old standards would be Ralph's and Dante and Luigi's. They're all near the Italian Market and do the red gravy thing, which I happen to love.

      1. If I had three days in Philly from LA and wanted to eat exclusively Italian food, I would probably go as follows:

        FOR DINNER:

        I would do a red gravy style place one night, and you've gotten the recs for that above.

        I would do one night at a BYO, and would personally recommend Le Virtu or Melograno for slightly more modern (and still exquisite) Italian.

        And then the third night I would try one of Marc Vetri's places, as he is generally considered the authority here in town. Based on your preference against fancy, I'd probably recommend Osteria or Amis. Amis will be closer to your hotel, and, while I think it is generally considered to be second choice among the two, I enjoy it a lot. I've found the area by the bar to be not overly fussy. Rock soundtrack, etc.

        If you prefer a dive environment, you are probably well off to consider a gastropub, though slightly off topic. We have several excellent alternatives on that front.

        FOR LUNCH:

        I would do a sandwich at Paesano's one day. Though if you eat the whole thing for a late lunch, I question whether dinner would even be necessary.

        I also enjoy Zavino for pizza, which I am sure that you are sorely missing in L.A., or Barbuzzo next door to it.

        For a more classic Italian hoagie, I personally enjoy Primo's, but I don't know the best downtown options as a relative suburbanite.

        14 Replies
        1. re: tfalbo

          There is a Primo's on 11th and Walnut Sts, but also consider Salumeria in the Reading Terminal Market for the hoagie.

          Also, I believe that Le Virtu is not a BYO.

          1. re: Philly Ray

            Oh my mistake. Le Virtu is not BYO. I don't know where my brain was on that one.

            1. re: Philly Ray

              It's not BYOB but it is excellent and I highly recommend it. I think It's more rustic than modern. Focus on traditional dishes from the Abruzzi region of Italy.

              1. re: barryg

                It's funny you should say that. I debated the use of "modern", as the food does seem very traditional. I guess I think of it as a more modern manifestation of Italian food in America, which offers more rustic regional cuisine, rather than a traditional red gravy type menu that you could find just about anywhere, if that makes any sense. So in my twisted mind I think that it is both rustic, and modern? Either way, it's great and worth a try.

                1. re: barryg

                  My vote goes to Le Virtu. Excellent food! I went for the first time last year based on barryg's recommendation. It exceeded my expectations.

              2. re: tfalbo

                I second the Zavino rec. for the pizza. The margherita's great and only two blocks away from the Loews. And for dessert check out the gelato at Capogiro across the street.

                Also head a block the other direction and get a roast pork sandwich with rabe and provolove from DiNic's in Reading Terminal Market. Only in Philly...

                1. re: bluehensfan

                  I third the Zavino rec for pizza... might be my favorite pizza in town. I think I even prefer theirs to Osteria's. I also think Barbuzzo is overrated.

                  My favorite "red-gravy" joint would be Dante & Luigi's. I haven't been there in a while, but as I recall they were kind of pricey.

                  Definitely visit one of the Vetri joints.

                  1. re: deprofundis

                    We went to Zavino. Last nite. I thought it was absolutely wonderful, and I loved the little urban/unfussy space. Fantastic pizzas. Perfect. And so close to the hotel!
                    My great thanks to the Chowhound hivemind that brought me here...
                    I might have to go there again tonite!

                    1. re: echoparkdirt

                      Go to Amis! I'm going there in a few myself.

                      1. re: echoparkdirt

                        I was there Saturday and had three excellent pizzas. They also had fabulous ox-tail risotto and a melted ricotta appetizer that were fabulous!

                        1. re: bluehensfan

                          Bluehen where were you? Zavino or Barbuzzo.. I know it wasn't Amis since they don't serve pizza ;-)

                          1. re: cwdonald

                            Sorry I was at Zavino. I'm not a big fan of the pies at Barbuzzo (a bit soggy IMO). I do like Amis though!

                  2. re: tfalbo

                    Oh God, don't go to Primo's. Ever since their expansion, they have gone downhill. BLECH!!!

                    1. re: Userfriend

                      Really depends which one you go to. Some good.. some not so good.

                  3. While in RTM, try Herschel's pastrami, to compare to Langer's. Also DiNic's beef