At Sessano, proprietor Santino Ciccaglione layers savory meat and cheese atop fresh bread to create a menu of hearty cheesesteaks, hoagies, hot-pressed paninis, and wraps. Sessano’s award-winning, roast pork sandwich ($6.95) helms an impressive fleet of hefty eats, from beefy sirloin cheesesteaks ($6.95) to zeps ($5.50) that fly into mouths at cruising altitude. Dinner parties, potlucks, and sandwich-scarfing contests can provision themselves with the catering menu’s 20-serving trays, replete with six types of hoagie or wraps filled with chicken caesar, chicken tender, or caprese fillings.
Although they’re known for their classic Italian staples, the cooks at Tony’s Pizza don’t necessarily stick to traditions when topping their gourmet or Sicilian-style pies. That’s not to say they don’t do traditional pizzas, but you’re just as likely to find them adorning their crusts with unconventional ingredients—such as breaded eggplant, steak, broccoli, and BBQ sauce—as you would speckling on the usual pepperoni or sausage. When it comes to the other Italian favorites, however, they proudly take an “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” approach. They prepare a vast array of old-world dishes, sizzling up everything from veal picatta and lobster ravioli to baked ziti and Italian wedding soup, which officiators traditionally poured all over the bride’s dress train as a good luck token. Along with honoring Italy’s culinary history, the cooks celebrate their hometown with Philly favorites such as cheesesteaks and zeps, which are hoagie-style sandwiches brimming with salami and provolone cheese.
We are a casual dining restaurant serving an upscale twist on comfort food. We range from pizza and lasagna to homemade mushroom ravioli in a shitake cream sauce, to pan-seared diver scallops in a brandy cream sauce: and everything in-between. For Lunch we have all the same, plus an expanded burger and steak menu.
Question the regulars at Keystone Pizza on their favorite pie, and you’re not likely to reach a consensus. Some will praise the margherita pizza, citing the juiciness of the crushed plum tomatoes and the bite of fresh garlic. Others will laud the tender gyro meat on the Greek Zorba pizza, or extol the gooey mozzarella and ricotta cheeses that blanket the signature white pie. Still others will interrupt pizza discussions to defend the virtues of the restaurant’s plump calzones, crispy Italian-style sandwiches, or shy but handsome delivery boy. And there are always a few wing aficionados who insist that the true stars of the menu are the buffalo wings—juicy morsels of chicken slathered in hot, mild, and barbecue sauces.
Growing up, Marcie Spampinato watched her father, Mike, masterfully manage a local country club. By seventh grade, she was working alongside him, and today—with a restaurant management degree from Penn State under her belt—she joins with Mike to co-manage their steak-and-sushi joint, Spamps.
Chefs trained in Japan artfully stuff the eatery's sushi rolls with fresh ingredients such as black-pepper-crusted tuna and flying fish roe. Fusion flourishes such as kimchi tartar sauce, miso beurre blanc, and sake reductions give entrees such as rib-eye steak an Asian flair.
And much like a chocoholic's dream journal, the eatery's new cocktails revolve around sweet flavors, especially Marcie's favorite, the pumpkin-pie martini. Libations, which also include wine and beer, flow freely behind a copper bar with TVs or fill glasses in a dining room with exposed brick walls and private booths. At an outdoor patio dubbed The Grotto, lofted TVs illuminate trellises and tabletops as well as bar-goers shimmying to a live DJ's beats on Friday and Saturday nights.
At Valley Forge Trattoria & Lounge, the scents of traditional Italian cooking drift from a theater-style kitchen into the newly remodeled lounge space, where guests enjoy a menu of pasta, pizza, and made-to-order salads made from the finest fresh ingredients. Of the many offerings, the pizza takes top honors, especially after being named number one of Philadelphia's best pizzerias by Citysearch. Each proprietary red- or white-sauce pizza is crafted with more than 20 topping options and optional whole-wheat crust. Pasta dishes rival the heartiness of the pizza pies, with options ranging from the portabello-stuffed ravioli with rosa cream sauce to spaghetti with veal parmigiana. Valley Forge Trattoria & Lounge's recent renovations also include a full bar with widescreen TVs and a fireplace, welcoming visitors to have a cozy drink before or after dinner, or stop in during a night out.
During off hours, when the restaurant isn’t bustling with lunch and dinner diners, the space transforms into a coffee bar with gourmet blends. Sip a cup inside, or take to the fresh air on the onsite all-season patio, replete with fireplaces and overhead space heaters.
A glance at Alfredo's specials blackboard might reveal grilled mako shark steaks, heirloom tomato bruschetta, and meat accented with local honey, all extensions of a menu that breathes life into southern Italian cuisine. Flights of olive oil arrive on a wooden carving board with house-baked bread, and the absence of a corkage fee and elegant stemware encourage the BYOB policy. Appetizers showcase wild vegetables and meat cured in-house, which pique appetites for pastas rich with veal, prosciutto, and lobster or plates of free-range chicken. Chefs roll their potato dough into gnocchi and combine mozzarella and cream to create decadent burrata cheese, and can replicate their handiwork for onsite and delivered catering. Above a refinished wine cellar designed for parties, the sunlit, exposed-brick dining room has two private chambers with seating for up to 150 people.