Sink Your Fork into the 10 Best Italian Restaurants in Philadelphia

Do you love Italian food? At 10Best, we do too, and that's why we dedicated ourselves to finding the best places to enjoy Italian cuisine in Philadelphia. We've diligently scouted out the top eateries, and we've listened to our readers and their reviews of Philadelphia restaurants. After collecting opinions, sampling dishes, and tabulating the results, we share the places that get great buzz, like Modo Mio, and we showcase the ones that have proven themselves over time, like Vetri Ristorante. We also point out good neighborhoods for Italian restaurants in Philadelphia - South Philly, for instance - so that when the craving hits for a delicious Italian entree, side dish, salad or dessert, we'll make sure you get your fix. If you're tired of your regular Italian hotspot and want to try something new, check out the options here to help you mix it up a bit. Dinner should never be boring or mediocre. It should also be enjoyed in a place that offers you the atmosphere that suits you best, and a decor that is compatible with what you like. With so many choices in Philadelphia, it's not difficult to find a place, or more than one place, that beckons you back, meal after meal. So polish up your fork and see if your favorite Italian dining spot is on our list.

10 Ralph's Italian Restaurant
Ralph's is a South Philly institution, and has been in business since 1900. Four Generations of the same family have owned and operated the restaurant since Its it opened 115 years ago. It is the oldest family-run restaurant in the country, they have a long history of serving up affordable and fabulous Italian favorites that they'd be happy to share with you. Those in the know swear by their mussels, calamari marinara and veal and chicken dishes. Their tiramisu is also terrific so it's advised that you save room for dessert. Ralph's does not accept credit cards, but they do have an ATM machine. Reservations are always recommended. (215-627-6011)

9 Branzino Italian Ristorante
If you find yourself craving the Italian of the Old World, Branzino can fulfill your needs and then some. They specialize in offering patrons fine dining paired with old world hospitality in a lovely garden setting near Rittenhouse Square. You'll feel like you've been swept away to the fields of Tuscany. Make a dinner reservation and enjoy starters such as mussels Nella Ciotola, roasted shrimp or calamari Grigliatta. Move on to green and white fettuccine or risotto con fungi or crab ravioli. Branzino offers plenty of choices, followed by desserts, coffee and beverages of your liking. It's especially enjoyable in warmer weather when you can dine outside and feline you've escaped to another place and time. (2157900103)

8 La Famiglia
At La Famiglia, old-world cuisine is paired with old-world service to create a true Italian dining experience. For starters, the focus is on seafood � try the garlic-saut�ed shrimp or seafood in red sauce. Pastas include tagliolini with black and red caviar, or capers and black olives. With several traditional veal entrees, as well as steaks and chicken, there's sure to be something for every taste. The wine list has incredible depth, and you can also tour the incredible basement wine cellar if you so desire. Waitstaff are attentive to old world traditions of pulling your chair out for you and placing your napkin on your lap. Reservations are recommended. (215-922-2803, 877-237-7561)

7 L'Angolo
With its open kitchen and snug yet comfortably-appointed dining room, it's easy to see why this neighborhood BYOB charmer draws such a loyal following from year to year. In fact, if you want the point made even more poignantly, try to snag a table on a Friday or Saturday without making reservations. Superbly done pasta dishes, of course, are the house specialty, and you'll find few kitchens as dedicated to and as proud of their craft as L'Angolo's. Greatly assisting the place's enormous popularity is the fact that it's more than fairly priced. Great Italian food at a cost that the average Philadelphian can afford is a win win for sure. (215-389-4252)

6 Osteria
Marc Vetri, the talent behind Center City's award-winning Vetri Ristorante, brings his world-renowned cooking to the city's emerging restaurant row on North Broad Street. Osteria carries a more casual, bistro vibe than its fine-dining older sister and presents gourmet pizzas, antipasti and fresh seafood and meat entrees at a mid-range price-point, along with a full bar. Vetri proteges Jeff Michaud and Jeff Benjamin, who run the restaurant, have garnered their own share of awards, with Michaud earning recognition from the James Beard Foundation as the Best Mid-Atlantic Chef in 2010 and the restaurant receiving a James Beard nomination for Best New Restaurant in 2008. Flavors range from pizza topped with trentino grilled figs, gorgonzola dolce and speck, to primi courses like duck casoncelli with quince, brown butter and sage and secondi courses for two such as house aged rib-eye "fiorentina" with tricolored cauliflower cooked in beef fat. (215-763-0920)

5 Modo Mio
Modo Mio's tables can seem tightly packed, but once you taste the food, you won't care a bit. Everything from "ethereally light" gnocchi to the dual textures of the crusty-but-soft bread is impeccably prepared and presented. The inventive combinations that grace the menu keep diners lively and sociable -- the dining room is always energetic. A sample menu would include Lingu, braised calf's tongue, crispy potato, salsa verde, tomato mostarda, Agnolotti, veal and rabbit ravioli, sage butter, and Animelle, veal sweetbreads, artichoke, pancetta, lemon, thyme. With all entrees clocking in at less than $20 and no alcohol to jack up the ticket total, you can expect to get out of here paying less than $40 per person after a three-course meal. (215-203-8707)

4 Tacconelli's
When you call Tacconelli's for a reservation, you aren't reserving a seat; you're actually reserving your pizza. And you absolutely must call ahead if you want to be sure of getting what the locals consider the VERY best pizza in Philly ... a white pizza with garlic oil and spinach. The casual no-frills restaurant in Port Richmond has a few tables and the menu is limited to pizza and non-alcoholic beverages (you can bring your own beer and wine, however). Closing time here is flexible, and depends on how long the pizza dough lasts, which is usually about 8:30 or 9pm. (215-425-4983)

3 Melograno
In the emerging Loft District, a pizza joint joins older sisters Cafe Lift and Prohibition Taproom to bring wood-fired whole pizzas and slices, salads, soups, desserts and espressos to a tattooed crowd of neighborhood dwellers and curious outsiders. They listen to classic rock and drink craft beer out of growlers purchased at the bar on the street as they munch obscure Neapolitan 'za topped with shaved brussels sprouts, taleggio, speck, and scallions and finished with a balsamic reduction. Reservations not accepted; the "b" at this BYOB should be a growler filled with craft beer chosen from Prohibition Taproom's rotating taps (215-875-8116)

2 Vetri Ristorante
With only 35 seats, this nationally acclaimed restaurant is booked one to two months in advance, so call way ahead for reservations. Chef-owner Marc Vetri prepares elegant "new" Italian cuisine, served only as a prix fixe menu for $135. Seasonally rotating entrees include unusual meats like chestnut fettucini with boar and cocoa, baby goat with freshly stone milled polenta and Texas antelope with squash and amarone sauce. The signature dessert, chocolate polenta soufflé, sounds wacky, but it's quite good. Business dress appropriate. Vetri closes for one week in January and two weeks in August, so call ahead if you're thinking about dining here during those months. (215-732-3478)

1 Le Castagne Ristorante Italiano
Le Castagne Ristorante features creative Northern Italian cuisine with the delicate flavors of an authentic cucina. The menu includes modern and original interpretations of handmade pastas, seafood, veal and other traditional dishes that maximize the fresh ingredients of the season. More than a tip of the hat to the address, the name Le Castagne - chestnuts in Italian - honors one of the most important products of Northern Italy. Here you're free to enjoy items such as Salsiccia con aglio e lenticchie, which is house-made garlic sausage served over braised lentils & stewed tomatoes in a red wine reduction topped with shaved provolone cheese; or Timballo d'agnello brasato, which is Timballo of slow-braised lamb with sautéed wild mushrooms on a garlic crostino, & topped with a poached egg, finished with a lamb glacé, an entree so good that Philadelphia magazine named it "Dish of the Year '09." (2157519913)


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Maps and Directions

10
Ralph's Italian Restaurant 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: European, Italian
Dining Options: Family Friendly, Parties / Private Rooms
Neighborhood: South Philly
COST: $$
9
Branzino Italian Ristorante 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Italian
Dining Options: Non-Smoking, Parties / Private Rooms
Neighborhood: Center City
COST: $$$
8
La Famiglia 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Disabled Accessible, Parties / Private Rooms, Wine Cellar
Cuisine: European, Italian
Neighborhood: Old City
COST: $$$
7
L'Angolo 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: European, Italian
Neighborhood: South Philly
COST: $$
6
Osteria 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Counter Seating, Non-Smoking, Parties / Private Rooms
Cuisine: European, Italian
Neighborhood: North Philadelphia
COST: $$
5
Modo Mio 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: European, Italian
Neighborhood: Northern Liberties
COST: $$
4
Tacconelli's 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, European, Italian, Pizza
Dining Options: Take Out
Neighborhood: Northern Liberties
COST: $$
3
Melograno 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Disabled Accessible, Non-Smoking
Cuisine: European, Italian
Neighborhood: Center City
COST: $$
2
Vetri Ristorante 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: European, Italian
Neighborhood: Center City
COST: $$$$
1
Le Castagne Ristorante Italiano 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: European, Italian
Dining Options: Sommelier, Wine Cellar
Neighborhood: Center City