by Chrysa Smith

In the mood for a little Puccini, Rossini, Bellini?
Then head to Victor’s Cafe in South Philly, where ‘Authentic Italian’ is served up– both in food and song.

That’s right—singing waiters. But not just any singing waiters—- opera singers. Beginning at 5pm, this South Philly daily tradition begins. As I remember it, a bell will ring (like in church) to call your attention and quiet you down. Then the entertainment begins–and it’s darn good. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to pull out your handkerchief and have yourself an emotional moment as well. And if you’re not an opera fan? Well, don’t fret. As I remember it, there’s an occasional classic Sinatra song thrown in for good measure. After a healthy round of applause, the singing ends and you can get back to your meal and your friendly banter—at least, until the bell rings once more.

If you go, you might sense a feeling of deja vu. And that’s because The Victor Cafe has appeared on screen in Rocky, starring Sly Stallone. In fact, one night, we circled and circled Dickinson Street because we couldn’t find The Victor Cafe—-but a strikingly similar eatery called ‘Adrian’s.’ It finally clicked, we entered and every piece of artwork that canvassed the walls was replaced with Rocky memorabilia; a transformation done for a recent filming. Too funny.

The food is classic South Philly Italian; pasta, veal, seafood–and as I remember, pretty good. A bottle of wine and your evening is complete; dinner and an opera at the price of a nice meal—Bravissimo! Bravissimo!

Located at 1303 Dickinson St. in Philadelphia, PA, reservations are highly recommended.