As most of you know by now, my favorite thing to do is restaurant hop and exploring different cuisines, and today we are going to celebrate two women who are both business and life partners and have significantly contributed to Philadelphia’s restaurant scene: Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran.
These women are responsible for some of Philly’s most eclectic restaurants including spots like Barbuzzo, Little Nonna’s and Lolita. Although slightly on the pricier side, all three of these restaurants will allow for a gastronomical experience that will showcase the intricate flavors mastered by Turney. Safran handles front-of-house, and Turney masterminds their menus. These two have helped transform their once isolated neighborhood into one that is vibrant and chic.
Barbuzzo is a Mediterranean kitchen and bar, and definitely one of my favorite restaurants in Philadelphia. The restaurant is relatively small, but has a great ambiance, and is not overcrowded. You can choose to sit on a table or at the kitchen bar where you can see the chef prepare your meal. I would highly recommend the pan seared gnocchi and the and the sheep’s milk ricotta, which I’ve ordered twice now and is one of my favorite dishes.The food is well paired, as the ricotta is served with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and crispy bread, which go well with the creamy and rich cheese. Barbuzzo is also known for its famous Budino dessert that is tasty but incredibly rich. I do not have an incredible sweet tooth, but for dessert-lovers, it is a fantastic option.
To eat at Little Nonna’s, you must make a reservation ahead of time otherwise you may get a shared table, or get turned away entirely. They have a decent lunch tasting menu – 3 items (appetizer, entree, and dessert) for $20 – essentially a restaurant week special all year long. The restaurant is cozy and charming, with rustic ornaments and European teacups as decorations. It’s perfect for a romantic dinner or intimate meal with close friends. Like at Barbuzzo, sitting at the counter allows you to watch the chefs perform their magic. Everything looks delicious and it is tempting to order much more than you can actually eat. Again, the pan seared gnocchi is a huge hit, along with the stracciatella, meatballs and lasagna.
This restaurant is number one on my bucket list for places to eat in Philadelphia. Delicious dishes inspired by Mexican street food paired with reasonably priced drinks, though in a tight space seated very close to other people. The cucumber jalapeno margarita is a huge hit, and for dessert the Tres leches cake seems to be a good option. I have walked past Lolita a number of times, and forever seems full but with a great vibe. The location is prime and their menu seems ideal: varied yet not too large so that you are lost with what to order. It seems like the chefs dip, tostadas and tacos are quite popular dishes, but the whole menu is so appealing that I feel like whatever you are in the mood for should be a good option.