Unexpected food delights downstairs from the green awning on Locust St between Washington Square and 8th Street. Once you get past the larger-than-life murals on the walls and dark "old school" decor, let the wait-staff lead you to the best Northern Italian food Philly has to offer, and for a price unexpectedly low for such a gourmet meal. A mentor of mine who is Italian-from-Italy (and and Italian food snob at that), raves about this place, and though he lives in NYC, has brought his family to Philly to eat here.
A fresh seafood cart will display most of the tastiest dishes available. Do not miss the steamers (muscles, little neck clams and shrimp) in white wine garlic, and DO let your garlic bread soak up the broth before biting into it. If langostinos are avaiable, they are sweet morsels of heaven. If you are up for the good fight, and intermezzo of a pasta mista for the table - often spinach gnocchi (held together with hope and love), homemade pesto, farfalle with mushrooms and a 3rd pasta. Generally there is a branzino (Italian sea bass) that is the best I've had in Philly. Veal is popular as well, including one stuffed with oysters.
Dessert - unless the waitstaff steers you away, try the cheesecake - something different and out of this world, the chocolate mousse or the tiramisu. Fresh strawberries always available.
Added bonuses - space for large groups and quiet enough to hear each other speak.
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