When Food Network staple Robert Irvine and his Restaurant Impossible crew arrived at Mamma D's, they were overwhelmed. Ambitious owner Luigi Desiato operated an eatery that was equal parts restaurant, vineyard, and petting zoo, a combination that clouded his sizable culinary prowess and led to an overabundance of greased pig races. But Chef Irvine's visit enabled the charismatic Luigi to pinpoint his vision, and Mamma D's has since transformed into a hub for high-end cuisine and fresh-off-the-vine wines. Vinos, such as a dolce vita sweet red and chardonnay pinot, gush from taps beside craft beers at the full-service bar that, along with the outdoor patio, overlooks the idyllic 2-acre vineyard. Sips on these homegrown varietals complement the menu of small plates, chops, and seafood, which, according to the Montgomery News, encompasses a "combination of recipes from Bologna and Abruzzo, where both sides of Chef Louie’s family grew up."
The host of his own Sayre Woods Media series, Wine'm and Dine'm with Chef Louie Desiato, Luigi also presides over daily classes where he shares his bottomless knowledge of cultivating grapes and pairing wines while serving up artisanal cheese and surprises from the kitchen, which is manned by his talented son, Nick Desiato.
Since its humble south Philadelphia beginnings in the 1990s, PrimoHoagies has quickly expanded throughout the region and garnered several awards on the strength of its cold-cut sandwiches, made with Thumann's brand of gourmet meats and cheeses. The shop's robust menu features dozens of specialty hoagies, many of which were created in-house rather than underwater, as is the industry norm. Sharp Italian hoagies teem with prosciutto and genoa salami, and pork Diablo hoagies marry Thumann's homestyle roasted pork with a blend of piquant spices.
Bensi co-owner Genci Previzi helms an immense menu of classic Italian cuisine, including hearty homestyle dishes with roots in Calabria, Italy. Entrees, joined by a house salad or cup of comforting housemade soup, range from spaghetti and meatballs to gluten-free grilled chicken in a lemon-garlic marinade served over a veggie medley. The chefs also prepare an array of specials such as pignoli-crusted goat cheese and arugula salad, barolo-braised veal osso buco, pan-seared Chilean sea bass with eggplant caponata, and nutella chocolate pizza with fresh strawberries. The dishes are served in a modern dining atmosphere where minimal table settings and simple dark-wood furniture keep the focus on the vibrant cuisine.
Bacco welcomes diners with warm confines and a menu brimming with hearty Neapolitan cuisine. Appetizers such as the brick oven-roasted long hot peppers, stuffed with beef, pork, and veal, provide tongues taste of Italy without licking a passport ($8). Pasta lovers may partake of platters such as the baked-ziti-al-forno entree, mixed with ricotta, mozzarella, and pomodoro sauce before being blissfully baked in the restaurant's brick oven ($16.50). Dishes such as the pollo florentino, pasta-topping poultry sauteed in a white-wine lemon broth ($17), flavorfully hint at why the chicken crossed the road, and the bistecca filetto's grilled duo of bacon-wrapped sirloin filets swiftly satisfy the most carnivorous of appetites ($23). Patrons can entwine fingers and fork tines amid Bacco's dining room, or may sip wine ($5–$8 a glass) or beer ($1.75–$4.75) on the outdoor patio.
Located on 12 rolling countryside acres once owned by William Penn, the Joseph Ambler Inn combines the tranquility of a charming bed and breakfast with the luxurious amenities of an elegant resort. This Groupon gets you into one of the Inn's 52 guestrooms, with options ranging from the two-room suites, complete with oversized spa-tubs, to recently remodeled deluxe king rooms, some of which boast a small fireplace and a direct line to the UN Secretary General. You'll also get a $30 gift card at the Inn's stone-walled restaurant, where you and your bunkmates can enjoy a dinner of pan-roasted rack of lamb with a red-wine reduction ($30) or a proper, three-course prix fixe lunch ($25).
Following Baja Fresh’s ethos set in 1990 as a healthy take on fast food, never-frozen meats sizzle atop the grill before they're tucked into made-to-order tacos and burritos. Grilled corn and flour tortillas embrace fish, carnitas, chicken, and steak, and smoky queso fundido sidles onto nachos and into burritos. Between bites, chips scoop up salsa made from farm-fresh produce rather than poured out of a can or fabricated in a space-age replicator. A complimentary salsa bar ensures no mouthful goes unspiced, and guests can scoop up their favorites as they await their dine-in, takeout, or catering orders.