After reviews here, I was skeptical when my parents dragged us to Caffee Valentino, the BYOB near Wharton and Moyamensing, Friday night. My folks tend to favor the classic South Philly fare with an emphasis on lots of gravy and large portions. I crave it too now and then - just not every week. (Note - They love Scanichio's - and haven't read the ads posing as posts here on Chowhound)
We were surprised to be greeted by a waiter welcoming us "buona sera" in an Italian accent, and to pass a row of plates of beautiful vegetable antipasti on the counter. For a moment, it felt like we were back on vacation in Rome.
The antipasti turned out to be delicious - fresh grilled and marinated eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, long hot peppers and artichoke hearts.
Prices were moderate, service great, and portions were reasonable - and not too huge. Which I like.
We had linguine alla matriciana (rich and flavorful), a veal involtini (stuffed with prosciutto and cheese) two branzinos (filleted tableside) with a light sauce of olive oil, sundried tomatoes and capers.
Segafredo espressos were creamy and delicious. Desserts, including chocolate profiteroles where a perfect ending. Dinner for four about $120.
We'll definitely go back. Caffe Valentino is not as homey, but I'd argue that the service and food were almost up there with Buon Appetito and L'Angolo - our current South Philly faves.