In recent years, Philly has grown up—streets bustling with cozy cafés, funky shops, gastro pubs, and galleries. Since I haven’t lived in the vicinity for a few years, it was fun to soak in the next-generation haunts. These new businesses are sprinkled throughout many-a-neighborhood, but it’s important to note that Philly’s somewhat gritty charm still lurks around every corner.
South Philly’s Italian Market is unsurpassed for rewinding the present and Villa Di Roma remains the best restaurant to showcase Philadelphia, old school Italian-style. From the crass yet lovable waitresses to the would-be Wiseguys sharing an order of “Meatballs and Gravy,” the Villa Di Roma offers a wide assortment of American Italian classics, deep glasses of house wine, and a changeable menu boards posted on the wall.
Family-owned and operated, the extended family takes part in each piece of the business, including bartending, waiting tables, and most importantly, the kitchen. The fresh meats and veggies that are featured in their dishes are purchased from the local market, seven days a week. Whether you’re in the mood for fettuccini ricotta, eggplant parm, or a homemade pasta, make sure to order Uncle Sammy De Luca’s famous meatballs. These meatballs are simply THE BEST MEATBALLS we have ever tasted. Pan-fried lovingly each morning, these little balls of goodness hold in their flavor and natural juices, smooth and succulantly tender. Just like their meatball recipe, the Villa Di Roma’s offerings, patrons, and staff stand as true mid-century beacons, untouched, unhindered, and uncomplicated by time. Details: (215) 592-1295, 936 S 9th St., Philadelphia, PA