A Truer Taste

Food And Dining

All across the county at Italian restaurants ,the word “authentic” gets thrown around more than breadsticks at an Olive Garden, but what does the word truly mean? Some might claim that a time-tested recipe is the answer, but in truth, the real secret behind creating a truly authentic experience with Italian cuisine is not solely rooted in tradition, but rather in the relationship between the restaurant and community farmers and purveyors of all kinds. C19, formerly Chichetteria 19, on the south side of Rittenhouse Square Park, has been providing this authenticity to its guests for the last three years.


Let's say you were to take a long stroll along the canals of Venice. At some point, you would inevitably stumble upon a neighborhood Chichetteria, where every day the cuisine is crafted from what is available and what is fresh. This is the sort of experience that C19 chooses to create, and it does so flawlessly. Thankfully, one fundamental quality Venice and Philadelphia share is that they are both massive centers of commerce. This allows a small restaurant to choose from the absolute best and freshest foods from local farms and purveyors to butchers and fish mongers.


C19 is exceptionally unique in this regard because it is the only restaurant that both represents and is represented in the Rittenhouse Farmers’ Market. While the restaurant does offer classic dishes throughout each season, each day the specials are a culinary illustration of the best local meat, produce, and seafood available to the city. You can also visit Andrea Luca Rossi, the executive chef and owner, Saturdays at the market, where he provides a wonderfully informative cooking demonstration (and tasting) focused on the finer points of fresh Italian cooking.


It’s no secret that the notion of farm-to-table has become increasingly important for foodies looking the best and freshest food possible, but as Andrea puts it, “This trend is simply a beneficial coincidence for the restaurant. I truly hope it continues, but even if it falls out of vogue, we will continue to do things this way, because this is how you create the best and most authentic food for your guests. Fresh is the best—it's as simple as that.”