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Yo! Ristorante Pesto… Home cookin’ in South Philly

We’ve been frequenting this gem on South Broad Street once a month and we’re impressed every time we waddle out. Even with reservations you may have to wait a bit, but Concetta Varallo and her team have amazing specials that will knock your socks off. Everything is homemade and portions are plentiful. Our friends at dinner raved about the gnocchi (I’m not a fan… doesn’t matter who makes it).

Your waitress (or waiter) will give you the specials. She has them memorized and takes about 5 minutes to recite them. Pay close attention… especially the appetizers (go for the crab salad or stuffed peppers if they have it)! They’re all great, but if you have to pick one (or two, or three or four), go with the portabella mushrooms, then the eggplant and if you have room, the grilled vegetables. You’ll also get a generous plate of carrots in some type of mystery oil that was delicious with a a bread assortment in a basket. Warning: start pacing your food intake now.

Entrees are also unbelievable… don’t fill up on the bread since you’ll need it to soak up the gravy. We usually order a special and have always been more than satisfied. Last week, I ordered the Zuppa di Pesce ($28) – a humongous bowl of linguini topped with lobster, scallops (the big ones – not those little sissy ones), shrimp. clams, mussels and crabmeat with their rose sauce. I couldn’t finish it (hard to believe) and got two meals out of it.

We were stuffed, but how can you not order dessert? Kim and Rich went with the traditional cannolli (freshly stuffed with the ricotta cheese and a nice helping of whipped cream) while I went with the white truffle gelato and the peach mango gelato… two generous scoops of two different in one big bowl.

The place has a tendency to get a bit noisy, especially on the weekends. I probably wouldn’t come here on a first date, but after 28 years of marriage, we eat anywhere. Service is somewhat attentive (getting a check is always a challenge), but I’m not eating at the Four Seasons either so I don’t complain. Prices vary… you won’t break the bank, but you can expect to spend about $35 – $40 per person with an appetizer and dessert without any alcoholic intake.

Parking tip: Parking generally is non-existent if you go towards 13th Street. Try along Passyunk Avenue between Broad and 15th Street. You’ll find plentiful meter parking that’s free after 6 weeknights. You may have to feed the meter a bit later on a Saturday night between the main course and your appetizer.


1915 South Broad Street (near Passyunk Avenue)
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(215) 336-8380


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