Restaurant: Trattoria Giuseppe
Address: 4799 West Chester Pike, Edgemont, PA 19073
Rating: (out of 5 stars): ★★★★
Style: Sit-down restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating
Food: Traditional Italian dishes, Paninis, pizza and salads
Atmosphere: Casual, comfortable setting with Old World charm
Parking: Ample parking lot
Service: Friendly and casual
Price Range: Moderate
Unique Feature: Early three-course dinner (4 to 6 p.m.) for $39.95; Lunch
combos for $9.95; Lobster Night on Tuesday and Wednesday for $31.95
Having grown up in a traditional Italian family, and having spent years feasting on traditional foods, I like to think I’ve developed quite the taste for the real deal.
Trattoria Giuseppe is the real deal.
When driving down West Chester Pike, you’re apt to pass right by it, as it’s tucked away amongst Regal Edgmont Square 10 movie theatre, and a bevy of other restaurants and shops.
That said, ask anyone in and around the area, and you’ll find Trattoria Giuseppe is a neighborhood favorite for its moderately-priced, and generously-portioned cuisine.
The décor was what I imagined it would be. The marble tables, clay tile, stucco, and dark wood transported me to a Mediterranean café. I heard weekends are very busy, but for a Tuesday night, it was a bustling place too, and I was glad I had a reservation.
The atmosphere lends to all sorts of diners. I noticed couples on dates, movie-goers stopping for a bite, colleagues having post-work dinner, and families celebrating birthdays. Whatever the occasion, we were all treated to a roving classical guitarist singing songs in Italian.
The Southern Italian-inspired menu is vast, so we took our time reading it while nibbling on the complimentary warm bread and Bruschetta, which is grilled bread drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, topped with ripe chopped tomatoes, basil, and most importantly in my book, generous garlic.
The antipasti section of the menu features many appetizer favorites, including mozzarella caprese (fresh mozzarella with sliced tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil and basil, $8.25) and cozze alla marinara (mussels marinara with crostni bread, $9.95).
There are a variety of salads to choose from as well, from your basic insalata mista (organic mixed salad with tomatoes, vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, $6.25), to a more filling option that can be eaten as an entrée. The insalata ai fruitti di mare (mussels, clams, shrimp, squid, celery, carrots, extra virgin olive oil and lemon vinaigrette, $9.95) is a seafood lover’s dream.
We started with the antipasti special ($18.95), an assortment of cured meats and cheeses, and colorful grilled and roasted vegetables, served on a wooden board, and elevated on a stand. The dish is prepared for two, and includes roasted red peppers, marinated and grilled zucchini and eggplant, olives, and caramelized onions served inside a toasted parmesan bowl. The buffalo mozzarella was mild and creamy, a nice contrast to the salty, prosciutto parma ham.
For my entree, I chose one of my usual favorites, eggplant parmigiana ($12.95). I opted for the appetizer portion, keeping in mind the full dinner with a side of pasta would've been too much food to handle. I was right. Even the appetizer featured four thick slices of fresh eggplant, sautéed lightly and layered with provolone, parmesan and tomato sauce. The eggplant was tender, not even a touch bitter, and the marinara was just the right blend of tomatoes and garlic.
Next time, I may skip the starter and order a pasta dish. From tortellini to tagliatelli, ravioli to rigatoni, there are dozens of pasta choices featuring many favorite sauces, like pomodoro (fresh tomato and basil), and aglio olio (fresh garlic and extra virgin olive oil), to name a few.
My husband had the linguni con arugula and shrimp (sautéed shrimp, garlic, arugula and diced plum tomatoes, $17.95). The linguine was cooked al dente. I tend to prefer my pasta cooked a few moments longer, but overall the dish was delectable. The shrimp were succulent, and I appreciated the whole pieces of roasted garlic. Can you detect my fondness of garlic?
The carne section of the menu includes a variety of chicken, veal, and fish dishes, such as petto di pollo alla melazana (chicken breast topped with eggplant, provolone cheese and fresh tomato sauce, $12.95), and veal marsala (veal sautéed with marsala wine and mushrooms, $13.95).
During lunch, the dinner items are offered in smaller portions, along with paninis, pizza, and salads.
Trattoria Guiseppe is a BYOB, and there is no corking fee. The beverages on the menu include sparkling water, sodas, coffee, espresso and cappuccino.
Pair your espresso or cappuccino with a sumptuous dessert if you dare, or if you have room in your tummy. A scoop of homemade gelato or sorbetto are surely the lighter choices, but you could even share cream puffs, chocolate cake, tiramisu or cannolis.
The service is casual and friendly, but a word to the wise. During a busy dinner rush, be patient. The made-to-order pasta dishes do take some time, but the culinary experience is well worth the wait.
Click here for hours, directions and specials.