PHLReview

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Paesano's image
8.2

Paesano's

SandwichesPasta

Italian MarketSouth Philly

$$$$Perfect For:Impressing Out of TownersCatching Up With MatesWalk-InsTakeawayLiterally EveryoneLunchClassic EstablishmentSerious Take-Out OperationDining SoloSmall Plates
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In this unpredictable life, exes send fluke "U up?" texts and people from Neptune Beach, Florida win the lottery. That’s why we appreciate Paesano’s, a consistently good Italian restaurant that reopened in 2022 after being closed and moving locations. This casual Italian Market spot is more reliable than the famous, old-school restaurants nearby, even if it gets less attention.

Paesano's fits right in on this stretch of 9th Street. It's a time capsule of black and white tiling, family photos, candles dripping wax, and pasta rollers from the days of 10-cent gas. Although the restaurant is known for sandwiches, Paesano's is still the sort of place where you should sit down. There are plenty of tables to defile lasagna and chicken cutlet hoagies while you watch someone sniff a melon like it's a scented candle through the windows.

Paesano's image

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Paesano's image

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Paesano's image

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Paesano's image

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Paesano's image

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Paesano's image
Paesano's image
Paesano's image
Paesano's image
Paesano's image

Order at least one sandwich. There are 16 on the menu, each of which seamlessly weaves textures and high-quality ingredients, like what might happen if a suede bubble couch came with some tang and saltiness. Our favorite version is The Paesano, served on a soft, chewy Liscio's roll. It has juicy strips of beef brisket, horseradish mayo, roasted tomato, pepperoncini, sharp provolone, and a fried egg, making this essentially a remixed cheesesteak and probably the one they serve in heaven.

Non-sandwiches aren’t just side attractions on the menu, though. There’s a plate of bucatini with a super savory plum tomato and pancetta amatriciana sauce. We believe liking this dish is a fundamental core value in a mate. Another good approach to Paesano's menu is to curate a DIY Italian buffet out of some golf ball-sized meatballs, smoked mozzarella sticks, and a potato arrosto made with, according to the restaurant, "all the pork fat we can muster." In the unfortunate event that you don't want cheese or cutlets in a dish, the Paesano’s team lets you go full Taylor’s Version and customize it with your preferences.

Paesano's image

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Paesano's image

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Paesano's image

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Paesano's image
Paesano's image
Paesano's image

After spending a year without Paesano’s, the return feels sweeter than before. Whether you want a sandwich during lunch, or an early dinner at an Italian Market spot you haven't been to 400 times with your family, each meal at Paesano's hits the mark. Consistency is knowing you can always get pasta that will incite a rant about the greatness of marinara, or a sandwich that will inspire an essay on sliced meats. Sure, it's hardly a lotto win. But, then again, you're not from Neptune Beach, Florida.

Food Rundown

Paesano's image

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Arancini

The arancini here are as plump as tennis balls, only much crispier. Served in a bath of sweet marinara sauce, each one has peas, mozzarella, plum tomatoes, and bits of risotto. They’re simple, balanced, and we could eat them every day.

Paesano's image

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Smoked Mozzarella Sticks

In a town full of historic Italian restaurants, there’s no lack of smoked mozzarella. And Paesano’s makes a great version. Onion- and pepper-packed marinara covers almost everything on the plate, which gives each gooey bite a little needed crunch. These come in orders of three, so grab a few for the table if you’re with a big group.

Paesano's image

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Lasagna

A lasagna to make other lasagnas jealous. The sheets of pasta are nice and thick and the nutmeg-scented béchamel and parmesan make the salty bolognese richer and creamier. This is the ideal pasta to break up a meal of things on rolls that you eat with your hands.

Paesano's image

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Paesano

You know that random confidence boost that comes when you’re checking out at Target (or something) and the cashier says, “Oh, I love that lotion,” as if you’ve made the right decision in life. Order this sandwich and that's how you'll feel—life affirmed. It layers beef brisket, horseradish mayo, roasted tomato, pepperoncini, sharp provolone, and a fried egg on crackly bread. It’s like a cheesesteak with more tang and spice.

Paesano's image

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Diavolo

The chefs here tell you that if you don’t like anything in a dish, they’ll change it for you. But don’t make any adjustments to the Diavolo. It works just as it is, with spicy chicken breast, salami, roasted tomato, sauteed broccoli rabe, sharp provolone, and a herby cheddar spread. The combination will have you considering what other things can be improved by a long roll, cold cuts, and cheese.

Paesano's image

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Gustaio

This sandwich stacks grilled lamb sausage, sun-dried cherry mostarda, gorgonzola, roasted fennel, and arugula on a seeded roll. It’s large enough to feed two people, and, like Lady Gaga’s red carpet looks, there’s a lot going on. But we’re into it.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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