Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Where to eat in Philly?


vinniecap
 Share

Recommended Posts

The absolutely only complaint I've heard is that their weekly tasting menus tend to be structured the same, week after week.

What is this "structure?"

For a few weeks running, the menus would consist basically of soup (often with dumpling), charcuterie (this course varied most often, though), scallop dish, lamb dish, and dessert. Now, to be perfectly clear: as far as I'm concerned, the variations made every menu entirely distinctive - I was not one of those this bothered.

Others have lower thresholds for tedium.

And, in any case, this has not been true in recent weeks.

That progression actually sounds quite perfect to me. I love scallops. I love lamb. Charcuterie is exciting. And dumplings in soup, perhaps a bit hearty for summer, but I'm game. Of course, as you pointed out, I won't be eating here repeatedly.

Well, I guess I'm just going to toss a coin on these two restaurants, although Zahav is getting the edge just because it has rabbit pastilla.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Zahav would make a lot of sense for your circumstance, if only because it's exploring a concept one doesn't see everywhere.

Matyson is the kind of restaurant that makes you happy to live in Philly, but not necessarily the kind of place you drag visiting friends to.

That's not a comment on the quality of Matson vs Zahav, just on the types of cuisine.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm having a hard time keeping up with your current itinerary, but if you do go to Osteria, be sure to get the polenta budino for dessert. It remains (and trying it again on Sunday confirmed this) the single best dessert in the city, IMO.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm having a hard time keeping up with your current itinerary...

You and me, both. :laugh:

...but if you do go to Osteria, be sure to get the polenta budino for dessert.   remains (and trying it again on Sunday confirmed this) the single best dessert in the city, IMO.

That's good to know, because I did notice that on the dessert menu and I had all but kicked off to the side, expecting another pedestrian corn meal-based cake-but-not-a-cake, pudding-but-not-a-pudding creation.

As long as it doesn't interfere with my CPF, I'm game to try it.

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Zahav would make a lot of sense for your circumstance, if only because it's exploring a concept one doesn't see everywhere.

Yes, that is my sense as well. I mean, you don't know how many years it's been since I've had a pastilla (actually, I can tell you, the last time I had a "bastilla" was at 3-star Can Fabes in San Celoni, Spain in 2005). I hope Zahav's is worth the wait.

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You certainly do want to try the Polenta Budino. I heartily thank the good professor for alerting us all to how good that is. And this might be sacrilegious to suggest, but you might even want to try Osteria's gelato and sorbetto. It's a bit more subtle than Capogiro, but that's not always a bad thing. Try the pistachio in particular.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You certainly do want to try the Polenta Budino.  I heartily thank the good professor for alerting us all to how good that is.  And this might be sacrilegious to suggest, but you might even want to try Osteria's gelato and sorbetto. It's a bit more subtle than Capogiro, but that's not always a bad thing. Try the pistachio in particular.

Nope, not sacrilege at all. I'm *always* in search of the Holy Grail of gelato. Although Capogiro reigns supreme in the United States, with Otto not far behind, I'm not above considering others.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nope, not sacrilege at all.  I'm *always* in search of the Holy Grail of gelato.  Although Capogiro reigns supreme in the United States, with Otto not far behind, I'm not above considering others.

If you're really serious about pursuing that Holy Grail, to the extent that you'd be willing to undertake an hour's drive out of Philadelphia, the Bent Spoon in Princeton, NJ and Viva Gelato in Pennington, NJ are worthy of inspection (Yes, I know they aren't in Pennsylvania, but I'm guessing u.e. isn't browsing the Jersey boards). Viva Gelato's texture is a little less smooth than Capogiro, but the flavors are more intense. The Bent Spoon has often inventive flavors and excellent ingredients. They're about 15 minutes apart from each other.

Edited by alwang (log)

---

al wang

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nope, not sacrilege at all.  I'm *always* in search of the Holy Grail of gelato.  Although Capogiro reigns supreme in the United States, with Otto not far behind, I'm not above considering others.

If you're really serious about pursuing that Holy Grail, to the extent that you'd be willing to undertake an hour's drive out of Philadelphia, the Bent Spoon in Princeton, NJ and Viva Gelato in Pennington, NJ are worthy of inspection (Yes, I know they aren't in Pennsylvania, but I'm guessing u.e. isn't browsing the Jersey boards). Viva Gelato's texture is a little less smooth than Capogiro, but the flavors are more intense. The Bent Spoon has often inventive flavors and excellent ingredients. They're about 15 minutes apart from each other.

It's funny you should mention the Bent Spoon, I was just eating about it on Serious Eats.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's funny you should mention the Bent Spoon, I was just eating about it on Serious Eats.

Wishful thinking? :laugh:

Ay. See how gelato-obsessed I am? It leaks out in everything I say, do, and feel.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's funny you should mention the Bent Spoon, I was just eating about it on Serious Eats.

Wishful thinking? :laugh:

Ay. See how gelato-obsessed I am? It leaks out in everything I say, do, and feel.

Just so you know (IMO) not everything is exactly the "Holy Grail" at Capogiro. While I wholeheartedly endorse the bacio, other flavors have not done it for me in the past, so sample before you decide on a flavor (or two, three, or four).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just so you know (IMO) not everything is exactly the "Holy Grail" at Capogiro. While I wholeheartedly endorse the bacio, other flavors have not done it for me in the past, so sample before you decide on a flavor (or two, three, or four).

Have you tried the Sea Salt flavor? FWIW it is my current favorite - that sweet and salty dance is a beautiful thing. I've only had it at the 20th St. location though, not sure if they offer it at 13th St.

Cognito ergo consume - Satchel Pooch, Get Fuzzy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just so you know (IMO) not everything is exactly the "Holy Grail" at Capogiro. While I wholeheartedly endorse the bacio, other flavors have not done it for me in the past, so sample before you decide on a flavor (or two, three, or four).

Have you tried the Sea Salt flavor? FWIW it is my current favorite - that sweet and salty dance is a beautiful thing. I've only had it at the 20th St. location though, not sure if they offer it at 13th St.

I have not but will try it the next time I am there.

My last visit to Capogiro was a bit miffling. Despite being close to the 20th St. location earlier in the day, I was still full from lunch so I figured I would time it out so I would be by the 13th St. location in time for dessert (bacio). As it turns out, I get to 13th St, no bacio. I asked if they knew if the 20th St store had it (and after one employee told me to "it's online") another was nice enough to call the other location..sure enough! At least I walked off some of the calories!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The sea salt is particularly tasty with the cioccolato scuro. Or something nutty and something sweet, if you're investing in a medium.

The online flavor report is nice, but not 100% accurate. I have been disappointed a few times to find they don't have salted almond, or Mexican chocolate, or whatever I'm in the mood for. And the 13th street location is using those tiny, messy fluted cups again for the smalls. On the upside: mmm, Single Malt Scotch gelato.

It's worth noting that the polenta budino at Osteria is served cold. Or at least I hope it is, because the one I ate sure was!

Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3. Looking at Vetri's "Degustazione" menus online: does one get all of the courses listed (I think there's something in the order of 12-15 per menu)?  Or, does one choose from the different sections (in which case, I think the menu ceases to be a "chef's tasting menu" in the strictest sense of the phrase)?

You get six - or eight - courses, though some would quibble that you get an amuse bouche, four courses and the piccola pasticceria at the end. The chef decides what courses these are, though they will ask you for allergies/dislikes and will of course take suggestions.

One thing that bears mentioning is that mr. Benjamin, the partner/maitre, is an asset, not only for his extensive knowledge of wine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Okay, my visit to Philly in the next month is getting complicated. My friend had to bail on Friday dinner, but we're meeting up on Saturday with a friend of his--but Vetri is closed Saturday night.

Can you all offer a comparable "fine dining" experience? Or is Tinto still a better option than all the rest of the "fine dining" set in Philly? I'm thinking Le Bec Fin/The Fountain--are these any good anymore? The last time I was at Le Bec Fin, I was terribly disappointed. What about Lacroix at the Rittenhouse?

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On Friday night we did the Tinto-Capagiro double. I think you would indeed be hard pressed to top this.

Lots of good at Tinto. Baby artichokes with black truffle butter and the duck confit were highlights.

Had a blackberry and vanilla double at Capogiro and that was a perfect combo. Wanted to try the sea salt, but it was not available when we were in

Not sure how your trip will pan out, but the Tinto-Capogiro combo worked for us.

Edited by lancastermike (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you have the Vetri reservation already, I suggest you find a new friend to go with you. It's worth it. But if that's not possible, I had the tasting menu at Lacroix a few months back and was impressed by some courses, and incredibly disappointed by most. Tinto (or Amada) + Capogiro is the way to go I think.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i will admit i haven't read through all of the posts on this thread, but brief thoughts since i just ate at zahav and tinto last week--

zahav was OK. we ordered the b'stilla/pastilla and it was nice. not earth-shattering, but nice. crispy phyllo dough wrapped around a sweet/savory filling of shredded rabbit, raisins, etc., hints of cinnamon, powdered sugar sprinkled on top. i tend to think rabbit tastes like chicken in many contexts, especially when you've got dominant flavors like cinnamon and sugar competing for your attention.

tinto was delicious. i forget how much i like jose garces' food because there are so many new places to try out. but i would definitely get the shrimp pinxto (four huge grilled shrimp skewered with a bit of chorizo, a lovely caramelized candylike grape tomato, and esplette pepper), the bomba rice with fava beans, the mushrooms (sauteed in obscene/delightful amounts of olive oil), the baby artichokes (tender, lemony, truffly). nice wines by the glass, too! i was underwhelmed by the cheeses (i prefer big stinky oozy cheeses or aged crunchy almost crystalline cheeses).

are you, as a professed cheesehead, going to tria?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you were disappointed in Le Bec Fin before, I kind of doubt you'll like it more now, unless your problem with it as that you were put-off by the formality.

You can still get a multi-course tasting, or now you can order a la carte. My understanding is that many of the long-time servers have left, and there is a newer staff on the floor. Some friends went shortly after the transition, and found the service a little rough, but it may have been buffed-up by now.

I had a very nice meal at Lacroix back in January, except for one egregiously-bad course, which they promptly replaced, and comped, but the fact that they sent it out at all makes me wonder a little about them. It's interesting food for sure, and can be very delicious, but I think the kitchen might be a little inconsistent. Feel like rolling the dice?

I'd echo a previous poster who suggested hanging onto that friday night res at Vetri if you have it. Or just go gonzo at Osteria on saturday night, it's not as elegant a setting, but the food's excellent.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you were disappointed in Le Bec Fin before, I kind of doubt you'll like it more now, unless your problem with it as that you were put-off by the formality.

You can still get a multi-course tasting, or now you can order a la carte.  My understanding is that many of the long-time servers have left, and there is a newer staff on the floor.  Some friends went shortly after the transition, and found the service a little rough, but it may have been buffed-up by now.

Certainly, the service was the least enjoyable part of Le Bec Fin. The rather stale feeling of the entire place was another. Then, there was the VOLUME 34 music that drowned out everything.

The food was good, but nothing terribly striking or memorable.

I think I'll stick with Tinto. I'm sure I'll make it Osteria Vetri as well. What's the loudness factor at OV on a Saturday night circa 9pm?

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Osteria (just "Osteria") will be pretty hopping on saturday at 9, and it'll be a little noisy. It's not terrible in that respect, I never find it oppressively loud, but it's not going to be intimate either.

If you're talking about the next few weeks, Philly gets a bit slow on weekends in the summer (hence Vetri being closed) so you could luck-out and find it a little more mellow than usual.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Osteria  (just "Osteria")  will be pretty hopping on saturday at 9, and it'll be a little noisy.  It's not terrible in that respect, I never find it oppressively loud, but it's not going to be intimate either.

If you're talking about the next few weeks, Philly gets a bit slow on weekends in the summer (hence Vetri being closed) so you could luck-out and find it a little more mellow than usual.

Or you could try the patio: much less noise, and very pleasant otherwise as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does anyone know if Amada has a separate (water-downed) lunch menu, or is the dinner menu also offered at lunch?

Also, I'm sad to see that nearly nothing is open for lunch on Saturday. Here are the options I've narrowed down for Saturday lunch:

Le Bec Fin

10 Arts

Lacroix

Kanella

The Fountain

Brasserie Perrier

Please tell me that one of these is worth the trip. Even better, please suggest something that is more interesting than all of these.

By this point in my trip, I will have gone to Vetri, Amada, Tinto, Zahav and the RTM for pork sandwiches. It's really a shame that Osteria isn't open for lunch on Saturdays.

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...