June 7, 1995 |
We have come a long way from the antipasto of iceberg lettuce, mortadella, salami, pepperoncini, tomato wedges, provolone cheese and canned olives that was once the principal offering in most Italian-style restaurants. Antipasto has evolved into the kind of dish that is at once more authentic to its Italian origins: passionate, multifaceted and full of color and flavor, with a variety of textures. It has become an expression of both a kitchen's style and the availability of local specialties.
September 1, 2011
There's a reason that there are six Santucci's in the Northeast: The crust is square, deep, and crispy, the tomato sauce is sharp. But they are known for causing pizza mayhem by putting a layer of melted mozzarella beneath the sauce, not the other, expected, way around. Now Santucci's has opened a location in Bella Vista, and it couldn't be more welcome. It's the type of normal, untrendy, sit-down restaurant that makes a neighborhood complete. Here, the non-pizza offerings are stepped up - there's an antipasto board, and hoagie rolls are teeming with slow-cooked meats such as short ribs with wild mushrooms and porchetta.
May 25, 1997 |
They love to be lavish at La Veranda. The Penn's Landing restaurant with the old-world decor has an old-world attitude about portions as well. They're big. And even when you think you're ordering a little, you get a lot. Take a recent review meal as an example. I thought we'd dine light on a little antipasto, a little pasta. That and a glass of modest merlot were all we ordered. The waiter brought grilled veggies, great bread and some tomato-topped bruschetta before the antipasto, and it tasted so good, we ate all of it. And the antipasto we shared had so many goodies - among them stuffed tomato, stuffed mushrooms, baseball-size artichoke, and a whole plate of tomato-sauced mussels - that we found our appetites nearly sated by the time the pastas arrived.
November 22, 1991 |
If you've never been to Ristorante La Veranda along the Delaware, you're missing some interesting food at a place where the interior view is as charming as the sight of the boats bobbing in the adjacent marina. This is a great spot for dining. During the day, the restaurant's openness turns a winter-drab world into a canvas dappled with cheery brightness. By night, lights bounce off the water in soothing sparkles. The menu covers a range of Italian tastes. There are rice dishes from the north, lasagna Roman style and pastas with traditional Sicilian touches.
September 19, 1986 |
At a time when everything seems to change so swiftly, restaurants included, a trip to the Victor Cafe is a delicious and sentimental journey. If you have been there, you'll find the restaurant today is just about the way you remembered it, whether it be five or 15 years since your last visit. Like the operatic classics played and sung there, everything at Victor's seems fixed in time. Though there are a few new, contemporary dishes, most of the menu is still the basic Italian food you'd remember.
May 26, 2000 |
"This would be a great place to get engaged," my friend Andrei said. We were sitting in South Philly's candlelit Victor Cafe. "Oh? Are you trying to tell me something, Andrei?" I asked. He suddenly looked ashen. "Uh, I dunno," he said, "but I know I want to eat some antipasto first. " Good strategy, because at Victor Cafe, if the great food didn't distract me, surely the opera-singing waiters and bussers or the chockablock decor would have. The walls are covered with dozens of signed photographs of opera singers and opera memorabilia, and a replica of the RCA mascot, Nipper, looms over the doorway.
December 20, 1987 |
It's probably just as well that I didn't get to the pizza until my third visit to Mezzaluna. The pizza was small, about 12 inches across, and the crust was as thin as piecrust, as crisp as a cracker. The topping included a wreath of perfectly cooked fresh spinach and another circle of overlapping slices of eggplant. Both spinach and eggplant were deliciously seasoned. There was just enough melted mozzarella and Parmesan to make me savor the richness but not worry much about the calorie load.
May 1, 1988 |
Until you are handed the menu, don't expect to see much of a resemblance between the new Ristorante Primavera on the Main Line and its parent restaurant of the same name at Second and South Streets in Philadelphia. The original is small and friendly, and eating there is a little like dining in Italy. The spinoff, which seats 150, is too big to be called charming - although the staff certainly does its best - and not even Pavarotti warbling over the din of conversation can make you think you've gone native.
July 28, 1999 |
PastaVino is a concept every Italian or wannabe Italian can get behind. After all, what's better than a dish of pasta paired with crisp pino grigio or a hearty glass of full-bodied chianti? That's comfort food, Italian style, and it's tough to beat. As a restaurant concept, PastaVino, a large airy eatery located in a Maple Shade shopping center, has also got a lot going for it. Owned by one of the Lamberti clan - the same end of the family that recently opened Blue Gill in Voorhees - the restaurant sticks with the basics, pairing various sauces with pasta, veal or chicken, starting off with a fresh salad, and for the most part, charging prices that are easy on the wallet.
May 27, 1990 |
Long before a morsel of food reached the table at the new Mara Bros. Trattoria Ristorante, I had a strong feeling that this new South Philadelphia restaurant would prove to be a special place. It began at the door. A cordial host, dressed in chef's attire - right to the red napkin looped around his neck - greeted us with a warm smile. His Italian-style toque was pressed nearly flat to his head. With a sweeping gesture, he motioned us into the very small dining room, which had a cheery and pleasant aura.