Cucina Forte

4.6
295 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Italian
Welcome to Cucina Forte Italian Restaurant. I invite you to dine with us and experience an authentic Italian cuisine made with the freshest ingredients. I create every dish with love. The same tradition my mother started at our family restaurant in the Abbruzzi Region of Italy in 1965!

-Maria Forte
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Italian
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Hours of operation
Dinner: Tuesday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm

Friday & Saturday: 4:30pm - 11:00pm

Sunday: 4:00pm - 10:00pm
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Phone number
(215) 238-0778
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Maria Forte
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Catherine Street
Additional
Banquet, BYO Liquor, BYO Wine, Gluten-free Menu, Private Room, Wine
What 295 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.6
service
4.2
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 2

They either had a very bad day or other reviews are paid for: grilled octopus came out cold and undercooked, was quickly replaced though. In general pasta was bland and with boring flavors and generic sauces. When asking for pepper we got red pepper flakes...duh. At the end it took a few follow ups to get the check. Pasta with clams had sand in it (clams not cleaned well). Overall a very poor experience and not memorable at all.

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BM
New York Area
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 1

We arrived with high expectations and were very disappointed.
Seating was much too close, every time a servicer had to get to the tables on the other side of our table they bumped into my husband, with no "excuse me or apology". One of the waitresses must have just come from yoga and was dressed in her workout attire. Food was fair at best and service was slow. After dinner we ordered capachinos the waiter returned and said the capachino machine was broken and would coffee do. The dessert and coffee arrived and the tiaramisu was frozen solid, when I asked the waiter about the frozen confection he said he didn't know he wasn't Italian.
When my husband added cream to his coffee it poured out in chunks (OMG), when we finally saw the server again the replacement cream curdled in my coffee.
Would not recommend Cuchina Forte to anyone, ever.

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SZ
Atlantic City
2 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Cucina Forte was absolutely lovely. Very friendly waiter and the Gnocchi both regular and GLUTEN FREE!! were amazing. Must try for GF folk looking for some delicious homemade pasta. Will definitely go back.

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M
Philadelphia
4 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 2

It’s a low key authentic Italian restaurant. It’s old school so no fancy interiors, but best gnocchi in Philadelphia! BYO and staff makes you feel at home. Cozy.

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m
1 review
Dined on October 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

The food was exceptional. All six in my party agree. The waiter was soo great

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AC
Philadelphia
5 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

Very good food Nice neighborhood restaurant with good atmosphere

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OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and service

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P
Philadelphia
10 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Excellent home cooked food with just the right sized portions. Great home made pasta and even changed some menu recipes to our liking.

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l
Philadelphia
317 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Four of us went to dinner and it was delicious. We ordered soup, salads, calamari, a veal dish, a chicken dish and pasta and shrimp. Very nice portions, wonderful service and a beautiful evening. Thank you Cucina Forte.

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D
Orlando
10 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

I’ve been dining here since Maria Forte opened this restaurant years ago. I no longer live in Philadelphia, but whenever I leave Florida to visit friends in Philly, dinner at Cucina Forte is a must!

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CC
1 review
Dined on September 21, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Our dinner was fantastic. The gnocchi's are to die for, and that was the main reason I went. Everyone loved their meal.

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K
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined on September 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food and service were excellent. Cucina Forte never disappoints! Highly recommend.

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OT
1 review
Dined on September 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was our first time at this restaurant that many of our friends recommended. We experienced Outstanding food and service!

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PR
Philadelphia
7 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We had just moved into the Bella Vista section of Philadelphia, and we were tired from a full day of unpacking. Our real estate agent told us this was his favorite restaurant in the neighborhood, and since it was a short walk, we decided to try it. It was a good recommendation and a good choice by us. It was an intimate setting, which we enjoyed. As Italian Americans we do not particularly care for the "usual" fare, and the food here was quite imaginative. I started with Maria's Dream Soup. and it was a meal in itself: a light and delicious broth packed with chicken, spinach and bread. We shared the grilled calamari, which was better than any squid dish that I had in any other restaurant. We got the same entrees: sacchetti, which are pasta sacks of prosciutto and fontina cheese in a meat sauce. It was fabulous, and such a healthy portion that we took remainders home with us.
Prices were okay (we're finding that no place is cheap in Bella Vista). Still it was an enjoyable meal, and we can't wait to go back.
P.S. This is a BYOB restaurant, so that is one way to keep your cost down.

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M
Philadelphia
5 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

It’s a neighborhood gem. Old school Italian (hence the random Christmas lights) with the matriarch grandmother still cooking the best gnocchi’s in Philadelphia in the kitchen. The ricotta gnocchi with Gorgonzola sauce is to die for! Rich but amazing. Best little BYO find.

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OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

AMAZING! Wonderful food and the owner was so sweet! We will be going back!!

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M
Philadelphia
4 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Maria Forte really knows how to serve up an authentic Italian meal. Our food is delicious all the time. We have been going there since she opened about 20 years ago. Our service was excellent. Her granddaughter Maria was waiting on us. Certainly a treasure of a place

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N
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

As usual the service and food were great. It is pleasant to be in a cozy warm feeling restaurant with a low noise level where conversation is possible. The star of the evening was talking to the wonderful chef who is Ms Forte who has been cooking and running this little gem for 20 years or more.

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RB
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on August 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was the third time that I've been to Cucina Forte, and it was just as good as the first time. We got there early, so it wasn't too busy. The waitstaff was very attentive and knowledgeable of the menu. I know they make homemade gnocchi all the time, but if you catch the right day (Friday, sometimes Saturday), they also make amazing gluten free gnocchi (!!!!) It's a very allergy-friendly restaurant with fantastic food. I look forward to going back!

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SI
Philadelphia
7 reviews
Dined on July 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Service was absolutely great !!!! Food was phenomenal !!

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OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on July 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food!

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JP
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was great, everything came out at the same time. We will be back.

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J
1 review
Dined on July 24, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Food was good, nothing to rave about though. Basic stuff you get at any Italian place. Server was exceptional and did a great job. Knew the specials, answered questions and gave a recommendation when asked about a dessert decision. Only negative is that they only serve coffee, which is fine with me. But not everyone drinks coffee. Would have been nice to have tea for my wife. Regardless, we had a nice time.

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i
Philadelphia
19 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Homemade Gnocchi was delicious. Service was very good and attentive. Really nice neighborhood restaurant.

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OT
1 review
Dined on June 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Top notch food and service. Specials menu is unique and unmatched for quality.

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OT
Philadelphia
8 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Hands down always the best Italian in the city. My family always demands we go when they visit

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Y
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined on June 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best of the best. As always!

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OT
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on June 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Simple yet sublime Italian dishes made from the heart.

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AC
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing dining experience, staff is wonderful food is outstanding

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BY
Philadelphia
34 reviews
Dined on June 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had the famous Gnocchi...always amazing.... the eggplant crabmeat app special... shrimp scampisi, and other seafood dishes.... homemade fettuccine is genuine...
Thank you, Maria, for stopping to greet us....
Our family’s favorite...

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OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on June 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great Food..Impeccable Service..one of the Best BYOB’s in South Philly!
One of my definite “go-to’s for years.

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OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on May 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely amazing! The best italian food in south Philadelphia! Great service and even better atmosphere!

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OT
Chicago
34 reviews
Dined on May 26, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Food was okay- fresh but a little standard southern Italian

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K
Philadelphia
11 reviews
Dined on May 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was our first time dining at Cucina Forte. The menu was the draw for us and it sure did not disappoint with flavor and taste of our food. The food includes authentic, Italian dishes with fresh ingredients, homemade pasta and sauces. Homemade bread is also provided while waiting for your meal. Entree sizes are big - we had enough for dinner and a meal the next day. The spinach salad with prosciutto and pineapple was worth every dollar! The ambiance is quiet and quaint. The service was fantastic - they were constantly checking on us to make sure everything was to our liking. Don't forget to BYOB or take a quick 5 minute walk to the Wine & Liquor store on South Street. We will definitely be back!

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r
Philadelphia
12 reviews
Dined on May 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Absolutely one of our favorite restaurants. Mama Forte knows how to cook authentically and her homemade Gnocchis are the best around. She makes fantastic gravies and the staff are always welcoming. This is a gem among South Philly restaurants, but it is a gem worth finding and going to. We'll be back again.

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OT
Philadelphia
15 reviews
Dined on April 21, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Thanks to Anthony and his team, we were treated like longtime friends and were provided with outstanding service and excellent food. This restaurant is a gem and we look forward to returning very soon.

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e
Philadelphia
16 reviews
Dined on April 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our dinner was fresh and delicious! We enjoyed every bite and the service was spot on. We will return for sure!

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MI
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on April 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We had anotherbgreat experience at Cucina Forte. We were running late, because parking in that area is a nightmare, but they were very accommodating towards us. We got there 45 minutes late and they seated us right away. It's an authentic Phillynrowhome type restaurant, meaning it's a little cramped and noisy, but that's what you'd expect. That didn't detract from our enjoyment of the restaurant. The food was amazing, the service was amazing, and everything was great. We've been going there for years and we love it every time.

PS- let me be clear. Parking can be a problem, it's a small place, and it can be a bit noisy. That being said I can't rate this restaurant High Enough. We loved it so much that we had our wedding rehearsal dinner here. So just come early and be prepared to walk a couple of blocks. You won't be disappointed.

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JN
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

My wife and I had dinner this past Friday. We have eaten here before but this time I was disappointed because we felt rushed. The food came out too quickly even though we requested them to wait between courses. The waiter told us the specials and the price. Not sure why that was necessary. The waiter was not knowable about the menu. Speaking of menu it is very limited. The specials don't change. I had the gnocchi which are great. Other than that, we won't be back anytime soon.

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BB
Philadelphia
13 reviews
Dined on February 25, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

I would imagine it would be less noisy on a week night. The food was delicious!

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