If you like Italian cuisine and even think you might like opera you should put the Victor Café on your list of “things to do in Philadelphia”.
Located in a residential neighborhood in South Philly, Victor Café was our destination when my sister, Dora, and I grabbed a cab outside the Philadelphia Convention Center. Peering through the opening in the barrier separating us from the driver, Dora, said, “Victor Café, please” and started to give the address. The taxi driver interrupted, “Don’t need an address, I know where it is.”
Ok then. That’s a good sign, right? The driver went on to tell us he has been there to eat lots of times. His wife likes to go there. He seemed pleased that we even knew about it. He explained, “So often visitors never leave the Center City – get off the beaten track – try to find a place like Victor Café”. He added politely, “We’ll be there in a few minutes”.
And there we were, at Victor Café. It was a Monday night so it wasn’t busy, which was good because we were hungry. We ordered our food, raviolis for Dora, fettuccini for me. (No food pictures, remember, it never looks as good as it tastes – and it was good!) While we were waiting for our food we watched the waitress as she rang a bell, cleared her throat, and treated the dinner guests to an aria – Mozart’s Susanna. Right there in the dining room, seemingly right in the middle of serving a table. And the sound that filled that room made you want to sing along – I think Dora did, just a little bit! But not me, I don’t sing and I don’t know Italian. So, I just smiled a goofy, “I can’t believe I’m hearing this” sort of grin.
Two arias later (one by our waitress, another by the bartender, who midstream sang out in English, “I forgot the words, da dah” – add your own vibrato) we were finishing off our lemon sorbet (served in a frozen hollowed out lemon skin – gotta try that at home) when the three opera singers (aka wait staff) gathered around a nearby table and treated a guest to an operatic rendition of Happy Birthday. That does it, I’m planning a trip to Philly on my birthday just so I can have Happy Birthday sang to me at Victor Café.
Check out the Victor Cafe’s great website by clicking here.