Thursday, November 05, 2009

L'Angolo : Philadelphia

After spending a couple of days in New York, my parents came down for a night and a morning in Philly and gave me free reign over dining choices. We had eaten Chinese food for the last the last four meals, so that was scratched off. And we had a car, which just begged to be used towards a restaurant that my gf and I normally couldn't easily get to.

Hence, L'Angolo, a small Italian BYOB, in South Philly, quite a bit down south.

I had been wanting to further explore Italian restaurants after reading this Chowhound thread on South Philly Italian Restaurants and the independent suggestion of L'Angolo, by commenter John further pushed this place up top on my to-try list. (btw, John, thanks again for the suggestion. It really was an excellent one.)

This is a darling of a place.  A narrow passage goes by the kitchen to reveal the small and canary yellow dining room.  It's cozy and cute and what I'd picture if someone mentioned hidden gem restaurant.

The wait-staff were a joy.  Cheery, friendly and welcoming, they added a delightful warmth to the already comfortable atmosphere.

And the food was just lovely.

Gnocchi Alla Crema Di Gamberi - Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi, light Cream Sauce, Shrimp
This was like being hugged by hundreds of cuddly teddy bears. The gnocchi had a lovely texture, almost like biting into chunks of a soft cheese, but instead of the usual heavy feeling in your stomach after cheese, this was just surprisingly light, bite after bite after bite.  The shrimp were cooked well and the sauce was quite flavorful.

Grilled Salmon, Shrimp & Calamari special (?)
Nicely done, the seafood all grilled with an assured hand.  This probably had the lightest flavoring of all of the dishes, but still surprisingly managed to be tasty.

Orecchiette All'anatra - Shredded Duck, White wine, Shaved Parmesan.
At first I wasn't that impressed by this, the shredded duck being only decently tender and the orecchiette pasta being slightly too al dente for my tastes.  But the duck jus at the bottom, oh man.  It had a great duck flavor and wonderful creaminess, like a duck flavored chicken a la king.  After mixing this up a bit, I was locked in, downing this like nothing else.

Orecchiette Shrimp Special (?)
It was interesting tasting this alongside my duck orecchiette.  Although they had the same pasta (which I should mention, this one was cooked longer and which I preferred), it was just a completely different flavor vector.  You might be think that's pretty obvious given the contrasting flavors of their ingredients: shrimp & sun-dried tomatoes (?) versus shredded duck, but all too often there's a same underlying sauce that makes two dishes similar.  Here, instead of the rich meaty duck jus in my dish, it was a lighter seafood and herb flavoring.  Still good stuff.

Home-made Marscopone cheesecake - My parents and I aren't usually fans of cheesecake, but this was just simple, light and delightful stuff.  Not overly sweet, not overly heavy.  It's served with a couple dabs of raspberry sauce, which if looked at the right angle...

... looks like an alien face.   Anyway, kidding aside, it was a great way to end a very satisfying meal.

And just if you were curious, we brought along a bottle of Pride Mountain Vineyard Chardonnay, a bottle that my gf and I had picked up when I was working in the bay area a few summers ago.

I highly recommend L'Angolo.  We were served some flavorful and flat-out delicious food, had joyous wait-staff and it's a BYOB to boot. I wish this was closer to Center City, but they do have a sister restaurant, Salento, which is in CC and which has now been put on my to-try list.

(One more thing, a significant number of other customers ordered the veal chop, which was impossible not to notice since it was so massive.  None of us were in a meat-heavy mood, but for what it's worth, I did notice it recommended on this Chowhound thread.)

1415 W Porter St Philadelphia, PA 19145-4432 (Map)
(215) 389-4252
(Other helpful links: Chow: Quintessential South Philly Italian 2009Chow: L'Angolo 2008Chow: L'Angolo Recs 2005, Craig Laban 2003)

1 comment:

  1. I freaking love Italian food. That looks amazing. I just ate, but I can really go for some Italian food right about now.