Ernesto's 1521 Cafe
1521 Spruce St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
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05/28/2010Provided by Citysearch -
My boyfriend and I made a reservation here for a pre-orchestra dinner on 5/27/2010. We arrived at 6:00 to find the front dining room locked, and no sign explaining to proceed to the back dining room. We walked down the hall and found another entrance to the front dining room. Seeing a few people in the rear of the room, we and went in that way. The people (presumably the owners) looked at us like we had come in brandishing machine guns, and proceeded to literally push us back out the door and toward the rear dining room (which until that point, we didn't know existed), telling us that they had an emergency. Servers and hosts in the rear dining room seemed to be in a bit of a tizzy, but we managed to get from one of the servers that the air conditioning in the front dining room had broken down. He told us that he couldn't seat us, but to go back up front and see ______ (a woman), who would give us a bottle of wine. We explained that we had no idea who he was talking about, so he pointed us toward a very flustered woman who did, in fact, give us a complimentary bottle of wine, and asked us to go ""across the street."" We explained that we didn't know what she was referring to, and she told us the name of a BYOB across the street. We actually walked around the corner to La Viola instead, and had a lovely meal. We may go back to Ernesto's at some point, but the utter panic they all seemed to be experiencing at an air-conditioning failure seemed a bit over the top -- we thought someone had died in the dining room, or discovered a bomb, for heaven's sake!
01/18/2009Provided by Citysearch -
My girlfriend and I went to Ernestos for New Years Eve dinner. The service was great and our waiter was very nice. Initially, my girlfriend ordered the pork chops, which were not to her liking because the cut was a bit tough. Our waiter willingly took the order back and encouraged her to order something else. After settling on the Filet Mignon and the Seafood Pasta, we were both very happy with out meals. The atmosphere was romantic and cozy with warm decor. We would definitely go back
12/24/2007Provided by Citysearch -
I am a first time customer at Ernesto's and was very pleased with our server Diane. I brought my family in after the show and she was very patient, knowledgeable and friendly. I haven't had service like this in quiet a while. Our time just kept getting better as the dishes came out. I had one of the specials and my wife had the cioppino while our children had their pastas. The food was great. After the meal, Diane offered us lemoncello and dessert which are made by Ernesto's mother and we could not pass either up. Glad we didn?t. Even though we were feed well we each had dessert and they were just like mama used to make! I highly recommend this place and will return with family and friends.
07/04/2007Provided by Citysearch -
My husband and I have been at Ernesto's countless times on a Saturday Night and the service is always well timed, helpful and friendly. The entree's are always tastfully done and salads are always fresh. I never heard a bad thing about Ernesto's. It is a staple resturant in Philadelphia and we will be back time and time again most especially on a Saturday Evening.
06/22/2007Provided by Citysearch -
On a Saturday night last week my boyfriend and I made reservations at Ernesto's for 8 PM. We showed up and the dining room was empty. We asked if we could sit outside and she said ""yeah, just go out there someone will be with you soon.""
We were brought menus and the server said she would be right back to take our order...after 20 minutes she still hadnt returned so we went in and she said she had forgotten we were outside. this would happen twice more through the evening.
The food wasnt that good, and the entrees came before we even finished the appetizer. If the service is this bad when the restaurant is empty, I can't imagine it on a busy night.
09/17/2006Provided by Citysearch -
Went to Ernestos on a recommendation from a friend. Was going to a concert at the Kimmel and wanted something close by that was reasonably priced, and also somewhere that I could get into on a Saturday night. Was able to get reservations with no problem. The service was excellent, the food was delicious and the overall price was reasonable. Our two entrees were the crab cakes and the night's special, flank steak served on a bed of arugula. We were both very pleased with our dinners. The owner came around and greeted us in a very friendly manner, which added a nice personal touch to the overall atmosphere of the place. I could tell that the other diners also appreciated it. We were able to sit and enjoy dessert and coffee afterwards without feeling rushed. Overall, very pleased and would definitely return to Ernestos.
08/06/2006Provided by Citysearch -
This excellent Italian BYOB-or-not evolved from an art cafe to a fully realized restaurant at some point over the years. We've been twice since we discovered it a couple months ago. The service was warm, friendly and attentive but low key. We felt welcome immediately, even though the room was full of regulars. The room itself was beautifully spare - a single handsome abstract painting decorated the walls, thus highlighting the architecture of the airy, high-ceilinged carefully-painted room. The menu was fairly small but carefully chosen, with several appetizers, salads, entrees, pastas, specials, and desserts to choose from. There were several wines by the glass and a good selection of fairly-priced wines by the bottle. You may also bring your own bottle if you choose, which is a really nice feature! Regarding the food, the squash ravioli were simple, delicate, rich, sublime. The steak in my flank steak salad was delicious, perfectly grilled, juicy, flavorful, while the arugala and tomatos were fresh and ripe, dressed in a tangy lemon vinaigrette. The same salad tops the Milanese cutlet, a pork chop pounded thin, breaded, and crisply fried. On our second visit, my husband reported that the cutlet was a little tough to his taste. My buccatini amatriciana was divine - the pasta perfectly al dente, the sauce simple in its rich onion, tomato and pancetta splendor. My husband had the osso bucco on his first visit, which impressed him mightily with its tenderness and its rich savoriness. Of the desserts we tasted, the tiramisu was an excellent, straight-ahead version. The ricotta cheesecake was, like so much of the food on the menu, perfectly simple, rich, pure in flavor, astoundingly light. I must also mention the great bread, from Faragalli's - dense, earthy, slightly sweet. And the chocolatecello that Ernesto sometimes dispenses at the end of the meal - alcoholic chocolate heaven.
06/29/2005Provided by Citysearch -
The setting is pretty and the staff friendly at this small Italian restaurant near the Avenue of the Arts but everything we tried was just ok. The exception was the fried calamari with mango chutney which was outstanding. In the just ok category was the endive salad with goat cheese as well as both entrees. (Both were Specials - 2 fairly small fried softshell crabs and a Veal dish served over white beans.) The shared tiramisu dessert was nothing to write home about. With a bottle of wine, before tip, the bill came to around $95 - too much to pay for just average food.
04/23/2004Provided by Citysearch -
Stopped by Ernesto's for a mid-week dinner and was pleasantly surprised. Food was excellent, esp. the house made pasta. The wine list has a good selection of reasonably priced bottles. Service was friendly and efficient, all leading up to a very pleasant dining experience. In a low key spot that is definitely worth a visit.
07/16/2002Provided by Citysearch -
Having watched Ernesto's blossom from a little neighborhood BYOB to a restaurant situated perfectly in the shadow of the Kimmel Center, I am pleased that the excellent food and service has not gotten lost in the shuffle.
After about a year hiatus, I recently returned on two seperate occasions. I'm particularly partial to the risotto, which i consider among the best in the city. However, all entrees were superb. Service was also excellent. The eponymous owner graciously hovers to ensure all diners are happy.