PHLReview

photo credit: Adelinas

Adelinas review image
6.9

Adelinas

$$$$

8235 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia
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Chestnut Hill has beautiful gardens, a handful of breweries, and a couple of great brunch spots with gorgeous outdoor setups. But what the area has really been missing is a legitimate, sit-down Italian restaurant. All signs pointed to Adelinas filling this void when they opened in 2022. Unfortunately, while the upscale atmosphere has all the looks of an ideal night date or celebratory spot, most of the food is just OK and you should only stop by if you’re in the area. 

There’s some real charm at Adelinas. When you walk in, you’ll see chandeliers and gold fixtures at the bar, wood furnishing in the dining room, and a massive garden wall. They also have a long bar where you can waste time talking to strangers who walked in after having a drink at Chestnut Hill Brewery and wanted something more to eat than a burger and pizza. On their busiest nights, the dining room gets loud and you’ll probably see waiters whipping through the space with bottles of Italian reds, lasagna with smoked scamorza, and plates of chicken parmesan.  

Adelinas

Adelinas review image

Most of the menu, besides a few small plates and the dessert, doesn’t hold up to the better Italian spots in town. The handmade pastas here are rarely ever satisfying, whether it’s the aforementioned lasagna with a bland combo of asparagus and zucchini to gigli toscani topped with a flavorless rabbit ragu. The only path to a meal that makes sense is starting with the meatballs that are oozing with pecorino and the ‘nduja mussels that have a broth so good that you’ll ask for extra bread to sop it up. Close it out with an order of their perfectly charred scallops and some cheesecake and forget the rest of the menu.    

Adelina’s fancy interiors could theoretically work for birthdays, anniversaries, and a date night in Chesnut Hill. But similar to other big-budget projects with no payoff, like the past few Transformers movies or Paris Hilton’s music career, Adelina’s just doesn’t live up to its potential.

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Food Rundown

Adelinas

Adelinas review image

Meatballs

The meatballs here combine bits of veal, pork, sausage, and beef, and once you bite into one, pecorino al tartufo bursts from its seams. You can ignore the polenta cake the meatballs come with and go right for the meaty mounds.

Octopus

The chewy grilled octopus comes topped with a fava bean puree, lemon, and Calabrian chili. Somehow, even with all those ingredients, the dish lacks flavor or spice, so you can skip it.

Nduja Mussels

The mussels are beautifully cooked. They sit in a broth with the perfect balance of garlic and Calabrian chili, making this the best small plate on the menu—and one of the few things that we’d specifically come back for.

Agnolotti

These agnolotti pouches are really massive, but the sugary fig and onion filling just doesn’t work. Even the gorgonzola cream can’t save this dish.

Gigli Toscani

The spicy ragu in this pasta dish leaves a lot to be desired and tastes like something you can buy in the can at the grocery store. Skip this.

Seared Scallops

These scallops are big, juicy, and perfectly cooked. We could, however, do without the potato wedges and pickled watermelon radish on the plate, and just take four or five more of the golden discs.

Chicken Parmesan

When this chicken parm comes to your table, it comes drenched in romesco sauce. However, although the crispy edges of the bone-in cut and the bright orange glaze may look appealing, the dish still ends up being pretty forgettable.

Marscarpone Cheesecake

This homemade cheesecake is the best thing here. We know it’s cliche to say something is so good that it tastes just like your grandmother made it, but that’s actually what’s going on here. The owner’s grandmother is really cranking out cheesecakes in the kitchen. Drenched in a sweet strawberry glaze, this dessert is silky and fluffy, with just the right amount of sweetness.

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