Wednesday, April 11, 2007
My good friend Andy was up from College Park last weekend. Friday night we did a little barhopping in Northern Liberties, then made our way down to the Italian Market area because I had never been to Villa di Roma and Andy was in the mood for some non-fancy red Italian food. Villa di Roma is a popular restaurant in South Philly known for it's no-nonsense waitstaff and authentic food. You can check out their menu here courtesey of Philadelphia Menupages.com.
We started with the Fried Asparagus ($7.95). Oh man, this was phenomenal! I seriously could have eaten this whole plate by myself, and when I go again, I might just get two orders of it for dinner. The asparagus were fried perfectly, not overdone or soggy with oil. The spears were placed in a gentle pool of awesome butter sauce, but it was too viscous to just contain butter alone. The server wouldn't reveal any secrets, but I'm pretty sure there is a breadcrumb addition to the sauce that gives it body and texture. Try these asparagus when you visit Villa di Roma, I promise you will not be disappointed.
The menu is large, with numerous vegetarian and multiple meat (chicken, veal, etc) choices, and I was truly at a loss for what to try. I asked the server what she likes to eat and she suggested the Chicken Bucca Bella. It sounded wonderful, and I knew it was going to be as soon as she put my dinner in front of me!
I only got more excited as I made the first cut into my chicken. Two cutlets were stuffed with proscuito and provolone, then breaded and pan fried, served in a brown butter sauce with spinach. Oh dear! I'd like to say that after the fried asparagus appetizer that I couldn't finish my entree, but I totally did. This was one of those meals where my stomach hurt, but my mouth just couldn't get enough.
Andy went for what he was craving, Eggplant Parmagiana with a side of meatballs. I didn't get a photo of the meatballs, but I had a little bite and then were nice, good texture and flavor, and served in a pool of their red gravy.
As if that weren't enough, we had coffee and canoli too! Earlier this year I declared Vacarro's canoli as the best in the East, but I think they have a rival here at Villa di Roma. The shell was thick and crisp and the ricotta filling was sweet and spiked with anise flavor.
Villa di Roma
936 S 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147