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“Great food with reasonable prices and you feel like family.”
Review of Trattoria Prima Donna - CLOSED

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Trattoria Prima Donna
Price range: $30 - $45
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: City Center West
Cross street: between 15th & 16th
Transit: We are just blocks from SEPTA Suburban Station, the Broad Street Subway at Walnut/Locust and PATCO's 15-16th & Locust Street station.
Description: Our food is as pure, sincere & genuine as mountain spring water. No fusion, no gimmicks, no shenanigans. We remain true to the artisan way of cooking, brought to America by my mother, Clelia, featured in many newspapers & magazines for her award-winning recipes. In the 1950s & ‘60s, in Rome, she cooked for many famous people in the film industry. Her favorite pupil for 15 years, Ugo, is still in the kitchen cooking her delicious recipes for you to enjoy. P.S. In 2001 I told my mother, “Things are changing. The restaurants are now doing food designing, color combinations, etc. etc.” She looked at me & said, “If people want to see designs & colors, they should go to a museum, not a restaurant.” And that’s my mother: never makes long speeches. Enjoy your meal.
Reviewed October 15, 2011

I've passed by many times but dined here with friends for the first time recently. The food is as good as any Italian spot I've eaten at in South Philly and I'm returning tonight. It's a family operation and everyone working there makes you feel relaxed and as though you were part of the family. This is genuine - not put on nor faked.

Both the food & deserts were no less than excellent. The Bronzino (fish) was available and I had it - it was as good or better than Modo Mio or anywhere else I've had it. I eat out twice a week and this is as pleasant an experience as I've had in a couple of years.

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Thank John A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (14)
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4 - 8 of 14 reviews

Reviewed August 31, 2011

I really wanted to like this restaurant because it looked so appealing from the outside. It was just a horrid experience from start to finish.

I went tonight, a Tuesday, and the restaurant was fairly empty except for a large party of 6 and two tables of 2's. In addition, there was a private party in the back room.

I was impressed by the menu...reasonable prices ($16/$18 for entrees, and $7 for a glass of wine). I ordered a glass of red wine which arrived filled to the brim with two fruit flies floating along the side. I waited for someone to come by to take my order and waited exactly 9 minutes while the waitress paid attention to the table behind me. She didn't check in with me and I flagged her down to point out the flies in the wine.

A gentleman came over with a replacement glass and offered an apology. I waited and waited until the waitress came by to take my order. I asked what the vegetables of the day were, and what kind of potatoes came with the entree. She had no clue and admitted she was on her second day. I asked what she recommended and she said the lasagna. At this point, a gentleman - maybe a manager - offered to help me with my menu questions.

I ordered the veal piccata and said I wasn't crazy about the sweet potatoes that came with the dish. He kindly offered to substitute it with a side of pasta. Fine.

It took 20 minutes for the entree to arrive. First came the pasta delivered by the clueless waitress. She presented it and asked if I wanted cheese on top of it. I asked her "where's the veal?". This was received with a blank stare and she left my table to find out what happened to the veal. Moments later, a gentleman brought over the veal which had the sweet potatoes with it!

The veal was ordinary. Nothing special, the potatoes were lukewarm, and the pasta was beyond al dente and very mushy.

At the end of the meal, the waitress came over to take away the empty entree plate and asked if I wanted anything boxed up. I looked at her and said there was nothing to box up because THE PLATES WERE BASICALLY EMPTY.

The check was the fastest thing to arrive at my table. No one came to collect the money so I got up to find someone. I told one of the gentlemen that the service was terribly slow and the waitress's needed more training. He said, "then she doesn't deserve a tip". Nice boss to not help that poor clueless waitress who obviously didn't have proper training.

I won't be back. Too many problems for a first time visit that it's too risky, financially, to hope that they can get their act together.

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Thank artslvr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 28, 2011

We wanted good Italian food but not a long walk in center city Philly. Two of us had recently traveled in Italherehere you can't get a bad meal) and I had some concerns this place would not live up to expectations. The location is a part of town that looks like it is trying to attract evening diners, however, it is still more of an office and convenience store locale than a great restaurant area (but likely to grow in popularity) And the food, service and atmosphere were great. They could use more clientele so head over there for wonderful pasta, salads and wine.

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Thank Roxanne33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 14, 2011

We visited Bella Cena for Restaurant Week with two other couples in January. Its a bit cramped but a fine meal and experience. Wine friendly BYOB.

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Thank CurlyCueGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 30, 2009

This is a pre-theater haunt, so it pays to get there early as service can be slow. The food is freshly made, interesting, well-priced and portions are not offensively huge. I had scallops on lentils for an appetizer, and with a third scallop it would have made a full entree - excellent flavors and sauce. The eggplant parmiggiana was fresh, had real tomoatoes in the sauce, minimal melted cheese, and lightly sauteed eggplant. The food we saw at other tables looked good. Wine list is bare minimum. The tiramisu we had for dessert was enough for two to share and the coffee was not bitter. They did need reminding to refill water glasses and it can get noisy when full. One block from Kimmel Center, Academy of Music and Merriam Theater; another block to Suzanne Roberts Theater.

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1  Thank Deborah4967
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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