-Brenda Hillegas (@shamrockenroll)
A couple weekends ago, my friends and I made plans to see a matinee of Pretty Woman at the Kimmel Cultural Campus. Obviously we were going to do brunch before the show and decided to cross something off of our ever growing “we must try this place” list. Settling on Via Locusta, Michael Schulson’s Italian restaurant in the Rittenhouse Square area was easy enough. Aside from a tempting cocktail list, brunch standards like eggs and pancakes, and the tempting “let’s just order all the sides” option, you can also get their handmade pasta dishes. Obviously.
Prior to visiting I was pretty set on the quadretti ravioli or the chicken milanese. Our early reservation though made me want breakfast fare more. So my original plan went out the window (so did my idea of splitting a stack of the whole wheat pancakes). More on the menu after we talk about those drinks…
I also decided on the Nonna Bella cocktail (vodka, green apple, pineapple). But, then a bottle of Prosecco with some juices for the table to make our own mimosas seemed like a better use of our Sunday Funday. I highly recommend this option. Also worth sharing- the focaccia bread with whipped honey butter! Get one or two depending how many people are in your brunch crew. One was perfect for three of us. It was hot, buttery and perfect as we still were trying to shake off the 20 degree weather outside. We also shared a plate of the romanesco fritto which was crispy, fresh and included goat cheese- what’s not to love?!
My next idea was a lighter option of the farmer’s yogurt with honey, seasonal fruit and a brown butter crumb. Paired with a side of black pepper sausage. Then I had second thoughts (which I do regret and can easily fix by returning asap). I mean it when I say this whole menu is incredible and I wish you good luck in nailing down an option. Finally, the three of us each settled on a dish. I went with two eggs (scrambled), applewood smoked bacon and the crispiest, most delicious potatoes I’ve ever had. My friends chose steak and eggs (perfect steak), and bruschetta (avocado pesto, smoked salmon and a poached egg) which is a must try!
And as hard as it might seem after fulfilling entrees and incredible focaccia, we did save some room for dessert. The three of us shared the caramel gelato (order coffee too and throw in a dollop) and I’m still thinking of that pear tart. Make sure you ask to see the dessert menu and try a few of whatever is being offered! You can’t go wrong.
Before braving the cold to our show, we wrapped up our visit to Via Locusta with some warm drinks. One of us settled on just tea and was presented with a variety from which to choose. Two of us (me of course) decided on boozy coffee. Fresh coffee and Jameson is always a great choice (and you can do that here), but we went with something a little more on brand. Via Locusta has a digestivi menu with house made liqueurs perfect on their own or in a coffee. My favorite? A Nutella-inspired, creamy hazelnut and chocolate blend that’s great for an after meal pick me up. I look forward to returning sometime soon to try a few more.
Overall we had a wonderful experience at Via Locusta in a cozy corner table! Our server was knowledgeable and friendly, making us feel like old friends. I’m certain you’ll have a similar experience when you visit. View the menus at https://www.vialocusta.com/menu and don’t forget to make a reservation!
Thanks for being so wonderful, Via Locusta!