The Luigi Veronelli dining guide " One of the Best Italian Restaurant in North America "
Star Ledger " 3.5 Stars "
Zagat Survey "Award of Distinction"
The New York Times " Very Good "
New Jersey Monthly Magazine " Best Italian Restaurant Critic Pick "
Reviewed by michaels9997 on 03/02/2010. Member since May 2007, Total Reviews: 8 (60 and above, Mendham, NJ) We had a delightful dinner at da Filippo's celebrating our birthdays. Chef Russo and his wife treat their customers like family, and serve up excellent and imaginative food. We will be returning soon.
Reviewed by NJ Flaneur on 10/25/2009. Member since December 2002, Total Reviews: 54 (Summit, NJ) Having recently returned from two weeks in rural Italy, I find da Filippo's even more authentic than on earlier visits. Not only is the food excellent, but guests' treatment by Filippo and family typlifies the approach of a family-run restaurant in Italy. Everyone is friendly but professional. And the kitchen produces some wonderful dishes, such as a beef stew. Not what you expect from an Italian restaurant, but what you actually get in Italy.
Reviewed by albee2008 on 11/13/2008. Member since June 1999, Total Reviews: 67 (Warren, NJ) BEST SICILIAN FISH RESTAURANT AROUND
Reviewed by Pelle A Sauce on 11/19/2008. Member since May 1999, Total Reviews: 207 (Princeton, NJ) Filippo is a great host; it's like you've been invited to family dinner. Ask him to create a tasting menu for you.
Reviewed by DavideG on 11/24/2008. Member since October 2002, Total Reviews: 117 (Jersey City, NJ) Bravo Filippo, reliably the best italian food this side of the Hudson.
Reviewed by NicoB1969 on 04/30/2009. Member since January 2004, Total Reviews: 2 (Male, 40s, Hoboken, NJ) Truly excellent... Filippo is an excellent host and offers wonderful suggestions. I had perhaps the best dessert I've ever had - mille foglie - basically a puff pastry with custard that knocked my socks off. I made a "yummy noise" throughout - Young Frankstein fans would have been very happy. Espresso was nice and short too. Felt like I was back in Palermo.Bravo Filippo e complimenti!
Reviewed by CaptSpaulding on 07/11/2010. Member since November 2009, Total Reviews: 11 (Male, 50s, Short Hills, NJ) Authenticity is the watchword at da Filippo's, where excellent food, a welcoming atmosphere, and jaunts around the piano keys by the charming owner/host/chef make for a winning combination. Appetizers are very good, meat and pastas are outstanding, and specials can be wonderful surprises. Fish dishes, however, are the crown jewels of the menu, a taste of Sicily in central NJ. Note: service can be weak if a family member isn't in the front room.
Reviewed by susans8869 on 04/12/2008. Member since February 2007, Total Reviews: 1 (Female, 60 and above, Hillsborough, NJ) This rivals any NYC restaurant... particularly when it comes to the incredible fish dishes. Filippo is truly a renaissance man, whose passionate creativity and personal warmth is reflected in the food and the ambiance of his restaurant. One of our favorites since the restaurant first opened - we are never disappointed and love to take family and friends to "visit".
Reviewed by DCMaven on 09/28/2008. Member since September 2003, Total Reviews: 87 (Potomac, MD) The consistency of this restaurant continues to impress me. It is a family owned place where guests are welcomed as friends of the family. Each course is prepared with care, using top notch ingredients. The veal, for example is top quality and pounded thin. Finally, you can bring your own wine, which keeps the evening relatively moderate in cost. This place is a keeper!
Reviewed by TakeshiY2164 on 10/09/2008. Member since May 2007, Total Reviews: 1 (Dayton, NJ) Excellent food and superb hospitality
Reviewed by DogsInSpace on 10/13/2008. Member since December 1999, Total Reviews: 91 (Somerville, NJ) the BEST Italian food in the area. ASK Filippo what he wants to make you and be both surprised and delighted. DON'T let the neighborhood of the room put you off --- this guy is an artist
Reviewed by RobertC6704 on 10/20/2008. Member since June 2007, Total Reviews: 17 (Male, Summit, NJ) It doesn't get more authentic than this. Tell Filippo what you want (in advance) and he will make it but you'll never go wrong with whatever he has on special. Be sure to bring really good wine o you don't insult the food!
Reviewed by DavidB2384 on 04/04/2008. Member since February 2008, Total Reviews: 3 (Male, 40s, Basking Ridge, NJ) This is one of the restaurants I prefer. The food is superb and the atmosphere impeccable. It is by far the bast Italian restaurant in the area...and even beyond. Filippo has a lot of passion for what he does and you can certainly taste it!! Whenever people come and visit, I take them to Filippo, it is my favourite place.
Reviewed by onaipzzaj on 02/10/2007. Member since February 2007, Total Reviews: 1 (Male, Warren, NJ) Perhaps the best Italian restaurant in America..these guys take authentic Italian cuisine seriously. The service and decor are also excellent.. The jazz piano accentuates the feel of this fine restaurant.
Jim B. Somerset, NJ 11/4/2008 A great Italian place in downtown Somerville. The place is "old school" which to me is a good thing. A white tablecloth place, very attentive service, great menu, and BYO. The chef owner Filippo Russo is on premises and visits with the customers on a regular basis. On our last visit Filippo was handling the front of the house, while his son was in the kitchen. There is a baby grand piano off in the corner which Filippo loves to play. The owner mentioned that his Dad had been a fisherman, back when he was growing up in Sicily. So fish is a specialty of the house. My wife was very pleased. Prices at lunch are moderate. Dinner is going to cost you - the menu is listed on their web site.
Reviewed by PaulieGee1953 on 12/14/2006. Member since June 1999, Total Reviews: 3 (Male, Warren, NJ) Filippo is the king of Somerville.
Menu of da Filippo's in Somerville inspired by owner's Sicilian fisherman father BY MARTIN C. BRICKETTO • STAFF WRITER • JUNE 17, 2010 SOMERVILLE — The food at da Filippo's restaurant on East Main Street is rooted in the heritage of its owner and chef, Filippo Russo.Russo's father was a fisherman in Sicily, and the hearty items on the restaurant's menu that Russo describes as "regional Italian cuisine" show elements of his upbringing. Dishes include grilled swordfish, calamari with ink sauce, cod wrapped in parchment paper and pan-seared fluke — just to name a few. Russo has been in the United States since 1982, but he still travels back to Italy often. The restaurant that Russo runs with the help of his wife, Berti, has undergone several renovations since it first opened in 1988. It started as a pizzeria with a counter and booths on one side of the room, but gradually evolved into the more formal but still comfortable dining setting that customers enjoy today. Russo said he is content with the current state of the restaurant, where he not only cooks the food but also occasionally plays the music, using instruments set up in a corner of the dining area. He said he would recommend the restaurant business to a young person, but only if they go about it the right way. "If you do one thing, then do it right," Russo said. "You have to enjoy it." Having been in business for more than 20 years and cooking for even longer, Russo said he has been able to enjoy seeing several generations of customers walk through the inconspicuous entrance of his restaurant. The eatery recently hosted a christening for twins, who will be the fifth generation of that family to sample the chef's cooking — once they get a little older. "I haven't cooked for them yet," said Russo, laughing.
Jean K. Bedminster, NJ 8/18/2008 We have eaten here several times and the restaurant never disappoints. A gracious hostess and good service make the dining a pleasure. They do a fantastic job with the fish of the day. If you are lucky and stay a bit the owner/chef plays the piano and sings Italian songs after the kitchen closes. I felt like I was in Europe, not Somerville while dining there.
Christopher Columbus Day at da Filippo's 132 East Main Street Somerville, NJ 08876 908-218-0110 Sunday, October 11, 2009 A Delicious Celebration for Christopher Columbus By Ernest Jaeger, Charge de Presse Provincial Honoraire We noted the birthday of Christopher Columbus at de Filippo’s Autentica Cucina Italiana Restaurant, a highly regarded dining spot in Somerville, New Jersey. Owned and operated by Chef Filippo Russo and his family, the restaurant has garnered a galaxy of stars from the metropolitan area’s food press. In addition, de Filippo’s Restaurant was recognized with the Luigi Veronelli Award of Northern American fine Italian dining. Word of the excellent food among members who had eaten there and the restaurant’s reputation made all of us look forward to dinner at de Filippo’s. Russo and his wife Berti welcomed us with an assortment of classic and tasty Italian hors d’oeuvres including baked clams, tiny meatball, Sicilian rice balls, caponata, olives and smoked salmon crostini. We sipped a sparkling Prosecco rose and looked forward to the dinner ahead with every delicious bite of the hors d’oeuvres. The five course dinner was accompanied by wines chosen by Professionnel du Vin Chris Cree, who is only one of 29 people in the United States to hold the Master of Wine distinction. Highlights of the evening included a second course of shrimp with pan seared shredded cabbage, finished with cream, a surprising combination that pleased us with its sweetness. Accompanying the dish was a 2007 Terredora di Paolo Greco di Tufo; the well balanced white with nice fruit was an excellent escort to the shrimp in the dish. The risotto served as the third course was an unexpected treat. Presented with Italian caviar and fresh ginger, the risotto was alive with flavor. A 2007 Ronchi di Cialla Colli Orientali del Fruili “Cialla Bianco” provided a most impressive and refreshing accompaniment to the risotto. Lamb Scotodito, which included chops from the rack, dusted and grilled, was served with a Puntarelli salad including escarole and fresh garlic with anchovy dressing. The lamb was succulent and perfectly cooked; the salad offered a terrific counterpoint with its distinctive flavors. Cree’s choice of a 2007 Agostina Pieri Rosso di Montalcino to accompany the lamb was perfect. The deep rich red presented mineral and spice elements which complemented the flavors of the dish beautifully. At the end of dinner, Chef Russo and his wife came out to be recognized by members and their guests. Chambellan Provincial/Bailli Robin Jacobs presented Russo with a Chaine plate to the applause of all the very happy diners. To bring the evening to a close, Chef Russo sat down at the baby grand piano to play and lead the group in singing, a tradition at the restaurant. The tunes were still ringing in our ears as we made our way to our cars, very happy with the authentic and original Italian foods we had enjoyed.
Sette Cucina Italiana City: Bernardsville County: Somerset County Phone: 908.502.5054 Price: $$ Cuisine: Italian Key: Full Review Sette Cucina Italiana * * * 7 Mine Brook Rd., Bernardsville 908.502.5054, settecucina.com It’s gratifying when the second generation of a restaurant family continues the tradition — even more so when the youngsters branch out to forge their own identities. Such is the case with Allan Russo’s boutique (28-seat) b.y.o. restaurant. Its roots are in Somerville, where Russo’s father is the eponymous owner/chef of the venerable da Filippo. With its modern Italian menu and refined villa décor, Sette (i.e., No. 7) does the family proud. Russo, 31, runs the kitchen while his wife, Loredana, oversees the dining room. Expect to be greeted by both, since each makes a point of stopping by every table. (A valuable lesson learned from the elder Russo.) Russo the Younger’s fare is the ideal amalgam of traditional and modern, straightforward and tweaked, but always starts with first-rate ingredients. How else could a dish as simple as cod baked in parchment succeed so well? The fish is strewn with fresh rosemary twigs, and tucked alongside are few adornments — say, small potatoes and bits of fresh plum tomato and zucchini, with Italian-style sweet-and-sour red cabbage as accompaniment. Even the more lush, complicated dishes impress. Pork loin rolls stuffed with fontina and pancetta and baked in truffle cream sauce could easily be clunky and overly rich. With everything in balance, the dish is anything but. Risotto with nubbins of superb house-made sausage also shows a deft hand at work, with mere hints of saffron and white truffle oil augmenting textbook-perfect rice. Other standouts include thin-cut New York strip, lightly marinated and charcoal-grilled to perfection, and swordfish given the same stellar treatment and paired with shrimp. Among starters, smoked Norwegian salmon rises above the usual, again because of Russo’s simple but spot-on adornments. Baked snails are doused with the classical herb butter, but not the usual overabundance of garlic. Handmade pastas, such as unadorned ravioli with a light plum tomato sauce, are another feature, although I think fish and meat represent Russo’s forte. The restaurant makes its own dinner rolls (they resemble crullers in shape and soft pretzels in taste), as well as desserts, among which a simple plate of biscotti ranks above the rest. The diminutive size of this gleaming jewel box of a restaurant presents challenges that can detract from an otherwise ideal dining experience. Servers are pleasant and well-intentioned, but they seem tentative (in some cases due to language barriers) or sometimes stumble. We had to ask several times for the bubbly we had brought to be retrieved from the kitchen. Other times, staff is simply overwhelmed in navigating the limited space between tables. My party of six had already been squeezed into a tiny corner when the staff impinged further on our space with not one, but two standing wine coolers for the adjoining table. Noise, too, is a problem. While the decor is strikingly handsome, sound reverberates off the granite floors, gilt-edged mirrors, etched glass panels, and golden pressed-tin ceiling. But that sound is of immensely happy diners — me included.
“Fine Italian "family" dinner prepared by chef and pianist.” Reviewed January 25, 2012 When friends wanted to open special Italian wine at a fine Italian restaurant, we were surprised to learn that they wanted this restaurant to be Da Filippo's in Somerville. Somerville? TA did not even have the restaurant listed. When we drove up to the restaurant and were able to park in front of it, we were even more skeptical. Entering, we were met by the hostess, a warm and sensible Swiss transplant. She is married to the chef. We were seated at a table for 4 and while we waited, we were given a review of the chef's special brand of Italian food. Quickly, we were getting acquainted as if we were guests in her home. Dinner: the bruschetta was fresh and delicious. We moved onto a special crispy hors d oeuvre, courtesy of the chef. Our salads were touched with zesty sauce. We ordered 2 pastas and 2 carne entrees. Satisfying and so enticing that we ate more than we should have. Afterall, we had to save room for dessert. Tiramisu? Chocolate? Tart? How about a bite of each? With Capuccinos. I think our bill came to a bit less than $200. We've had one of the best meals of the holiday season. We left with a promise to be back. It's really that good. Visited December 2011 Value Atmosphere Service Food
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The Luigi Veronelli dining guide " One of the Best Italian Restaurant in North America "