518 S 3rd St, Philadelphia, PA | Directions 1914739.942042 -75.147714
Neighborhoods: Center City, Center City East
Like a home cooked meal but better. I really like the family atmosphere and the food quality. The Mediterranean specialties are great along with some Italian favorites. Never disappointed, and its a BYOB. Try it expecting a good meal at a reasonable price. It is not a pricy bistro, but a comfortable neighborhood place you can enjoy.
Has promise but fails to deliver – I ate here with a friend for Restaurant Week and we both were fairly disappointed. After being seated, we waited 15 minutes for the waitress to arrive (and we were only one of two occupied tables in the entire, very small house). When she did arrive, she never introduced herself or spoke about the entrees/Restaurant Week menu; she simply asked if we were ready to order. I bring this lack of introduction up because she failed to mention the items on the menu that they were out of, causing us both to go have to go back and reconsider our choices after having already waited so long for her arrival. Service was incredibly slow throughout the night, and when the food did arrive, it was simply average. The salad was too salty, the pasta was significantly overcooked (the paparadelle came out as one giant, sticky lump. I could pick the entire dish of pasta up out of the bowl with my fork), and the salmon was nothing to write home about.
While the restaurant itself is charming, the tables are very close together in some places and the accoustics cause the restaurant to be incredibly loud. By the end of the evening, when the restaurant had filled up, I couldn't hear my friend talking across the table because of all the noise. The service was not particularly friendly and was incredibly slow. (Our dinner took 2 hours from start to finish, longer than I think either of us had anticipated.) The place shows promise, but neither of us are eager to return to Ava.
Terrible Service – I went to Ava with a large group for a birthday on a Friday night. We took up a large portion of the restaurant's clientele that evening and gave them a nice amount of business that they otherwise would not have gotten. From the beginning, it was obvious that the waitress knew she had an automatic 20% tip on a large bill and put absolutely no effort into making our dining experience pleasant. It took half an hour (no exaggeration) to get water and bread. She completely ignored us to that point and someone had to ask her, and she replied, "We normally don't serve bread until a table has ordered." It was impossible to order since she had also not brought over menus (which took another 30 minutes to receive). We had to beg for service the rest of the night, as she would walk by our table without glancing at anyone or checking to see if anybody needed more water, etc. When it came time to pay the bill it took about 15 minutes to get the check, and we had to ask her to take the money and credit cards, which then took another 15 minutes. In all, we sat for 2.5 hours when it easily could have been a great, 1.5 hour experience at the most. The food was good, but for the price and the time spent waiting, I really do not think it was worth the hassle.
Good potential, but still inexperienced – My boyfriend and I finally tried Ava for Restauarant Week after being intrigued by the menu and the BYO-ness for over a year--we were thoroughly disappointed. The restaurant lost my reservation which was made over a month in advance due to Ava's website boast, "We offer 4 courses for Restaurant Week, so make your reservations early." The portions were miniscule (NOT worth $35 per person), and we had to ask for more bread after our second course to keep our stomachs content. The food was just tasty enough, but nothing to rave about. I was so looking forward to gelato or sorbet for dessert, which I was told they had just run out of before I placed my dessert order. As we were finishing our meal, I overheard a newer table ask for more bread only to be told they were all out. I overheard another table being told after they were served their dessert that they had to wait a few minutes for clean cups for their coffee. I think Ava has potential, but I just don't feel the restaurant is as experienced as some others in making the entire night run smoothly. I will give it the bustle of Restaurant Week, but there were too many unpleasantries to overlook. The food was not nearly good enough to warrant a return visit.
great byo! creme brulee was amazing! – this place is great, i have been there 3 times. once during restaurant week it was slightly disappointing since the portions were really small, when i don't think they are expensive enough to have to reduce portion sizes for $30 price fixe. the trio of creme brulees were great, the best i have ever had. also the pastas are really good.
Best BYOB in Philly – This place just gets better and better. I recently had some of the most delectable saffron risotto and ossobuco this side of Italy and the sorbet what a treat. I am not usually a fan of the BYOB but I am a fan of great food. The chef does a wonderful job with innovative Italian fare. My hat is off to AVA. Keep up the good work.
Surprisingly Disappointing – We chose Ava as the scene of our monthly Girls Night out with an 8:30PM reservation on a Friday night. We walked in the restaurant and was surprised to see only a table of 2 there. But, we had heard good things from friends, so we continued on. Unfortunately, the meal was poor for 5 out of the 6 people at the table. We ordered a variety of items - the mozzarella wrapped in speck was burnt bacon-wrapped cheese, the pastas defied even an al-dente definition and were quite hard, and we waited over an hour between our appetizers and main course with no one else in the restaurant! I'm sad to say that the coffee was the best part of the meal. Unique menu, but the actual food didn't live up to the expectations we had. With so many other fantastic BYOB's in the city, we probably won't be going back.
Best Kept Secret – My boyfriend and I just tried Ava for the first time and can't wait to go back. The menu and atmosphere both have a warm Mediterranean feel. We shared the mussels which were fantastic. They weren't sopping in gravy like some other Italian restaurants. The whole fish was great too with just a touch of olive oil and lemon. If you're looking for a romantic restaurant with great food that's reasonably priced...this is your place.
MMM~ – It was a girls night out and we had a wonderful time at AVA. The apps, entres, and desserts were fabulous.
BYOBs are typically small but Ava allowed you to be comfortable while enjoying your friends & food. =D
Great Find ! – Right off South Street, this very warm-feeling BYO is well worth a try. The staff is very attentive and friendly. The mussels with pancetta & fennel were some of the best weve had in a long time. All the entrees, halibut drizzled with lemon-olive oil; veal scallopini; pork tenderloin with gorgonzola in fig demi-glaze; were delicious. The in-house made Hazelnut gelatti was very good as was the chocolate tort. With shared appetizers and desserts and 2 coffees, the bill came to around $64 per couple before tip. We will definitely go back.
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