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Authentic Red Sauce Italian in Philadelphia

Former New Yorkers, now Seattites, coming through Philly. We are desperate for an authentic neighborhood restaurant serving great Italian. Also looking for something casual, but tasty for arrival night after long flight in from the West Coast. We are staying in City Center. Thxs!

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  1. If you want old school, there's Villa di Roma on 9th St or Dante & Luigi's at 10th & Catherine.

        1. Wherever you end up, if you want to make points with your server the tomato sauce is "gravy."
          CP

          1. We always go to Marra's (1734 E. Passyunk Ave.) when we're coming from the airport. Good, red sauce Italian.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Hopefulone

              I really like the pizza at Marra's, i have been less happy with the pasta there. But the atmosphere is definitely old school.

              1. re: cwdonald

                If by "old school', you mean rude and nasty service, then I agree. I also agree about the food. Pizza good, everything else...not so much.

                1. re: Philly Ray

                  +1 for the "rude and nasty service" comment regarding Marra's.
                  After reading about the debut of Marra Brothers some 20+ years ago (1989?), and their extreme attention to detail , the GF and I went for dinner. Since the accolades were so elevated, we entrusted our waiter to make the selections and bring us the "specialties of the house." The response was (paraphrase), "Well, if you want veal, we got veal. If you want fish, we got fish. If you want pasta, we got pasta." In other words, "Make up your minds and get outta my face."
                  After the ho-hum meal, marginally fresh fish and the bitch-moan attytood, we have obliged by remaining forever absent.
                  CP

                  1. re: Chefpaulo

                    Chef.. can you confirm you are talking about the Marra's that claims to have been around for 83 years. I am a bit confused as to that which you are speaking of, and the place in South Philly known as Marra's. Not being originally from Philadelphia, I do not claim to know the history of all the institutions, but I thought Marra's had been one of the originals.

                    The website of what I know as Marra's.

                    http://marrasone.com/

                    1. re: cwdonald

                      I've eaten at Marra's a number of times. The pizza is fantastic, as are the meatballs. Other food is average. Service has always been pleasant. It's not a fine dining place, and not fine dining level service, but I have never found them rude.

                      1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

                        Just want to echo that pizza is the way to go at Marra's. I look ordering it well done to make sure they cook the crust all the way through.

                      2. re: cwdonald

                        If I am in error, I apologize. I was referring to Marra Brothers and maybe assuming they were one and the same. My experience was a one-timer for sure.
                        CP