Aldo Lamberti’s Family of Restaurants: A Taste of Italy in South Jersey


Growing up in a seaside town in Northern Italy, Aldo Lamberti was drawn to the docks. Watching fishermen haul their catches and the vibrant exchange at fish markets, he knew those fresh catches would soon grace the plates of local trattorias as delectable dishes.

Aldo Lamberti, Photo by Adriano Martino

It was those sights, sounds and the briny aroma that first stirred his passion and imagination for the culinary world. Today, at Aldo Lamberti’s Family of Restaurants – the landmark eateries known throughout South Jersey & Philadelphia – Aldo’s aspiration remains to capture and share that initial thrill.

“At the end of the day, it’s not just about the food,” he says. “You’ve got to pay attention to every detail. It’s about how the place looks on the inside and out, the atmosphere and the pride employees feel making and serving the food. This is what has enabled us to maintain high standards throughout the years.”

Lamberti restaurants have had a strong presence in South Jersey for nearly 40 years and have been deeply rooted in family values since the beginning. Aldo originally came to the area to help his father open the first restaurant, now Tutti Toscani, a cozy BYOB in Cherry Hill featuring a Tuscan-style brick oven. His daughters Rosita and Rita both serve as directors of the group, which also includes Cherry Hill’s Caffe Aldo Lamberti, the art-deco styled restaurant known as a go-to spot for romantic evenings and special occasions. 

“People have built a lot of great memories in our restaurants,” says Rosita. “We have watched our customers grow up in our restaurants. They come to us to celebrate everything from christenings, communions, bridal showers and wedding rehearsal dinners.”

The culinary group extends to Philadelphia with Positano Coast, a trendy Center City spot offering Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, as well as pizzerias/grab & go markets in Center City (Lamberti Pizza & Market) and the Philadelphia airport (Aldo Lamberti’s Trattoria).

While Aldo’s love for fresh seafood dates back to his early days in Italy, it was a bustling pizzeria in Brooklyn that first brought him into the restaurant industry. At just 13, his family moved to New York to open the restaurant. Aldo later honed his culinary skills while spending a decade in Italy, where he met his wife, Carmela.

After returning to the U.S, Aldo initially worked in the New York City real estate and textile industries. But destiny brought him to South Jersey to help his father open a new restaurant. Although his plan was to stay involved for 6 months, “5 years later, I had 3 restaurants,” he says.

Those early days were rough, he recalls. Aldo and his wife hustled, handing out menus and samples outside supermarkets to capture a client base. Obtaining a liquor license for Caffe Aldo Lamberti in the early ’90s was a game changer. This opened doors to expansion, including renovations to the restaurant’s signature art-deco style, the creation of wine cellar rooms and establishing extensive al fresco seating. 

Their wine collection, meticulously handpicked by Chris Wanamaker and overseen by George Katsikis, grew impressively over the years. With a staggering 900 wine varieties and countless bottles, they’ve been on the receiving end of prestigious wine awards every year since 2008.

Not stopping at wines, Caffe Aldo Lamberti’s raw bar is seasonally stocked with delicacies like Florida stone crabs, Alaskan king crabs as well as East and West coast oysters – a nod to Aldo’s love for the Southern Italian fish markets and his global travels. 

He  proudly notes the restaurant group was the first in South Jersey to introduce stone crabs. “It’s a big deal for our customers who regularly visit Florida,” he adds. “They appreciate having these treats right here.”

“One of the big reasons our restaurants have been so successful is my father has always been an out-of-box thinker, even a risk-taker at times,” says Rosita. “He’s constantly making changes to improve our restaurants.”

For Aldo, his life’s work has been focused on creating memorable dining experiences – with fresh food, in beautiful spaces, and with people you love. “We are trying to create special moments for people,” he says. “I hope they feel that the minute they walk in the door.”


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