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A Mano

  • Cuisine:
  • Alcohol: BYOB
  • Meals Served: Dinner
  • Price: $$$
  • Accepts Credit Cards: No

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High-Gloss Rustic: A Mano Reviewed

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The Best Italian Restaurants In Philadelphia Right Now

Pizza, pasta and booze at Wm. Mulherin’s Sons in Fishtown | Photograph by Christopher Leaman

It can sometimes be hard for even the most dedicated gastronauts to keep up with all the changes happening in Philly’s restaurant scene. And when it comes to Italian food — where we change so fast and so fundamentally that entire neighborhoods can turn over from one month to the next — it’s almost impossible.

What you need is a guide. A list of places to eat right now. And we’re here to help. Below is a list of the Italian restaurants that matter most in Philly right now — the best, the newest, the most interesting, and those that have recently gone through some major changes. They’re in no particular order, but every single one of them is worth your time and attention.

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Looking Back: The Best (And Worst) Restaurants Of 2016, Part 2

toms dim sum soup dumplings pancakes claudia gavin 940

With 2016 coming to a close, we’re taking this week to look back at the year in restaurants. And while things didn’t start off great (for starters, two of the first six restaurants I reviewed were closed before the year was done), with the spring came a turning point and the opening of some of the best restaurants of the year.

So let’s keep going, shall we? We pick things back up in March with the review of the new steakhouse that came in to take the place of Fountain at the Four Seasons…

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High-Gloss Rustic: A Mano Reviewed

A Mano | Photo by Emily Teel

A Mano | Photo by Emily Teel

In the back, chef Michael Millon is dancing.

Not dancing-dancing (because that would be weird), but that’s what it looks like. He and his crew, the other white jackets working the line at Townsend Wentz’s new BYO, A Mano, turn and weave around each other, reaching and ducking as the floor staff crowds up against the short pass, waiting on plate after plate after plate. It’s formal, this ballet. It only looks like a disaster happening and then re-happening every second, a series of near-misses and almost-collisions. It’s a culinary galliard—chaotic but measured. Practiced. Natural. In reality, it’s just another day at the office.

And at A Mano, it’s loud in the dining room. I’m seated about halfway down the banquette that runs the length of the far wall, so there’s no way I would’ve heard them if they were talking anyway, but I’m watching pretty closely (staring, really), and I don’t even see them speak. Don’t see lips moving or heads turning except in the simplest, most terse nods and single syllables.

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