Get a Little Taste of Italy in Old-School Philadelphia

Philly is a dynamic town. And because it was once a destination for Italian immigrants, it has a lot to offer lovers of il bel paese (the beautiful country—Italy, of course!) Here's where to eat to truly live like an Italian.
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9th Street Italian Market

italianmarketphilly.org

America’s oldest outdoor market is the place to shop for an Italian feast. Get your fresh pasta from Talluto’s, mozz from Claudio’s, and meats from Cannuli’s—plus non-Italian foods like still-warm corn tortillas at Tortilleria San Roman or tacos at El Compadre.

cannoli from termini brothers bakery

Termini Brothers Bakery

termini.com

The gold standard among Philly’s Italian pastry shops since 1921, Termini is stuffed with sweets: cannoli (above), biscotti, torrone, cakes, and more. Visit the original location in South Philly, or hit the other outposts, including one at Reading Terminal Market.

geno's steaks neon storefront philadelphia

Geno's Steaks

genosteaks.com

"Who doesn't love cheesesteak?" says Rachael. "When I make my version at home, I use provolone, peppers, and soft hoagie bread. But when I'm in Philly, I just get one at Geno's."

Ralph’s Italian

ralphsrestaurant.com

Celebrated as the oldest Italian restaurant in the country, this 118-year-old, two-story fave still delivers despire its age. Tuck into hearty red-sauce classics like veal parm and braciole while taking in the retro digs (mosaic tiles, tin ceiling) and brisk, efficient service. 

The History of Italian Immigration Museum 

filitaliainternational.org

Fun fact: Philadelphia has the country’s second-largest Italian American population, after New York City. Learn about that and more at this community-run museum in the heart of South Philly. 

di bruno bros house of cheese

Di Bruno Bros.

dibruno.com

What began as a tiny family-run shop is now a world-class grocer stocking gourmet cheeses and specialty foods from all over the world. Wander in for an impromptu afternoon antipasti of heavenly formaggio, cured meats, and olives.

spinach gnocchi dish

Vetri Cucina

vetricucina.com

When it comes to contemporary Italian, Marc Vetri is the name to know in Philly. Tap into la dolce vita with a multicourse tasting menu—Swiss chard gnocchi (above), whole roasted sole, and ricotta zeppole—plus a 26-page-deep wine list, all turned out in an intimate town house in Washington Square West.

Capofitto Forno

capofittoforno.com

Hit up Capofitto Forno, an offshoot of Capogiro Gelato in Old City, for a thin-crust Neapolitan pie trailed by a velvety-smooth gelato made with seasonal fruits and local ingredients.