I Heart New York

It is no secret that I love New York hard. Each trip back to the city reinforces the feelings and brings back nostalgia and distant memories of idealistic dreams of moving to the big apple. You see I fell in love with the city when I was a teenager and as every teenager does, I fell in deeply in love. I love everything about the City. The orderly chaos of the crowds, the traffic, and constant noise that beat through it’s veins. Fast forward 18 years and I found myself back in the city for a week of discovering new hotels, good food and old friends. I arrived on a Wednesday in the afternoon and checked into my beautiful hotel, The Nomad Hotel, located in the Flatiron district. Famished as I always tend to be, I made my way down to Eataly– just a few blocks away from the hotel (see my post on the whole Eataly experience). After sitting down to a nice lunch and a glass of rose, I started to wonder the streets looking through rose colored glasses. There is nothing I love more than walking around New York, getting lost in its streets, discovering new treasures. I walked down, all the way down to Wall Street. Later on I found myself having sake and sushi in Tribeca with old friends, treasuring the mid-summer heat and reminiscing about life and adventures in New York.


The next day I decided to do what I have have always wanted to do: walk each and every street of the West Village and memorize the architecture, the restaurants and beauty of the brownstone homes. Sometimes I think if I dream hard enough and wish hard enough that maybe it will come true. Maybe, my family and I will be transplanted from our current home in Louisiana to New York where I would no doubt live happily ever after. In New York I feel at home a feeling I have yet to feel  living in the south. Seeing mothers and their children stroll through the streets of West Village and in parks surrounded with other kids, I thought about what a difference it would make to have Baby Nomad grow up in the City where surely he would be exposed to so much more, so many different cultures, languages, faces and experiences. For now, I will continue wishing and hoping and dreaming…


I visited the High Line, a first for me and fell in love with the concept. So much beauty made of what was surely not the prettiest site to look at. Instead, it has been transformed into a peaceful, serene, green paradise above ground. I started from the top at 32nd street and 1st Avenue and made my way down to the finish line at the Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District. Next, I visited one of my favorite foodie destinations which seems to get better with time, the Chelsea Market. With so many places to choose from I opted for a classic Lobster Roll at the Seafood Guys.


I walked through every different neighborhood below 14th street and made sure to visually memorize everything that I could. From the West Village to Soho and Nolita I took each and every inch in. In my short few days I managed to pack in a lot of food and many miles on my fitbit. With new restaurant discoveries and old favorites there was definitely no shortage when it came to dining options. In the next few weeks I will share all my discoveries with my readers. I hope you enjoy.

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Authentic Tiramisu Recipe


Serves: Approximately 12 Servings


– 6 egg yolks

– 1 cup white sugar

– 1 1/4 cups mascarpone cheese

-1 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream

– 2 cups of espresso (cooled off)

– 2  packages lady fingers (approx 24 lady fingers total)

– 1/3 cup alcohol of your choice (grand marnier or rum)

Topping extras

– 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder (dust)

– 1 (1 ounce) square semi sweet chocolate (shaved)


  1. Chill large bowl in the fridge.
  2. Combine the 6 egg yolks and 1 cup of sugar in the top of a double boiler.
  3. Reduce heat to low.
  4. Stir the egg yolks and sugar for about 10 minutes. (This step is to coddle the egg and prevent eating raw eggs). Remove the mixture from heat and allow it to cool.
  5. Once cooled, beat the mixture until light in color and thick.
  6. Add the mascarpone to the whipped yolk-sugar mixture. Blend well.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon of espresso and mix until thoroughly combined.
  8. Whip the whipping cream in the chilled bowl until stiff peaks are formed.
  9. Gently fold the whipping cream into the yolk-sugar mixture and set aside.
  10. Split the lady fingers in half.
  11. Mix the expresso and alcohol and pour into flat dish.
  12. Dip lady fingers and soak in espresso mixture for less than 5 seconds until soaked. (Not too long or it will become too soggy).
  13. Line the bottom and sides of your serving bowl with the lady fingers.
  14. Spoon half of the filling over the lady fingers.
  15. Repeat with another layer of ladyfingers and top with the filling.
  16. Sprinkle the top with cocoa powder and chocolate curls.
  17. Refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight.

Total prep time: 30 minutes


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Wood Pizza Bistro and Taphouse- Warehouse District (New Orleans, LA)

The newest restaurant addition to the Warehouse District is Wood Pizza Bistro & Taphouse located just across the street from Cochon. We were in town for Mardi Gras and as expected all restaurants were packed before the parades began. Initially, we wanted to have a sandwich at Cochon Butcher but with a line up around the corner we thought twice. Looking around I noticed this unassuming new restaurant with a large outdoor seating along an old brick wall. It reminded me of many places in New York and I was immediately attracted. It turns out that head chef, Will Salisbury, grew up in Long Island (no wonder) and spent months eating his way through Italy (as I have). So it was a win-win.

IMG_6673 The restaurant as the name gives away serves pizza and salads. Not any kind of pizza but the real wood-burning oven kind.  Inside, the restaurant is cozy and small with a small pizza assembly open-concept kitchen tucked in the corner and a larger bar serving awesome regional beers (40 beer taps with lots of craft brews from Louisiana and the South).
The pepperoni and mushroom pizza was delicious with a perfectly baked crust, generous amounts of fresh mozzarella cheese, mushrooms and pepperoni. The large salad was generous enough to feed our party of 3 all washed down by our pitcher of beer. Wood has definitely raised to the top of my go-to places in Nola for good eats on a patio. If you are craving pizza, you know the real Italian kind then definitely head to Wood. You won’t regret it!



Wood Pizza Bistro & Taproom on Urbanspoon

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A Foodie’s Guide to Vancouver (Canada)

Vancouver, British Columbia…the most beautiful place on earth. At least that is what the license plate claims. But really, it is! I may be biased since I am from Vancouver and spent the majority of my life there before moving south of the border. And while the natural beauty, scenery and wildlife may take your breathe away, Vancouver has even more to offer. The diverse mix of immigrants that now inhabit Vancouver has brought with it some of the best restaurants and food in North America.  Here is my list of go-to spots in Vancouver that I never fail to visit when I am in town. I would love to hear what your favorites are in the comments below so that I can consider them on my next trip home and add it to my list!



From the same owners as Chambar, Medina serves Belgian-Moroccon cuisine. Lines up go around the block and can take hours but once inside the food will make you forget that you waited for so long. Don’t miss out on the classic belgian waffles and the lavender lattes. Twisted Fork serves some of the yummiest brunch in town. I always go for the banana stuffed french toast which is an unforgettable experience in decadence.

Or choose to spend the morning in Stanley Park, the sprawling urban oasis of greenery and water that is the West Coast’s rival to Central Park. Begin at the Teahouse in Stanley Park, a well-known brunch spot, both for its location and Canadian Northwest twists on some classic breakfast items. Ask for a table by the window to look out over English Bay and West Vancouver. Don’t miss the smoked salmon Benedict, which comes with local sockeye salmon. (7501 Stanley Park Drive; vancouverdine.com/teahouse).


It is not a surprise that really good chinese food can be found in Chinatown and while there are really authentic spots where you must visit with a mandarin/cantonese speaking friend (for which I’m lucky to have one) there are other more modern restaurants that have started popping up in this up and coming hip neighborhood. Bao Bei is a really hip/hipster restaurant that has really good chinese food with a twist. Phnom Penh is another favorite located in Chinatown. And while the name might suggest the food is a mix between Cambodian, Vietnamese and Chinese.  It offers some favorite classics like the chicken wings.

Dim Sum:

For one of the most genuine Asian cultural and culinary experiences in North America, go to the Aberdeen Center for dim sum at Fisherman’s Terrace (3580-4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond). This sprawling Asian shopping center has an entire store dedicated to Hello Kitty merchandise, a Korean barbecue and a pan-Asian supermarket, among other treasures. Many options are also available downtown in Chinatown. The Jade Dynasty Restaurant (137 Pender Street) offers good-value dim sum, or just wander along the road and choose one of the many restaurants that takes your fancy. 


My favorites include Chambar (562 Beatty Street) is a sophisticated, funky restaurant serving innovative Belgium, French and Moroccan food using regional ingredientsLes Faux Bourgeois  is a french bistro located in Mount Pleasant. If you want to feel a little bit of France and have authentic French food then make the trip out of downtown to Mount Pleasant. Wait times are long but it is definitely worth it. Another French favorite located downtown is La Brasserie located in Davie Village.


There is a large Indian population in Vancouver which means one thing: really good and authentic Indian food. For the real deal you must head to Main street and Fraser street to ‘Little India’. Here you will find a vast number of Indian restaurants where cheap eats are a plenty. However, for a more upscale evening, head to one of my favorite restaurants in Vancouver: Vij’s (1480 W 11th Ave). Owners Vikram and wife Meeru pride themselves on quality Indian food in a beautiful setting. The restaurant is quite small and the wait time often is over 1-2 hours long. So be prepared to wait a while and get drunk in the process. My favorite item on the menu? The Lamb Popsicles!


An area in Vancouver that should be explored if you have time is Commercial street- Vancouver’s own version of Little Italy. Here you can find a range of great Italian food. Outside of the Commercial street area are a wide range of great choices including my favorites: Campagnolo and Campagnolo Roma. 

Italian Pizza options are also great in Vancouver including Nicli Antica Pizzeria in Gastown and Pizzeria Farina.


Starting off at the intersection of Denman street and Robson street is where the feast begins. For the best ramen downtown, I usually head to either Motomoki Shokudo (740 Denman Street) or it’s sister location, Kintaro Ramen.  Try the black bamboo charcoal ramen. It is quite possibly the best broth you’ll ever taste.

Further up on Robson street is another all-time favorite, Guu with Garlic, a Japanese Izakaya restaurant which opened its doors in the early 2000’s and quickly gained so much popularity that it now has multiple locations around Vancouver and Toronto. (Below is the grilled squid served with a side of Lemon and Japanese Mayonnaise).


For the best hand-made gyozas in town I always head to Gyoza King (1508 Robson Street), a small and cozy Japanese bistro where you can choose from a variety of gyozas and other Japanese favorites. My number one pick: the shrimp and chive gyozas with a bottle of unfiltered sake to wash it down.


Where to begin on this one? Sushi restaurants cover the streets of Vancouver just as frequently as Starbucks. Some authentic, fresh and delicious and others are just in the business to make money. Making the hunt for good sushi a fun challenge (although to be honest even the mediocre sushi bars in Vancouver are far better than most sushi I’ve tasted around the US)! For a healthy organic sushi meal I head over to the tiny little gem, Shizen ya, located on Hornby street directly across from the courthouse.  For a more upscale experience with unique takes on sushi, Miku (#70 – 200 Granville St) is the place to be. The sushi is amazing and takes on a form of art. If in Yaletown, Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar (1095 Hamilton St) offers a vast range of fresh seafood, sushi and BC coastal fare. It is a classy affair and on the pricey end but if in Vancouver for a short time it should not be missed.


Finchs Tea and Coffee House (353 W. Pender Street) is a classic Gastown gem serving some of the best sandwiches in town. Favorites include the proscuitto, pear and baked blue brie cheese and walnut sandwich. Absolutely to die for! Hubbub is another favorite due to their oh so delicious bread. My all time favorite is the turkey sausage sandwich which I describe in great lengths in my post.



When in Vancouver, eat lots of seafood, the unrivaled local specialty.There are so many that I am going to list them here for you and let you pick your favorite:  Blue Water Cafe and Raw BarMiku, Rodney’s Oyster House and Go Fish Ocean Emporium (a food stand close to Granville Island).


 What are your favorite restaurants in Vancouver? Please add below in comment so that I can try it out next time I am in town! 


The Hungry Nomad

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A Tuscan Meal at Alla Vecchia Bettola (Florence, Italy)

Crossing the Arno river to the south side of Florence we discovered a whole new town where tourists were a rare sighting, locals roamed the streets and the real Florence came to life. I myself have been guilty of focusing most of my trips to Florence on the North side where most of the tourist destinations are located. This time, having already checked off all the major tourist  must-do’s including the Uffizzi and Duomo we were ready to see what more Florence had in store. The vast beautiful gardens of Giardino de Boboli and Bardini are a peaceful escape from the heat not to mention extremely beautiful. But as most of the nomad’s journeys, we were in search of a true tuscan meal. Walking around the gardens we eventually made our way to Alla Vechia Bettola, a cozy, home-style tuscan restaurant with a large local following.
22-P1030982We arrived quiet early in the evening. Unbeknownst to us, the restaurant was still closed and the staff were around a large table eating their dinner prior to opening. We walked in on them feasting away at the same delicious food that would later be served to us.  We apologized for the intrusion in the little Italian we had picked up through our journey and turned around and walked back outside. We sat waiting for them to open their doors. Embarrassed to be the first eager diners at the restaurant I pointed to my belly and attempted to explain that we were very hungry. Minutes later a gentle server came to welcome us in. The old tuscan man and wife team were there chatting away with every customer that walked in the door. Most diners appeared to be local regulars. 11-P1030949 The restaurant filled up within minutes making us thankful for having arrived early. We quickly ordered and were served with glasses of the house wine. I really wish I could have ordered everything off the menu as everything that came out of the kitchen looked divine. But sadly there is only so much a hungry duo can eat. 12-P1030950 15-P103095713-P1030953 14-P1030954We started off with a prosciutto and melon salad to start.   It was the real thing. Fresh pieces of lemon and local cured prosciutto. For our main entrees we ordered the cheese penne and macaroni with wild boar. Both dishes were absolutely amazing and the closest thing to real italian cooking that the two of us will ever get to. Our meal was so good that the Count considered ordering a second meal and when realizing that wasn’t a realistic option suggested we go back the next day before leaving Florence.

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I hesitate to recommend this restaurant only because it is so good and still remains out of most tourist’s reach. But if you are a big foodie like me and are trying to explore true tuscan dining, Alla Vecchia Bettola will not disappoint.




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Where to Eat a Florentine Steak in Florence (Italy)

Florence is a citywide outdoor museum which means tourists are aplenty. The large number of tourist means many mediocre restaurants exist where the waitstaff and kitchen staff are  mainly underpaid illegal immigrants and Italians are hard to come by. Food at these restaurants tend to be pre-made, frozen and generally quite bad. Unfortunately, after a long day of sightseeing it is hard to avoid these restaurants but here are a few pointers:  restaurants where the waiters stand outside waiving you in, restaurants with billboards and photos of the food, restaurants where no one speaks Italian. In the short time we spent in Florence I decided that our trip should include a trip to a Florentine steakhouse where we could experience a taste of a true  bistecca alla fiorentina. With recommendations from the wonderful concierge at the JK Place Firenze we walked around the corner to Buca Lapi.  The restaurant was literally around the corner from our hotel yet we ended up getting lost in the intertwining narrow streets, almost got run over my some motorbikes and finally ended up where we started and decided to use our very expensive GPS to lead us the 10 meter walk to the restaurant.

08-P103078003-P1030750 Buca Lapi is the oldest Florentine restaurant housed in Palazzo Antinori’s wine cellars underground with the dining room located in the actual cellar and covered wall to wall with old and new tourist advertisements. Our server was fluent in English and was very friendly and helpful with the menu. All other customers also happened to be english speaking tourists, making me doubt our choice. Yet, when I saw the steak being cut up for the table next to us, all second-guessing was laid to rest.  We ordered two pasta dishes to start including a spinach and ricotta gnocchi and a pappardelle with braised rabbit and porcini mushrooms. We were both filled by the end of our first plate and were ready to call it a night but we had already ordered the steak.  04-P1030751 Minutes later a man was cutting up a large piece of steak for us that really looked like it could have been  a large piece of a whole cow. It was huge. Did I mention that the Count does not like steak? He is just not a meat and potatoes kind of guy and likes his meal filled with different flavors and spices. Besides his dislike for meat he was not a big fan of the price tag on this piece of Florentine steak, which cost approximately 70 euros. 07-P1030759 06-P1030762We ordered the steak medium rare and were served a meat that was quite raw, bloody and juicy. Even though I am a lover of meat, it was even hard for me to swallow all that meat. When it was time for dessert, we had no room left and decided to finish off with the steak. We could only get through one quarter of the steak and the rest was wasted. What a true waste.
02-P1030745If you have a large budget and want to eat a good steak than I would recommend  Buca Lapi however, there are many cheaper and better places to eat good Italian food in Florence of which Buca Lapi is not.  The locals will not spend more than 20 euros on a good meal and that includes wine. We experienced this on another night when we found a local restaurant (see post) where the food was finger licking good, and our entire bill came to 30 euros. In fact, it was so good that the Count wanted to go back the next day for lunch before we took off to Tuscany.  If you do decide to go Buca Lapi definitely share the meals.


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A Medieval Feast in Montisi (Province of Siena, Italy)

In my previous post I mentioned how our trip through Italy was left up to the stars and in the end we ended up driving through Tuscany, staying on an olive farm in an olive farmer’s home in Castelmuzio and drowning in local wine at a medieval jousting competition in Montisi.

On the eve of our arrival in Montisi we were invited to feast with the locals on the eve of the jousting competition.  Montisi is a small walled hill town on the outskirts of Siena.  Yet, in this small town there are four distinct contradas: San Martino, Castello, Torre and Piazza. Each contrada hosts a four course dinner prepared by the towns grandmothers shared alongside endless bottles of wine and the local contrada’s chant. Walking through town I felt like I was stepping on the scene of Romeo and Juliet. It was exactly how a medeviel town should look in my mind. All along the narrrow streets were picnic tables topped with bottles of local wine. Everyone was wearing their contrada’s colors and flags. We sat next to a group of locals from another neighbouring town in the Piazza contrada section of town. One out of the four of them spoke broken english and the rest was left up to communicating the good old way, through wine, food and hand signals.



The dinner was prepared in the local square by a handful of grandmothers with the assistance of many. Large pots of pasta was served to us in plates and the grandmas walked around offering second servings sometimes forcefully reminding me of my own grandmother insisting we eat seconds.



Boundless bottles of red wine later and representatives of our contrada all dressed up in green and orange started walking toward our table asking us to pledge our allegiance to their contrada alongside a christening with the local red wine. About half a bottle of wine was poured down my throat and I can now claim that I am an honorary member of the Piazza contrada for life.


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By the end of the dinner, the Count and I were on first name basis with our Italian comarades and somehow the communication skills flowed with ease. It seemed their English and our Italian had improved tremendously making me believe that the secret to speaking another language is a few bottles of wine.

The following day the four contradas paraded through town and to a field for the jousting competition where the Castello contrada won and celebrated again that evening in town with more red wine and good food.

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A Day in Pienza (Tuscany, Italy)

Continuing our journey in the Tuscan countryside we drove from our base on an olive farm in Montalcino to Pienza in the province of Siena. The town was declared a UNESCO world heritage sight in 1996 and the Val d’Orcia on the list of UNESCO’s World Cultural Landscapes. Pienza is located between the wine producing towns of Montalcino and Montepulciano.  Pienza is famous for its Pecorino cheese and it’s model Renaissance architecture.  And so for those of us who love history, architecture and food, Pienza is an Italian dreamer’s heaven. The town is located on a hill overlooking the rolling Tuscan valley, a breathtaking sight on its own.  A road on the south-side of the town walls allows you to take in the breathtaking views and perhaps enjoy a picnic with some local pecorino cheese and wine. We spent the day walking around the small town and its narrow labyrinth of roads filled with cheese shops. All that hunger inducing smell of cheese led us to a tiny restaurant in a side street where we enjoyed one of the best and most authentic meals during our stays in Italy (see post).


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A True Tuscan Meal at La Buca di Enea in Pienza (Tuscany, Italy)

Our journey through Italy was not as thoroughly planned as other portions of our trip. I specifically made it that way so as to have the option to make a decision last minute on a whim. After spending three hot days in Florence and Fiesole we were ready to make a move and had 5 days to discover anywhere in Italy we wanted before returning to our planned itinerary in Rome. Predictably, we rented a car and made our way south through the scenic region of Tuscany.


With no destination in mind we took the suggestions of a fellow international foodie based out of Tuscany and ended up in Montalcino in Southern Tuscany. Luckily enough we made it in time for the region’s jousting competition dating back to medieval days. Ms. Foodie International was a wealth of knowledge and introduced us to her neighbors, local olive farmers who generously welcomed us into their home on an olive farm. The experience was truly out of this world and really confirmed my premonition that last minute trip planning can lead to amazing adventures.


This post is dedicated to what I can only describe as being one of the best meals in Italy. In the UNESCO World Heritage town of Pienza the smell of pecorino cheese was overpowering, great for cheesemongers like me, not so much for those who aren’t a fan. Many recommendations were made for where to eat and buy some locally made products. However, with the tiny streets and unfamiliar roads (and no knowledge of Italian) we could not find the recommended restaurant and had no reservations for the other, however, we found a place that would go down in our foodie history books.


La Buca di Enea di Enea was a tiny hole in the wall treasure ran by a husband and wife team with the best most hospitable service and down right delicious food. And it is is found only a few steps off of the main street of Pienza, Corso Il Rossellini, on the quaint side street of Via della Buca. 


The menu was extensive and offered many traditional tuscan dishes including a variety of meals made with the local pecorino cheese. We ordered a cured meat tray of bresaolo served with shaved pecornio and arugula. So fresh and extremely good. 
04-DSC_0459_2 05-DSC_0460_2 Next, I ordered my all time favorite Italian dish discovered in our very own Philadelphia: Cinghiale con Pappardelle. The meat was cooked in an aromatic range of spices making each mouthful a bite of heaven. The pappardelle cooked to perfection. I will forever dream of this meal. 06-DSC_0464_2 07-DSC_0465_2 Next was the regional specialty, baked pecorino topped with pine nuts, walnuts and honey. What a simple yet beautiful dish and one that stayed in our memory throughout our European journey. If only I could recreate this meal. Sadly I know that in order to do so I will need to take a trip back to Pienza for only those local ingredients and the love and passion of the local people can lead to such amazing and memorable flavors. 08-DSC_0469_2 09-DSC_0471_2

We left the restaurant completely fulfilled and felt like we had a true tuscan meal. Staying on a tuscan oliver farmer’s farm, eating in the kitchens of locals and driving through the vast beautiful land that makes up Tuscany we knew that we had made the right choice to make Tuscany our destination.  12-DSC_0475_2 13-DSC_0476_2



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Philly’s Best Italian Restaurants (Philadelphia, USA)

Italian food is something that just about everyone is familiar with, especially in Philadelphia. Since the city does have such a big Italian population, there is no shortage of Italian restaurants around the city. That being said, some are more satisfying than others and really go above and beyond to provide a delicious meal for foodies.


1. Modo Mio

Modo Mio, located in Northern Liberties, is definitely one Italian place that is not to be missed. This BYOB restaurant has both A La Carte and Turistica menus in order to satisfy all customers. The Menu Turistica is a prixe fix menu that provides diners with a four course meal. This is a great option for people who want to try a variety of things and have are having a hard time deciding which tasty meal they want to order.


If you want to opt for the A La Carte menu instead, some of the offerings include Risotto Fritti, which is a crispy fried risotto cake, and Zuppe di Pesce, a seafood stew.


If you are a lover of Italian food, you’ll undoubtedly be able to find something you like here.  Modo Mio offers up everything from lamb to veal to the even more adventurous calves tongue, so you can be sure that if you like trying new things, you’ll be able to do it here.

DSC_0443Dessert is another part of the meal that shouldn’t be skipped at Modo Mio. Some of the desserts you can get are a Flourless Chocolate Cake or the more traditional Tiramisu. If you like Italian desserts, get the latter of these two because this tiramisu is both light and fluffy.

DSC_0460With a menu that changes to accommodate the change in seasons, you’re guaranteed to get a fresh, phenomenal meal at Modo Mio. I’m willing to check out any Italian restaurant that includes the Italian specialty meat, rabbit, on the menu, but if that doesn’t sway you, there are tons of other things on the menu to fulfill you.

Modo Mio on Urbanspoon

2. Osteria

This restaurant is one that certainly deserves all of the buzz it generates. Osteria’s Chef won the 2010 James Beard Foundation Award which should speak for itself. I’ve only eaten here once, but it was one of the most phenomenal dining experiences I have had in Philly.

DSC_0095The dinner menu here is pretty extensive, and all of the dishes I tried on it were fantastic. Some great meals to check out are the Slow Roasted Pork Belly, the Wood Grilled Octopus, the Chicken Liver Rigatoni, and the East Coast Halibut. All of these dishes have a lot of layers to them, but still manage to capture the difficult simplicity of Italian cuisine.


Although I’ve only tried the rigatoni, I’m sure any pasta dish here would be amazing. The pasta at Osteria is hand-made, something which really makes any dish superior since so many Italian restaurants opt for pre-made pasta to save time.


If you’re not in the mood for pasta, Osteria also has a wide selection of pizzas to choose from. The pizza options begin with the traditional, light Magherita pizza and end with pizzas like the Lombarda which comes with a baked egg, bitto cheese, mozzarella, and cotechino sausage. With options like these, any thin-crust pizza lover can find at least one pizza on the menu to try.


If you haven’t been to Osteria, it’s time to check it out. If you have, it may be time to return. This inviting, hip restaurant appeals to a wide audience, so if you do decide to go, the best thing to do would be to make a reservation. Once you do this, you’ll be ready to experience one of Philly’s best Italian restaurants.

Osteria on Urbanspoon


3. La Viola

Although La Viola is a non-Italian family owned business, this restaurant provides diners with some fantastic Italian food. In fact, La Viola is such a busy spot that the family ended up opening La Viola West right across the street from the original BYOB location. The West location is open seven days a week while East location is closed on Mondays. However, each location differs slightly in hours, so in order to keep from getting confused, it’s best to make a reservation beforehand.


Some review-worthy appetizers are the Insalata Caesar and the Zuppetta di Cozze. The zuppetta is a bowl of mussels that you can either get with a white wine sauce or a red tomato sauce. I’ve tried both, and while they are good, the plum tomato sauce has a lot of flavor and a hint of spice to it, so it’s definitely the winner of the two.


Another featured dish is the Vitello alla Viola, a dish consisting of veal medallions, seasonal fruit, and prosciutto di parma. There is also another plate called Ravioli alla Viola which is a rich lobster ravioli meal served with a creamy rose sauce. No matter what you get though, La Viola is guaranteed to satisfy any diner looking for Italian food in the Rittenhouse Square area.

La Viola on Urbanspoon



4. Amis

Right in Washington Square, Amis is a Marc Vetri owned Italian restaurant. If you’re not near Osteria, but you’re craving Italian food, Amis is a great restaurant to visit. The menu is large enough so that everyone can find something to eat, but still focused.


The menu is split up into sections like Bruschetta and Antipasti di Pesce that make it easy for diners to jump right to the type of food that they want for that night. While there isn’t a laundry list of options for sections like Bruschetta, the options that Amis offers up are great.


Another thing that makes Amis stand out from the hordes of Italian restaurants in the city is that they make all their Salumi in house. When you order the Salami del Giorno or the Mixed Salumi Plate, you know you’re going to get some of the highest quality food out there.


With creamy polenta, salty pecorino, and tender meats, Amis hits each dish out of the ballpark. While this may seem like enough to make any restaurant a hot spot, Amis also has several inventive pasta dishes to keep customers coming back for more.


Dishes like the Roman classic, Cacio e Pepe, and Paccheri with Swordfish and Eggplant Fries are only a few of the pasta options on the menu. Amis is able to keep diners interested and it’s not surprising that it has a dedicated following. If you’re on the search for fantastic Italian food in the city, Amis is one restaurant that should definitely be on your list.

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I’ve never met anyone that downright dislikes Italian food, but if they did, I’m sure that if I took them to any of these restaurants, they would change their mind. With homemade pasta, fresh ingredients, and creative dishes, all of these places are some of Philly’s brightest stars in the restaurant scene.


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