Sunday evening provided my most in-depth drive through the heart of South Philly. As I drove around getting to Passyunk, I thought to myself, huh, so this is what South Philly looks like! I wouldn’t exactly call it… picturesque. But it’s quite the experience. It’s very… South Philly. I eventually reached my destination – Marra’s, on East Passyunk. Word.
We’re talking old school Italian here. On the outside, it looks like a diner. It’s covered in black shiny tiles. Inside, it’s covered in dark wood, not nice wood, but like plywood type wood. It’s a fourth generation family owned restaurant, housing one of the oldest brick pizza ovens around. Apparently, they’re pretty famous for it. They also sell some good and reasonable house wines by the glass and carafe. It was a beautiful day so they had the ceiling fans running. There was a slight problem though as there were lights right above the fan, so as the blades rotated, it created a near strobe effect onto our table. It immediately gave me a headache. We asked our waitress if they could turn the fan off, and they did! They were quite obliging!
I went with an Italian standard – eggplant parmigiana. The eggplant was cut lengthwise so the pieces were big, and I ordered it stuffed with ricotta. Yum! It came with spaghetti and gravy. Yes, I said gravy, not sauce, as when you’re in South Philly, you say gravy. It is actually quite gravy like, it doesn’t have any chunks of tomatoes or anything, it’s a fairly thick and consistent sauce. I liked the eggplant alot. It was cooked very well and the sauce tasted great. I was a big fan. J got the lasagna. See,it looks just like a big lump of sauce. Who knows what’s under there!
E got the pizza pescatore, or the seafood pizza. It came with shrimp, mussels, and clams. I had a little piece and it was quite good. If you like seafood, and what sane person doesn’t, you’d like this pizza. I don’t think that I would ever order it on my own, but it was definitely worth trying.
There was also an order of the chicken florentine, which I did not taste, but was apparently good. And last but not least, there was another pizza, one which included anchovies. I’d never had pizza with anchovies before. I’m someone that will try anything once, so I was quite happy to try it for the first time. I did not have a problem with it. It was just salty and fishy. Why anyone would want to have a fishy salty pizza is beyond me, but it wasn’t bad. I prefer sausage myself, thanks!
It was such a beautiful night that we had to find place to sit down and have dessert/drinks outside. We took a stroll up Passyunk, passing hip Cantina Los Cabbalitos which was quite packed, a different swankier restaurant which was less packed, and ended up at adorable Roselena’s. It’s a restaurant and an ice cream/soda shop place attached. The restaurant part is overly adorned with antiques. You’ve never seen anything like it!
There were many desserts available, as well as coffee and hot chocolates. It was so lovely that I did not want to get anything hot. Most of the dining party got some fancier drinking chocolates. E got the ice cream sundae. I went with a blackberry spritzer. I don’t remember the name of it, but the menu said it was French. I don’t care where it came from, it was damn good. It was a very lightly flavored spritzer with actual fresh blackberries! Perfectly refreshing on a lovely warm evening.