A Meaty Moldivian Meal in North EAST Philly

Not to be a brat, but it is not often that I come across a cuisine that I am completely unfamiliar with. So while browsing for restaurants in NE Philly (one of my favorite hobbies), I was excited to find there exists a restaurant that serves traditional Moldivian food. For the sake of being practical and straight forward, it’s called Moldova Restaurant. Inside, the decor is festively kitschy.  Service came with a smile, though our waiter did not speak enough English to recommend any dishes for us. We were on our own.

We had great success in the hot appetizer section.  All three were pretty large; each could almost make a meal on its own.

Mititei, traditional grilled sausages served with hot mustard (and for some reason peas), had a soft, pleasant texture, and a meaty, almost hot dog like taste ($6).

The sarmale ca la Mama($6),  grape and cabbage leaves stuffed with meat and rice were seasoned perfectly and I liked that they were bite sized.

I learned that Mamaligam, corn porridge, is a staple in Moldovian (and Romanian) cuisine. Here it can be found on the menu in different forms, for example in the house special appetizer, where it is fried and accompanied by feta cheese and lardons ($7). Fried  balls, salty cheese, and crispy pig meat. From the description, you can probably already tell this was awesome.

We had less good fortune with the cold appetizer section. A pickle plate had a nice variety, and I enjoyed the shredded salad in the middle,  but all elements could have been pickled longer.

Avoid the cheese plate, instead of anything exciting, we got slices of 4 different cheeses that could have easily been from a grocery store.

A side order of potatoes with mushrooms and onions, something I usually get at Russian restaurants, was too soggy and oily. On the positive side, very appropriate for Channukah.

We came across mamaliga in its unfried form with a flavorful pork chop entree.

Simply called “medalion”($13), a piece of chicken is fried and stuffed with a delightful garlic oil concoction that oozed out upon first cut. I encouraged the ooze to mix with the already buttery mashed potatoes.

My first foray into Moldivian dining was a meaty success. There are a whole slew of other hot dishes (like the tlazy dumplings and Translyvanian fried cheese) that sounded amazing and unique and will be waiting for me next time the Moldivian craving hits.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • I want to learn what Moldovian food is
  • Well seasoned appetizers and entrees

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • Pickle plate and cheese plate need to step their game up

Moldova Restaurant, 9808 Bustleton Ave, 267 538-2710



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