From the Italian Market of South Philly to to the outlying suburbs, Italian culture and history abound in Philadelphia. South Philly, which practically bleeds red, green and white, is home to numerous Italian eateries famous for their specialties, from pastas to cannoli and everything in between. Whether you crave that special dish Nonna used to make or simply want to eat your way through Italy without leaving town, you’ll find the perfect “ristorante” in the City of Brotherly Love. No doubt about it, with an abundance of top spots for Italian food, including the five we’ve featured here (which by no means complete the list), Philadelphia is a pasta lover’s paradise.
1415 W. Porter St.
Philadelphia, PA 19145
L’Angolo is a charming South Philly BYOB that is sure to have you coming back for more. This award-winning venue, known for classic Italian cuisine, is situated just off Broad Street, making it a popular spot for grabbing a bite before a big game. Anyone who loves Italian food knows they’ll find it in abundance in South Philly, but creative twists on classic dishes crafted from fresh ingredients served in a warm, inviting setting at wallet-friendly prices; now, that’s amore! Pasta and seafood are the stars at L’Angolo, but the setting, which is both cozy and inviting, definitely adds to the experience.
1927 E. Passyunk Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19148
Nestled in South Philly, Le Virtu – which, translated, means “the virtues” – brings the flavors of central Italy to the City of Brotherly Love. Ask around and locals will surely tell you that you can’t go wrong with this venue, from appetizers to desert and, of course, the pasta. Inspired by Abruzzese culinary tradition, the fresh, locally sourced ingredients are prepared and crafted into dishes that the fishermen and farmers of Italy would surely approve. Those ingredients that can’t be found fresh locally are brought in from Abruzzo, including the dried pastas and flour used to make fresh, homemade pasta
2025 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Stephen Starr’s Il Pittore in Rittenhouse Square crafts house-made pastas from fresh, local ingredients served up in an inviting environment that brings the romance of Italy to City of Brotherly Love. The herbs used in Il Pittore’s dishes are harvested from the venue’s rooftop garden for use in Chef Chris Painter’s fresh, classic Italian creations. The wood décor and murals along with three skylights will transport you – if only for dinner – to a countryside villa. Those in the know recommend the six-course tasting menu for the full experience which, most will agree, when artfully paired with just the right wine will make for an evening to remember.
640 N. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19130
The Vetri family of restaurants is well-known in Philadelphia for serving up fine fare, and Osteria in Center City is no exception. From wood-grilled fish and meats to hand-crafted pastas and thin-crust specialty pizzas topped with savory, fresh ingredients, there is something for everyone. Moderately priced fare served up in a warm, inviting setting that is perfect for a romantic dinner for two or a rousing get-together; it is the epitome of a family restaurant. In fact, there is more than something for everyone at this venue, according to fans who rave that the generous portions often result in plenty of leftovers for savoring later, especially if you’re saving room for one of Osteria’s desserts or artisanal cheese plates.
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1312 Spruce St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
For an exceptional experience that combines fine dining with incredible Italian fare, Vetri is sure to top the list, even for the most discerning of critics. One should note, however, that Vetri offers a custom experience, tailored to each guest, and that comes with a price: $155 per person, to be exact. Expensive, perhaps, but you get what you pay for in this case, which is a six-course meal crafted with only the finest, fresh ingredients served with impeccable service. Reservations are a must as this intimate setting accommodates only 30 guests.
Christy Ayala covers sports, recreation, the outdoors, and leisure activities in the Philadelphia area. She earned a masters degree in recreation administration from George Williams College and managed programs in the Midwest, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.