The 2009 Philly Mag 50: Restaurants 1 to 25

2. Vetri
2. Vetri
Center City | Italian | Entrée: More than $30
Last Year’s Ranking: 7

Marc Vetri says all he wants is for diners to remember what a great time they had at his namesake Spruce Street spot. While that philosophy may seem uncomplicated, executing it is anything but. Vetri is now in its 11th year, and the culinary missteps of meals past (like a lackluster squab) are gone, thanks to a talented team of servers led by sommelier and business partner Jeffrey Benjamin and a kitchen championed by Vetri’s trusted chef, Brad Spence. Here, luxury is redefined with a provincial approach, but despite the carefree air the place exudes, everything is intricately planned, and nothing is overlooked. Mouthwatering pastas are draped in sauces like beefy rib-cap ragu; bay scallops are so tender, they masquerade as gnocchi; and the gnocchi are a weightless version of the doughy puffs you thought you knew. Of course, all this approachability has its price: The weekend tasting menu is $135, and the scant 35 seats make nabbing reservations hard. But it’s still the finest dining in an ain’t-no-big-thing vibe that makes Vetri the cornerstone of our current, groundbreaking restaurant era. Order: The house-cured sausage. 1312 Spruce Street, 215-732-3478.

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Photograph by Jason Varney


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