Pasta meal for pre-marathon fueling (with options for non-runners also)
We're coming into town in November for the marathon, and while some of our group are running and looking for un-fussy pastas for the night before, we'd like to make the most of the visit and find an optimal spot for dinner.
We'll be staying near Rittenhouse Square, will have a car but would prefer not to use it or at least not to travel too far. I did some research but the suggestions seemed to be for further flung areas/quite old, and some of the recommended spots near where we were staying looked great, but a solid pasta option was elusive (for example, Matyson looked ideal for me - the non-runner - but is not a great choice for us because the runners will want pasta.)
We're coming from NYC, so if there were things that Philly does really well that we dont get as much of up here, all the better, but we're far from opposed to a red-sauce (or nicer) italian place, or anywhere with great pastas.
For a disucssion of the red sauce options see http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/862786.
Melograno is a wonderful BYO italian place on Sansom real close to where you are staying. Across the street from it is Il Pittore. It is part of the Stephen Star Empire but the pasta is outstanding and the secondi are very good too.. not cheap.
Amis or Osteria are both good italian restaurants. Amis makes better pasta, but I like Osterias pasta choices because they offer half portions. Amis is walkable, Osteria you would need a cab.
I am sure other can jump in with a few more reasonably priced options.
If I was coming into town for the marathon, and staying in center city, I'd probably go to Pietros. on Walnut.
It's not the best Italian out there, but it's good solid food, full of carbs - pasta, pizza, big servings, right off of Rittenhouse Square.
I'd suggest perhaps La Viola (or it's twin, across the street, La Viola Oest).
It's not the best of the best of Philly, but it's very solid. There's pasta options for runners who want that, and plenty of other classic Italian.
Our go-to pre-race pasta meal is always at the Bellini Grill, http://www.bellinigrill.com/ . They've prepped us for a few Philadelphia Marathon events, as well as the Broad Street Run this past spring - and the owner is a runner himself! I like the fact that it's a bit smaller and under-the-radar, and we've always been very happy with our appetizers and pasta meals.
Off the topic of food, within a few blocks of the restaurant are a running store (philadelphiarunner.com, on 16th at Sansom) and a Modell's (on Chestnut at 16th) in case your runners need any last-minute gear.
I'll second Melograno. For nearby old school Italian with pasta options, I also like D'Angelos.