Sunday, October 21, 2007
I recently had a very important guest to Philadelphia, my mother. I've lived here going on five years, and while she'd been in town briefly a time or two, to help me move or to accompany me on a drive to New Hampshire, I hadn't yet had the opportunity to show her my city.
I planned most of her visit around where to eat, and Villa di Roma was high on the list. Not only is it in a fun part of the city, necessitating a walk through the markets near Washington Avenue, but Villa di Roma is also an iconic part of Philadelphia Italian American cuisine. The staff is no-nonsense, all the women call you "hon" and an annoying buzzer alerts servers and patrons that someone's dinner is hot and ready to be served.
We debated ordering the Villa salad, but after a description from the waitress, we decided against it. Something about the combination of Italian and Thousand Island dressing made me nervous. Instead, we opted for the friend asparagus, which I've posted about previously as little spears of heaven. Mom had the eggplant parmigiana and declared it some of the best she's ever had.
I tried something I'd never ordered before, but heard was delicious upon recommendation from a friend, the Chicken Neapolitan. Chunks of white meat chicken are sauteed with garlic, onions, and mushrooms in a white wine butter sauce. I almost melted at the first bite, and after trying a piece herself, I think my mother had a little order envy. I ate half, took the rest to go, and had a glorious lunch the next day, too.
If you're in the mood for some delicious red Italian fare, check out Villa di Roma. It's also a great place to bring someone from outside of Philly to show them a little authentic food and attitude.
Villa di Roma
936 S 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147