My appetite begins in the mind. Unless there’s something creative or unique about the Italian restaurant experience, I have no interest. Paying lots of money for something I could easily make better at home makes no sense at all. Insalata caprese for $9? No thanks. I’d rather buy my own ball of mozzarella di bufala – and you can bet your life I would never pour vinegar on it!

I walk into any Italian restaurant with 20 years of fabulous food memories formed in both Italy and the US: Carla’s cooking, countryside trattorias, dinner parties at my place in Pittsburgh. Of course my expectations are skewed. While I’m always open to trying someplace new, I have found only four Italian restaurants I really like in Philly:

  • L’Oca (now closed; Luca’s working at Melograno and Il Pittore)
  • Le Virtù (when Luciana Spurio was the chef; I haven’t been back since)
  • Apollinare (now closed; the Philadelphia market wasn’t ready)
  • Osteria

And two in South Jersey:

  • Zeppoli (Joey Baldino’s fabulous BYOB in Collingswood)
  • Sapori

And one more in Philadelphia whose chef is Italian American, but whose cooking is French:

Check out my profile and reviews on Urbanspoon if you’re at all interested in my opinions on a handful of other restaurants in the Philly food scene.

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