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)
And two in South Jersey:
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.