Saturday night, my husband and I went to dinner at Farmicia in Old City, Philadelphia. The restaurant places an emphasis on sourcing from local, organic, and artisanal producers. I had read a few reviews of the restaurant, and they were mixed – most of them disappointed with the service of the restaurant. Still, I wanted to give a restaurant that is making the effort to bring better food to my region a try.

It was a very chilly 28° as I walked past several very empty restaurants on my way to Farmicia, so I was surprised to see most of the tables full when I arrived. I was greeted warmly (my husband was still parking the car), and shown to a choice table – the one right in front of the window. Our server came promptly and opened the bottle of wine we had brought. 

While I found our server and the service really great, I didn't find the food quite the same.

What we had to eat

We started with a trio of cheeses, crispy toast, and a fruit chutney. Well worth the $11.75. We enjoyed the chutney so much that we asked our server if they sold it. Unfortunately, they do not. We also asked them to leave it on the table when our meals arrived so we could munch on it after dinner instead of ordering dessert.

For dinner, I chose a vegetarian option – Eggplant Cannelloni with a grain/ricotta filling and roasted tomato sauce served with mushrooms, beans and greens ($16). The eggplant was very good but should have been cooked a bit longer, the mushrooms were delicious, the beans good, and the greens not to my liking (but to be honest, leafy greens don’t usually excite me).

My husband choose a flame grilled 10oz rib-eye with blue cheese butter, chive mashed potatoes and greens ($28). After he tried his steak, we ended up switching plates. He didn’t like the taste of the blue cheese with the beef, but I’m a huge fan of blue cheese and beef. I thought the flavor was delicious, but texture of the steak was tough and it really detracted from the overall enjoyment of the dish. The spinach was a bit too salty, also.

What I liked about Farmicia

  • Although they have a full bar, they allow you to bring your own bottle of wine and don’t charge a corkage fee.
  • The service was almost flawless (see below in what I didn’t like), and our waiter Ryan was friendly and seemed to be enjoying himself. He was also able to answer all of our questions.
  • Instead of bringing a basket of bread to each table, a server walks around with a basket and asks what you would like – this cuts down on a lot of food waste.
  • The décor was warm and casual, and even sitting in front of the window on a cold night, we were comfortable.
  • They are making the effort to support local and organic sources.
  • Reservations were made easily through OpenTable.
What didn’t thrill me about Farmicia
  • Although the restaurant has a server walking around with a bread basket, he never once made it to our table. He went to both tables next to us, but completely ignored our table.
  • The quality of the food was uneven. We weren’t thrilled with either of our entrées, but they weren’t terrible.
  • The cafeteria style divided tray that the Cannelloni was served on was really unappealing. 
We were in and out of the restaurant in an hour and a half, and by 8:30, there were several empty tables and no wait. Still, considering that the majority of restaurants I passed at 7 pm were almost barren, I think Farmicia must have a following. I’d be willing to give Farmicia another chance because I believe in what they are trying to do by sourcing local and organic foods from farms. There were also several other dishes on the menu that I would like to try. The women at the table next to us raved about their duck breast.

There are few restaurants in Philadelphia making the effort to emphasize local and organic foods on a regular basis, and when I go into the city, it’s important to me to support the ones that do.  

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Restaurant review: Philadelphia's Farmicia
Philadelphia's Farmicia emphasizes food and beverages crafted from local, organic, and artisanal producers.