Posted by: lisetta | February 29, 2008


One can’t help but wonder why Ralph’s, the “nation’s oldest Italian restaurant owned and operated by the same family” continues only to serve the most uninspired ‘favorites’ from the Italian American culinary landscape. While the waitstaff was most gracious and professional, serving our entrees with the hospitality one would expect from a South Philly institution, neither their kindness or the historical significance of the place could mask the mediocrity of the food served. So overcooked was the side of escarole that it had completely lost its green, its flavor decimated by the copius amounts of bitter minced garlic entrenched throughout. So flattened were the ‘veal rollatine’ under the weight of a butter, cream and melted cheese sauce that both the sweetness of the veal and the saltiness of the prosciutto were destroyed.  What a shame.

Old world Italian American food is fantastic when prepared well. Sigh. I wonder where I might find that. Anyone out there know of a higher quality South Philly offering? Time to get back on Chowhound?



  1. I went there with my parents about three weeks ago (I do live half a block away, after all). My mom tries the marinara sauce everywhere, and she’s a bit picky, I think. She loved theirs. She said it tasted fresh and was well seasoned without a hint of sugar. I got a simple dish–spaghetti with garlic and oil–and I thought it was well done. The salad had way too much vinegar on it, but otherwise we had an enjoyable (and reasonably-priced) meal. I do like Mezza Luna. I can’t remember if you’ve been there or not. If not, maybe we can go together sometime.

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