You could divide all of the restaurants in Berks County into two categories: those that strive to attract out-of-towners and those that cater to the locals.
My goal with Berks County Eats is to find the best of both. And one place that kept popping up as a local favorite is Sebastiano’s in Reiffton, a small Italian restaurant in a strip mall along Perkiomen Avenue.
I had heard good things about Sebastiano’s, but had also heard about the limited parking and seating. The parking lot was almost full when we arrived, but there was spaces.
There were no tables, however, but thankfully there was only one other group ahead of us. Because of the lack of space, there’s no hostess stand. Instead, a clipboard hung on the wall with a sign above that said “sign in.”
This was a first.
It honestly didn’t take long to be seated, only a few minutes before we were sat at one of about 15 tables.
Sebastiano’s could not fit another table in the room as space was tight between myself and the gentleman sitting at the table behind me.
Our waitress took our orders and offered us either a cup of soup or the salad bar with our meals. We both went salad bar (New Year’s resolutions).
Salad bars feel like they belong more in a diner than an Italian restaurant, but I rolled with it. There was a nice selection, not overwhelming that included all the standards plus a few surprises like roasted red peppers.
While Julie and I worked through our salads, our waitress dropped off our garlic bread – six small slices of an Italian roll (the Conshohocken Italian Bakery boxes gave away the source). One of the slices was a little burnt, but the rest were good.
Our wait to be seated hadn’t been long, but the wait for our food felt like an eternity for two hungry eaters. It was about 45 minutes from the time that we ordered until our entrees arrived.
In that time, we watched several tables empty and fill up and countless people come through to pick up their takeout orders. (Our waitress had stopped by once to top off our drinks).
When they did arrive, they were piping hot (a relief because for a brief moment we were afraid our dinners were just sitting on a table in the back waiting for someone to find them).
For my entree, I chose rigatoni with sauce ala Sebastiano’s, a red sauce with ground beef, bacon, mushrooms and cream.
I liked it, but I think it would have been better with a little more bacon. Every bite with the bacon had a nice smoky flavor that I thought really added to the dish. Without it, it was good, but essentially a rosé sauce with a few add-ins.
Not wanting to stop there, I had also ordered a side of Sebastiano’s “famous” meatballs. This was easily the best thing that either of us ate. The meatballs were well seasoned and cooked perfectly. I wouldn’t say they were the best that I have ever had, but I would definitely get them again.
For her meal, Julie opted for eggplant Parmesan with angel hair pasta. The eggplant was very good and very tender. It was sliced lengthwise so as to create long slices and instead of smaller, rounder ones.
The red sauce, the same as what used on the meatballs, was good – better with a little Parmesan cheese.
One thing that I have to say, Sebastiano’s does not skimp on the portions. Our meals left no room for dessert, and we each took half of our dinners home with us. And our total bill was only $25.
Sebastiano’s definitely has a loyal following among locals. There were many times when the waitress or the counter workers stopped talked to customers like family. Customers greeted each other as long-time friends, too.
They were friendly to us as well and served us a good meal. It’s not high-end Italian, but that’s not really the point. It’s a local pizza place and Italian restaurant with good food.
And that’s all it needs to be.
Sebastiano’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria
3227 Perkiomen Ave
Reading, PA 19606