Le Virtu

Le Virtu chef Joe Cicala prepares maccheroni alla mugnaia. ( DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer )

One of our best authentic Italian restaurants, and South Philly's first three-beller, Le Virtù continues to evolve with an impressively wide array of house-cured salumi, focused regional cooking and exceptional pastas under chef Joe Cicala, who both celebrates authentic Abruzzese flavors and makes them feel fresh and up-to-date.

A polenta special topped daily with a soulful meat braise (we loved a recent wild boar), is another unique sharing option, in addition to Cicala's famous 30-foot-long noodle called pasta alla mugnaia.

Add great regional wine values, proper service and a handsome rustic space (plus a sweet alfresco patio), and Le Virtù has come to be one of the city's uniquely refined dining experiences.

Reviewed April 2011

Revisited April 2015

Le Virtu

1927 E. Passyunk Ave., Philadelphia; 215-271-5626, www.levirtu.com.

Dedication to regional classics has been a worthy calling card, indeed, for South Philadelphia's best authentic Italian restaurant, a warm and personal space with long wood country tables (perfect for large parties) inside, and a sunny muraled patio with a "campo grill" sizzling skewered meats that is in its alfresco glory in spring.


House-cured salumi (affettati); Pecorino del Parco; spreadable sausage (La ’Nduja); crepe soup (scrippelle m’busse); fried stuffed olives (all’ascolana); beet salad; house sausage with polenta; cotechino sausage with lentils; tripe “in umido”; fazzoletti pasta with duck; fettuccine with “butcher's ragu”; porchetta agnolotti with black truffle; smoked gnocchi with lamb ragu; porchetta; rabbit “porchetta”; brodetto (seafood stew); juniper-smoked lamb; crispy chicken livers with Gregoriano risotto; panna cotta; bonet.


An excellent 70-bottle list of artisan wines from almost every Italian region, virtually all under $50. Abruzzi and Le Marche get special attention, but the superb wine advice isn't limited. There's also a nice collection of craft beer.


Hard surfaces (and a loud stereo) hit 91 decibels. (Ideal is 75 decibels or less.)


Dinner Monday through Saturday, 5-11 p.m.; Sunday, 4-10 p.m.

Wheelchair accessible.

Valet Friday and Saturday costs $8. Street parking only rest of week