When reading up on Adelinas, the new restaurant and bar that opened in Chestnut Hill earlier this year, you’ll likely see the description “expect the unexpected and the comfortably familiar.” But, you’ll have to head to this quickly dubbed hotspot for yourself to fully experience what exactly that means.
Nestled in one of the most scenic street corners of the Philly suburb, Adelinas sits in the previous home of Paris Bistro & Jazz Cafe, and comes from restauranteurs and brothers, Antonio and Giuliano Presta. The family unit has already dipped its toes into the world of hospitality with Trios Tomato Pie in Glenside and Elkins Park and the BYOB Marzano Ristorante in Jenkintown (plus Manayunk’s Bella Trattoria and Craft, both of which have since closed, and the latter because of flooding from Hurricane Ida.) But their new location is an accumulation of experience, inventiveness, and of course, some of their Nonna’s recipes.
Named after said Nonna, Adelinas revamped the already-charming space to resemble an airy, romantic and fresh-faced venue full of food, laughter and hungry patrons ready to dig in. Since its opening in January, despite COVID and all of its surges, the establishment has been booked up regularly.
The atmosphere is welcoming, and almost disarming. As soon as you walk through the door, the layout opens up: There’s greenery lining the walls, shiny glints of metallic fixtures all along the tables and bar, a soft steam from the extravagant espresso machine, and dimly lit candles during dinner service to set the tone.
It took some time to get the setting of the new Italian eatery ready as well. Opening was delayed not just because of the pandemic, but more so because of its after-effects with supply chain issues. That rang true for some menu items as well, as the brothers focused on getting some quality products from Italy directly.
But the authentic aspect needed to be in play. As Antonio told the Chestnut Hill Local, he interviewed at least 30 chefs for the job, all of whom were qualified, but it was the chemistry that needed to be there. Spending his summers in Italy where his father was born (his mother was born in Portugal), the Presta family still has a house there, but wanted to bring genuine recipes back to the City of Brotherly Love for everyone to enjoy.
The menu spans classic favorites, home-grown recipes and some twists, thanks to the brothers, and Chef Minh Dang. Adelinas is currently serving up snacks (think an assortment of sweet and spicy nuts, olives and spicy vegetables) but the bread-winner of this section on the menu is actually the stuffed foccacia. Unlike most Italian spots, this Chestnut Hill venue doesn’t serve up a basket of bread (although you do get some tasty and authentic Italian crackers), but you can sink your teeth into the locally-made carb which is stuffed with whipped ricotta, rosemary and roasted garlic for just $6. And it’s worth every penny.
The soup and salad portion of the menu follows suit in terms of flavor, but there’s also some familial recipes peppered in—such as Nonna Adelina’s chicken soup. Other options include a pear and goat cheese salad, tomato salad, and a fennel and orange salad option, along with a bevy of cheese and salami picks available to kick off your taste-buds.
Appetizers-wise, a few standouts include the meatballs (made with veal, pork, sausage and beef), the eggplant fritters (prepared with a broccoli rabe pesto) and the Crudo M.P. (offered as a daily catch.) Chef Dang, along with his team, make everything from scratch, and it shows from the first bite.
The meat and potatoes of the menu, or should we say, pasta and protein portion of Adelinas’ offerings, are what actually steal the show. There are some classic favorites, such as the chicken parm—and its oddly satisfying to say it tastes nothing, and everything, like any other chicken parm dish ever offered. But, that’s sort of what the restaurant prides itself on, having classic dishes that start off familiar, and turn into something much more.
There’s also a whole rack of lamb with a garlic and herb crust, mint, and a fig demi-glaze offered, a pan-crisped whole branzino with a citrus zest, and seared scallops, among other options to dive into. Pasta wise, the absolute stand-out is the agnolotti made with fig, gorgonzola and dolce cream, and if you didn’t think fig and pasta went together before, it’s a combination you won’t be able to stop thinking about after. Other highlights include the gigli toscano made with country rabbit ragu, paparadelle (hand rolled, of course) and lasagna (vegetarian), but in total, there is more to explore on the menu here. Speaking of, this is a place where you should get a side, and if we’re making suggestions, the torta Adelina (aka a stuffed puff pastry packed with flavor) is worth a meal in itself.
Everything can be paired with some fixtures from the bar as well, chock full of cocktails, wine, beer and more. Adelinas also recently added a brunch service offering a frittata, PB& J pancakes, burrata toast, French toast and many more options. Additionally, the downstairs space that acted as the Jazz portion of Paris is now available to rent for parties. And with the stage still in place, live music will also be offered in the future.
But as said before, no matter how adjective-heavy a description can get or how many menu items get listed, Adelinas is truly worth seeing first-hand for yourself. Bring your friends, family or even your Nonna.
To find out hours, reservations and information about Adelinas, 8235 Germantown Ave., visit, adelinasitalian.com