Thursday, February 28, 2008

Gioia Mia

2025 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, 215.231.9895 (Edited to add: This has recently closed.)

Girlfriends, you need a night out. If, for any other reason, than to unload your husband-related frustrations, like one of us did Wednesday night at Gioia Mia.

Gioia Mia (pronounced joy-ah mee-ah) is a casual, comfortable Italian restaurant with an open kitchen and many wines by the glass.

You'll certainly have no problem getting a prime table at the time of your choice on a Wednesday night. We were the first ones in just before 8 p.m. greeted by Max, a lovely gentleman with a heavy Italian accent.

We started with the tableside prepared Caesar Salad--a close version to the original recipe. But, you better like garlic because you'll offending anyone within sight and tasting it the next morning. Then, on to the Tortine di Granchio con Funghi, which is sauteed lump crabcake over portabella mushroom in a light tomato sauce. I'm a traditionalist when it comes to crabcakes, (I was raised in Maryland, after all.), so I didn't love that particular combination.

I had Pesce del Giorno--Branzino, baked whole than fileted at the table. Always a nice touch (but, better when they get all the bones out). It was very moist and light with tomatoes, olives, onions and lemon juice, accompanied by green beans, simple yet crisp and fresh in a light olive oil and herb roasted potatoes.

Girlfriend Mo had the Ravioli all’Aragosta, lobster ravioli and jumbo shrimp with asparagus in a tomato-cognac sauce with fresh sage. Girlfriend Roz had the Risotto alla PescatoraRisotto with shrimp, mussels, baby clams & calamari in white wine sauce. You can also have it with red sauce, but the white was recommended. No one complained...well, about the food, that is. We girls love to vent.

Dessert was shared since we were all stuffed, but a good meal must always end with something sweet. The Tiramisu (My must-have dessert in any Italian restaurant.) came in an oversized martini glass. Creamy, thick with nearly a shot of dark rum at the bottom, much of it soaked into the lady fingers. Yum!

Read some other reviews: Philly Weekly; City Paper.


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