Cotoletta BYOB: A Hidden Treasure in Belmont Hills


Unpretentious and authentic. Superfluous culinary verbiage is not required here—but a reservation most assuredly is.

Cotoletta (which means cutlet or chop in Italian) in the Belmont Hills section of Philadelphia “has been open since January,” according to chef/owner Beth Amadio. The family-owned and -operated neighborhood secret was packing them into this 90-seat BYOB on the Wednesday evening I sat down with her.


“When we first opened, I couldn’t devote myself entirely to getting this place off and running right away,” Beth says as she explains working “through a few personnel issues and ironing out the menu.”

Now, the self-taught chef makes it her priority to present quality, great tasting and simply presented food. “I have four kids and I did a lot of cooking while they were growing up. We were ‘the house’ where the kid’s friends always came to eat,” chimes Beth. That seems to be the case tonight as this quaint space fills quickly.

Having run a sandwich (and eventual successful dinner) spot in Narberth, Homemade, a few years back, this is Beth’s second endeavor at bringing authentic rustic fare to the masses. And it seems to be working extremely well.


The straightforward menu is all made-to-order and loaded with pronounceable dishes that include Tuscan chicken ($21), eggplant parmesan ($19), shrimp fra diavlo ($24) and cheese ravioli ($16). Four cutlet dishes, offered in both chicken and veal, include pasta and choice of sauce. Nightly specials include fish, salads and appetizers. Ingredients are seasonal and locally sourced when possible.

CotolettaMy selection was a simple (and large) presentation of thinly pounded lightly breaded chicken breast sauteed with lemon, wine and butter accompanied with a side of spaghetti with red gravy. “Making it look stylish on the plate is fine, but if it isn’t full of flavor who cares how pretty, right?” Beth shares like a neighbor over a backyard fence. Everything was hot, fresh and to the point. Seriously one of the best meals I’ve enjoyed in a while.

Formerly Mel’s Italian on the Hill for 30 years, the hillside gem’s unassuming exterior hides the metamorphosis that Beth has orchestrated inside. Her hands-on-approach in everything is evident with a palette of deep blues and crisp whites accented with metals, textured glass and warm geometric light fixtures. Mismatched chairs and tables are all brought together in unison with fresh flowers everywhere in an environment where the servers dole out hugs and smiles as easily as fresh sourdough bread and seasoned olive oil.

It can get a tad loud on weekends, but nothing a little more BYO and dessert can’t cure. Beth hints at beginning a breakfast menu in a month or two once she nails it down. Lunch too is on the horizon for an end of year possibility.

There is very little outdoor dining currently and parking is in the back of the restaurant (but use the free valet service—the hill’s a killer.)

I highly recommend giving Cotoletta a shot, but be sure make reservations with the restaurant or through OpenTable.

Cotoletta interior

The restaurant was in the process of taking credit cards the night of my visit, but call first to be sure. Catering is available. Closed Mondays.

Cotoletta is located at 201 Jefferson St. in Belmont Hills; phone: (610) 660-5224.

  • Peppers and chicken photos: Ed Williams
  • Remaining photos: Dallyn Pavey