During my vacation to Philadelphia, my family and I were looking for restaurants that we should dine at and I found a very famous Italian restaurant. Ristorante Pesto, it is officially known as the best Italian restaurant in Philadelphia on “trip advisor” and many other websites with around 1,664 reviews—all saying 5 stars. So, I felt that my family and I would love it. Now let us start with the appetizers and the free, yet gourmet complimentary foods.
We were graciously given gratifying bread with fresh extra virgin olive oil. The bread had a crispy, shell like exterior and a fluffy interior. The olive oil lifted the bread to a whole new level. We were also served bruschetta and crostini with a tomato based salsa and a balsamic vinaigrette. I did not like it because I dislike tomatoes (only in sauce) and they were the base of the toppings. However, the waiters and waitresses served it to make the feel seem more appealing to the boundaries of family style and fine dining. The last plate given for free were balsamic glazed carrots. They were cooked well and the flavor was almost pickle-like and I love pickles to a high extent. We ordered calamari which were fried to the most perfect, buttery texture, not soggy nor overcooked. We did not order any more appetizers because this place is known for its pasta and we did not want to get full on the appetizers when there were more important things to try.
I have dreamt of trying the strangest pasta ever: squid ink pasta, so that was the first thing I asked. They had squid ink pasta, unfortunately it was smothered in a wine sauce and the alcohol had not been reduced to the fullest. So, I asked if they could switch the sauce to a heartwarming pomodoro, and my wish was granted. I was served a bed of pasta as black as night with a red sauce and mussels, littleneck clams, shrimp, and poached calamari. The inked pasta had a subtle brininess with hints of sea luxury, and an amazing fragrance that is very inviting. The pomodoro was not too chunky, nor too thin and has notes of fish because of the seafood served above. The seafood was well cooked and had textural contrast in relation to the creamy sauce and the al dente pasta. Then, we also ordered a linguine Alfredo and the pasta looked perfectly thin, yet it held the sauce well. It was a luxurious, creamy sauce that should be jarred and sold. And, the pasta strands were consistent and cooked evenly, holding the right amount if sauce per bite. Each bite was somehow better than the last and I knew that this was the best Alfredo I have ever eaten. Now we move on to dessert.
I only tried one dessert because I was so full from eating all of the amazing pasta dishes. It was a special for that evening which was an apple tart with a lovely caramel sauce with a sweet vanilla bean gelato. The apples were soft, yet had a crunch and were not completely mushy. So, you can say that the apples were al dente. They had a smokey, yet sweet, cinnamon flavor that soothed my palate. The gelato was not under-churned (soupy–> like a creme anglaise) nor over-churned (like chunky, unmelted butter), but was perfectly smooth and fresh, bringing my taste buds to life.
In conclusion, we are definitely returning to this fine dining restaurant due to incredible service—the waiters, waitresses, and owners were all so very welcoming and kind, and their energy made the food even better. If the service was not as good, I would have rated this restaurant a 9.5, but the food quality, the freshness, the presentation, the creativity, combined with the service and the speed in which the food was served compels me to rate this restaurant a 10/10 on my scale of gourmet restaurants!