Growlers in Bella Vista, Marra’s on Passyunk both reviewed

City Paper’s Adam Erace gave the recently opened Growlers in Bella Vista a mixed review. Erace – amid a heaping helping of flowery prose – praised the pub’s comfy atmosphere and selection of brews. But, um, he wasn’t crazy about the food:

From Lucky Peach apostles to Hidden Valley inhabitants, dressed-down attorneys to dressed-up crossing guards, Growlers gets them all, a mark of a healthy, interesting neighborhood gathering place, one this address has longed for. As for the food, it’s on the right track (generous, affordable and fun), but still needs refining.

Nice shot from

The dishes sampled range from the standard (homemade chips “as thin and translucent as panes of amber glass”) to the succulent (mussels topped with caramelized leeks “draped about the shells like tangled boas”), most bearing a few mistakes that seem noticeable only to someone of Erace’s sophisticated palette. The Philly-style chicken with “soft pretzel stuffing” alone seems worth a visit, but read the full review and make your own assessment (736 S. 8th St.)

That doesn’t look like it did in 1920. Photo by Greg Bezanis via South Philly Review

Meanwhile, Phyllis Stein-Novack from the South Philly Review gave two nostalgic tips of the toque to everyone’s favorite red-gravy Passyunk haunt, Marra’s. It’s been her go-to Thanksgiving eve standard for years, and you can almost feel the mist forming in her eyes when she writes of all the people she’s known to love Marra’s pizza. You can add us to that list too, PSN.

She wasn’t as kind to the mussels, and called the antipasto “ordinary.” But you don’t go to a restaurant that opened in 1920 for cutting-edge cuisine. You go for the f-ing amazing pizza, a damn good veal marsala and $20 carafes of wine.

But the restaurant, at 1734 E. Passyunk Ave., isn’t immune to change. They have a new website, which was playing Loius Prima’s “Angelina: Zooma Zooma” when we went to it last night, a welcome, characteristic throwback. And they added outside seating this summer for the first time in more than 80 years, as far as we can tell. Combine that come spring with their new sunset dinner menu and you’ve got one of the best deals on the Avenue. Here’s to progress. Salute!

– Vinny Vella, @Vellastrations

“I eat antipasti twice,
Just because she is so nice, Angelina.
Angelina, the waitress at the pizzeria…”

One thought on “Growlers in Bella Vista, Marra’s on Passyunk both reviewed

  • November 30, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    I hated Erace’s review of Growlers. That was so annoying to read!

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