Are you in Philly and craving some authentic Italian cuisine? Enjoy top chef coffee, pasta fritters, spaghetti, or some takeaway pizza at an Italian restaurant near you. Yes, Philadelphia has the second-largest Italian American community, with Bella Vista as its hub. Tens of Piccolos dot busy streets in Philly, where you can experience food, the Italian way. Indeed, these world-class Italian restaurants are worth trying. For an exquisite Italian food tour, we summarize ten best Italian restaurants Philadelphia that guarantee to bring back that Italian tradition to your table.
South 10th Street
Dante & Luigi’s is a pacesetter for upcoming Italian restaurants in Philadelphia. Here, fresh and authentic Italian cuisine served in an old fashioned atmosphere awaits you. Picture yourself having some homemade pork chops, signature recipes accompanied by choice wines on white tables overlooked by glass chandeliers. We recommend sampling some Osso Buco or Gnocchi Romano while on your romantic dinner at Dante & Luigi’s. Decide between the full bar or private room for the serenity worth your special occasion. And, when you crave for more, grab one of their tasty homemade sauces so that you can recreate the dish when you get home.
1303 Dickinson Street
Here is the thing. When you visit the Victor Café, memories of the rugged Italian mountains and Mediterranean coast mingling in the rich flavors of such dishes as Carbonara, Cicchetti, or Farinata will come splashing on your mind. Starting with a bell ringing for a 3-minute-interlude performance from one of the waiters, to a live opera as you enjoy your Calamari fra Diavolo serving. It is this classic atmosphere that caught the attention of Hollywood stars like Sylvester Stallone. The first impression was quite powerful; Stallone made minimal changes to the setup when shooting several scenes for the movie Rocky Balboa (2006) at the restaurant.
1234 Locust Street
Little Nonna’s is one of the best Italian restaurants Philadelphia with a modern, lobster-red themed outdoor patio design. Yet, as a passerby, you may mistake this gem for a regular bakery. Get passed the delusive front area to find a thought-provoking 1950s living room, open kitchen, antique pottery, and an outdoor garden setting for 40 guests at the back. It is a family-owned eatery that serves delicious Italian-American cuisines with choice wines and cocktails. A typical menu includes eggplant parmigiana, spaghetti and meatballs, and fennel sausages. Come and sample the Sunday gravy, one of the joint’s staples served each night.
936 South 9th Street
Do you miss some well-prepared clam’s casino? If so, go to the Villa di Roma, one of the few Italian restaurants still serving this favorite delicacy. It is here where the Italian Market merchants would meet for a beer on their Monday morning breaks. Today, the restaurant’s staple meatballs and gravy keep it buzzing all day and night. Come and enjoy some roasted pepper on tuna seasoned with fresh basil, garlic, and Romaine lettuce. Villa di Roma’s mid-century barroom, hordes of customers lining up at the dining area, and cigarette-thickened whispers will bring back the memories of the old south Philly.
5. A Mano
2244 Fairmount Ave
A Mano is a 48-seat Italian restaurant with an outdoor setting at the heart of Philly. Here, Chef Townsend Wentz and Chef Michael Millon are precise about every plate coming out of the kitchen. And, the attentive waiting staff is quite knowledgeable about each dish. A typical dinner comprises a seasonal menu using fresh, handpicked ingredients sourced directly from Italy. Think of the hearty sauces, homemade egg pasta, roasted veggies to the seared seafood served in a rustic yet upscale presentation. This Italian spot is an excellent choice for that specific date or anniversary dinner.
8 South Front Street
Are you planning a wedding party or a family get together in Philly? Let La Famiglia Ristorante host your memorable event. It is a romantic, old-school restaurant with an eye-popping banquet room for reunions, parties, and wedding receptions. Still, you may opt for the private room for a quiet ambiance. The 90-seat La Famiglia has an expansive wine cellar stocked with exquisite wines. It serves six distinct menus, including the MILANO menu, a four-course menu with homemade pasta, light cherry tomato sauce, grilled veal in extra virgin olive oil, and Capuccino, coffee, or tea.
760 South 9th Street
Now, your Italian food experience in Philly is never complete until you dine at Ralph’s Italian Restaurant, America’s oldest Italian spot. For the last four generations, this family-owned restaurant serves traditional red gravy, mussels, sausages, and other Italian dishes attracting local and international tourists all year round. These are big portion meals that you can carry home in doggie bags when you’re full. More so, you may bump into celebrities like Taylor Swift and Frank Sinatra, who often make impromptu reservations. Come and discover the secrets that keep this restaurant standing since 1900. It will be a memorable experience.
111 South 17th Street
Are you hosting a business breakfast, lunch, or dinner in Philly? Treat your corporate team to the best Italian grill by dining at Davio’s Northern Italian Restaurant. This steakhouse located at the iconic Provident Bank Building has a director’s room, the chairman’s room, a skyline patio, and the main dining room oozing with serenity. Come and unwind as you brainstorm on your next projects, sampling some Cheese Steak spring rolls, Cider Bacon Wrapped Scallops for hot appetizers, antipasto, cheese, and fruit. Your team can request a raw bar that features clams, seasonal crab claws, oysters, or some jumbo poached shrimp.
3572 Indian Queen Ln
Fiorino is a top-rated Italian BYOB eatery famous for its romantic, personal setting. Here, the soft-spoken Chef Franco Faggi makes soulful Italian cuisines to that relay his Emiglia-Romagna roots. Furthermore, the restaurant hosts occasional cooking classes for any food enthusiast, so you can sample your favorite stuffed pork chops or Eggplant Rotallini, and then learn how to prepare it using choice ingredients. Daily specials at the 35-seat Fiorino include house-pickled eggplants, pureed chickpeas, milky sweet mozzarella, and some brothy gravy. And you can watch the sunset by booking your outdoor dining at dusk.
10. Vetri Cucina
1312 Spruce Street
Every day at Vetri Cucina, Chef Mark Vetri prepares thoughtful four-course meals for the 32 diners with reservations. These dishes blend the traditional Italian way of cooking with top culinary techniques from around the globe. The result is the Quattro Piatti menu that features sizzling dishes including, some almond tortellini, capretto served with a glass of prosecco, and choice Italian grapes. If you have dietary restrictions, the chef will sieve the ingredients to bring out the best flavors in a healthy plate. Should you prefer an immersive culinary experience, take part in the cooking classes by guest chefs and hosted by Chef Vetri.
817 Christian St
This restaurant is full of history and of course delicious authentic pastas. What started out as one of the best places to buy sausage in Philly in the late 1800’s became the Fiorella we know today, creating some phenomenal classic Italian dishes. The original solid brass cash register that was used back in the day still sits in the restaurant now. This space is small and gives you very homey, old school vibes. It is an intimate dining experience with just a handful of antipasta, pasta, and dessert options along with some wonderful wine, beer, and cocktail selections.
12. Giorgio On Pine
1328 Pine St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Intimate, comfortable, and casual, Giorgio On Pine is serving authentic Italian cuisine with only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients. This restaurant is perfect for date night or reuniting with a couple of friends over great food and a wonderful atmosphere. Their menu changes seasonally depending on what produce is fresh at the time. They have tons of delicious appetizers on the menu along with many different pasta dishes to choose from and entrees including veal, chicken, and salmon. At Giorgio On Pine, they are also able to make any of their appetizers and entrees gluten free upon request. Ask your server what they have for dessert to end your meal with something sweet!
711 Locust St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Previously known as La Buca, the new Buca D’oro is still serving up those fresh, delicious Italian classics you know and love. It is another one of those small, comfortable neighborhood spots where you know you’re not going to get anything short of a wonderful and hot meal. With plenty of menu options from antipasta and salads to pastas and entrees, there is something everyone will enjoy. The menu is reasonably priced for the quality and quantity of food that you’re getting. Stop in to check out the new Buca D’oro next time you’re in the neighborhood.
14. La Viola Bistro
253 S 16th St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
La Viola Bistro, a family-owned Italian spot, became so loved by its customers that eventually the space just couldn’t accommodate all of the guests it needed anymore. A few years later, La Viola Ovest was born, the sister restaurant which is right across the street from the original location. They both serve the same delicious, authentic Italian meals and are BYOB. This offers the ambiance of fine dining while allowing guests to bring in their own wine, beer, and spirits to pair with their meal. The Bistro side is small, warm, and comforting allowing for a nice night out without all the fuss. The Ovest side is wonderful if you are wanting to accommodate larger parties like company dinners or a reception. If you’re in the market for a family style Italian restaurant serving up classic dishes at a reasonable price, this is your spot.
750 S 7th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
For over 50 years, this family-owned restaurant has been serving wonderful home cooked Italian meals. From the atmosphere to the menu to the service, there is so much to love about this spot. The lighting inside is dim and the walls are covered with paintings and other antique decorations. It feels comfortable and casual but the white table cloths add a nice elevated touch. You have so many options to choose from like their soup, salad, seafood, meat, and pasta dishes as well as their specials. Saloon also has wonderful cocktails and wines to pair perfectly with your meal. Every time you dine here it is an experience and you will be treated like it is a special occasion, even if you are just on your lunch break.
The above best Italian restaurants Philadelphia have one thing in common. They are family-run restaurants upholding the homey Italian heritage via their architecture, friendly service, and tasty recipes. Why not get a taste of the soul of Italy by booking one of these eateries? If you are in a rush, these restaurants offer takeaways that taste as good as the hot plate inside the diner. Or, buy a gift card to share the experience with your friends and loved ones.
Editors Note: This article was originally published on October 30, 2020 and last updated on February 3, 2022. Please refer to restaurant websites and social media pages for the most up-to-date information.