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Posted by raven on 05/25/2010
This place has found its niche by serving inexpensive basic Italian food in an atmosphere that is normally not availble at these prices. This is a terrific place for young diners because it is romantic without breaking the bank. that's why it has lines.
Posted by anonymous on 04/05/2010
The food was not bad but not spectacular. But even the service was not good and the hostess was not friendly by any means. The atmosphere was average and a little dated. They cram everyone in so be prepared to sit right next to strangers who can practically reach over to borrow your salt. So basically there is no attention to detail in every aspect of dining here.
Posted by Philly City Dweller on 01/24/2010
We have been to La Viola on two recent occasions, once during the “big blizzard” and most recently during the Restaurant Week of 2010. On both occasions the food and service has been superb. Their salads and appetizers are made with the freshest of ingredients and served with style. Although their main thrust is Italian specialties, their seafood preparation is flawless. On our prior visit I ordered the Salmon. The portion size would have easily been two servings in other restaurants. Often, big portions don’t always indicate great quality or preparation but la Viola’s performance was outstanding. The fish was perfectly cooked, beautifully sauced and presented with excellent sides. When we went for Restaurant Week (quite by accident) I was surprised by the variety and excellence of the prix fix menu. The starters included three of my favorite salads. The second course was a combination of wonderful lobster ravioli and spinach gnocchi. The gnocchi were a bit chewy but nicely sauced and tasty. The lobster ravioli were outstanding. La Viola is BYOB with no corkage charge. The service is attentive and friendly. This is a great little place in Center City with very reasonable prices and great food.
Posted by Roland on 11/15/2009
Domenic treats you like family where fine Italian fare is offered for prices that put Olive Garden to shame. Try the fruitti di mare (like velvet) and any special salad which invariably features field greens with a yummy protein and a soft cheese in a well balanced lemon vinaigrette. Tagliatelle with Salmon is another winner priced way below expectation. Portions are satisfying but not overwhelming. Nightly soups are usually cream-less bisques that are very tasty but a bit saline (don't assume adding salt) and sometimes a bit thin for the mouth-feel that a pureed soup should provide. Only more cold dessert choices would make this good spot even better. (No gelati or sorbetti as of this writing.) The Ouest location across the street isn't as disturbingly crammed as the cheek-to-jowl mother venue and is simply and tastefully appointed, but a bit "loud." Lightening fast service is great for getting you to the theater on time, but can add to the aura of hubbub. Go early to avoid The Young and The Entitled which often includes tables of young women who can't imbibe two glasses of wine without forgetting all awareness of others, as if they weren't self-absorbed enough upon entry. LV/LVO is well worth trying for delicious food served quickly and kindly while leaving money in your wallet.
Posted by Birthday Girl on 10/15/2009
My husband took me to La Viola last night for my birthday and we were completely impressed. Its cozy dining room reminded me of family dinner at my grandparents' house, and the food topped nearly every Italian restaurant in the city, especially when factoring in value. We can't wait to go back!
Posted by Anonymous on 08/29/2009
The place was packed and there was a 20 min wait for two, which made me think this place was going to be very good...But, the only good thing about this place was that I could bring my own wine. Once seated inside (outside was an option but humidity & chance of rain had most waiting for a table inside), my date and I realized how terribly uncomfortable this restaurant was - extremely crowded and loud, we couldn't carry on a convo but could definitely reach over and taste our neighbor's gnocchi...While the pasta appeared fresh, I am inclined to say that seafood risotto is not their specialty: it was overcooked and tasted like is was marinated in Chef Boyardee tomato sauce. I ordered their special salad appetizer which ended up being $11 for a miniscule portion.
Posted by DBR on 07/30/2008
I love this restaurant!! I live around the corner and eat here no less than once a month (sometimes three times in a month.) The food is always outstanding and the servers very professional yet pleasant. All ingredients are FRESH and the preparations are often very creative. It is always a special treat to dine here and I love introducing new people to La Viola. There are two restaurants: one is on the East side of 16th St. (Bistro La Viola) and one on the West side of 16th (La Viola Ouest) - no signage at 'ouest'. I like both food and service is always excellent at both but I definitely prefer the less crowded and more elegant atmosphere of La Viola Ouest. I don't have an actual count but I know that my dining exepriences (both restaurants combined) exceed 60 meals. I have never been disappointed (and I am not easily pleased.) Try them - I think you will be well pleased.