Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Philadelphia >
Dec 27, 2012 06:11 AM

Core de Roma - West Chester

I just saw a mention of this place and was wondering if anyone has been there. It looks like an outpost of a Center City restaurant. I'm guessing, from the map, that it might be in the Gay St. Plaza. Any reports? Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Cindy, I just noticed it this week myself. The ads in WC Dish say that the owner had a restaurant on South St. with a good following (certainly a 26 Zagat score) and that he has been looking for a place in the burbs. BYO.

    That's all I know.

    1. Haven't tried it yet, but it's in the strip mall on the corner of Adams St., on the other side of the police station from Gay St. Plaza. I think the space used to be an Italian Social Club?

      1 Reply
      1. re: brandywiner

        Yes, just noticed it too & was wondering... A restaurant that can compete on South St. must have something going for it!

      2. Okay -- it only took me a year and a half after my original post to get to Core de Roma for dinner. We were there last night and I have to say, the place has a lot going for it -- first of all, there's parking. Right there, in a small strip mall parking lot. That might not sound like much, but on a Saturday night in West Chester, finding parking is no easy feat. Next -- important in MY book -- it's BYO, with no corkage fee. The Center City location has a liquor license, but not so in WC. Next -- the food was quite good. No, not haute cuisine, but certainly comparable to what you'd find at Limoncello or Nonna's (I know Nonna's is now Avalon, but I haven't been since it became Avalon.)

        We had 7:30 reservations, and the place was full -- AND loud! VERY loud. We started with an appetizer of rigatoni in a light cream sauce with sweet sausage, peas and mushrooms topped with parmigiano reggiano. For my entree I had the Veal Valdostana that came with a side of roasted potatoes, carrots and green beans (pasta is an option in place of the veggies). My husband had sauteed chicken breast with shrimp and sundried tomatoes, also with the veggie sides. We both enjoyed our selections, which were priced at around $20.

        Service was friendly, but a bit too fast for our liking. But maybe that's just us. When we're out to dinner we like it to be leisurely -- two hours feels about right when there are just the two of us; last night we were in and out in under 1.5 hours. Next time we're there, we'll pace it better.

        4 Replies
        1. re: CindyJ


          I have talked to a few people about Core di Roma. We all agree on one thing. The food is truly good (I would say at least as good as Teca, and much better than Nonna's was), and not overpriced.

          But one theme keeps coming up. The experience is bad, not because of the restaurant, but because of the other patrons. I have heard complaints of groups so drunk and so loud (the place does not have much noise abatement) that other tables couldn't talk. My own peeve was on a night where there were some big family groups who kept on getting up to kiss or talk, and invariably hit your chair back. Nothing against family groups (a tradition in Italian restaurants), but definitely against such total lack of consideration for other patrons (like not hitting their chairs, repeatedly, every time). Not particularly the children but at the adults, who really ought to know better, and were worse than the children. I came out suspecting that they really wanted the whole place to themselves, and were going to take it if they didn't have it.

          The owner is probably a little too nice, and doesn't dare tell them to be considerate of others. It is costing him business.

          1. re: FrancisdeR

            Interesting you should mention family groups, FrancisdeR. When we walked in, we waited briefly before someone came over to ask about our reservation. While we waited, we couldn't help but notice a large family group, maybe 10 or so, that appeared to be clearing their own table, removing tablecloths, etc. Their table was soon reset and we were shown to our table, from which we could see the family group. About halfway through our meal, we again noticed that tablecloths and dishes were once again being removed from that same family's table as family members milled around. Again their table was reset. I really wasn't paying close attention to the goings-on at that table, so I don't know what was happening there, only that it was unusual.

            As for the noise -- I've had the same reaction at Il Granaio and their newer outpost in Chadds Ford, Antica -- the louder it gets, the louder people have to shout to be heard at their own table, until everyone in the place is shouting and the noise level becomes deafening. Maybe it's better to go to these places on a weekday night, when they're not so busy.

          2. re: CindyJ

            We were at Limoncello the other night for the first time. The staff was great, really nice and attentive, but my two dishes were disappointing. The entree was a chicken breast rolled and stuffed with prosciutto and asparagus in a cream sauce over pasta. the sauce was quite literally cream, not cooked down in the least, unflavored and unsalted. Just messy and bad.

            1. re: sal_acid

              Before they got their liquor license, we'd go to Limoncello from time to time on a Saturday. It was always very crowded, but we were always pretty pleased with the food. Now that they've got their liquor license we don't really go there as much, but I was there with a group of friends a couple of weeks ago on a weekday evening. Still very crowded, and we were all pretty pleased with the food.

              Maybe you were there on an off-night. I don't feel a need to rush back there because there are similar alternatives that are BYO, which is always my preference.

          3. We went there for Mother's Day (dinner) and had a great meal with fantastic service. It was a bit loud, but I expected that given the holiday. I don't know if it makes a difference, but we were seated in the front room close to the door - maybe the back room is louder?

            5 Replies
            1. re: truman

              You may have a point, Truman. I remember thinking, "next time, we'll try to sit in the front, even at the bar". There just hasn't been a next time yet. We did like the owner, and would like to go back and talk to him more. We're just hoping for a quieter night.

              1. re: truman

                Come to think of it, the back room is probably the louder of the two areas. I think the back room has more seating, and much of the front room is taken up by the "bar," which doesn't lend itself to noisy conversation as tables do.

                1. re: truman

                  We ate there on Friday for an early Valentine's dinner. I was quite surprised that they had a limited "special" menu where substitutions were not permitted, and the bucatini I'd planned to order was not available. (DH said he was not told about the limited menu when he called to make the reservation.) The artichoke appetizer was amazing, as on our previous visit, but my lasagna was just okay. Service was spotty (and got worse as the evening went on) and it was LOUD in the back room; we felt like the annoying couples at the table next to us were sitting with us. So... I'm not sure if we will go back any time soon unless it's on a boring weeknight.

                  1. re: truman

                    And... we tried to go last night for Mother's Day again. Surprise, a special menu that wasn't announced on their website or mentioned to DH when he called. Surprise, bad service - the host (owner?) just pointed to our table and let us seat ourselves, and the waiter was rude and vanished after taking our drink orders. After 20 minutes we put some cash on the table to cover our drinks and dish washing, and left. Never again.

                    1. re: truman

                      For a similar type of menu, but somewhat better service, you might want to try either Antica or Fellini Cafe, both on Rt. 1 in Chadds Ford, both BYO. Fellini is probably the quieter of the two.