In 1893, the Dispigno family, like many others, came to America seeking the “American Dream”. Fresh from Naples, the family settled in Philadelphia and started their family business in 1900. Named for the son of Francesco and Catherine Dispigno, Ralph’s Italian Restaurant has been family-owned and operated for over 100 years–making it America’s oldest Italian restaurant with maintained family ownership. Today, Ralph’s is being led into the 21st century by the fourth-generation of the Dispigno family.
As you step inside, you are transported back to classic Italian America. It’s not surprising when you learn that Ralph’s was one of Frank Sinatra’s favorite restaurants in Philadelphia. Ralph’s dining room is very intimate–softly-lit with tables sitting closely together. As you dine, it isn’t out of the ordinary to hear fluent Italian carrying over top the smooth dulcet tones of Sinatra himself.
Once you’re seated, be sure to indulge in the piping hot, crunchy bread, locally sourced from 9th Street neighbor and Philadelphia favorite, Sarcone’s Bakery. Must-try dishes include the house recommendation, Veal and Artichoke Hearts. The veal is egg-dipped and served in a creamy white wine sauce with artichoke hearts folded within. A must-try antipasti is the Greens and Pastine soup which gives homage to classic Italian-American cuisine.