Phyllis Stein-Novack tries Fairmount’s newest Italian BYOB, L’Oca, and comes away already looking forward to returning. Calling L’Oca “one of the finest Italian meals I have enjoyed in years. Portions are generous, the prices, moderate.”

Three tips of the toque

L’Oca [South Philly Review]

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  • Clint Flint

    Just returned from our second visit to L’oca…compelled to write. Our first try was good, not great. The arugala salad with shaved parmesan was plentiful and amazing, one of our favorite dishes in a lemon vinaigrette. The entrees left something to be desired (i had the scallops pappardella with prosciutto and my fiance had their ricotta ravioli with sage walnut butter). They were ok, not great.

    I’ll add that for an Italian restaurant, the bread was lousy and the olive oil was a bit too virgin. (what can we say? we like our bread and oil to start).

    BUT…our second visit, tonight, was tragic…miserable, atrocious. It’s been many, many years since i got a stress headache from a meal out. It probably never happened before actually…but it happened tonight.

    Ok…it’s Valentine’s Day and you can’t really expect the supreme experience from a fixed price menu, you can just hope for the best, or hope for something equal to your first experience there.

    To begin with, when we made our reservations the gentleman on the phone, when i asked the price for the fixed menu, asked someone nearby what the price was and returned with $35 each. It was obvious that a few days before Valentine’s Day they had yet to set their price for the night. Either way, I thought that resonable, great.

    On the night in question, we sat down only to find that the meal would cost us $45 each. Not cool.

    How about this? The state store which is always open until 9pm was closed at 8pm, so we had no wine. Red wine is an absolute must for us when dining out in general, especially for Italian. We hoped perhaps, since this was V-Day, they would have some sitting around that they could share with us. Of course, i won’t fault them for going out of their way to remedy a situation that was not of their making…but when i walked in the host did imply that he would see what he could do.

    Oh, and did i mention that all the chefs and staff in their lovely exposed kitchen had glasses of red wine that they were sipping on throughout the night?

    Needless to say, we never got our red. We did, however, explain our situation to our waitress who returned with some Chardonnay. She said she might be able to help with some red wine but they use it for cooking and, she added, “we want to drink some too.”

    Ok…like I said, it’s not their fault that we had no wine. But it was also clear that they weren’t interested in helping us out and making it a great night for us…a Valentine’s Day that could have been saved by a great restaurant with great management…an evening that would have kept us coming back forever. But instead we had to watch the chefs drink wine throughout the night while we slurped our one glass of white in a few minutes and sipped on tap water the rest of the time.

    As for the food. $45 for 4 courses (the dessert was the only course worth while and served as a regular portion). The rest was tapas style…also not specified on the phone or on the menu.

    The salad was a lifeless mix of macha, carrot, cucumber, tomato…tasteless…like eating water. The escargot with polenta was ok…not too impressive. The hake fish was mediocre. The filet mignon with blueberry and red wine sauce…a 6 out of 10. The service and atmosphere did not help matters.

    All in all…a horrible experience. Management and waitstaff could have cared less about our meal it seemed.

    We’ll never go back.

  • Steve Lynn

    I’ve gone to L’oca a few times and I’m not overly eager to write something great about it. The food is average. Bagna Cauda is a nice appetizer but the rest of the portions of food were small and overpriced. Add in that we finished a bottle of wine before our appetizer came out and the wait for the entree was at least 30 minutes from the time we ordered, and the place wasn’t overly packed as well. The location is probably it’s best advantage. That area is up n coming and doing good and it will bring in the locals, but for real good italian food, I will stay in South Philly.