For those of you that know Skip personally, you know that my mom is my partner in crime. Shopping, eating, drinking, gambling, we know how to have fun. So, my dining companion has to make sure every event revolves around fine dining. When my mother requested a trip to Parx, he said, "oh, let me pick a nice place for dinner before we gamble". Skip and her mom say, "ok!".
We arrive a Via Napoli, which is tucked away in a random strip mall of Roosevelt Blvd (referred to simply as the Blvd for locals). Seriously, there was a sneaker store, a bank and a gym in this strip mall, so we were a little suspicious. But when you step through the doors at Via Napoli, you are transported away from the streets of Philadelphia. The quaint, larger than it looks restaurant has sleek wooden booths and tables and soft lighting. One of the first things that caught our attention after being seated was their unique menu. Not only are the offerings unique, but so is the presentation. The menu is printed to look like a small newspaper, it is folded like a newspaper and features facts about Italy, in particular about Naples and the people who live there.
The "front page" of the newspaper menu was drinks, including a lovely list of wines not only by the bottle but also by the glass. The first page inside had appetizers, soups and salads. Then there were also pizzas, pastas, grilled items and of course the back page included some desserts.
The place was not that packed when we arrived, but there were a decent amount of people seated and the numbers grew as we were there. We were surprised that our waiter seemed to be a little slow. We did wait a little long for him to come over and greet us and ask for a beverage order, we were totally amazed by the menu so we did not notice at first, but eventually we stared to wonder. It also seemed to take a long time for him to bring our wines over once we ordered them, but after that things seemed to be back to a normal pace.
We ordered an appetizer to share which was the Salumeria an assortment of delicious meats like Prosciutto, Coppa, Sopressata and Mortadella. The amount was perfect for us to share, I don't know what we would have done if my Dad had joined us! We ate it all up! Around the time the plate of meat came out we also got what we soon learned was Via Napoli's famous bread. It was a giant pizza/flatbread type of shape that was crisp and warm, lightly dusted with cheese and herbs. The bread was simple and delicious.
After careful examination of the menu we had finally all decided. I ordered one of my most favorite things on the planet, sausage and peppers. It was delicious Italian sausage, sliced and grilled with peppers, onions and roasted potatoes. My dining companion ordered the Baccala, it was fresh cod served in a giant bowl of tomato broth with clams, mussels, herbs, and olives. Skip's mama went traditional with the Eggplant Parmesan, but since she is being health conscious, she asked for no pasta, which is the usual side with that dish, so they gave her veggies and roasted potatoes with it.
We laughed, we drank wine, we enjoyed our food. My sausage and peppers was delish. The sausage was spicy, sweet and grilled to perfection. My dining companion loved the Baccala, so much so that he has requested I try to recreate it at home. The fish, clams and mussels were so fresh and the broth just wonderful. My mother had no complaints, she loved the thinly sliced and perfectly cooked eggplant and ate up all her veggies with just a taste of taters.
If you want to have fun bring your companion and your mama to Via Napoli and enjoy authentic and delicious Italian dishes!