A popular spot for pre-theater dining, sometimes booked out from 5:30 to 7:30 weeks in advance, La Viola is petite and unpretentious. The understated whitewashed walls and basic white table coverings provide a simple setting—which doesn’t prevent the waiters from being indulgent and attentive in a manly, Italian way. They’ll double-check that you’re enjoying the superb porcini insalata, grilled calamari with seafood-infused dipping sauce, and savory osso buco (which you are). The kitchen prepares even the more straightforward dishes with flair: Chicken marsala is rich with wine, and linguini with red sauce is more South Philly than Rittenhouse Square.
A friend of mine took me to La Viola for a birthday lunch. The food was absolutely wonderful from the soup to the delicious coucous I ate every bite of. At lunch there were no lines out the door of this intimate little heaven and we had excellent service, care and attention from the two servers that day. Everything was impeccable and the food was so delicious. I rate it with 5 stars and I can't wait to go back again not only to enjoy the cuisine, but to say hello and reconnect with the friendly and attentive staff that made the experience so notable. Posted by Deborah: Jun. June 12th, 2012 at 1:33 PM
While the service at La Viola can be inelegant and you could be trapped like we were one night with a loud, loud table of 15, all those things still don't deter me from recommendeding you eat there. The food is lovely and interesting, and we usually go very late and have no wait. Posted by Jean: Oct. October 19th, 2010 at 11:39 PM
Don't bother. even with a reservation for 8:30 my party was still not seated after waiting over an hour. The hostess had the personality of a mannequin. She never once apologized for our wait or even smiled the whole time we waited. I would never even consider this restaurant again. We ended up at a different byob Italian restaurant around the corner. Posted by Jane: Oct. October 18th, 2010 at 12:21 PM