Been scanning the posts here for several months, in the hopes of gathering some conclusive recs for a relatively quiet, regional Italian restaurant to take someone on a first date.
Is there anything in Philly that comes close to the feel and unprepossessing quality of a regional Italian osteria/trattoria? I've spent six life-affirming months living in Rome and during that time garnered a fascination for the diversity of the regional cuisines-- Roman artichokes, loose Venetian risottos, eggless pasta with wild hare ragu in Umbria, grilled sardines and the scent of lemon groves in Sicily, Nebbiolo wine from Piedmonte, all the outdoor markets...are just some of my indelible memories. Tell me yours!
Nearly all of my most vivid Italian meals were in small restaurants without menus where la mamma cucina just brings out whatever she's spent all day cooking. It's worlds away from the heavy, outsized portions of the typical quasi-Neapolitan style restaurants we have in the States.
Someplace small but intimate, modestly-priced, specializing in Northern Italian, Tuscan/Umbrian, or Roman cuisine that makes its own pasta would be ideal, but also interested in unfamiliar regions like Puglia and Sardinia. Like the look and scale of Locanda del Ghiottone, but I've heard the portions are YUGE, and I don't know about the food. Are Il Cantuccio, L'Angolo, or Tre Scalini similar to what I'm after? Anyone been to La Grolla?