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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Chef Joey Baldino Responds to Our Review of Palizzi Social Club

Filippo Palizzi Club/Official

Filippo Palizzi Club/Official

On Tuesday, I published my three-star review of Palizzi Social Club, the members-only and rules-bound South Philly joint which chef Joey Baldino (of Zeppoli in Collingswood) took over a few months back. Obviously, I loved the place. The problem? I wasn’t “supposed” to tell you about it.

See, Palizzi, being a social club, has rules. And one of those rules is “no reviewing”. Now personally, I have a problem with that. Palizzi being a restaurant where people are charged money for food puts it squarely in the zone of stuff I’m paid to write about. Further, it being a restaurant opened by Baldino — a very talented chef that I’m glad to have working in Philly — made it even more my business. Just saying you don’t want to be reviewed? That doesn’t mean you’re not going to be reviewed.

Still, Palizzi had rules. I’d read them. I’d understood them. I’m a big boy and I knew the consequences of what I was doing. And, unsurprisingly, I got this note from Baldino yesterday:

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Do You Believe in Magic? Palizzi Social Club Reviewed


Photo courtesy Jason Varney

You know it’s open when the neon is on, glowing gently in the window of a rowhouse on 12th Street just off Passyunk Avenue. You know you’re in the right place when you see the door with no knob, the buzzer, the little window with the eyes behind it, and hear the voice asking if you’re a member.

This is the Filippo Palizzi Club, chef Joey Baldino’s experiment in a very intimate, very social, very (sorta) private kind of dining.

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Zeppoli’s Joey Baldino is About to Open a Members-Only “Restaurant” in Philly

zeppoli 940:540

1408 S. 12th Street

You know Zeppoli. It’s Joey Baldino’s ode to Sicilian cuisine, a BYOB tucked away in Collingswood, N.J. behind some of the most honest, straightforward Italian cookery this region has — and will ever — see.  Baldino’s done well for himself in Jersey, over time turning his charming 35-seater into a destination restaurant for Philadelphians and those beyond.

And now, he’s got something new in the works: a quasi-private restaurant/social club called Filippo Palizzi Club opening this Friday, February 10, just off East Passyunk Avenue.

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