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Top Philadelphia restaurants


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#31 Chris Hennes

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 12:25 PM

Well, there is that class of "serious foodie" that believes that anything enjoyed (dare I say...loved?) by such a large number of people must by definition be crap...

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#32 philadining

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 05:53 PM

You're absolutely right, and I've been guilty of that syndrome, but I try to fight it. Sometimes famous touristy things are actually pretty awesome.

I wouldn't say that the experience of a cheesesteak in Philly quite rises to the level of a great pastrami sandwich in NY, or Beignets from Cafe du Monde in New Orleans, or a lobster roll in Maine. It's probably more like getting a well-made Chicago hot dog, or Buffalo wings at Anchor Bar: pretty good, kind of fun to experience the "real thing," but not life-changing.

It's always surprising how seemingly simple foods just are never made correctly away from their point of origin, there's usually some little detail that doesn't survive the trip.

So if you've had a cheesesteak, but not in Philly, you haven't really had a cheesesteak. Even if they were made by ex-pats, if they're out of town, the roll was wrong, or the cut of meat wasn't quite right, or something. So try the real thing while you're here if you're curious, but just be ready, the original is probably not going to blow your mind...

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#33 mrbigjas

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 06:43 AM

if you want a good cheesesteak but still want the atmosphere, walk two blocks over to cosmi's deli at 8th & dickinson, then take your steak over to the pats/genos corner and hang around while you eat it.

#34 rockhopper

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 08:45 AM

That took time and effort to write. May I offer a non-snarky thank you.
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#35 Paula E

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 12:42 PM

Bumping this up, as I am visiting Philly from Nov 5th until the 11th and would love to revisit some old favorites, as well as try some new places. We already have a reservation at Vetri (we had our anniversary dinner there back when it first opened). But that is as far as we've planned.

It's been years since I've lived in Philly, and I've no idea if some of our favorite BYOB's are even still around. Dr. Science and I had our favorite stomping grounds. McGillin's (can't help it...it's a cozy pub, and treated the locals well), Capogiro, Indonesia (now in South Philly...at least, I hope), La Lupe, Tony Luke's, Tamarind, Mr. Martino's Trattoria.

Some of the most memorable oysters I've eaten (New Englander here) were from Oyster House. Only I ate my six pack perched on the curb of Walnut Street during one of Philly's Food Fairs. I'd love to go to the actual bar and gorge myself.

I know Django closed a few years back. Are they still doing the country table thing?

We used to love going to Little Fish on 6th & Catharine. Are they still around?

It looks like our little neighborhood bakery is now Cochon, or it could be just the wonky way Google maps has with addresses.

Chloe was a little jewel of a restaurant on Arch St. between 2nd & 3rd. We loved that little BYOB. Transcendental foie gras. Are they still cooking?

sygyzy, What have you decided on?

#36 philadining

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 09:46 PM

>McGillin's (can't help it...it's a cozy pub, and treated the locals well),

yes, still there...

>Capogiro

Of course, going strong.


>Indonesia (now in South Philly...at least, I hope)

Yep still exists in South Philly if you want to reminisce, but if you just want Indonesian food, there are a few more options these days: Hardena, Sky Cafe, Java Colonial Cafe, etc.

>La Lupe

yes, but again, LOTS more to choose from if you want that style, rather than the specific memory pings.


>Tony Luke's

Yes, same as ever.


>Tamarind

ditto

>Mr. Martino's Trattoria.

ditto

>Some of the most memorable oysters I've eaten (New Englander here) were from Oyster House...
>I'd love to go to the actual bar and gorge myself.

No reason not to, they always have a wide selection of oysters, and some good drinks to accompany!

>I know Django closed a few years back. Are they still doing the country table thing?

"They" split up, but Aimee Olexy is still helming Talula's Table out in Kennett Square, where they do indeed do the big farm table thing. I'm not sure whether they're still riding on the national press-attention buzz, but I suspect it's still hard to get a reservation, even though the chef, Bryan Sikora is no longer there. His former sous chefs are reputedly still putting out good food.


>We used to love going to Little Fish on 6th & Catharine. Are they still around?

That building has closed for renovations, but the chef has moved to a bigger place at 17th and Lombard, called Fish. It;s not exactly the same, a little buffed-up, but still a similar concept, except that they have a liquor license.

>It looks like our little neighborhood bakery is now Cochon.

Possibly, but that's a good thing. Cochon rocks.

>Chloe was a little jewel of a restaurant on Arch St. between 2nd & 3rd.
>We loved that little BYOB. Transcendental foie gras. Are they still cooking?

Still there. Haven't heard anything about them in a while, but they're still there!

So it looks like you can have a pretty complete nostalgia tour, and I can totally see the appeal, but let us know if you want some updated recommendations.

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#37 Paula E

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 07:04 AM

Thanks phil!

Would love some updated recommendations for Indonesian. I can't believe there are actually options now! When I was in Philly, Indonesia was the only place in town to find Indonesian...at least, both traditional and Dutch colonial (half of Dr. Science's family hails from the Netherlands).

Recommendations for Mexican would be great too. Although for sheer orneriness (I can't believe that is actually a word) the matriarch at La Lupe was always unsurpassed. Plus they had fabulous food, and real Coke.

Re Oyster House: Yes. And I hear (somewhere on these boards, perchance?) that Katie Loeb mixes a mean cocktail.

It's funny to think of Little Fish "buffed up". It would have been impossible for them to have scaled down. Unless they moved into a food cart! I loved that tiny space on Catharine though. Ethereal seafood. And on a busy night, you actually felt like a sardine. A very happy one, though.

Checked out Cochon's website. Out of six entrees listed on their menu, only two were actually pig. Am I right in assuming they have more options on special? What do you recommend there?

I've read good things about bibou, but I am not an experienced wine drinker, and with the level of food it looks like they are serving, I would love some wine pairing hints.

On the higher priced end of things, we may go to the Fountain. We wanted to go years ago, but it was always out of our means. Worth it? Looks like there are some serious mixed reviews here on eGullet. Or is there a better alternative?

Thanks again for all the great feedback!

#38 gfweb

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 09:32 AM

Fountain is very good indeed. Wine list is overpriced severely. Whether it is worth it is a judgment call.

For my fancy dining dollars I'd do Le Bec Fin before it closes. Always first class.

#39 KatieLoeb

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 11:25 PM

Paula:

Drop me a line before you get to town and I'll let you know my schedule for the days you'll be around. Looking forward to you getting to see the new and improved O-Ho. Everyone that's seen the renovated space is amazed at how beautiful it looks inside. We always have a good selection of oysters, and $1 Buck-a-Shuck oysters for Happy Hour. Hope to see you then!

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#40 percyn

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 04:57 AM

Call the Fountain to ask if they are still offering free corkage for bottles over 10yrs old on Sunday nights.

Also second the recommendation for Le Bec Fin. While some of the collaboration dinners have not been the best, the regular crew at LBF puts out great meals, the service is excellent and GP provides the entertainment :biggrin:

#41 Paula E

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 07:35 AM

Katie: will do. Hope to get there for a quick blast of oyster love. Didn't know about the renovations. It's always fascinating to go back to Philly and see what time has done. New buildings where there was nothing before, other places just the same as they ever were (for better or worse). Can't wait to see the new look!

We do actually have a sentimental reason for heading back to Le Bec Fin. The first and only time we went was just after Dr. Science was accepted into med school. After all these years, it would be coming full circle.

Plus they have an awesome dessert cart.


Thanks for the corkage tip, percyn. Will pass it along!

I'm trying to get reservations to bibou, but the online reservation service tells me I am too early. Does anyone happen to know how far in advance you can make a reservation there? Is it two months?

Thanks, everyone.

#42 tim e

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 12:02 PM

I'm trying to get reservations to bibou, but the online reservation service tells me I am too early. Does anyone happen to know how far in advance you can make a reservation there? Is it two months?


Paula, give them a call or send an email. They are very responsive to both. If I'm not mistaken they take reservations sooner than the 2 months on opentable.
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#43 Paula E

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 07:34 AM

Hi TIm,

Thanks for the tip. Will do.

#44 percyn

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 08:08 AM

Forget if Koo Zee Doo (Portuguese) and Kanella were mentioned, but I would add them to the list of rustic but delicious food restaurants.

#45 scratchline

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 05:28 PM

Just want to second the recommendation of the Oyster House. Several coworkers and I were lucky enough to make it over for happy hour last week and it was PHENOMENAL. The buck oysters and Katie Loeb's cocktails were both outstanding. And the new room is beautiful. Hope to make it back many more times before my work finishes in November.

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#46 Big Mike

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 12:54 PM

I know there are some dissenting opinions out there (what fun would the site be otherwise?) but I had a very good meal at Alma de Cuba last time I was in town. I'd also suggest stopping by the bar at Oyster House, Katie Loeb makes a pretty mean cocktail. Are you a beer drinker? Philly has a lot of places with fantastic beer selections.


I've never had a bad experience at Alma de Cuba, good food for a Steven Starr place. The duck and the ceviche are top notch.
 
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#47 Borgstrom

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 09:01 PM

I'll be in Philadelphia next week, taking a course at University of Pennsylvania. Does anybody have any current recommendations on good dinner places near campus or close via train? (I'll be car-less) Price really isn't an issue, but I'd prefer a more relaxed place but with exceptional food. I'm from Northern California and I don't think I've ever spent a day in Philadelphia, so It would be great to try something regional, if that exists. I'll certainly get cheese steak one day. What else should I look for?

#48 KatieLoeb

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 09:28 PM

Everything mentioned above is close by if taking public transportation or a cab ride doesn't faze you. Check out some of the other threads on Philly dining and let us know what sounds intriguing. We can tell you how to get there. You should most definitely make it to Reading Terminal Market at some point. You can also feel free to stop by Oyster House for some bivalves and a cocktail on my watch if you'd like. PM me and I'll let you know my schedule for that week.

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#49 Borgstrom

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 09:46 PM

Will definitely have to check out Oyster House; also ranked very well with PhillyMag.

#50 KatieLoeb

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 10:05 PM

PhillyMag loves us. We are featured regularly in the magazine and on Foobooz, which is now under the auspices of the magazine. It's nice to have good press. They've been very kind.

Katie M. Loeb
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#51 phungi

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 08:41 AM

If you are looking for something within walking distance, Pod and Distrito are both good options with "different" menus...
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#52 gfweb

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 08:30 PM

Rather than start a new thread, I'll bump this one....

We ate at Lacroix tonight. The last time I was there I think Lacroix himself was in the kitchen. So its been a while.

The meal was really disappointing. I really think that how the dish looks is more important to the kitchen than how it eats. The portions were skimpy and most dishes were fussily composed with flowers and dribs and dabs of sauces dotted on the plate...not enough to actually use for more than one bite, perhaps they are there more for how they sound when described by the waiter. The food that was there was tasty, though it cooled quickly sitting all alone near the dots of sauces. Desserts were playful (oh noooo) takes on chocolate cake and cheesecake among other standards. The cheesecake, for example,consisted of balls of mascarpone covered in white chocolate with a purple schmear of blueberry stuff. Pretty to look at, but awkward eating and not that good.

Throughout dinner, my grown son looked longingly at the people eating hot burgers, crabcakes and pomme frite at the bar. Me too.