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Where can I get a good bowl of pasta?


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I'm gonna be in Philly next Tuesday for work and I need a place where I can get some good pasta for a solo diner. I am training for the NYC Marathon and I am in Carbo-Load mode. I am going to be there alone so preferably a place where I can dine at a bar. I'm looking for good, fresh, possibly home-made pasta and red sauce.

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If you are looking for typical (but good) American Italian style pasta & sauce, there are many places in South Philly.

However, if you want more authentic Italian pasta and pizza in a more upscale environment, try Osteria. You can grab a seat at the bar or by the counter overlooking the kitchen.

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I would caution against the pasta at Osteria if you are training for a marathon. It is seriously some of the best pasta in the city, but many of the variations are super saturated with butter, oil, or both... And there is not so much on the red sauce front there.

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I agree with both Percyn and Rae.

Osteria does make really great pasta, and is a very comfortable spot to dine alone (I've done so many times.) But Rae makes a good point, many of Osteria's preparations are very rich and buttery, and there's rarely a red sauce. So while they're delicious, easily my favorite pasta dishes in the city, Osteria might not offer exactly what you're looking for.

Luckily Philly has an embarrassment of riches in what you probably are looking for. Seriously, it's almost harder to avoid good pasta in red sauce than to find it. There are lots of homey Italian-American joints in South Philly that might not score many points for culinary innovation, but that make a very fine pasta with red "gravy".

Villa di Roma, Ralph's, Dante and Luigi's, are real old-school places down in, or near the Italian market on 9th street in South Philly. They're basic, pretty cheap if you stick to pasta, and friendly in that brusque Philly kind of way... None of those are especially well-suited to solo dining, but it won't be a problem to just sit at a table for two. I'm not sure if those places make their own pasta, but it's good, and probably at least local. I don't tend to go out for pasta with red sauce all that often, but if I do feel the need for that, I personally tend to go to one of those places, most often Ralph's. I like the gnocchi. And the ravioli. And the lasagne...

Crintini's seems to be a local favorite for that kind of food, and it's relatively easy to get to, right on Broad Street, even though it's pretty far down into south Philly.

Then there's another level up, more fancy places that still would have that kind of pasta: places like Tre Scallini, Paradiso, L'Angolo, etc.

Depending on where you'll be staying, getting into South Philly might be a pain. But there are about 800 little Italian BYOBs scattered around Philly, most of which will have something like you describe. And there are a few other more upscale spots that could still hook you up: Le Castagne at 19th and Chestnut, Penne at 37th and Walnut (just for pasta), the list is almost endless.

Hopefully some other folks will mention their favorites, but really, it won't be hard to find something pretty good.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz


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I find a lot of the pasta in many Philadelphia Italian restaurants, even some expensive ones, to be below par. Try the gnocchi at:

Cucina Forte

768 S 8TH St

Philadelphia, PA 19147-2839

Phone: (215) 238-0778

There's often good fresh pasta in west Philadelphia at:

Penne Restaurant & Wine Bar

3611 Walnut St

Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 823-6222

Or ask at Osteria for a sauce you want; they should be able to accommodate you with something simple.

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I would throw Marra's in South Philly, Passyunk & Morris, into that mix as well. And the pizza is also top notch. Marra's, Villa di Roma, Ralph's and Criniti's gotta be the top 4.

Rich Pawlak


Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large


"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"

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Tom pretty much got all clairvoyant and read my mind and made the very same suggestions I would have. Cucina Forte has the most etherial gnocchi ever. No contest. Penne does great pasta of all sorts.

On the BYOB front the only place no one has mentioned yet is Modo Mio, which as I recall usually has at least one great pasta dish on the menu on any given evening. Actually, by that criteria, Radicchio would fit the bill as well. Their pasta dishes have never disappointed me either.

And howzabout Il Virtu? Whilst I've not had the personal pleasure yet, the ownership knows their stuff and the chef makes awesome pasta that I experienced elsewhere that she worked. You will not be disappointed with a trip there for pasta, I am completely certain.

If you want pasta, you've come to the right place. An embarassment of riches by anyones standards.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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If you're looking for really amazing pasta, Le Virtu and Osteria are high on the list. However, because they're truly Italian (i.e. not Italian American) places, the pasta portions are small--I suppose you could ask for an entree sized portion.

If you want typical red gravy (sauce) Italian, I second the recs for Marra's and Villa di Roma. Good luck!

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Another vote for Osteria. I recently had thier veal liver ravioli and it was easily one of the best pastas I have eaten. Nothing like your average place.


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Criniti has what you are looking for, and they cook the pasta perfectly everytime. Not a lot of South Philly atmosphere, but very consistent.

2601 S Broad St

Philadelphia, PA 19148

(215) 465-7750

Open Weekdays 11pm-11:30pm; Sat 11:30am-10:30pm; Sun 2pm-9:30pm

Ralph's(we call it 'the men's room' because of the particular floor tile) and Villa de Roma Lounge(we call it 'VDRL' as that is a medical acronym for a testing for STD, lol) are both on 9th street, and they are 'old reliables' which would give you a little taste of the neighborhood around the Italian Market.

Good luck in your run! And come back to Philly to enjoy our great restaurant and bar scene.

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