Located a short walk from Independence Hall, Philadelphia’s Pizzicato is a little cafe with charming outdoor seating and a sleek, modern interior.
There’s no shortage of places to eat in Philadelphia. From the stalls of Reading Terminal Market to the many restaurants all over the city, there’s so much good food. And among the places I’ve fallen in love with is Pizzicato on Market Street in Philadelphia.
I first discovered this little eatery when I traveled to Philadelphia in 2013 for a conference. A friend and I were starving, and walked a few blocks from our hotel in search of food. We ended up sitting under an umbrella in the outside eating area at Pizzicato and enjoying some of the best fries I’ve ever had. On that visit, our waitress struck us as odd — she seemed bored, inattentive and deliberately hard to understand. Perhaps the funniest moment was when I was half way through my sandwich and realized it wasn’t at all what I ordered. Instead of steak tips with gorgonzola cheese, I was eating sausage and peppers — which was totally delicious even if it wasn’t what I wanted. When I told the waitress about the error, I just wanted to ensure that the order reflected the much less expensive sandwich I was eating — which made her first insist I was wrong (sorry, sausage and steak are wildly different) and then try to take my plate, though I said I wanted to finish it. In the end, all was fine — she huffed away and left me with my plate (and fixed the bill!). But the whole thing was a little odd.
Despite the service, the food was good and I knew both my kids would enjoy it. So when we arrived in Philadelphia recently over spring break, I headed straight there for lunch. Hey, it really was good.
Ironically, we ended up with the same waitress that I had a year ago. And she is just as bored, inattentive and hard to understand as ever. Fortunately, she got our orders (mostly) right and the other staff is so kind that I don’t mind this time. Also, the food is really good.
Paige ordered a massive Chicken Pesto Sandwich, which was piled with chicken, pesto, mozzarella and more. She devoured it, saving the leftovers to finish later. And the fries? She loved those too.
Will ordered a cheeseburger, proclaiming it very juicy — always a good thing. The downside? I really didn’t appreciate that I ordered his burger medium and the waitress delivered it well-done. It goes back to the service issues with this place. When the waitress asked if I wanted it well done (punctuating it with “of course”), I corrected her and asked for the burger to be cooked to medium — the way we always eat them at home. She was surprised — and apparently disagreed enough that she ignored the request. I know how we like our food cooked, and when I order it that way, I expect it to come out that way. It rubbed me the wrong way … but fortunately, it was good anyway.
As for me, I ordered the steak tips sandwich I wanted last year. This time I actually got to try it — piled with caramelized onions. roasted red peppers and gorgonzola cheese. The tender steak, sweet onions and piquant gorgonzola complemented each other nicely. It was very good, but I wish it had a little more gorgonzola on it. Still, I enjoyed it. And those fries? Super thin, crispy and doused with balsamic reduction — they were as heavenly as I remembered.
So would I recommend Pizzicato? Yes, but with a caveat. The food is great but the service isn’t. I would come again and again for the good food. And the portion sizes are very generous. Still, the service is — at least with the server I had twice — is totally underwhelming. So go for the food. Just don’t expect to be wowed by an awesome waitress.
248 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.