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Ralph's Italian Restaurant

Map & Directions
(61 Reviews)

760 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

(215) 627-6011

OPEN NOW
Today: 11:30 am - 10:30 pm
118
YEARS
IN BUSINESS
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General Info
Oldest Italian restaurant in the U.S. established in 1900. Still run by the fourth and fifth generations of the original family.
Hours

Regular Hours

Extra Phones

Phone: (215) 625-5018

Phone: (215) 627-0602

Brands
Barq's, Mott's, Smucker's, Welch's
Payment method
amex, mastercard, discover, visa
Price Range
$$
Neighborhoods
South Philadelphia, Bella Vista - Southwark
Category
Restaurants
Other Information

Parking: Street, Valet

Wi-Fi: No

Bike Parking: Yes

Attire: Casual

Good For Family: Yes

Good For Groups: Yes

Good for Kids: Yes

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Take Out: Yes

Alcohol: Full Bar

Takes Reservations: Yes

Outdoor Seating: No

Specialties: American Restaurant, American, American Food

Price Range : Average

Reviews

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mrcdsmith

10/20/2011

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Lousy, Don't waste you time or money

Bland tomato sauce, water soaked poorly drained pasta, boring uninspired menu. I don't know why this place is considered an ""institution"". I could make better spaghetti sauce at home - and I do.

MercedesRich

06/13/2011

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
BEST VEAL AND ARTICHOKES SINCE MY GRANDMOTHER!

Since Ralphs added Valet parking and made it easier to enjoy a fantastic dining experience, I feel more people need to try REAL italian food and stay away from &^%$#% holes like the Spaghetti Factory etc.....My girlfriend and I would walk to Ralphs from Jersey to be treated like a king and thats just what they do...

Maria Leone

01/22/2011

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Can you Say MEATBALLS!!!!

I love this place -- they have the best Italian Food in South Philly! I was there the other night to celebrate my mom's 65 bday and it was just great!! The pasta was soo good and the meatballs were as good as my mom's!! The food, the service and the people couldn't have been better!! We all had the best time!!! The is the real deal!!!

Philly Native

03/02/2010

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Italian food like my grandmother made

Step into Ralph's and it's like stepping into my grandmother's dining room. The smells from the kitchen make your mouth water. This is a ""red gravy"" place -- nothing fancy shmancy about this menu. No reduction-sauced-goose-egged-herb-encrusted nonsense. Instead, what they serve is oh-so-wonderful. We've eaten here many times. The veal, chicken, pasta, meatballs, everything is prepared to perfection. (You can cut the veal with a fork.) The wine, the service, the atmosphere: Takes me back to my Italian roots. This is the real deal in Italian food in Philly. If only they had a parking lot next door ...

musicnutz

08/14/2009

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Best Spaghetti and Meatballs!

Ralph's has everything going for it. A quiet dining room with exceptional food. My husband and I went for the first time last night and are still talking about how delicious the food was! We went traditional- spaghetti and meatballs and my husband got chicken parm. It was FANTASTIC!!! Had a real ""old world"" style to it.. really nice to have this since all Italian restaurants are trying to be so damn contemporary these days. We will definitely be back! Oh yeah and the wine was delicious too!

gstnj

08/13/2009

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Horrible

Went to Ralph's last night. with 6 of us. I had the worst Veal Malsala ever. It was in a thick beige butter sauce, looked like turkey gravy instead of a deep rich sauce as it should have been. Escarole was mushy and overcooked. Waited forever for our meals. Red sauce in other dishes was watery. Bread was stale, no olive oil or cheese on table. Never asked if we wanted appetizers. No one said good night to us or thanked us - we spent over $200. We will never go back.

nunnayerbizness

05/26/2009

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Worst Italian Food I've Ever Had!

I feel like the victim of a sick joke. I was told by a co-worker how great Ralph's is. So, I went there this past Saturday with a lady friend, and hands down it was one of the worst dining experiences of my life.

Let's start with the food. We ordered the antipasto as an appetizer. There was very little meat and cheese on the plate. The olives and beets were from a can. And the lettuce was friggin' iceburg lettuce!

I had the lasagna, and it was awful. My date got the chicken cattiatore, which she wasn't all that pleased with. Her entree came with a side of spaghetti and marinara sauce. She took one bite of it and it was overcooked. We also got a side order of broccoli rabe. This was the most offensive part of the meal--they actually BOILED the broccoli rabe, not sauteed it! I had to send it back it was inedible! Last, the bread they served was like Wonder bread...and no olive oil on the table?!?! Gimme a break!

The service was reprehensible. Our waiter had a nervous tick thing going on, and it was disturbing to place our order and watch him violently move his head back and forth. The bottle of wine we ordered costed $40; afterward, we went to a liquor store and saw it on the shelf for $16.99!

I have no idea how Ralph's got a good reputation, but it's my opinion that anyone who eats there and likes it has never had a good Italian meal in their life! One thing I will say is that Ralph's lives up to its name--IF YOU EAT THERE, YOU WILL *RALPH* UP YOUR MEAL AFTERWARDS! AVOID THIS PLACE LIKE THE PLAGUE!

fredrickcb

04/19/2009

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Very Dissapointing

ThisThis may be the oldest family owned Italian restaurant in the U.S. However, the younger generation seems to have missed their lessons in Italian cooking and presentation.

Iceberg lettuce? No olives? Very un-Italian gravy! Bread with seeds served with butter? Lasagna served piled in a bowl. For someone who has lived in Italy I found nothing Italian about this restaurant other than the photos on the walls.

The capochino was like American luke warm coffee mixed with milk and the expensive desert with the fancy name - something like ""over the moon something or other"" was nothing but a small slice of chocolate cake, nothing special at all.

Service was so, so. Nothing to complain about but nothing to recommend it either.

This was my first and last visit to Ralph’s.

nicole_dido

04/04/2009

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
WORST FOOD EVER!

I had dinner here tonight with my husband. This has been the worst meal I had in a long time. We ordered the salad special (which has tons of salt on it), the buschetta (which had absolutely no flavor), the soup (which tasted like it was straight out of a can), the lasagna (no flavor and horrible). They have the nerve to charge per soda. The bill with no alchol drinks was $65.00 and CASH ONLY. Good way to for your restaurant to ""doctor"" their tax returns at the end of the year. No transactions to show with cash.

sunnyafternoon11

01/03/2009

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Walk on by....

After a so so meal a few months ago following a Phillies game, I figured we would give Ralph's another shot. It was a cold night and we found parking right out front,so I thought ""why not"". Ralph's has a ""Vito Corleon"" sort of vibe with the tile walls and intiment atmosphere, that you don't mind the rude greeter who always looks like he has more important things going on. This is strictly a ""red gravy"" place which is fine, but Olive Garden does a much better job at half the cost. The wine servings are an insult (maybe 3 onces). The non-pasta dishes are unimaginative, and desultry. Only conventioneers from Indianapolis would find this gruel acceptable. Serving sizes were ample though, and the side pasta were homemade, and perfectly ""aldente"". Stick with the basics (Spaghetti, Ravioli, maybe Veal Parm) and at least you'll leave full. I would have provided another star if the restaurant at least ""acted"" like they were glad to host you. I don't expect royalty treatment, but the dis-interest is evident. Too bad, as the location has charm, but I would recommend you look at Kristian's or Ansill in South Philly for decent Italian, and Ostera downtown for great.......

dermanville

09/22/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Sorry we took out of town guess there.

We met out-of-towners at Ralph's on Sept 20th, and while the place itself is quite lovely and old-fashioned, the waitstaff is rather uncaring, and the food, at best, is mediocre. One entree was sent out in error, and
the specials were really anything but that. There are many other spots in Philly to have a great dinner. Try
Tre Scalini over on Passyunk - we wil not be recommending Ralph's to anyone.

dahlias19

09/01/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
The best veal parmigiana in Philly - business traveller from San Francisco

I've been to Philadelphia three times for business and each time I have eaten at Ralph's. I love their veal parmigiana with the spagetti. I look forward to going to Philly and part of the excitement of going is to eat at Ralphs. I haven't tried anything else, I've always ordered the Veal and cannoli for dessert. You get two large pieces of veal (breaded) and smothered with their red sauce. You will be full leaving the restaurant and have leftover. I watch my carb in take but when I'm in Philly, I treat myself and indulge on the carb at Ralph's. I was introduced to Ralph's by a local initially and now has become one of my favorite places to eat. Traveling frequently for business and knowing that you have a restaurant to look forward to, makes the destination much more disireable. Love the atmosphere, not pretentious at all, quite intimate and make sure you bring cash. The last time I was there, I've actually called and placed an order to go, so the conscierge from my hotel drove me to the restaurant to pick up my order. I was a bit tired that evening and wanted to eat in my hotel room. I just could not leave Philly without eating the Veal parm at Ralph's.

greenandgold

07/28/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Been there, done it, won't go back

Prior to the George Michael concert, my partner and our two best friends went to Ralph's to what we expected was going to be a culinary treat in South Philadelphia. Very wrong. Approaching the restaurant we saw a middle aged man standing near the front door eying us suspiciously. As we opened the door he said from behind ""Can I help you fellas?"" Yes, you can help - we're here to rob the joint, isn't that obvious? But in keeping my cool I said that we had a reservation. If you've been here before you know that the downstairs is small - and there were three tables of equal size that had a ""reserve"" plaque on each. After looking over his reservation list he said that we were to sit ""over there"" and gesture to a general spot on the floor not to any particular table. I asked him which one and he said again ""over there"" (walking away from his small podium would not have made him waste any breath and the gesture of escorting us to the table ""over there"" would have won him some major Scout badges).
In short - three of us ordered the escargot which were tough and tasteless sitting in a cold pond of butter with bitter minced burnt garlic with some taste of additional bitter I can only describe as anise. It was so awful that you couldn't sop it up with bread as one usuasally does with this type of sauce with joy. My partner and I both had the veal marsala which were tough junks of veal floating in at least two sticks of butter. His glass of white house wine was no larger than a thimble. Bill was $185.00 before tip which we thought was completely outrageous. Sean our server was very good though and we wish him well. As we were leaving the same man who ""greeted"" us initially saw us leave and did not even had the decency to bid us a nice evening, for dumping $185, just kinda looked away. I would have settled for,""Hey, 'fellas', thanks for patronizing our mediocre restaurant in these lean economical times, especially when there are far better ones in South Philly.""

justinvincent

04/15/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
My favorite restaurant in the world.

Currently residing in Southern California, I don't have access to what anyone in South Philadelphia would consider to be Real Italian Food. As a consequence, I literally have dreams of Ralph's ravioli, gnocchi, mussels in red sauce, and everything else on their simple, classic, amazing menu. The dreams turn out to be nightmares when I wake up 3,000 miles from 9th and Catherine. Ok, seriously: the food here is absolutely incredible. I've personally never had a single complaint about the service, but then again, I'm from here. If you're looking for a waiter/waitress with ""flair"" who is going to kiss up to you (to your face at least), go to TGI Friday's. The staff at Ralph's does what it needs to (ie: takes your order, gets it right, brings you the bill), and the food speaks for itself. If you go into Ralph's with a certain respect for the establishment, you will have a 5-star dining experience. Tip - request to sit upstairs. In the Summer, when they open the windows to the street, the combination of the food and the local sounds is as authentic an experience as you'll have in any American city.

yanelli1263

04/06/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Avoid this restaurant if you are an Asian Male w/Italian Female

Inappropriate behavior. I had been to this restaurant several times, being of Italian descent I found the food excellent. One Sunday evening, I brought a physician friend of mine, who happens to be Asian for dessert a perhaps a cappucino. We had just finished a meal in another restaurant. I had talked to him several times about how wonderful Ralph's was, and well, their behavior was inexcusable.
The waiters walked back and forth as if they did not know what to do with themselves and finally set a place for us. Prior to this, I had always had ""on the spot service"". There were clearly empty tables and an hour before closing. As we sat down, I said ""we are here for dessert"". The waiter just looked at me and said, ""We don't do that and turned us away.""
I have never been so embarrassed of my own culture in my life. SHAME on them. What century are we living in? I am interested in medicine as a career and this is where my own kind left me. They have lost a customer and the many recommendations I have given them. I have never been treated as such in an Asian restaurant when dining out with him.

KarenElizabeth

03/10/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
The Reviews Were Right

I checked the reviews on Ralph's before our ""ladies night"" group made reservations and was concerned when I read the negative comments. I decided to give it a try anyway because, after all, it was Ralph's! Everyone knows Ralph's--it's a South Philly landmark! Well, Ralph's is still riding high on its former reputation as far as I'm concerned. The waiters are unfriendly, impatient, snippy and inefficient. And to add insult to injury, they added a 21% tip due to our large group. We had to ask for bread (which wasn't that great), pour our own waters from the tacky pitcher on the table, send back 3 orders that were wrong, pick the anchovies out of our salad when we told hm no anchovies and ask him if we could order dessert.. Then the meals arrived and they were very disappointing. No one was raving and my group of friends are ""foodies"" and generally rave when the food is good. Their veal/eggplant/proscuitto/mozzarella ""house specialty"" arrived smothered in red sauce which made me wonder what they were trying to hide. There was no proscuitto and the veal was tasteless. I enjoyed the side of spaghetti with their fine red sauce. Several others ordered the ""special"" which was chicken picante with shrimp. When the entrees arrived, there were scallops on the plate instead of shrimp. The chicken was dripping in butter and very rich. And $23 for a chicken ""special""? Give me a break. I will say that their homemade gnocchi was very good.

Beware...it is so loud that you have to shout to speak to your tablemates, they will only do one check for the entire table, parking is an absolute nightmare, and they only take cash. It's very expensive for what you get and what you have to go through to get it! I say forget Ralph's and go to Villa di Roma on 9th Street in the heart of the Italian Market. Great food, nice service, affordable prices. Now THAT'S Italian!

ribeeztoom

02/25/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Great So. Philly experience

Ok, this was our first visit to Ralph's but not to Italian restaurants in So. Philly. We had a great time. The food was great. I mean, what you'd expect from a small italian rest. We did have a reservation, and we were directed to the bar, past several waiting groups, and told that ""Ron"" knew we were there, and would be with us shortly. After maybe, 15 minutes we were taken to the third floor, much quieter and not quite as crowded, where Ron waited on us as well as at any fine restaurant. He was extremely attentive, but not overbearing. He was also accomadating and probably made our evening as nice as it was. He just seemed to arrive when we needed him. And that's probably after climbing 2 flights of stairs. I would definitely return to give another visitor a real So. Philly experience.

bmklaver

01/30/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
A must at least one time

Ralph?s is must place to eat at least once. ?It is what it is? as far as food, location, and service. Being a family run restaurant and staffed by East coast attitude, I can?t see how any complaints of the service matter. It is what it is and probably does very well because customers accept the little things like simple bread, less than warm service (which seems to be a trait of East coast business anyway), and the possibility of a mediocre dish served. The location is fine for me since we walk there or would take a cab. It?s the city, if you have to find a place to park get over it. I had a seafood linguini dish and loved it. The broth from the seafood mixed with the sauce and noodles was fabulous. The shrimp were slightly overdone but not bad. I had the rest of my wife?s eggplant veal dish. It was veal wrapped in parmesan crusted eggplant. The eggplant was pretty soggy and the veal was slightly dry. I am not an aficionado on veal or eggplant so I am not sure how it should be. My opinion is that the taste was good but not ?wow?. The spaghetti was great. Good sauce. They do not make their own pasta, only gnocchi is made fresh, but still good. Had the gnocchi and is very good. My stomach does not agree with their veal. I am 2 for 2 with veal resulting in multiple trips to the bathroom for a couple days. However, they are apparently known for their fresh veal dishes. Glad we went but may look for other places to try next time. However, there is a feeling of connection with the family after eating there a couple times.

linwhite

01/11/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Disappointing

After seeing 4+ stars, 7 of us ventured to Ralph's from Wilmington on a Sunday night for a birthday dinner...reservations at 6. It was crowded and would ultimately become packed. I'm not sure why. Two of us had Ralph's specials, veal and artichokes and chicken sorrento; both were tasteless and oily. The artichoke hearts came right out of a can (I know because that is the way I eat them at home!) and the veal was tough. The lobster diablo was so spicy that you couldn't enjoy the expensive lobster. The clams casino were drenched in a spaghetti red sauce. The everything salad had lots of goodies on top and only head lettuce on the bottom. It was fresh though. The side of spaghetti was delicious. Before paying the bill, I told one of the waiters how disappointed I was with the veal ( 3/4 of it was left on my plate) and he said 'oh, you must have eaten too much bread.' There are MUCH better Italian restaurants in Philly where the waiters aren't rude and the parking is easier.

sybill

11/05/2007

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
AWFUL

I recently attended a dinner here for my cousin. this is her favoriate place and for the life of me I can't see why. First of all after driving around south philly for over 30 minutes I was finally forced to park in a no parking zone and received a $31.00 ticket. The facility itself is very small and cramped and EXTREMELY LOUD. I mean you can barely hear the waiter over the noise.

OK so I figure if the food is all that it should be....then the noise and the ticket would be worth it. WRONG again!!! the food was terrible and everything is ala carte. they didn't even have Chicken Parmigiana on the menu. They had Veal and Eggplant Parm...but no chicken. I have NEVER been in any italian eatery where they didn't have chicken parm on the menu.

Also the staff was RUDE and Pushy....we had a very large party with a reservation for 6pm most of the party was there on time, a few were running late, the waitier must have told us 10 times that he had another party coming in at 8pm and that we were going to be asked to leave if we were not finished when the next party arrived. Turth be told, the rest of our party was driving around looking for a parking spot!!!

If I have to say something positive about this place, I would say the prices are very reasonable. However, given the quality of the food and the service !!! they really should pay you for going there!!!

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