With Adelina’s Restaurant & Bar, Antonio and Giuliano Presta have recast Chestnut Hill’s former Paris Bistro & Jazz Cafe as a polished homage to their grandmother. The Presta brothers have already had local success with Marzano Ristorante in Jenkintown and a pair of Trios Tomato Pie locations in Elkins Park and Glenside. Meanwhile, their Craft Manayunk eatery is undergoing a renovation and rebranding.
For their Chestnut Hill debut, they wanted to go more upscale. “We’ve been eyeing this area for over four years,” Antonio says. “The cobblestone streets and historic architecture remind us of villages in Europe.”
The siblings went well over budget to add their personal stamp to the space. Central to the main dining room is a stunning wall mural of multi-shaded moss and dried flowers surrounding the restaurant’s gold logo. Gone are the gold-hued walls, replaced by lighter, more neutral tones. Lighting has been reworked to incorporate a more contemporary approach.
Glazed tiles serve as a textured backsplash to the distressed metallic bar top, and padded stools replace the former location’s dated art-deco versions. The dining areas combine plush upholstered benches and chairs into intimate groupings. The restaurant seats over 80 guests, with an added 30 out front along bustling Germantown Avenue. Downstairs, the former jazz cafe is now a private event space.
In the kitchen, chef Minh Dang balances old-school Italian cuisine with Presta family dishes. Ingredients are fresh, pasta is made in house, and presentations are well executed. Among the soups and salads is a splendidly spicy tortellini in brodo—pasta pillows stuffed with fontina and ricotta, swimming in a puddle of savory bone broth. The inventive baby gem salad tosses romaine hearts, sweet-potato chips and shitake mushrooms in a pear-and-walnut vinaigrette.
Our bowl of twirled pappardelle was filled out with guanciale, tomato and pecorino Romano and topped with translucent roasted basil leaves. The seared scallop platter was a work of art, its day boats intermingled with cheesy sliced potatoes, preserved lemon and dill, drizzled harissa, and pickled watermelon radish. The signature eggplant fritters are also worth a mention, as is the sublime house-made gelato (with a fresh berry adornment).
At the bar, the signature Philly Phizz combines local Liberty Gin, blood orange, sparkling grapefruit and a little dairy. A rapid shake gives the cocktail its foam. Other classics-with-a-twist include the Dreaming Tree (with Rittenhouse Rye) and the Adelina’s Old Fashioned. The wine list is appropriate for the cuisine, favoring Italy’s finest vintages. Reservations are highly recommended.