Villa Di Roma
Who doesn't love Italian food, old traditions, and good company? (The food aspect is what really captures my attention, everything else is just an add-on.) This week, a late-night dinner with a group of friends at a spot Alec introduced me to, Villa Di Roma. It's a small South Philly gem that his family has been going to for years. Not joking. When we got there, we saw his grandfather leaving who told me he's been coming here for the past 40 years and once we were inside Alec knew like 3 other people, including the owner and bartenders.
So, what to expect. It's traditional. Brick interior. Walls covered in signed photos from famous visitors. A bar with regulars who have been coming there for years. Two dining room areas with wooden chairs and tables which are plain with table clothes and an upstairs to seat larger parties. If Cheers, Friends, and old Italy had a baby, it would be this place.
1. It’s cash only.
2. You can't order apps before the meal. This part confused me so let me explain- you can have apps obviously but you have to place your order all together…apps, meal, everything all at once.
3. Reserve cannoli’s the second you get there.
4.The menu is extensive and they just straight up might be out of something on the menu and that’s that. And all those things you're okay with... or you will be because the food is that good.
Villa Di Roma has been around since 1963, located on South 9th street in Philadelphia. Their hours are all over, so go to their website. (Sorry people.) They’ve won Best of Philly- Best Red Sauce Italian Restaurant in 2013 (Don’t worry they sell it so you can bring some home) and Best Meatballs on Food Feuds- Food Network.
Since this is Alec's favorite place, we let him order the apps for the table. (It's his favorite part so damn, I like can't take that joy away from him.) If it's your first time going I highly suggest ordering the same apps we did. They are signatures and favorites.
Villa Salad- It's just a beautiful thing when something that could be healthy is made amazing by dumping on dressing and bacon but yesssss.
Shrimp Scampi- The description says smothered in garlic, lemon butter sauce…so that’s all you need to know. Don’t eat your fill of bread before this dish is served, trust me you will thank me. The sauce is perfect for dipping.
Fried Asparagus- My favorite and covered in sauce is scampi sauce again…so more bread dipping. (Lord forgive me.)
Ravioli and Tomato Sauce- Here's what I love about this place. Their signature meals are just that, simple signature Italian eating. My ravioli was nothing special or fancy but amazing never the less. If I was Italian, I imagine this is what going to grandma’s house growing up would have tasted like. The ravioli was perfectly sized and the dough consistently was not too thick or powdery. The cheese…. it’s ricotta…I appreciate all ricotta. AND of course, that famous sauce. I cleared my plate.
In light of this post becoming aggressively long. When it came to everyone else's meal….
Alec- Veal Sicilian – his go to meal
Friend 1- Gnocchi
Friend 2- Veal Parmigiana
Friend 3- Ziti Francis
GET A CANNOLI
If you're looking to expose your taste buds to timeless flavor filled Italian food, this is the spot. It's nothing fancy just good food you won’t be able to forget.