The Top 10 Italian Restaurants In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Enrichetta Frezzato

As the largest city in Pennsylvania, with a bustling Italian immigrant heritage, Philadelphia boasts a strong home-grown culinary tradition developed over generations. With such a history, it’s with no surprise that Philly’s rich and varied Italian dining scene features Italy’s regional cuisines from Tuscany to Piedmont, and from Molise to Sicily. Importing flavors from all across the Mediterranean, here are 10 restaurants you should try next time you’re in Philly.

1. La Famiglia

Restaurant, Italian

Originally from Naples, Carlo Sena begun his cooking career in 1947. Years later, when him and his family moved across the Atlantic, they brought this legacy with them to Philadelphia and opened La Famiglia in 1967. Initially located in a disused tea warehouse, the restaurant has since established itself as one of the most prominent establishments on the Philly dining scene. With a name celebrating the family passionately running it, La Famiglia is now in the hands of Carlo’s sons. From paccheri alla scarpariello to vitello al pistacchio, the dishes are embedded in the traditional Italian cuisine and accompanied by an ample selection of fine wines.

2. Osteria

Restaurant, Italian

Aluminium piping and large black framed windows set the industrial style of Osteria, warmed by the brick walls decorated with wine cases, and the red tones of the wooden furnishing. With a busy open kitchen at its core, the second restaurant opened in Philadelphia by Marc Vetri aims at recreating the atmosphere of a typical Northern Italian locale. A menu of traditional courses made of antipasti, primi, secondi, and contorni, is sided by a list of traditional and Neapolitan pizzas. The seared baccala bruschetta, the rabbit casalinga with polenta, and the fiorentina are among the house favorites.

3. Victor Café

Cafe, Italian

Victor cafe
©The Victor Cafe
Born as DiStefano’s Gramophone Shop, Victor Café first opened in 1918. A fond lover of classical music and opera, founder John DiStefano entertained a solid relation with RCA Victor, providing recordings and live performances for attendees of his shop, who could enjoy the music while sipping coffee and spumoni. Memorabilia of that time, including rare signed records and photographs, now decorate the walls of the cafe, which took its current name during the Prohibition and has since become one of the best Italian restaurants in town. Live performances still light up the atmosphere, between a pasta alla Caruso and a shrimp and scallops based Dido & Aeneas.

4. Branzino

Restaurant, Italian, Mediterranean, Seafood

Settled within the green surroundings of Rittenhouse Square, Branzino offers its guests the comfort of choosing between a homely indoor hall and an ample outdoor space, where elegant iron and marble furnishing is set against the backdrop of a luxuriant garden enclosed by a red brick wall. Named after a kind of Mediterranean bass, the restaurant specializes in seafood prepared according to classical recipes, but also offers a choice of meat based dishes. Fish features in the antipasti and primi, but the branzino marinato with capers, lemon, and parsley stands out as a favorite.

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