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Illuminare - 28 Reviews - 2321 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, PA - Restaurants Reviews - Phone (215) 765-0202


2321 Fairmount Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 765-0202
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I have had only excellent experiences from this restaurant. The first time, we ordered pizza, salad and soup for dinner, and the waiter was very attentive, the food excellent. T...


I live in the Fairmount area yet had never tried Illuminare and had been dying to try. Unfortunately, maybe I should have waited til I died. For a Saturday night, the place was ...

Avoid at all cost 3/22/2011

I have to write this review after the horrible food we recieved Saturday. We ordered take out over 90 dollars in food when we picked it up the pizzas were burnt.. Not to mention the salads and other appitizers we ordered looked like they were thrown together and did not taste good at all!!! Do yourself a favor and don't waste your money!!! more

Good Luck Even Ordering- 9/3/2009

I tried to go here last night for dinner. I was excited when I walked in. It looked like my kind of place. My friend said the food there was really good and she was craving their pizza. We decided to take seats at the end of the bar. There were two women sitting down the bar from us. When we came in, the waitress looked at us from the corner of her eye but ignored us. No 'hello' or 'I'll be right with you.' I kid you not, we sat there for 10 minutes while the waitstaff looked at us from afar. They saw us sitting there and did NOTHING!!! Isn't it a BAD economy??? You would think that if you still had a job, in the service industry no less, that you'd be jumping at the chance to grab another table. I also want to point out, it was just getting dark- it's not like we walked in at 10 o'clock. The place appeared empty, no bartender, no hostess, only 2 servers. I really don't understand how a resturant with such a cool atmosphere could have such poor service.. how are they still in business?? Pros: wouldn't know more

The best for Fairmount pizza 6/8/2009

I have had only excellent experiences from this restaurant. The first time, we ordered pizza, salad and soup for dinner, and the waiter was very attentive, the food excellent. Their dessert portion was a whopper - two servings of cheesecake (because it was the end of the night, and I guess we were the lucky two). The next time, a friend and I went in for happy hour and treated ourselves to two delicious glasses of wine - not the crappy stuff I've been served at other nearby popular establishments - happy hour should be a time to bring in new customers, not serve vinegar. Anyway, this wine was wonderful, and the atmosphere is warm and inviting -and beautiful. Two nights ago, I ordered a take-out pizza for my boyfriend, who has been making pizza his whole life - he resisted at first, but finally approved of the whole-wheat margherita. It was really delicious - he had already eaten a slice on the two block walk home and said ""all these years, I've been ordering from the wrong place - wish I had known about this one"" I hope all the recent bad reviews won't take this establishment away. Maybe the other reviews are right, but they haven't proven right for me. I love it here and will continue to populate this place - and order many pizzas for as long as it is around. Thanks Illuminare Pros: Excellent flavored Margarita sauce more

Overpriced, weak service, small portions 11/15/2008

I live in the Fairmount area yet had never tried Illuminare and had been dying to try. Unfortunately, maybe I should have waited til I died. For a Saturday night, the place was dead, yet my girlfriend and I were treated as if the place was full. The mussels as an appetizer was tasty and plentiful enough but unfortunately I cannot say the same for our main course. I ordered the veal and she a pasta dish. Both were ok, mine being the veal, was a tad too salty, but the portions were extremely small for the price they were charging. I understand we are currently in tough times, but the bread portions were weak to say the least. One of my favorite parts of ordering mussels is dipping my bread in the sauce. Two pieces total is fairly weak. Just the same, the restaurant itself is inviting and comfortable, but outside of that the experience itself leaves you kind of empty. Other patrons had pizza which looked fairly good, perhaps I'll try that as take out next time, but thats about it. Pros: Comfortable atmosphere. Pizza looks good. Cons: Portions are extremely small for the price. Service. more

avoid at all costs 10/23/2008

Wow. This place used to be good. They are not open for lunch or brunch anymore. could it have something to do with the poor management and horrible staff? Brian Augustine used to have a good place but after my last few disgusting visits I vow to never return. Pros: bathrooms were clean Cons: air conditioning broken, service, food, everything more


The management is rude and does not put the customer first. Do not eat there!!!! Not worth the grief... more

Where is Ann? 8/10/2008

My friend and I went to Illuminare for lunch on Saturday. We have always had a great dining experience at this restaurant partly because of our server Ann. We were shocked to find out she no longer works there. Apparently, several members of the staff were let go recently. While very disappointed, we decided to stay anyway. Perhaps one of the staff members let go included the person that does the ordering. They were out of several menu items like hamburgers and limes. I must say that I am not in the restaurant business but I think it is safe to assume these two items would be on a restaurant?s shopping list. If in the area, I would recommend London?s or Rembrandt?s until Illuminare reorganizes. Pros: Walking distance from Museum area. Cons: Need to organize more

once enjoyable now not so much 8/7/2008

My husband and I live in the neighborhood and have been coming to this restaurant for some time now. The service was never too bad and the food was usually up to par. Lately though we have noticed that things have changed a little bit and they havent been for the better I must say. Last week we went out to dinner on a monday night and when the waiter came to our table it threw me off for a second because I was used to Molly who was always a joy to have as a waitress. We gave the young man our drink orders and noticed that it seemed to be quite busy for a monday evening. After we placed our dinner order, we waited 15 minutes to recieve bread which was hard and cold. Dinner took another 30 minutes and we tried to flag down the manager but he was running around flustered helping out our waiter. Once dinner arrived it was cold and incorrect, and since the manager seemed as if he were too busy, we ate some of the food and left the rest. We then waited ten more minutes to recieve our check. On our way out we overheard someone saying that our molly had been fired. The manager, who had been our waiter once-and was awful-was telling customers coming into the restaurant that there was no room to serve them. This seemed odd to me seeing there were plenty of tables available. Over all, our server seemed as if he was clueless and the manager seemed aloof to his position. We will not be returning here and will tell our friends not to return either. Pros: beautiful interior, lovely outdoor seating Cons: service, food quality, efficency of server/manager more

Great Staff, Amazing Food, Stunning Decor 1/5/2008

I visited Illuminare for the first time last week. I brought my family from Cherry Hill to my new neighborhood and we were planning on having an ordinary night of pizza and beer. We were shocked to find such a nice restaurant with quality ingredients, friendly and neat staff, and amazing ambience. We offered to sit up front, but the host insisted there was room in the back for us. We were welcomed as if into someone's home, the chefs and servers all greeted us and we were placed in a very comfortable booth with a charming view of the dining room. The price range and entree choices welcomes all, whether it's a night of just pizza or a special occasion dinner. I will defenitely make this my place to take out-of-town guests. Pros: Great Food, Friendly Staff more

great food, great chef 1/4/2008

I'm live in the fairmount neighborhood and frequent the local restaurants often. i would go to illuminare quite a bit because its beautiful and its the perfect setting for an intimate dinner with friends, etc. some times i was a little disappointed with the food because it wasnt consistent. however i was there on new years eve and learned they had appointed a new head chef and boy does it show. the quality of the food has improved dramatically. we ordered the specials for the evening i had the surf and turf and my wife had the veal oscar. both were amazing. not only did they taste great but the presentation itself was something to take notice of. i actually spoke to the manager about the noticeable difference in the food and he informed me about the changing of chefs. apparently the new head chef even had one of his soups mentioned on the oprah winfrey show and the other new chef they hired worked for donald trump. impressive in my book. i was also told to be on the look out for new menu items which im looking forward to. i cant wait to go back. i would recommend this place for valentines day as well because its really a beautiful place. more

great food, pretty space 1/4/2008

i ate at illuminare on new years eve. it was great. they had wonderful specials as well as the ala carte menu available so you werent stuck paying $100 per person like at other places. it was really just a lovely space as well. i didnt get to try the pizza but the entrees were very good, particularly the crab cakes. ill be back for valentines day more

beautiful dining room, great for casual or formal dining, weekends are crowded 12/29/2007

i was at illuminare on friday night. it was very vibrant and lively. the back dining room is simply lovely. i live in the neighborhood and all this time i was mistaken thinking that it was only the few tables in the front dining area. the back is gorgeous complete with a fireplace and great art work. i inquired about the architecture and was told that the owner actually designed and built it himself! the place is perfect for fine dining/dressy attire or casual pizza night. our server molly was very informative. she talked about the specials in great detail and even suggested menu items for us. the pizza there is one of the few greats in philly. its not that thick dough pan greek style but real hand tossed thin italian pizza. they also offer wheat dough! and the tiramisu was the best ive ever had. i would suggest reservations on the weekend though if you want to have a seat in the back dining room. it fills up fast and the front is a little tight Pros: gorgeous, fast service Cons: if it fills up you cant sit in back more

Best Pizza & Pasta 12/29/2007

My friends and family told me about this restaurant so I had to try it. I took my family out to try this restaurant. What a beautiful restaurant the brick oven and open kitchen was a delight. We started with a pizza and the thin crust was to die for. Then for dinner we had the homemade crabckaes & pasta was something you have to tatse. I recommened this restaurant to take your family or friends for a fine meal and great service. more

So-so Food and HORRIBLE service 12/23/2007

This restaurant came highly recommended by several people. My family and I dine out quite frequently and were excited to finally give it a try. The food was satisfactory, but the service left much to be desired. Our server, one of two working tonight, had dark, long hair, and a permanent scowl. She seemed like she didn't want to be there, and it showed when we had to, God forbid, repeat what we wanted to drink. She wanted to get the job done and get her tip. Pros: Great building; might be better if owned by someone else Cons: Service, food more

Great ambience, food not so much 10/24/2007

I live right around the corner and have always wanted to come here for dinner. I stopped in last night with some co-workers. The atmosphere was warm and inviting, we were excited for a nice meal and some chit chat. However when we were seated, the waiter was seemed fidgetity and clumsy throughout the menu we often times had to find him to ask him for things, ie) refills, check. Two of us had our hearts on the the crab cake- however he forgot to mention that they were out of it when we went to order, so we had to go back and find something else which took a while since he never came back. I had the filet mignon, simple enough (So I thought) They probably should have gave the grill a nice scrubbing before they dropped my meal on there- 'the smoky char flavor' was basically a combination of every morsel of food that's ever graced that grill!! It was a shame too, because the meat came out perfected cooked, but I couldn't stomach it the flavor. My co-workers' scampi was a mixture of butter and marinara sauce, overall disappointing. The service was definately not up to par considering it was a rainy Wednesday night and we were 1 of 5 parties in there. I've heard people rave about the food, but not on this night, although they've only ever gotten the salad, and you don't actually have to cook that. Maybe I got an off night, but with so many other restaurants to chose from i don't think I will be back again. Had it not been for the company and the wine, I would be very upset. Pros: warm and inviting atmosphere, location Cons: service, food more

Used to be great 9/21/2007

Back when this place first opened it was fantastic! My girlfriend at the time and I would have dinner there 2-3 times a week and always had wonderful service and deliscious food. Now, no good. I moved from the area about four years ago and hadn't been in since, but was looking forward to going back. When I finally did make it in eveything stunk. 1. My server was slow getting to the table, and when he did, didn't offer us cocktails . 2. No specials where mentioned, so I asked if there were any additons to the menu...No. After my order was taken I overheard another server rattle off three specials to another table! 3. We waited one hour and fifteen minutes to get our food! I couldn't believe it. I cant tell you why I didn't just leave or even ask what was taking so long. 4. the food arrived warm, not hot, and it just wasn't good. So we left hungry and positive that we'll never be back. Pros: Great space with a ton of potentiel Cons: Food & service more

Sloooow service, small portions 8/13/2007

When my parents came to visit on a Saturday, I searched far and wide for a decent restaurant to take them to. I settled on Illuminare. I was so disappointed with the portions. I got the beef ravioli--$15. There were maybe 6 little raviolis on my plate. Mind you, it was delicious, but come on! My dad got an antipasta which was basically a handful of greens with some meats and cheeses on the side. Also $15. My mom ended up eating just bruschetta for dinner, because her and my dad were going to share the antipasta and bruschetta between them, but there wasn't enough to go around. The service, while attentive, was painfully slow. The restaurant was EMPTY and it took a solid half hour for our food to arrive. They're known for their pizzas, so maybe we should have stuck with that (although they only serve personal sizes in the restaurant!) I guess if you have a lot of time on your hands, and don't mind paying for small portions, this place would be ok. But I probably won't be going back. Pros: very nice ambiance Cons: expensive, small portions more

Fairmount Favorite 7/17/2007

A fav in Fairmount. Good food, interested service and smart chef. Never had a bad meal or bad service. Something for every taste on the menu and wine list. Can't go wrong with this fine restaurant. more

Good Brick-Oven Pizza 11/13/2006

We went here for lunch and I got the Margherita pizza and my husband got the Bianca pizza (Asparagus, mushrooms & tomatoes). The restaurant was clean and the waiter was very nice. For a place that is known for its pizza its dinner menu and stylish atmosphere was a pleasant surprise. We will be returning to try something from their dinner menu. Pros: Cleanliness; atmosphere; seating Cons: Parking more

Never again 6/11/2006

The spinach salad was overdressed (and lacking the advertised hazelnuts); the mussels were the color of school paste and inedible; the bianca and eggplant pizzas were virtually flavorless; the lasagna lacked bechamel, but the worst thing: the unmitigated gall to charge $32 for tilapia! more
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Menu for Illuminare

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  • Restaurant in the Art Museum neighborhood serves up Cal-Italian cuisine including brick-oven pizzas, specialty wines, desserts; also happy hour.

  • 4/20/2005 Provided by Citysearch

Additional information

  • Payments:

    American Express, Discover, Master Card, Visa
  • Neighborhoods:

    Fairmount/Art Museum, North Philadelphia