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Jul 29, 2012 11:06 AM

One night in Philly

I have one night in Philly coming up. I live in the South now and miss the wonderful Italian food I grew up with in the north. I want to go to a restaurant that's neighborhoody and authentic, not a tourist trap. Any suggestions? I'm happy to take the train or other transport to get anywhere.

Thank you!

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  1. I'm not in Philly that often, but I've eaten at Ralph's twice and really enjoyed it. Very old school Italian (actually I believe it is one of the oldest Italian restaurants in the country), unpretentious and good value. The bread is wonderful.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Rilke

      Speaking of one of the oldest in the country, I remember seeing that Dante and Luigi's opened in 1899. Its not a name that comes up on CHOW often. Is it still a neighborhood staple or more of a touristy place? I only ate there once back in the 70s but remember it was excellent.

      1. re: Chefpaulo

        Not touristy necessarily, bu expensive and mediocre on my last visit. Has more of a formal vibe than a neighborhoody one.

        The problem I see is that most neighborhoody places are just not as good or consistent as trendier or more upscale ones like Osteria and Le Virtu. Plenty are solid but hard to recommend for "one night in Philly."

        Modo Mio may be the best bet, a tiny BYOB off the beaten path and not touristy at all., though it has sort of a trendy vibe, mainly due to the cramped seating. It gets very loud but the food is great (albeit on the salty side), and it's also a fantastic value. It's close the Girard stop on the Market-Frankford Line but OP should probably call a cab to get home.

          1. re: JanR

            3rd Modo Mio. Remember to BYOB! And Cash only but the food is great and interesting and the price is very reasonable.

          2. re: barryg

            It makes you wonder how expensive and mediocre survive, even after 113 years. Probably that's why it never comes up on this site.
            I was in my 20s last time there. Chefs change and my palate has certainly been refined. Thanks for the update.

            1. re: Chefpaulo

              My parents were friends of Mr ( Dante ) and Mrs. Del Rocco in the 60's and 70's. When Mrs Del Rocco got ill some years after Dante's death, it was sold in the mid 90's and has not been good since. When l used to go back then, Dante & Luigi's was my go to spot for decades alas things change.

      2. Mr. Martino's on Passyunk Avenue. Very cozy byob. Ralph's would not be my first choice.

        3 Replies
        1. re: JanR

          Since Ralph's apparently changed chefs, at least on the night l was there about 18 months ago, neither would l.
          Try Modo Mio or Monsu for Sicilian, or Osteria.

          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            Oh nooo! Well, I guess I should say I haven't been since May 2010, and I am no Philly expert.

          2. re: JanR

            I would second Mr. Martino's. We went there a few weeks back and loved it. Wonderful, simple Italian dishes. You'll feel like you're in Rome. And the owners are extremely attentive. It may not be a meal you'll remember the rest of your life, but I am sure you won't feel at all like a tourist.

            I'd also second (or third) Modo Mio if you have an appetite and don't mind a little bit (or a lot) of noise.