Actually I am not sure where to begin, so much has already been said. We arrived at 6 and the place was sparsely filled. This could be any hotel dining area replete with all the pleasantly decorated modern touches and serving Italian fare. It surely does not conjure up Italy or even South Philly in any way whatsoever, so if you go for traditional, this isn't your spot.
Our waitperson, Tracy, was able enough and aimed to please but it soon became clear that he was going to be in over his head somewhat due to lack of enough help and too many patrons who soon filled the room, causing all kinds of back-ups in the kitchen. The maitre d' was attentive enough and was overseeing things as well. The first surprise came when my DH ordered a prosecco (on the list) and after an apologetic wait was finally informed that they are no longer serving it by-the-glass only (an obvious sign to me that there were not enough requests for it and they didn't want to waste a bottle for just one person). I ordered a glass of malbec which was ordinary. The wine list did not have any positive surprises on it -- just average offerings.
The food is normal Italian fare -- not bad and not memorable. The caesar salad was okay, as was the tagliatelle that two requested. I stuck with spaghetti marinara sans meatballs and was quite satisfied. The caprese salad came with yellow tomatoes, which I deemed a good sign now that great tomatoes will be hard to come by till next summer, but I didn't taste them so I cannot be sure. I asked the waiter to point out the contorni (vegetables) list only to discover that there is not one because they only offer string beans and broccoli -- not a good sign for vegans.
The bread was good quality Italian and plentiful. A generous plate of roasted peppers was happily devoured by all. My DH asked for a serving of vanilla and chocolate gelato for dessert. After a long wait for desserts to arrive, he was finally informed by our poor frustrated waitperson, that they were out of the chocolate gelato, which was surprising considering that we were one of the first tables to arrive in a now completely filled room. Desserts were ordinary and I wondered if they were even actually originated in the kitchen. I ordered tea. When it came I asked where the box of teas were and was shown the bag sitting in the saucer. I then discovered that the only tea they offer is ... wait for it ... Lipton! Golly whiz Batman, you'd think a hotel dining room would be a bit more upscale than a diner, wouldn't you?
Our poor waiter kept apologizing for delays, citing the chaos in the kitchen and bar area, where they just could not keep up with drink orders. I felt bad for him as he was really trying hard but had a lot of other tables to attend to by the time we neared the end of our meal.
All in all,this is not an Italian restaurant to write home about as it lacks that warm, fuzzy Italian atmosphere. But to be fair, the food is not "terrible". It is decent enough to run out on a cold and windy winter's night (of which last night's was) and dine in a nice atmosphere with friends.
Bottom line: The birthday boy was totally satisfied and happy and, let's face it, in the final analysis, that's all that counts.
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