Dec 2006

Fellini Cafe Trattoria – Philadelphia

Fellini Cafe Trattoria is a local chain in the Philadelphia region. There are six locations (mostly located in the ‘burbs) and all are independently run by each franchisee. The menu is consistent across all the locations where I have dined. I tried Fellini for the first time my sophomore year of college for a Cross Country team dinner and have loved it ever since. I even had my 22nd birthday party there! Sadly, since my Swarthmore days, the Baltimore Pike location has shut its doors. Luckily, a Fellini opened up one block from my apartment in Center City. Woot.

I usually go to Fellini for dinner, but have always wanted to go for lunch because they only serve paninis at lunch. During our visit, Wes and I both ordered paninis. I had the Panino Fellini, while Wes had the Panino al Pollo. The complimentary bread was very good, it would’ve been better if it were warm.

While Fellini makes a mean pasta, their paninis are mediocre. Our paninis were a let down because they didn’t meet our expectations of grill marks and melted cheese. However, after this experience I am starting to question my expectations because my panino from Paninoteca back in October also lacked grill marks and melted cheese.

Here’s how Wikipedia defines “panino”: “A panino is a sandwich made from a small loaf of bread, typically a ciabatta. The loaf is often cut horizontally and filled with salami, ham, meat, cheese or other food, and sometimes served hot.” I think my definition may be a off.

Expectations aside, my panino had both high and low points. The “homemade bread” was a definite high. It was crisp on the outside and soft on the inside and held the contents well. The mixed green salad was also delicious. I requested provolone cheese for my sandwich, which was good but pricy ($1.50). The panino’s lows were pretty low. The Parma ham was most definitely deli counter ham and skimpily applied. And the tomato sauce on the bread made it soggy and cold.

I did not try Wes’ al pollo, but it seemed similar to mine (minus the ham, plus chicken). The chicken was grilled and cut into strips and seemed a bit more robust than my ham. Wes said that his grilled chicken had a “burnt” taste in spots, but other than that it was good. The panini portions were ridiculous. I could only finish half of mine and Wes only ate a quarter of his.

Next time, I’ll stick to the pasta!

Fellini Cafe Trattoria
2216 Walnut St, Philadelphia 19103
Phone: 215-972-0860

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