The Best Pasta in the Country

The Best Pasta in Philly being handmade at Osteria

Craving.

What do you want to eat? 

When we were kids this question would have been music to our ears—Pizza! Candy! Ice Cream! As adults, it often involves surveying what’s in the fridge, who’s in the mood for what, and when’s the earliest available reservation. But each time my girlfriend asked me that question this weekend, I knew exactly what I wanted and where to get it. My craving was satisfied each time, although a sacrifice was required. There really are only two problems with that question: driving and reservations. My hunger may have overcome my laziness on Saturday but there was no getting around the latter. That’s when it pays to be friends with the executive chef.

Saturday night when she asked what I wanted to eat for dinner, the only thing I could think about was the robiola francobolli with royal trumpet mushrooms and thyme, an outstanding ravioli from Osteria. I’ve had them at least three dozen times and every time is exactly the same: perfection. Their delicate structure belies the bold taste that lies within their petite postage-stamp size. There are many fabulous creations on Jeff Michaud’s menu, from the best antipasti in the city to the thin-crusted pizzas that are simply superb (he won last year’s James Beard Award for a reason), but it’s the pasta I crave. It is, no doubt, the best in the country.  Jeff hooked us up with a table but we had to be there in half an hour. Plausible for me, yes, my girlfriend needed that much time to choose an outfit. Seemingly more her sacrifice, but I had to hear about it the whole drive into the city. We made it, unbelievably, and my craving was quenched—at least until morning.

Always packed for brunch on the weekends: The Ardmore Station Cafe

I woke up Sunday morning and needed the Ardmore Station Café’s banana walnut pancakes, with the real maple syrup (definitely worth the additional couple of dollars). The pancakes were great as usual, it’s just that the service is spotty and they always forget one of our sides, or in this case, both of them. But sometimes it’s worth the sacrifice. We consoled our loss of sausage and potatoes with a stroll through the Clover Market and found some great buys.  All that bargaining built up an appetite, and if were going to make dinner, I needed to get girlfriend home for her full prep time. Not that she needed all afternoon, it’s just that going to Dmitri’s involves nothing short of a recon mission.

YUM!

Dmitri’s in Queen Village – Photo Courtesy of Yelper hotomelmoth k.

This tiny BYOB at 3rd & Catherine is always crowded, and for good reason. In order to get a table you have to arrive by 5:00, and they don’t take reservations, or plastic. The avocado citrus salad, pan fried flounder (unfortunately only available during fall and winter) and shrimp scampi are worth the stakeout. So with minutes to spare, I dropped girlfriend off with only our bottle and her city “charm” to hold a place in line. Just the homemade hummus alone would cause me to stand in the rain/heat/snow and wait, but someone had to park the car.

Next weekend maybe I’ll let her choose.

Full disclosure: Osteria is a client of my company (but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s my favorite place and their pasta is unparalled).

This blog post originally appeared in the Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch