Ristorante Panorama in Old City. Even the tomatoes in the chutney that dress the lightly battered flower are from the top of the Penn’s View Hotel, which houses the Italian restaurant.The name for this appetizer may be in a foreign language, but just about everything on the plate is of extremely local origin. From the squash blossom that holds ricotta and mozzarella stuffing to the lightly sautéed zucchini coins on which it rests, all of the vegetables in this dish hail from the new rooftop garden at Luca Sena’s
The sprig of basil on top - which adds a welcome grassy taste to the cheese-filled bite - comes from the overflowing patch near the parking lot out back. (“We kind of overdid it on planting the basil,” says Carlo Sena, Luca’s son and manager of the Front Street hotel.) Chef Rosario Romano had tried smoked mozzarella in the dish, but the flavor was too powerful, so he returned to the traditional fresh cheese to allow the flowery fritter to shine, the slightly salty batter met by the sweetness of tomato chutney and crunch of zucchini.
Choose a few other starters, such as the shrimp and scallop crudo with asparagus, so you can pair them with one of the two dozen wine flights on offer - a variety made possible by the Guinness-World-Record-holding 120-tap cruvinet system that gleams behind the bar. After you make your way through the quintuplet of vinos in the mural-and-arch-covered dining room, you’ll be surprised to walk outside and find yourself at Penn’s Landing instead of the Riviera (215-922-7800).