Modo Mio – Italian food ‘perfection-style’

I had a nearly perfect meal for dinner last night at Modo Mio on Girard Ave. in Philadelphia. Everything about the meal made for a fantastic evening at this small, homey, welcoming restaurant in Northern Liberties. We went there on a recommendation of one of our dining partners who had heard nothing but rave reviews about the place and boy were those people right. I would really urge anyone who is looking for a great meal out on the town to head in that direction immediately. Now I know certain people who don’t think that going out to eat Italian food makes a whole lot of sense, yes you can make pasta at home, but there is no way you will be able to reproduce the quality of meal that you’ll enjoy at Modo Mio without a gargantuan amount of effort on your part, and unless you really want to go to all that trouble, why not let the experts do what they do best?
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The restaurant has a prix fixe menu for $30 where you can order an antipasti, pasta, secondi, and either a dolce or contadini, they’ve christened it the “menu tourista.” I would really recommend this option. Not only do you get great value for your money, but there are no restrictions on the options, you can literally order anything on their menu when you choose the prix fixe. They have between 6 and 8 options in each of the categories and several specials each night. The menu also changes every six weeks.
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I’m not going to get too much into the details of the actual meal here since I tried some of everything that landed on our table and every single dish was amazing, but I will give you a little run down of my own meal choices and then include the pictures so you can see for yourself the kinds of beautiful food they’re bringing out of the kitchen at this place. For antipasti I had an octopus salad with white beans, raisins, and slivered almonds. For both the pasta and secondi I ordered the specials which were a torteloni stuffed with broccoli rabe and some wonderful cheese, also served with raisins and then a lamb stew served with feta. The range of flavors that we experienced during the course of the meal was really wonderful. Everything from the little amuse buche at the beginning – their homemade bread with gorgonzola cheese, prosciutto, and aged balsamic vinegar – to the sambuca at the end was perfectly flavored and just danced on your palate.
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Now we all know that any good meal out at a restaurant is not due solely to the powers of the chef, the ambiance and the serving staff are also critical players in how much you enjoy the night. Well you should have no complaints at Modo Mio. The staff were so friendly and welcoming and made you feel very comfortable, a great deal of laughing was done by all. Our waiter was particularly charming and made the meal that much more memorable because of his attentiveness and lighthearted conversation throughout the evening. The timing of the plates coming out of the kitchen was also quite well orchestrated, with pauses between courses to allow you to take a break and to get into some good conversation. The point of the prix fixe menu and the entire way the restaurant is set up is to allow friends to come out for a nice, leisurely meal and to enjoy the food, ambiance, and company of their dining partners. They have succeeded absolutely in this goal as far as I’m concerned, I have not had a more impressive or pleasant meal in recent memory. We even shut the place down on a Tuesday night and were able to meet the chef, Peter, who was born locally and extremely nice. He and our waiter, Ernesto, really made the night. As I said, you really should get yourself out to Modo Mio as soon as may be, you deserve to treat yourself to such a fantastic dining experience!

Modo Mio
161 West Girard Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19123

ph: 215-203-8707
http://www.modomiorestaurant.com/home

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One Comment on “Modo Mio – Italian food ‘perfection-style’”

  1. epices6 Says:

    I agree that there is some really fine cooking going on at Modo Mio – although the menu choices were a bit too wintry for a 90F+ early July day. The salt cod appetizer was excellent and the lasagna reminded me of Bologna. The veal cheeks on eggplant made for hearty and flavorful eating. I disliked the panna cotta, mostly because of the overpowering crème-de-menthe taste but also because of the consistency. For $32, the four-course menu delivered a great quality/price dinner.

    The greatest problem with Modo Mio is the incredible noise. The clattering din made conversation difficult, even at a small table, and after a couple hours of earsplitting racket, I was hoarse from shouting at my dining companions and I had a headache. While the service was ok (no one asked us about coffee and the specials recitation took forever, even though I could not hear our server), there was one waitress whose stentorian voice would pierce the clamor from time to time in an almost frightening way. I will not return despite the fine food.

    p.s. Congratulations on your fine blog


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