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Villa di Roma – Retro Roadmap worthy Red Sauce Restaurant! In South Philadelphia's Italian Market

Posted on: November 6, 2017



Mod Betty suggests that everyone experience South Philly’s 9th Street Italian Market, but sometimes the overwhelming choices, sights, smells and sounds can be a bit much for her, reminding her why agoraphobia means “fear of the marketplace.” So during a recent jaunt into the city she was thrilled to be able to slip into Villa di Roma for a quiet and delicious lunch, and though that other Retro Roadmappers might enjoy this tip as well!

Villa di Roma Italian Restaurant Philadelphia PA Retro Roadmap

Everyone has their favorite Italian restaurant in South Philly, and with so many choices it’s so hard to choose just one. But in determining one that Retro Roadmappers might enjoy not only for its food but also circa 1960s little-changed interior decor and location right in the heart of the Italian Market on 9th Street, Villa di Roma checks all the boxes.

Villa di Roma Italian Restaurant Philadelphia PA Retro Roadmap

Here since 1963 when Dominic DeLuca combined an adjacent bar with the already named restaurant. The restaurant continues to be owned and run by the DeLuca family, with the second and third generations dividing up the work.

Speaking of dividing, you can see the difference in appearance in both exteriors of the attached buildings. And you can’t miss that groovy glossy black glass block. (Try saying that ten times in a row!)

Villa di Roma Italian Restaurant Philadelphia PA Retro Roadmap

Here’s what that glass block looks like from the inside – I kind of love it!

Villa di Roma Italian Restaurant Philadelphia PA Retro Roadmap

After you spot that glass block and neon sign just follow the signs for the Bar entrance.

Villa di Roma Italian Restaurant Philadelphia PA Retro Roadmap

Once inside, simply head to the far end of the bar and ask to be seated in the brick lined dining room that hasn’t changed much, decor-wise since opening.

Wagon wheel lights cast a soft glow on the bentwood chairs and white cloth covered tables, and the entire menu is posted on the wall, replicated in classic “diner style” menu boards.

Villa di Roma Italian Restaurant Philadelphia PA Retro Roadmap

Speaking of classic – they’re known for classic Italian American fare. They’re famous for their meatballs and you can get their red sauce or “gravy” in jars to bring home with you.

Villa di Roma Italian Restaurant Philadelphia PA Retro Roadmap

Pictured is my Chicken Parm, with sauce on the side. Delicious crispy exterior, tender meat, and flavorful sauce. This portion was not skimpy, so Retro Roadhusband was happy that I brought half of it home with me. As I often say “See, honey? I made you dinner!” 😉

Open for lunch (all but Monday) and dinner, step out of the bustling market and back in time!

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