Maybe it was the record hot weather, but something compelled me to ignore the abysmal things that I read about Serafina on Yelp! and block out of my mind that this was the place that actually turned Cliff Lee away. Well, the Yelpers are right once again, and Cliff, if you're reading this, it's a good thing you didn't eat at Serafina because of all of the meals I have eaten in Philly from holes in the wall to finer establishments like Amada and Zahav, Serafina is far and away the worst meal I have had in this town. Our meal started out with decent bread but got worse when another member of our party was served carpaccio that had an odd brown tinge to it and not much flavor. My bruschetta consisted of four nicely toasted rounds of bread soaked with about as much olive oil as was humanly possible and topped with as many tomatoes as one could possibly balance on the toasts. Fortunately the tomatoes were very tasty and I ignored the oily bread. Disaster struck when we were served our entrees. Two members of our party were served two entirely different pastas, each equally deviod of any flavor. One pasta was supposed to have basil in it, which it did, in the form of small uniformly cut dried flakes that added no flavor. The addition of our server spooning on pre-shredded (as opposed to fresh mozzarella like in the finer establishments) didn't help either. I ordered a margherita pie and when it was brought out, it was essentially a traditional pizza with the usual mozzarella that everyone serves everywhere with one (I kid you not) leaf of basil in the center of the pie and (oddly enough) four brown olives on top. No big pieces of mozzarella and one basil leaf. I called over our friendly server, who understood my confusion and told me that she did indeed order a margherita pizza for me and this is what it looks like (granted this was her third shift at the establishment but she had seen this train-wreck-of-a-pie before). I politely had her bring over the manager on duty (Letitia) to try to explain how the addition of four olives and one basil leaf makes this a margerita pie, and she explained that to get a pie with fresh mozzarella I should have ordered the "V.I.P. margherita pie." I tried in vain to ask her how this pie was called a margherita because in my mind it's false advertising. Seeing I was getting nowhere with her, I thanked her and proceeded to take a bite of the pizza. It was nowhere near Zavino, nowhere near Pietro's, nowhere near any pizza joint in town, and not even as good as what I was served when I was dragged to the Olive Garden years ago. It was not as good as Lean Cuisine margherita pies I eat now and then during the week (hey at least Stouffer's can spring for more than one basil leaf!). After a few bites I realized that there was no way I could stomach any more of this and asked our server to have the manager come back once again. Upon hearing that we wanted to talk to her for a second time, Letitia decided it would be a good idea to go outside and talk on the telephone in front of the restaurant in the hundred degree heat for five minutes. By then I had thrown in the towel literally and figuratively with the food and the manager's antics, as this seemed particularly galling to me. I asked our server bring us the bill which we paid in full (a mere $79.27 before tip with the three sparkling waters!) despite her telling us how bad she felt so bad we did not enjoy our meals. After we paid, Letitia was kind enough to make it back to our table and we told her that her services were no longer needed.
So if you were thinking of heading to Serafina, just about any place in town would offer a better dining experience.