I’ve always said that Philadelphia is a restaurant town.  It may be one of the most under-rated food cities in America.  With the city’s urban renewal last decade, empty-nesters are now living in Center City again.  The today’s college kids who grew up watching Iron Chef are much more willing to blow a week’s budget on a great meal than a night of long island iced teas.

Enter Vetri.  In an unassuming row house on Spruce Street just above 13th.  It has been there for a long time.  Why have I never heard of it?  Why does Batali call it the best Italian on the East Coast?  Why does Richman call it the best Italian in America?  Here is why…

Tasting menu only.  You can see what may show up on your table and advise the expert staff on things you would really want to see.  I would suggest just picking a few things…and letting then do the rest.

There is also a wine and beer pairing option.  Go with the wine…and if you want some special wines, go with the Grand Wine Pairing.

Here is a listing of the dishes that just kept coming and coming:

  • Platter with two house cured salamis, pastrami-smoked foie gras, some pickled squash, and vegetable crisp
  • Platter with carrots, bell peppers, zuchinni, and radicchio with a honey balsamic dip
  • Lobster panzanella (bread salad with tiny fried croutons)
  • Bell pepper soup with crispy octopus
  • Rotelle with lobster and leeks
  • Sweet onion crepe with white truffles
  • Crispy sweetbreads with fennel crema and cucumber
  • Foie gras stuffed quail with cantaloupe
  • Spinach gnocchi with brown butter (now on the Ultimate List)
  • Almond tortellini with truffle sauce
  • Some other amazing pasta (maybe agnolotti) with parm and butter
  • Rigatoni Bolognese with chard
  • Fusilli with lobster
  • Crispy baby goat with freshly stone-milled polenta
  • Grilled pork with pickled chanterelles
  • Chocolate polenta souffle with vanilla bean gelato
  • Pistachio flan with white chocolate gelato
  • Cookie plate

You get the point.  It was just unreal.  One of the best meals ever.  If I lived in Philadelphia, I’d have to go once a month.  It was pricey, but worth every cent.

The room was just right…casual…kind of a country inn in the city.  Service was awesome.  This place was just top notch!