253 S 16th St, Philadelphia, PA | Directions 1910239.947824 -75.167845
Mon. - Sun. 10am - 3pm
Neighborhoods: Center City, Rittenhouse Square
Staple Italian BYO in Philly – La Viola has been my favorite BYO for years. The food is consistently outstanding and is a great value for the price. The fetuccine al salmone and the daily special soups and salads are always outstanding. For someone who truly values a restaurant for authenticity and quality of the food, you will not be disappointed. That being said, some of my friends dislike it because the restaurant is so small and therefore limited in seating. It is true that sometimes you may have to wait even if you have a reservation, but that's a consequence of going to a restaurant with so few seats (you can also try La Viola West across the street-- the menu is slightly varied but there is much more seating). The table service is excellent, and the fact that you may have to wait to be seated isnt the fault of the staff-- they can't control how long their guests stay. Anyway, I'm always willing to wait for the overall great food and dining experience at La Viola!
La Viola was terrible!!! – The service at La Viola was absolutely terrible! We showed up at 8:15 for 8:30 reservations and by 9:30 we were told it would be another 45 minutes until we would be sat. They were very rude and made no effort to move along people who had been sitting at tables for over 2 hours sipping their WINE that they BROUGHT! (this place is BYOB) So we left and found another restaurant I really don't care how good their food might have been I would never go back. By the way I hear the food is just average anyway.
A great surprise – When I read the reviews I was concerned . However, those concerns were unwarranted in that our party of eight all gave La Viola an outstanding rating. From the moment our lovely hostess greeted us and showed us to our table to the time we were met by our waiter to say good bye, we had a most enjoyable evening. Our waiter, Dominic, was friendly and helped uswith the menu. Our wine was opened immediately and we were not rushed to order, in that all of our party wasn't there yet.
All of us raved about the food and the prices are very reasonable.
Yes, it is a bit crowded and noisy but it was lots of fun and just what we wanted...not to stiff and stuffy. WE all had a wonderful time and will return.
Crappy Food, Don't Honor Reservations, Rude Owner/Hostess -- Don't Waste Your Money Or Time!!!!!! – There are many other budget-friendly restaurants (Italian included) which will serve you a delicious meal, treat you as a guest and honor your reservation. Others I know, have had an equally disappointing dinner/experience at La Viola. This Philadelphia "institution" has gotten to big for its britches.
Not Worth The Wait – Despite having an 8:30 reservation, we were seated 45 minutes late. No apologies from the staff. In fact, owner snapped at us when we asked for an appetizer on the house. While we waited, no one asked to open our wine and bring us glasses to help make the time go by. Finally got seated right near the door with others crowding us as they waited. Meanwhile, the food was average. Pasta was overcooked and sauce was so-so. We will never go back.
Amazing food, great little BYOB. – My boyfriend and I came to La Viola in August for his birthday. I made reservations in advance, and when we got there we were seated outside, promptly. The waiter opened our bottle of wine and the night was off to a great start. I ordered a pasta dish with vodka sauce and pancetta. My boyfriend ordered a steak, and both of our meals were absolutely delicious! The seating was a little close, so there is little privacy...but it adds to the charm. Didn't have any issues with the waiters or waitresses as other people have mentioned. You have to realize that it is a small restaurant and it can be VERY busy. If you feel rushed or even a bit neglected, don't take it personally. In a small restaurant that seats THAT MANY people, you have to expect it.
Best of Luck to You! – The food at La Viola could be perfect but I never got a chance to try it -- the management and hostesses at La Viola seem confused by the concept of a reservation causing our party to go elsewhere. I was with a large party for a special occasion. Reservations were confirmed, reconfirmed, and then confirmed again. Our party, understanding the concept of a reservation, was prompt and entirely present for our 8:15 reservation. In fact, most of us were 15 minutes early. La Viola apparently takes reservations for every party that wants one without considering the limitations of time and space. We observed multiple parties leaving after experiencing a similar wait. After multiple discussions with the manager and hostess and after multiple assurances that our table was almost ready, we left at 9:15 and headed to a BYO that treated us promptly and respectfully. There are enough solid BYOs with good service in the area that I know I won't be giving La Viola another chance.
Disappointing – Our party of 12 had reservations at La Viola West on Saturday night at 8:15. When the restaurant called to confirm my reservation, I let them know that our group had a party to attend at 10 pm nearby, and I was told that it wouldn't be a problem to seat us right at 8:15. When we arrived at 8, the waiting area was packed and people were lined up outside. I checked in with the hostess and she said it would be about 15 minutes. An hour later, we were still standing outside in the cold. Meanwhile, parties with other large numbers were being seated. Needless to say, we were frustrated and very hungry but the hostess kept telling us it would only be a few more minutes. Finally, we walked up the street to Bellini, another BYOB on 16th Street, to see if they could fit us in. They were able to accommodate us immediately and we had a wonderful time there.
We were all looking forward to trying La Viola, but the management was extremely poor and we never got the chance. Our entire party of 12 was at the restaurant on time for our reservation, and yet they were unable to seat us after we'd been waiting an hour. We will not be returning after our disappointing experience.
GREAT NIGHT ON THE TOWN!! – 1- Our reservation was for 6:30 pm- SEATED PROMPTLY!!
(Comfortable corner round table- 6 in our party)
2- Our entrees- DELICIOUS!! (selection: veal, chicken, pasta= AA)
3- Wait/staff- SUPERB!!
We all agreed it was a great evening. Coming back soon........
Best Italian in Center City – When I first moved to Philly I had a place on Spruce around the corner from La Viola. I would stop by at least 3 nights a week to eat in or take out. They make you feel very at home and the food is fantastic. Now that I live in Bucks County I still take very special clients here all the time. Best kept secret.
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