After months of construction, Serafina, the beautiful new restaurant located on the 1st floor of 10 Rittenhouse high-rise residence at 18th & Sansom, opened a few weeks ago with a grand pasta-cutting ceremony. This transplant from NY extends the much sought-after Rouge & Parc sidewalk seating down 18th St and is a welcome addition. Serafina is a Northern Italian restaurant featuring pizzas and pastas with 5 locations in NY, plus one each in East Hampton, White Plains and Sao Paolo, Brazil.
The Philadelphia location is large & airy, with floor to ceiling windows, opened when the weather is warm. A large bar sits in the center of the restaurant with Italian-style frescos painted on the walls. The outside tables with the bright yellow umbrellas have been full every day since they opened their doors. Somehow the atmosphere manages to be casual yet trendy. On the menu, you’ll find 20 varieties of pizza, plus salads, homemade pastas, grilled meat and fish, featuring fresh high-quality ingredients and imported Italian cheeses and specialties.
Prices for entrees are a little high, but not for the Rittenhouse area. For an affordable alternative for 2, split a salad and pizza. The pizza, which is their signature item, is wood fired in ovens hand built with lava stone from Mount Vesuvius. The crust is the thinnest crust imaginable, that can somehow still hold up the sauce and toppings. The size of the pizza is decent, spilling over the edge of the plate, perfect for sharing and features fresh simple toppings. Some choices include the All’ Uovo with tomato, mozzarella, proscuito, sliced tomato and an egg, or the Mediterranean, with tomato, imported fresh mozzarella and parmagiano. Appetizers range from $7-$19 and include choices like bruschetta, tartare di sofia (tuna and salmon marinated in a special sauce) and proscuitoo e bufaline. Salads range from $7.50-$17.50, pastas from $10-25 and entreees from $17-28. There is also an on-site bakery with pastries, coffee and to go salads and sandwiches open during the day.
Serafina is perfect for a business lunch, a casual dinner with friends, or even late night dining, as they are open until midnight during the week and until 1am on Friday & Saturday. Serafina is already drawing in the local celebrities, like Scotty Hartnell of the Philadelphia Flyers, who was spotted eating dinner there last Saturday.
There were some negatives, although some of this is to be expected during the early weeks. The tables are cramped so close together, that you can hear everyone else’s conversations and be sure to watch your elbows when you eat, or you may bump into the person sitting behind you. The hostess was distracted and took a while to seat people. Service was attentive, and food came out quickly although the crowdedness and difficulty to maneuver around tables made our server difficult to find. There is also only one women’s stall in the bathroom for a restaurant that seats over 120 people.
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