The Best Italian Restaurants in Philadelphia Right Now
From historic red sauce joints to new openings with pizza, pasta, and more.
Philly has a deep history when it comes to Italian-American cuisine. It’s nearly impossible to take a walk around the city without passing at least one (or five) tempting Italian options—from dishes of bucatini and gnocchi to perfect cuts of branzino and veal—so it’s no wonder these Italian joints often land among our favorite restaurants in the city.
Despite the vast selection out there, we’ve somehow managed to narrow it down to 16 top eateries, from family-owned dynasties that stretch decades to modern dining experiences that mingle the old with the new. Oh, and if pizza is what you’re after—take a look at our picks for the best pizza in Philly.
Chef and restaurateur Townsend Wentz’s charming hideaway, A Mano, draws diners with a small but mighty menu of antipasti, primi, and secondi courses (plus a BYOB policy). The eatery delves into seasonal fare inspired by different regions of Italy, all grounded in the art of being made a mano—or by hand. In addition to a la carte menu items like burrata, scallop crudo, and braised pork shank, the four-course Abbondanza menu is served family-style for $65 per person.
Dante & Luigi's
Dante and Luigi’s opened its doors in 1899, making it among the longest continuously running Italian restaurants in the United States. As such, the restaurant doesn’t skimp when it comes to traditional Italian cuisine, offering no fewer than 15 types of pasta dishes and comparably vast pork, lamb, filet, seafood, chicken, and veal menus. Try the tiramisu with hand-dipped ice creams for an authentic taste of the Italian classic.
Fiore Fine Foods
Not only is Fiore a grade-A dinner destination, but it’s also a perfect weekend spot to pick up breakfast, pastries, and jaw-dropping gelato. Swing by for chef and owner Justine MacNeil’s specialty sweet-and-savory pastries and crave-worthy brunch sandwiches, and when dinner time rolls around you can enjoy a seasonal menu of pasta and veggie-focused dishes.
Giuseppe & Sons
This expansive Italian eatery from Michael Schulson is modeled after the many traditional Italian trattorias that helped shape Philadelphia dining. The menu is full of modern takes on Italian-American classics, served in a modern-meets-glam downstairs dining room. It’s a hefty menu to comb through, best enjoyed when you get a smattering of plates to share with your table, but some standouts include the veal chop, stuffed lobster, and classic spaghetti with clams.
The menu at Irwin’s got a makeover last year after Res Ipsa closed its doors and chef Michael Vincent Ferreri brought his talents to the Bok building. Now alongside a stellar view from the eighth floor restaurant, you’ll find monkfish bucatini, mushroom trofie, capers crudo, and other Sicilian fare alongside natural wines and cocktails.
This mainstay on Locust Street has a foolproof formula that keeps diners returning. Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran offer Italian-American dishes in a space that boasts a 40-seat outdoor garden area in addition to the indoor dining room. Be sure to try the Sunday Gravy special at least once: it’s slow-braised beef short rib, stuffed meatballs, garlic sausage, and broccoli rabe in pork marinara and comes served over the day’s macaroni with meat on the side.
L’angolo offers traditional Italian fare inspired by the region of Puglia, where co-owner Davide Faenza grew up. Its proximity to the stadiums makes it a go-to for families or groups before (or after) a concert or show, which has helped lure many guests since opening in 2000. More alluring, though, is the spot’s steadfast dedication to classic Italian, like the grilled calamari; seafood spaghetti with mussels, clams, shrimp, and even more calamari; or basically any dish that has fresh mozzarella in it. Just don’t forget the spot’s BYOB policy, and you’re in for a killer spread of Italian fare.
Le Virtu's Maccheroni alla Mugnaia
Everything you order from Le Virtù, be it the porchetta or the lamb or the sausage ragu, will taste like perfection thanks to the restaurant’s commitment to locally sourced ingredients. If the resources of Pennsylvania and New Jersey just don’t quite meet Le Virtù's demands, though, there’s a pretty decent backup plan in place: get ‘em straight from the Central Italy region of Abruzzo, which is the main inspiration behind Le Virtù’s cuisine.
With generous portions and an inviting outdoor lounge, Macaroni’s is an unexpected treasure in the Northeast. The menu features upscale takes on Italian classics, like the rack of lamb with chickpea ragu or the meatballs made with kobe beef. Don’t skip dessert, either: you’ll definitely want to pair some tiramisu with a strong after-dinner liqueur.
Palizzi Social Club
Palizzi Social Club breathers life back into the old members-only tradition and makes it modern with hearty dishes in a vintage setting. Despite updates, the digs stay true to when the club first opened in 1918 specifically for South Philly’s Italian immigrants. Now with an expanded kitchen and menu, it’s still tough to get into the club, but worth the effort for tender, garlic-doused lamb chops and house specials like the locatelli-stuffed baby artichokes. Keep in mind you have to be a member—or guest of a member—to dine. Even with a res, if you don’t have proof of membership, they’ll kick you to the curb.
Ah, the wine. Panorama takes its wine pairings very seriously, and luckily it’s stocked with plenty of options to try—120 on tap and 150 bottles—that won't leave you penniless. Stop by for wine flights of five carefully selected samples, but don’t forget to eat, too: Pasta dishes are available in half and full sizes, perfect for if you simply can’t choose between chef Matt Gentile’s burrata-filled tortellini or lamb shoulder ragù, and the antipasti dishes are perfectly portioned for those wine samples.
Ralph's Italian Restaurant
While it’s pretty much impossible (and dangerous) to determine what the “best” Italian restaurant in Philly is, it’s safe to say that Ralph’s is at least one of the most iconic. For more than a century, Ralph’s Italian Restaurant has been serving favorites in South Philly, with the accolades ever coming. Here you’ll find pasta, mussels, veal parm, and beloved sausage and peppers from the “old world favorites” section of the menu.
Trattoria Carina manages to offer a laid back-but-chic setting that always feels airy and light, even as you fill up on pork chops, branzino, and seasonal pasta. The menu changes often for an experience that’s always fresh, plus there’s nothing like the weekend brunch menu—featuring polenta, bucatini carbonara, and espresso martinis—to satisfy a craving.
This Italian spot by Marc Vetri opened all the way back in 1998 and garnered rave reviews almost immediately, in part from Vetri’s experience working in premier kitchens both in the US and Italy. The operation has only grown since, as has the admiration for this nationally acclaimed spot. Dining here means a commitment to the Quattro Piatti sampling menu, featuring antipasti, pasta, secondi, and dessert selections. The menu goes for $150 per person and is among the most coveted Philly dining experiences out there.
The Victor Cafe
As one of the city’s oldest Italian restaurants, The Victor Cafe seals the deal of its authenticity with its red-checkered tablecloths and operatic, classically trained singing servers. In 1933, the space became known as The Victor Cafe, Music Lover’s Rendezvous, after first functioning as a gramophone shop in the late 1910s. The menu works to meld Old World classics with modern takes on Italian fare, along with seasonal daily specials.
Villa Di Roma
Villa di Roma has become a cross-generation favorite since opening nearly 60 years ago, and its biggest claim to fame is the red sauce. The sauce is so coveted you can even buy it by the jar. Expect the cash-only spot to have all the traditional classics made to perfection, from from steamed clams and roasted peppers to meatballs, sausage, and sirloin.