On Saturday morning, we decided to travel to Phila. and wanted an Italian restaurant for dinner. I read the 4 other reviews of La Stanza and decided to call, and I was glad I did! The chef/owner Marco took my call, we made a reservation for 8:00 and showed up exactly as planned. What great, great find.
Greeting: We were greeted at the door and while our table was cleaned led to the bar, where the bar lady poured a nice drink with a heavy hand. The white wine my wife had was an average if somewhat mild pinot gri, but we didn't come here looking for a wine list
Atmosphere: It was like being back in New York, or even better South Philly. This is a large neighborhood restaurant, with families and noise and parties and fun. There were two three large celebrations going on and it was absolutely great, we felt right at home and comfortable the minute we walked in. There was a male singer with a "karaoke" accompanying machine, and that was also fun. Dress is definitely casual, but not sloppy!
Service: Rick was our waiter and he was ably assisted by a very friendly bus person. Although there were only two wait staff, we got served on time and the food was served at the right time and the correct temperature. Rick made suggestions from time to time, was absolutely on top of everything, including refilling my drink and he made it a wonderful experience. The manager came over and made inquiries, It was nice to be attended to this way, especially with three large parties going on. All in all - they continued making our two hour dining experience fabulous. The other wait staff person was asked to do a phenomenally tough job while we were there, and she needed to be mentioned on well she did, also.
Food: There is no way to describe it! I had the steamed clams for a appetizer, my wife had the mozzarella and calamari. We had never tasted sauces and tastes like this before. I had the chicken soup dish, also, again, the taste was unlike anything I had before. The main courses, mine veal Marsala and hers veal with a shrimp sauce was great. I have had veal Marsala many times, but the sauce was creamy, like silk, and had the perfect reduction so the wine flavor, while apparent, did not overtake the perfectly cooked veal. The desserts, mine a tiramisu and hers a back and white ricotta cheese cake were just as good as the rest of the meal..Their espresso machine broke down three years ago, Rick told us, but the coffee was really good also.
What more can I say? You may have to go out of your way to find La Stanza but it will be worth it. I would call ahead, just to make sure they don't have four big family gatherings...but I would recommend this place to you. We will be coming back when we go back to Philly.