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“Friends Birthday Happy Hour” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Varalli Restaurant

Varalli Restaurant
231 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19107-5303
215-546-6800
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Ranked #297 of 3,786 Restaurants in Philadelphia
Price range: $13 - $30
Cuisines: Italian, Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Reservations, Late Night
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Locust Street
Description: Residing in the heart of Philadelphia’s Center City, Varalli Restaurant reflects the elegance and artistry of its Avenue of the Arts location. A dining destination for over 24 years, Varalli Restaurant is conveniently located within a few blocks of the Convention Center, major hotels, theaters and arts venues. This restaurant boasts playful decorative accents that give each dining room the distinction of a chic gallery featuring whimsical oceanic sculptural details and a unique illuminated glass fusion mosaic. The menu’s Northern Italian and Mediterranean-style seafood dishes are works of art in their own rights and promise flavorful distractions.
Linwood, New Jersey, United States
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Friends Birthday Happy Hour”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2013

Appetizers (Very Good) 4/5. Atmosphere (Very Good) 4/5. Service (Very Good). Noise level average. I was introduced to the ambience of Sotto Varalli on my last visit to Philadelphia and had a great experience! Now, whenever I'm in town, I make a point to patronize this restaurant. On 11/07/2013, I took my girlfriend here for her birthday prior to a Broadway performance. She loved everything about Sotto Varalli. I agree with another review, from the appetizers to desserts each course is prepared from fresh ingredients and they willingly modify the preparation of the item to suit one's preference.
We enjoyed the professionalism of the bar staff and their knowledge of wines.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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94 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    42
    35
    9
    6
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Sumneytown, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
69 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Enjoyable Expeience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2013

Food (Very Good) 4 / 5 .Ambience (Very Good) 4 / 5 .Service (Outstanding) 5 / 5 .Noise Level
Moderate."Five of us returned here for dinner prior to an orchestra performance.We were recognized and warmly greeted by George, the maitre d' who led us to our "usual" table.Joe, our server, was especially efficient and professional yet friendly enough that we enjoyed a bit of banter with him.We have never had an unsatisfactory meal here and this was no exception. From the appetizers to deserts each course is prepared from fresh ingredients and they willingly modify the preparation of an item to suit one's preference.On this visit the length of time between courses was uncharacteristically long,yet Joe was aware of this gap and kept us informed of the progress.We were especially pleased with the personal attention from Joe and the maitre d'.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Good Food/Terrible Service”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2013

We were a party of two. Our reservation was for 5:45 pm and we were seated right away. First, the tables for two were right on top of each other - which I absolutely hate. Our waiter just never seemed like he knew what he was doing. I believe he had 3 tables of two and 1 table of a party of six. He simply could not handle serving in an efficient manner his dinner guests. We especially wanted the “taste menu” - a 4 course dinner, but was told by our waiter that we would never make our 8:00 pm show when the theater was directly across the street from this restaurant. The taste menu stated “allow 2 hours for this type of dinner” which we had enough time. We felt that this waiter just did not want to serve us this type of meal. The waiter asked us what we would like from the menu - what about asking us for our cocktail order....???? hmmmm. I told him we would like to order a drink - and he took our drink order as well as the food order. I ordered the spinach salad & lobster ravioli - which were excellent. My husband wanted the filet mignon but was told he could only get that on the “taste menu” which we were not permitted to order - sarcasm added here. He ordered the mushroom soup & veal piccata - which were excellent, as well. Drinks came but we had to ask for our bread. When our entrees arrived I asked for grated cheese over my ravioli, which was brought over immediately while my food was hot by the person who delivered our food - not our waiter. I had about 2 bites left of my food when suddenly our waiter appeared and asked me if I wanted grated cheese - I don’t think so. We also asked him for a refill of our waters at that time and again he disappeared and 10 minutes later filled our glasses. We asked for 2 decaf coffees and one chocolate cake for dessert. Our waiter said they “just ran out of chocolate cake.” Oh really, I said, then just get our check and we are leaving. 5-10 minutes go by he brings us our check and said the manager was coming over. We waited another 10 minutes - no manager ever came to our table so we paid the bill & left. My husband left the waiter a 10% tip, but I would not have left him anything. Come on Varalli, this was Saturday evening be prepared for your dinner guests & have enough supply of filet mignon and chocolate cake. This waiter clearly could not handle the tables he was assigned as well as not wanting to serve us the “taste menu.” There are too many restaurants in the theater district to have to put up with this nonsense. I will let all my friends and colleagues know about my experience and tell them to stay away from Varalli Restaurant.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Rotten service,good food”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2013

We arrived for our 5:45 dinner reservation...We wanted to order the 4 course tasting menu, but our waiter said it takes two hours because it's busy today and he doubt's we would get done before our show at 8pm. So we order drinks and waited 20 minutes for them to arrive. We ordered our meal again, no bread that he said we would get,had to remind him. I wanted the filet that was on the tasting menu, but was told they didn't have enough to serve it on the regular menu. Food came no water as promised and was offered grated cheese after my wife's meal was half done. This waited kept apologizing for things he didn't do or bring. The best is my wife wanted chocolate cake for dessert and was told they were out of it. This is their business they should have had enough. By then we just wanted the check. Our waiter came over and said the manager will bring the check because he wanted to explain about the cake, another 20 minutes no manager I told the waiter I wanted the check now as it was getting close to show time. I will never go back to this restaurant, the good food didn't make up for the bad service and management.Oh and the tables for 2 are so close to one another you can hear the conversation of the next table.There are to many great restaurants in down town Philly to waste your time here.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
86 helpful votes 86 helpful votes
“Bent over backwards to help out”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2013

Our little gang of Phila Orchestra goers has been noshing here now and then over the past couple of years. Dishes vary from so-so (wild mushroom soup -- they need to learn from Brian's in Lambertville) to almost everything else, which in our experience has been very good and occasionally excellent. Service is consistent, friendly and good, and they are attuned to the needs of often-mature patrons having to get to the theater or concert on time.

Bottom line, we've tried all manner of eateries around the Kimmel Center, but this is our favorite because of its mix of pluses for theater going. Whether Sr. Garces forthcoming "Volver" at the Kimmel will beat Varalli's remains to be seen.

Another plus for Varalli's took place last Saturday, when I forgot my AMEX card on the table. They called a friend's phone that evening (she had made the reservations), but she didn't check messages until we'd returned to the 'burbs. The next day the manager, George Van Schiver, arranged to pass the card to me as I quickly parked beside the restaurant. He was all smiles and good cheer and couldn't have been more helpful -- hugely appreciated!

In all, four-plus stars for food, five for everything else that a pre-concert patron could ask for.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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