Italian culture and Italian food are inextricably woven into the fabric of daily life in Philadelphia. The city’s culinary Italian heritage is highlighted in the neighborhood markets, which stock olives, Parma ham, and tagliatelle, the little street-corner trattorias that serve homemade chianti, and endless Sunday dinners at one of the many family-owned restaurants around the city. Exuding the soul of Italy on every corner, Philadelphia is home to some of the best Italian eateries in the country, and here are a few to start with.
Designed to resemble a Roman-style trattoria, Amis is a Washington Square West eatery whose menus are said to be inspired by the rustic cooking of Rome. Leading Philadelphia's cutthroat Italian scene for over 7 years, Amis is the third member of the holy trinity of Marc Vetri’s “Truly Italian Restaurants” and the most welcoming of all, with a vibrant, convivial atmosphere. Cozy church pew seats and tables have views of the kitchen, where the chef produces mouthwatering plates of bruschetta starters, almond-dusted sweetbreads, and entrees of Pennsylvania trout with leeks and lemon, striploin with mushrooms and chimichurri, and sweet potato ravioli with brown butter and pancetta. Don’t miss the pappardelle with oxtail ragu or the sharing platter of pig’s trotter arancini, and end your meal with sticky walnut buns.
412 South 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, Phone: 215-732-2647
© Bistro Romano
Bistro Romano is an intimate Italian eatery with a charming, rustic ambiance in the heart of Philadelphia. Housed in a historic building dating back to the early 1700s, Bistro Romano features open-beam ceilings, hearth-brick walls, and soft lighting, which create a warm, informal setting for a romantic rendezvous. An upstairs lounge and bar feature the original bar fixture from the luxury liner City of Detroit III as well as comfortable leather seating, while the wine cellar located beneath the street is part of the former network of underground tunnels in Society Hill and is home to an impressive collection of vintages. Guests can enjoy a unique experience by dining in the wine cellar, listening to soothing live music in the piano bar, or taking part in one of the popular Mystery Theater events that are frequently hosted at Bistro Romano.
120 Lombard St, Philadelphia, PA 19147, Phone: 215-925-8880
3.Dante & Luigi's
© Dante & Luigi's
Established in 1899, Dante & Luigi’s is Philadelphia's oldest restaurant and the longest continuously running Italian restaurant in the United States. Situated in the heart of the historic Italian Market district, Dante & Luigi’s was once the destination of immigrants from Italy arriving in Philadelphia who, unable to speak English, came with scraps of paper citing the name of the restaurant, where they could find lodging and work. Today, housed in two converted townhouses, Dante & Luigi's retains much of the charm and serves a well-balanced mix of Old World specialties, ocean-fresh seafood and no less than 15 types of exceptional handmade pasta dishes. For an authentic taste of an Italian classic, try the tiramisu with hand-dipped ice creams.
762 S 10th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147, Phone: 215-922-9501
4.Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse
© Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse
Situated just off the oh-so-fashionable Rittenhouse Row on the second floor in the historic Provident Bank Building, Davio’s Philadelphia is an Italian gem in the city’s burgeoning dining scene. The award-winning restaurant features a dramatic dining room with stylish contemporary décor and an elegant lounge for winding down over post-work drinks. The menu offers Italian-American cuisine with an unusual, grill-heavy California twist, featuring plenty of prime steaks and chops, fresh lobster, jumbo crab, and fish as well as hand-rolled gnocchi and ultra-light pappardelle with mouthwatering sauces. One of the signature dishes is the lobster ravioli with fennel, tomato, and sherry cream, which shouldn’t be missed, and there are plenty of excellent wines to choose from to pair with your cuisine.
111 South 17th Street, Philadelphia, Phone: 215-563-4810
Located in East Falls with a distinct neighborhood feel, Fiorino is an intimate spot with a rustic vibe that never fails to deliver when it comes to delicious Italian food. Reserve your seat for lunch or dinner and tuck into platters of white wine mussels or a classic avocado shrimp cocktail, followed by pasta dishes like spaghetti with clams or tagliatelle Bolognese. Entrees feature prime meats, chicken, and fresh seafood – think chicken battuta, Franco's saltimbocca, or the seafood-heavy spaghetti scoglio – and desserts to end off on a sweet note include tiramisu, cannoli, and panna cotta. This cozy, romantic Italian eatery features a selection of easy-drinking wine as well as a BYOB policy, so feel free to take our bottle. Guests can also enjoy cooking classes, which are held throughout the year.
3572 Indian Queen Ln, Philadelphia, PA 19129, Phone: 215-843-1500
6.Giorgio On Pine
© Courtesy of Daniel Vincek - Fotolia.com
Giorgio on Pine is a rustic trattoria-style restaurant in the heart of Center City where guests can savor authentic Italian cuisine in a casual atmosphere. Owner/chef Giorgio Giuliani focuses on classic Roman cuisine that is prepared using only the freshest locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. The standard menu offers an array of traditional Italian fare, such as linguine and clams, spaghetti primavera, and veal melanzane, and there is a special, separate gluten-free menu with all the same delights sans the gluten. Giorgio on Pine caters for private parties and other functions and features a BYOB policy so guests can enjoy their bottle of wine at lunch or dinner.
1328 Pine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, Phone: 215-545-6265
7.Gran Caffe L'Aquila
© Gran Caffe L'Aquila
Gran Caffe L’Aquila offers a multifaceted, urbane Italian experience with an authentic Italian café featuring an elegant dining room that looks like a library, a wine bar and a cocktail bar, a coffee bar and roastery, a charcuterie cabinet, and several mouthwateringly tempting pastry cabinets. The café is renowned for specialties such as four different blends of house-roasted coffee, Nutella frappes, spiked espressos, and house-made gelato, all of which are served with freshly baked pastries and panini. The dining room serves lunch and dinner as well as a weekly tasting menu with traditional Italian delights such as platters of antipasti and small plates, fresh salads and soups, house-made pasta dishes and creamy sauces, and meat, chicken, and fresh seafood plates. Gran Caffe L’Aquila offers an award-winning wine program with an extensive selection of easy-drinking and lesser-known wines from Italy and around the world as well as a cocktail program with handcrafted creations.
1716 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103, Phone: 215-568-5600
8.La Famiglia Ristorante
© La Famiglia Ristorante
Old World service meets traditional age-old Italian cuisine to create an unforgettable dining experience at La Famiglia Ristorante. Functioning out of Old City for more than 40 years, the classic Italian restaurant oozes timeless appeal with waiters who still pull your chair out for you, starchy white napkins, and a wine list as thick as a telephone directory. With a distinct focus on serving delectable dishes prepared with high-quality ingredients, the menu features sumptuous dishes such as garlic-sautéed shrimp or seafood in a creamy red sauce, taglioni with black and red caviar, and fat rigatoni smothered in sweet cherry tomato sauce. For a special occasion, book a table in the wine cellar for a private and romantic dinner surrounded by decades of fine wine.
8 South Front Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-922-2803
9.Italian Restaurants in Philadelphia: La Viola
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La Viola is a family-owned Italian restaurant and bistro located in the heart of Philadelphia’s city center. The restaurant features two dining establishments across the street from each other – La Viola Ovest (West) and La Viola Bistro, both of which serve delectable Italian cuisine in stylish settings. Located just blocks away from some of the city’s best attractions, such as the Kimmel Center and Rittenhouse Square, both the restaurants serve simple and delicious Abruzzi-inspired fare and are ideal for light lunches or romantic dinners. La Viola Ovest has a gorgeous outdoor garden for alfresco dining and a beautiful private event space that can be hired for special celebrations and occasions. La Viola offers a BYOB policy so guests can enjoy their bottle of wine while dining. Things to Do in Philadelphia
252 S. 16th Street Philadelphia, PA 19102, Phone: 215-735-8630
© Courtesy of Brent Hofacker - Fotolia.com
L'Angolo Ristorante is an inviting BYOB neighborhood charmer complete with Italian men sitting out front, playing cards and drinking red wine. Featuring a cozy dining room and an open kitchen out of which flows delicious, traditional Italian fare, L'Angolo is popular with the locals and Friday and Saturday nights are packed, so be sure to reserve a table to avoid disappointment. The mouthwatering appetizers and small plates far outweigh the entrees so tuck into grilled calamari, mussels with crostini or pan-seared smoked mozzarella before trying one of the superbly done pasta dishes and house specialties. Whether it’s the gnocchi ai gamberi, the spaghetti ai funghi or the penne melanzane, they all live up to their standards of excellences (the spaghetti Bolognese has been described as “pasta with a burger on top”).
1415 West Porter Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145, Phone: 215-389-4252
© Little Nonna's
Tucked away in the heart of Midtown Village, Little Nonna's is an Italian-American restaurant owned and operated by Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran. The cozy little 40-seater eatery features a beautiful garden with outdoor seating for summertime dining, with a chef’s counter overlooking the open kitchen a favorite spot. Little Nonna's prides itself on serving a menu of ambrosial cuisine prepared with the freshest natural ingredients that have been sourced locally and are seasonally available. Open for lunch and dinner; Little Nonna's offers a range of delicious antipasti and small plates, fresh salads, hearty pasta dishes such as gnocchi, macaroni, and rigatoni, and entrees of fresh fish and meat. Don’t miss enticing desserts such as the buttermilk panna cotta and hazelnut cannoli, served with freshly brewed coffee or dessert wines.
1234 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107,Phone: 215-546-2100
© Courtesy of saratm - Fotolia.com
Modo Mio is lusty, lively little corner spot West Girard Avenue that continues to draw the crowds. The very first of acclaimed restauranteur Peter McAndrews’ fabulous eateries, Modo Mio might be lacking in space but makes up for it in the menu, which features both classics and modern twists. The Menu Turista (tasting menu) is a popular choice with a variety of heavenly combinations – anything from grilled artichokes, braised calf's tongue, and tomato mostarda to veal and rabbit ravioli, pancetta, crispy potato, and salsa verde. Sugo Sundays are all about family and feature the traditional courses of antipasti, pasta, meat, salad, and dessert. From the “ethereally light” gnocchi to the crusty-on-the-outside-and-soft-on-the-inside bread, you cannot help but overindulge here.
161 West Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19123, Phone: 215-203-8707
13.Spasso Italian Grill
© Spasso Italian Grill
Boasting a warm and welcoming atmosphere in which to enjoy traditional Italian food and wine, Spasso Italian Grill is ideal for any occasion from family gatherings to intimate dinners for two. The vibrant restaurant features a spacious dining room with comfortable chairs and tables, an open kitchen where diners can watch the chefs at work, and a full-service bar that serves a selection of fine wines, beers, imported spirits, and more. The menu won’t disappoint with an array of rustic and traditional fare, such as heaving platters of antipasti, steaming plates of homemade pasta with thick sauces, fresh and crisp garden salads, and hearty entrees of meat, chicken, and fresh fish. Spasso also has an outdoor area for alfresco dining in the summer months and a beautiful lounge and banquet room for private functions and events.
34 S Front St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-592-7661
© Vetri Ristorante
Established by chef-owner Marc Vetri in 1998, this comfortable nationally acclaimed restaurant seats only 35 guests so it is always full and reservations are essential. Claiming rave reviews from its inception, Vetri Ristorante is renowned as being the standard-bearer for Italian cooking in the city, drawing pilgrims from far and wide to savor the exquisite menu offerings. Seamlessly blending authenticity and originality, Marc Vetri offers a prix fixe menu and a custom-tailored menu, which feature inspired dishes such as baby goat with freshly stone-milled polenta, cocoa-dusted chestnut fettuccine with boar, and Texas antelope with squash and a delicious Amarone sauce. Signature desserts include chocolate polenta soufflé and Campari-tinged sorbet, and a curated wine list is offered to pair with the perfect cuisine.
1312 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, Phone: 215-732-3478
15.Italian Restaurants in Philadelphia: Victor Cafe
© Victor Cafe
Victor Café is one of the city’s oldest Italian restaurants and a South Philly institution that conjures memories of Lady and the Tramp and Rocky Balboa. The charming eatery features red-checkered table cloths and serenading opera singers and offers a menu full of traditional Italian favorites and Old World classics along with modern versions and inspired creations of traditional Italian fare. Signature dishes and daily specials include steamed Prince Edward Island mussels sautéed in a spicy marinara or white wine, lemon, butter and garlic, and veal saltimbocca with marsala, prosciutto, sage, and mushrooms over sticky risotto.
1303 Dickinson Street, Philadelphia, Phone: 215-468-3040
© A Mano
Meaning ‘by hand,’ A Mano celebrates the age-old Italian skill of handcrafting food from bread to pasta. Located in the beautiful region of Fairmount, A Mano is owned by Chef Michael Millon, whose delicious menu follows the seasons from the spicy heat of Calabrian summers to the hearty warmth of Italy's Alpine winters. This cash-only, BYOB restaurant exudes a casual, laid-back atmosphere and a menu to match with a small variety of delicious antipasti, primo, and secondi courses – all of which fit onto just one page. Although small, the menu packs a punch with dishes like parsley cavatelli with escargot, apple char crudo, and pan-seared skate wing with artichokes and cranberries. For adventurous eaters, try the squid ink chitarra with sea urchin, mussels, lemon, and breadcrumbs.
2244 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130, Phone: 215-236-1114
Owned and run by the Capogiro family, Capofitto is a small, intimate pizzeria/bar/gelateria that focuses on Neapolitan pizza and serving it in the original style of Naples. Capofitto handcraft their pizza dough in line with the expert pizzaiolo of Naples and create their pizzas with a light, airy, crispy crust, which is then topped with homemade red sauce, creamy mozzarella, and a variety of toppings. While the focus of the lunch and dinner menus is pizza, other items include a selection of antipasti, sputini (Italian-style snacks), pasta dishes, and desserts like the homemade Capogiro gelato. Capofitto is also open for brunch throughout the week and serves fresh-brewed Italian roasted coffee and baked sweet pastries.
233 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Hailed as the “best-kept secret in Philly,” Eatalia is a small, inexpensive BYOB eatery in Fishtown that specializes in simple Northern Italian cuisine. Owned by Frank Crocetto, who spent 6 years working at Old City’s Trattoria del Ghiottone and the following 8 managing Il Cantuccio, Eatalia serves lunch and dinner menus with an array of appetizers, pasta and risotto dishes, entrees of prime meats, chicken, and fresh fish, and fresh garden salads. Don’t miss the house specialty of black-and-white sesame-encrusted tuna served in orange Triple Sec glaze. Eatalia offers a curated wine list of fine wines, imported spirits, and craft beers.
2723 E. Cumberland Street, Fishtown, Phone: 215-423-6911
© Le Virtu
Inspired by the very best of the Abruzzo region, Le Virtù is an elegant restaurant that focuses on traditional Italian fare created with the freshest, highest-quality locally sourced or imported seasonal ingredients and served with flair. Influenced by dining experiences with friends and family that occur on a daily basis all over Abruzzo, Le Virtù (The Virtues) takes pride in serving the hearty cuisine of the farmers, fishermen, and shepherds of Italy’s wildest and most unspoiled region with bold, unpretentious dishes featuring savory ragu, house-butchered and house-cured meats and charcuterie, age-ripened cheese, hand-cut pastas, and golden extra virgin olive oils. Le Virtù is also home to one of the largest and most authentic selections of cured meats in the country, with a collection that includes prosciutto di Philly (6-month old spalletta), ventricina teramana, capocollo, and guanciale (pig’s cheek), among others.
1927 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19148, Phone: 215-271-5626
Based in the historic Camac Food Market building on Spruce St, Mercato is a casual, cash-only eatery that serves Italian-inspired cuisine and modern versions of Italian classics. Using the slow cooking traditions of Old World Italy in an experimental way to introduce a bold, new take on Italian-American cuisine, Mercato places the highest importance on using fresh, locally sourced, and seasonal ingredients to produce outstanding dishes. Appetizers range from the Mercato antipasti to whole grilled artichoke, while entrees are constantly changing to reflect the seasons and feature a variety of options from veal Bolognese to lobster and shrimp pasta. Mercato is a cash-only BYOB and is open 7 days a week.
1216 Spruce St, Philadelphia, PA 19107, Phone: 215-985-2962
Hailed as one of Philly’s most heralded Italian restaurants, Osteria is another one of acclaimed chef and restaurateur Marc Vetri’s projects. Featuring an open kitchen with a large wood-fired oven as the centerpiece, Osteria draws inspiration from the traditional osterias of Northern Italy to add delicious Northern Italian cuisine to the city's fast-emerging restaurant row on North Broad Street. Boasting a casual, bistro-style vibe with a relaxed, informal setting, Osteria presents gourmet wood-fired pizzas, platters of antipasti heaving with hand-butchered meats and aged cheeses, and ocean-smackingly fresh seafood and meat entrees. Signature dishes include the antipasti of wood-grilled octopus with lemon and potatoes and entrees of house-aged rib-eye fiorentina with tricolored cauliflower and duck cancelli with quince and sage. Pizza-lovers should try the prosciutto-and-arugula-topped Parma pizza. Finish off with homemade gelato.
640 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, Phone: 215-763-0920
22.Popi's Italian Restaurant
© Popi's Italian Restaurant
Popi's Italian Restaurant is a family-owned and operated Italian restaurant on South Street in Philadelphia that offers traditional Italian cuisine in a casual, family-friendly setting. Starting off as a family restaurant serving lunch and dinner in one dining room, Popi's has grown into a bustling eatery with several dining rooms, a relaxed bar area, and private banquet rooms for special celebrations and functions. Combining Italian, American, and international cuisine in a friendly, laid-back atmosphere, Popi's menus cater for all tastes with appetizers and antipasti plates, fresh garden salads, homemade pasta dishes, and hearty entrees of veal, chicken, and fresh seafood. Dessert menus provide delicious sweet ends to any meal and there is a special menu for children. The full-service bar offers a selection of libations as well as a happy hour menu of small plates to accompany drinks.
3120 South 20th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145, Phone: 215-755-7180
23.Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti
© Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti
Named after one of the most breathtakingly beautiful coastlines in the world and offering outstanding cuisine in a magical setting, Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti offers patrons an unforgettable dining experience. Located on the second floor of a building on Walnut Street, Positano Coast transports guests into an Italian paradise with blue and white décor, crisply laid tables, and soft lighting. The menu features mouthwatering inspired Italian cuisine, such as grilled octopus, sea urchin pasta, pan-seared branzino, gnocchi gorgonzola, and succulent beef tenderloin, while the crudo menu offers small plates and bite-sized tastes of classic Italian fare. Positano Coast features three beautiful outdoor dining areas for al fresco dining in the summer months, and guests can unwind over drinks in the elegant Sopra Lounge throughout the year.
212 Walnut Street (2nd Floor), Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-238-0499
24.Ralph's Italian Restaurant
© Ralph's Italian Restaurant
Ralph's Italian Restaurant is a South Philly institution that has been serving loyal customers, patrons, and visitors for over a century. Established in 1900, Ralph's has been owned and operated by the Dispigno/Rubino family ever since and is the oldest family-run restaurant in the country. Taking diners on a journey back in time, Ralph's simple but mouthwatering menu features fabulous Italian favorites and classic dishes such as appetizers of mussels, clams, calamari, and sautéed escarole, and pasta dishes like lasagna, spaghetti, ravioli, and fettuccine. Hearty entrees and Old World favorites include eggplant parmigiana, tripe, osso buco, and braciole, and house specialties such as cheese cavatelli, saltimbocca, and Ralph’s Famous Veal Parm.
760 S. 9th. Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, Phone: 215-627-6011
25.Villa di Roma
© Villa di Roma
Villa di Roma is a traditional, family-owned and operated Italian restaurant that has been serving loyal patrons delicious and heart-warming Italian cuisine since 1963. Open for lunch and dinner, Villa di Roma prides itself on preparing and serving Italian fare that is created with only the best locally sourced and imported ingredients, cooked with Old World methods and served in an inviting and jovial atmosphere. The quintessential old-school Italian restaurant has a comfortable dining room with a menu to match that features appetizers and antipasti of meats, cheeses, olives, and grilled vegetables, fresh salads, homemade pasta dishes with their award-winning red sauce, entrees of chicken, veal, pork and beef, served in a variety of ways, hearty sides and, of course, sweet desserts. The DeLuca family’s famous red sauce, as well as other delicious homemade sauces, are available for purchase to take home.
936 S. 9th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, Phone: 215-592-1295
25 Best Italian Restaurants in Philadelphia
- Amis, Photo: Amis
- Bistro Romano, Photo: Bistro Romano
- Dante & Luigi's, Photo: Dante & Luigi's
- Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse, Photo: Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse
- Fiorino, Photo: Fiorino
- Giorgio On Pine, Photo: Courtesy of Daniel Vincek - Fotolia.com
- Gran Caffe L'Aquila, Photo: Gran Caffe L'Aquila
- La Famiglia Ristorante, Photo: La Famiglia Ristorante
- Italian Restaurants in Philadelphia: La Viola, Photo: Courtesy of M.studio - Fotolia.com
- L'Angolo Ristorante, Photo: Courtesy of Brent Hofacker - Fotolia.com
- Little Nonna's, Photo: Little Nonna's
- Modo Mio, Photo: Courtesy of saratm - Fotolia.com
- Spasso Italian Grill, Photo: Spasso Italian Grill
- Vetri Ristorante, Photo: Vetri Ristorante
- Italian Restaurants in Philadelphia: Victor Cafe, Photo: Victor Cafe
- A Mano, Photo: A Mano
- Capofitto, Photo: Capofitto
- Eatalia, Photo: Eatalia
- Le Virtu, Photo: Le Virtu
- Mercato, Photo: Mercato
- Osteria, Photo: Osteria
- Popi's Italian Restaurant, Photo: Popi's Italian Restaurant
- Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti, Photo: Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti
- Ralph's Italian Restaurant, Photo: Ralph's Italian Restaurant
- Villa di Roma, Photo: Villa di Roma
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of MAURO - Fotolia.com