Vetri has the longstanding reputation as being one of the most respected and influential Italian restaurants in the country.
After years of working in some the finest kitchens in Italy and the U.S., Chef Marc Vetri returned home to his native Philadelphia, took over the intimate, jewel box townhouse that was once home to the lauded Le Bec Fin. In the early days, the kitchen staff consisted of just Marc and one other cook with his business partner, sommelier Jeff Benjamin manning the front of the house. Together they opened the doors in September 1998. It proved to be a stunning debut, as Vetri—with its outstanding rustic fare, handcrafted pastas, innovative flavor combinations and artful presentations—gained a fast following amongst diners, critics and fellow chefs alike.
Within two years of opening, Vetri received the Philadelphia Inquirer's highest restaurant rating, and Chef Vetri was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Ten Best New Chefs.” In 2005, he won the James Beard Award for "Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic.” Chef Vetri and Benjamin have gone on to open other celebrated, popular restaurants—Osteria (2007), Amis (2010), Alla Spina (2012), Pizzeria Vetri (2013) and Osteria Moorestown (2013)—however, Vetri will forever remain their flagship.
Originally opened and operated with a more traditional a la carte menu, Vetri moved to a tasting menu-only format to fully showcase the constantly evolving, dynamic creativity of Chef Vetri and his kitchen staff, and their desire to offer an unparalleled dining experience. Upon arriving at their table, guests are treated as they would be in Italy and are eased into dinner with a selection of stuzzichini (hors d’oeuvres). With palates and stomachs primed, menus arrive—Di Pesce (fish), Di Verdure (vegetable), Di Terra (from the earth) and Dolce (dessert)—allowing for both the perusal of the season’s best offerings, and a conversation between guests and the restaurant’s staff to shape the meal. From there, the kitchen goes to work crafting personalized six-course tastings. Though the menus frequently change, reflecting the finest of what’s available at the market, guests can still find longtime Vetri signature dishes such as Spinach Gnocchi with Brown Butter; Sweet Onion Crepe with White Truffle, and Baby Goat with Freshly Stone-Milled Polenta.
As Vetri’s dinner menu has evolved over the years, so too has its complementary beverage program. When the restaurant first opened, Benjamin had curated a 70-bottle Italian wine list. Today the wine cellar, which has been carefully expanded over time, boasts 2,500 bottles. Still Italian focused—including wines from almost every region in Italy, a rare offering in the U.S.—the wine list now features 500 varietals encompassing both the Old and New World, along with a profound vertical selection of many vintages that can span a decade or more. Additionally, Vetri was one of the first fine-dining restaurants in the country to embrace craft and artisanal beers, and since 2002 it has offered guests the opportunity to do a full or partial beer pairing with dinner.
Vetri seats 30, making for an even more intimate feel while also allowing guests ample room to enjoy their dinner. The highlight of the dining room are two elegant hand-blown Murano glass chandeliers Chef Vetri had custom made by the famed artisans at the Formia glass factory in Venice, Italy.
In the spring of 2014, Vetri expands upstairs with the opening of its first-ever private dining room. This new space will allow for the hosting of events of all kinds and feature Vetri’s award-winning food and beverage menus. It will also house the brand-new Vetri Family test kitchen, giving the company’s chefs a place to develop new ideas and dishes.
The Vetri team is frequently traveling, exploring, tinkering and always striving for continued excellence. This intense effort and great care translates to the table where guests are delivered more appealing experiences and offered many preparations, ingredients, products and flavors they would not normally find elsewhere.