Old-School Red Gravy Italian Restaurants In South Philadelphia

Visit Philly · Guide to Philadelphia · created almost 6 years ago

If you're in search of delicious red-gravy Italian cuisine, bear south to Philadelphia's authentic Italian enclave in South Philadelphia. We've done our due diligence to select top picks for old-school red gravy joints that are sure to deliver. At these places, it’s just as much about what’s on the table as it is about those sitting around it. Bring your family, appetite and cash (many are cash-only) to any of the spots below for an unforgettable meal.

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  • Fettuccine Lobster Amatriciana at The Saloon in Philadelphia, PA

    The atmosphere is as special as the food, and you’ll receive the top-notch service you’d expect to find at a family-run restaurant.

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    Baked Ricotta at Mr Martino's Trattoria in Philadelphia, PA

    A visit to Mr. Martino’s equates to a visit to grandma’s on the weekend. And that’s the only time they’re open--Friday through Sunday. It’s a red-gravy time capsule, and marveling over the antiques that populate the walls are all part of the experience. In this homey trattoria, you’ll always find co-owner Maria and only Maria, in the kitchen.

  • Linguine alla Scogliera at Ristorante Pesto in Philadelphia, PA

    If you want to grab some midday food, Pesto also offers a wide selection of paninis and pasta plates in its lunch menu.

  • Stuffed Calamari in Red Sauce over Linguini at Scannicchios Restaurant in Philadelphia, PA

    You won’t walk away hungry here. While the knowledgeable wait staff will make recommendations, here’s ours: order anything. The gravy is quintessentially South Philly Italian.

  • Hand-rolled Gnocchi and Red Sauce at Mamma Maria Ristorante Italiano in Philadelphia, PA

    You want old school? You got it. At Mamma Maria’s there’s no need to mull over a menu--there are no menus. Mamma selects the freshest ingredients from the Italian Market and creates a daily special. Mangia!

  • Cheese Cavatelli with Tomato Sauce at Criniti Restaurant in Philadelphia, PA

    Grab the gang and gather around the table. The portions of dishes like Penne Soverato could feed up to five. You’ll want to save room though, because the tiramisu is homemade--by Criniti’s mother, of course.

  • Linguini Vongole in Rosso at Marra's Restaurant in Philadelphia, PA

    New York magazine included Marra’s in its article “Pasta Porn: 101 of America’s Most Delicious Noodle Dishes.” This South Philly mainstay is also known for its original recipe pizza. And if you don’t take our word for it, just ask John Travolta or Conan O'Brien who have frequented Marra's several times.

  • Baked Lasagna Vivaldi at the victor cafe in Philadelphia, PA

    Go with the signature special of pasta with Italian gravy and meatballs or order up pasta and Italian Gravy Corona Di Ferro. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

  • Pasta with Italian Gravy Corona Di Ferro at Dante & Luigis in Philadelphia, PA

    Go with the signature special of pasta with Italian gravy and meatballs or order up pasta and Italian Gravy Corona Di Ferro. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

  • Veal Capricciosa at Ralph's Italian Restaurant in Philadelphia, PA

    It’s one of America’s oldest Italian restaurants continuously owned and operated by the same family--the Dispigno’s. Once a destination for Frank Sinatra, the red gravy recipe remains the same, five generations later. BYOB on Sunday or enjoy wine from the 65-degree cellar. Salute!

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    Spaghetti and Meatballs with Red Gravy at Villa Di Roma Restaurant in Philadelphia, PA

    Crowds pack this boisterous dining room in Bella Vista and are served up piping-hot plates of pan-seared award-winning meatballs blanketed with red gravy. Bring the family and get there around 5:00 p.m.--seats fill up quickly.