Dinner With Dan: Fellini’s

Daniel Davis

Fellini Trattoria Cafe

31 East Lancaser Ave

Ardmore, PA


A classic restaurant in a classic location, Fellini’s is located by a string of small shops in Ardmore on Lancaster Ave. Fellini’s red awning branches off the exterior of the building, shadowing the cement sidewalk. Underneath this very canopy, I find myself examining the congested insides of what appears to be a rather miniscule restaurant. I cannot help but ponder what the big hype I have heard about Fellini’s is, from the external view.

A jam-packed Fellini’s greets me with little oxygen to breathe and various Italian food odors infesting the air. The maze-like entrance was something a scientist might create for a rat chasing cheddar. My group’s struggle to find an open table seemed almost never-ending. This epic managed to end when we located our host: an elderly Italian involved in too many projects for someone of his age to handle.

After some strife, our hunt for a table concluded, finding four seats for my adventurers in the “depths” of the restaurant. With his sincerest and confusing Italian, he wished us a good meal and recommended something in a most muddled and hurried manner. And our table? A picnic-like setting, with red and white blocks covering our eating area: just a fabulous sight that really propagates one’s hunger.

In front of me my menu lay, and I envisioned an oversized meal of exquisite pasta placed before me in the near future. I opened the menu to discover everything numbered 1-100. How exciting. I was about to place my order by number instead of name, a personal dream of mine.

Regardless, I had decisions to make and time was a factor, considering Bernardo, our waiter, would be making his return shortly. Perusing through the options, I found myself more attracted to pasta dishes, considering the restaurant specialized in Italian foods. Besides the plentiful puzzling pasta, several salads and appetizers were listed hoping to entice the customer; it worked. I found myself debating over bruschetta, caesar salad, and calamari, but as an aperitif, bruschetta was delivered by our good friend, Bernardo. The tomatoes were cut fresh, the bread was moderately warm, and the bruschetta was overall, a pretty tasty dish. It was something to wet the pallet, and officially commence the beginning of the “eating era.”

The moderately priced food could not seem to catch my interest. The entrées appealed about as much as the overall ambience of Fellini’s. If not being impressed by this loud and over-hyped restaurant was not my biggest concern, the awful seating arrangement might have “pushed the envelope.” When you have to fight and say excuse me every 5 seconds in order to get to your seat comfortably, you realize the design for the restaurant was meant not for comfort, but for profit.

Back to my order, which after much time debating on which foods to get, I chose the calamari, caesar salad, and #33, pasta bolognese (a typical pasta dish: a basic one, with meat sauce). After admiring the menu for some time quite longer, I peered at other customers foods, seeing what they had chosen. The table meal next to ours looked fabulous, so I would not have expected anything less. Unfortunately, you cannot always go by looks.

My caesar salad was delivered at some point soon thereafter and it was a 5 on a 1-10 scale, not more or less. I do not think if the chef attempted he could have succeeded at a more mediocre dish, because the mediocrity monstrosity tasted like air. Yum. The calamari was transported and presented in a unique fashion, finally, something enticing. Tomatoes and sauce accompanied the dish which was extremely tasty. The art and design of the dish was exquisite, and the mix of tomatoes, squid and bread was an utterly amazing combination. Bravo to the creator of that idea. Nonetheless, the appetizer was chewy and mainly intriguing. It had me bedazzled more than anything by its presentation. The texture was the best part, so if you enjoy foods more texture than flavor, this is your type of dish.

So my satisfaction level was somewhere in the middle. If the caesar had some taste, it would be above average, but the bruschetta only can do so much. The calamari left me with mixed feelings, creating a stalemate of emotions towards the restaurant. However, the ice water came with many lemons, so there’s a plus. Nonetheless, the audible conversations, swarming around my head like bees, continued except for the silent couple next to us, who appeared to be caught in admiration of the sculpted lasagna bricks. Wow, it looked like any other lasagna. Amazing, huh?

Finally Bernardo approached, ready to release from his hand onto my lap. There it lay, before me, the overwhelmingly large beast, so massive, that it appeared to be proliferating before my very eyes. Oh, this weakly sauced pasta resembled something served in the Spit. Hungry? I thought so. It was by no means remarkable. The flim-flam, feeble noodles strung throughout the hearty sauce appealed more to the nose than eye. I could not help but wonder if the chef considered his presentation of the dish, or if he was just accepted the fact that there was no hope for the behemoth that lay before me. After some undeterminable amount of time, I finished the dish, like a man with great pride afraid to admit defeat to a weaker individual. I defeated Fellini’s huge pasta dish. Congratulate me on my survival if you see me around campus.