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A Mano serves delicious, handcrafted pasta in a lively Fairmount eatery. This is some of the best pasta in the city.
A Mano comes from a place of deep love for the simple, traditional things in life…including hand crafted pastas made the old way. With dishes spanning the range of Italian cuisine – from Piemonte to Calabria – there’s something here for everyone. The menu, conceived by Chef Michael Millon, is delivered nightly under the leadership of Executive Chef George Sabatino.
A Mano is also known as the sister restaurant to Rittenhouse Square’s Townsend and the Oloroso in Midtown Village.
The menu is deceptively simple in its scope. There’s just 7 starters, 4 pasta courses and 4 main courses, plus 2-3 desserts.
What the menu lacks in quantity, it makes up for in terms of quality. The roasted beets with whipped ricotta is sweet and tangy. The burrata with prosciutto di Parma, grilled summer beans and pesto is literally the best of everything summer all in one dish. And, no meal would be complete without an order of the homemade focaccia with house-made Stracciatella.
For pastas, all of them are remarkable – and hand made. If there is a signature dish of the restaurant, it is the Mafaldine with pork ragu. It’s one of the best pastas I’ve ever had. Full stop. The mushroom Lumache with porcini mushrooms in a butter sauce is deliciously earthy.
Don’t forget to save room for dessert. The honey panna cotta with almond crumble and plum preserves is delightfully light and fresh after a carb-heavy meal.
This corner restaurant is a mixed vibe. Tourists visiting the nearby Eastern State Penitentiary grab tables next to Fairmount locals who come a couple of nights a week. Everyone is here for the same hearty Italian fare.
The mood is lively and the service is friendly. Servers joke with patrons. And dishes roll from the kitchen with speed and regularity.
The very tightly packed restaurant seats 50, plus a handful of sidewalk tables, so seats can sometimes be difficult to come by. And at peak service, the volume inside can be considerable. In good weather, the large windows along the opened making it feel like an open-air restaurant.
There are two set menus (abbondanza). A four-course family menu (antipasti, small primi, secondi, and dessert) for $68. A three-course pasta menu (antipasti, a larger pasta portion, and a dessert) is $48.
Of course, items are available a la care. Starters run $14-18. The pasta dishes come in two sizes: the smaller is similar to a lunch portion and good if you are getting a secondi and run $16-18, while the full-size dinner portions are $28-32. The meat or fish entrees are $28-32.
A Mano Philly is a BYOB, so bring your own. The servers are quick to open bottles or provide chillers if necessary.
Reservations are essential on weekends, but some walk-up tables can be found during the week.
A Mano is located at 2244 Fairmount Avenue, one block from Eastern State Penitentiary, in the Fairmount neighborhood. There is a considerable amount of on-street parking in the neighborhood, or a pay lot immediately across the street. Visit the A Mano website for more information.