First Look: Scarpetta Debuts Elegant Italian in Rittenhouse Square

The NYC transplant has opened
September 28, 2016
by Caroline Russock

The gist: With roots in New York City’s Meatpacking district, Scarpetta has since opened in the swank likes of Vegas, Miami and Montauk. Tonight, the pasta palace makes its Philly debut in the Rittenhouse Hotel. Previously helmed by the Food Network's chef Scott Conant, this chain of high end Italian eateries rose to fame with one deceptively simple dish: spaghetti with tomato and basil. So, it should come as no surprise that the well loved classic is on the menu here, along with an exciting array of city specific additions.

The space: Formerly an outpost of Smith & Wollensky, the bilevel space has been redesigned with a sleek bar and lounge on the first floor (pictured below) geared toward the happy hour crowd; there's a gorgeous dining room on the second. The upper level's main dining room is outfitted with warm leather banquettes, exposed brick and lot of natural light thanks to windows looking out to the park. A massive macrame piece does double duty as a conversation starter and as a tool to keep the din at a comfortable level.

The food: A team of two executive chefs, Jorge Espinoza and Jon Oh, stacked the menu with favorites (the aforementioned tomato and basil spaghetti) and elegant takes on Italian fare — fritto misto of seafood; eggplant and fresh herbs; roasted capretto (young goat) finished with broccoli rabe and pancetta. There’s also a line up of rich, housemade pastas including duck- and foie gras-filled ravioli and agnolotti stuffed with with short rib and bone marrow. Chef Espinoza has added a selection of bright crudos to the menu, too, and is catering to the vegetarian set with a fully meatless menu featuring farro risotto, truffled mushrooms over polenta and more.

Scarpetta is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday, 5:30–11 PM. Lunch and brunch are coming later in the season. Reservations are accepted.

210 W. Rittenhouse Square; 215-558-4199

center city
italian restaurants