The 2009 Philly Mag 50: Restaurants 26 to 50

34. Le Castagne
34. Le Castagne
Rittenhouse Square | Italian | Entrées: $21-$30
Last Year’s Ranking: 24

It has the heart of a red-gravy joint—with food that can always sate your pasta craving—but with refining touches, creative combinations and lighter sauces. The evidence is in the commitment to the homemade, especially the pastas, which are well matched to special sauces, like the shellfish saffron broth served on egg noodles, and the chestnut cream that envelops spaghetti and gets a sprinkling of cocoa powder. The gauzy decor feels a bit outdated, and Le Castagne isn’t breaking ground, but it’s consistently delivering on its promise to give diners above-the-curve Northern Italian food. Order: The noncommittal pasta sampler that lets you choose three to try. It’s not listed on the menu, but they’re happy to oblige.

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