• Monday , 23 October 2017

Fanastic Food Porn: An Epic Philly Restaurant Roundup List That Will Leave You Drooling

Photos, story by Cassie Hepler

We’ve eaten our way though Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs, just to provide you with a stellar list of places – old and new – that serve just plain good food. And we’ve also done all the extra exercise that goes along with being a Philly phoodie!

Philly is constantly churning through so many new restaurants (and we love and encourage all of them), however some are just classics that don’t get as much local love as they should. So cheers to a misfit food porn list that will certainly compel more than just your stomach to move.

BonChon Chicken – 1020 Cherry Street (Chinatown)

The place to taste authentic Korean food in Chinatown. The sauces are made and imported from Korea and each spicy dish is served with pickled daikon radish to quench the fire in your mouth (also packed with Vitamin C and helps with digestion!) Bonchon is worldwide and owned by David Taing, who also owns Crabby Cafe at the Piazza. He’s also planning another restaurant across the street from BonChon, a BYOB this time. He’s also got plans to turn the old Shanghi Bazaar into Chinatown Square, a one-stop shop food hall with a liquor license, full of pre-approved awesome tenants. Picture the Food Republic in Singpore with Anthony Bourdain.

And for a full eating guide to Chinatown, we’ve got your belly covered with Finally! Your Chinatown Eating Guide in Philadelphia!

Before you enter the restaurant, check out this awesome temple across the street. Pretty sweet!

Before you enter the restaurant, check out this awesome, ornate temple across the street. Pretty sweet!

And into Bonchon we go... with open window seating for people watching.

And into Bonchon we go… with open window seating for people watching.

The interior has two floors and Korean pop music videos playing which are very hypnotizing.

The interior has two floors and Korean pop music videos playing which are very hypnotizing.

The view out the open windows.

The view out the open windows.

Soju is a Korean style vodka with barely a kickback or flavor. A rice based liquor, it can sneak up on you.

Soju is a Korean style vodka with barely a kickback or flavor. A rice based liquor, it can sneak up on you.

Twice fried chicken that are large wings, no little guys here (and the option of full drumsticks) is so amazingly good.

Twice fried chicken that are large wings, no little guys here (and the option of full drumsticks) is so amazingly good.

Korean seafood specialty bibimbap (usually beef) is served in a hot stone bowl that you mix up the spicy sauce.

Korean seafood specialty bibimbap (usually beef) is served in a hot stone bowl that you mix up the spicy sauce and radish cubes to cool it down.

A close up of Bonchon's delicious and filling Bibimbap... there's tons of rice under there!

A close up of Bonchon’s delicious and filling Bibimbap… there’s tons of rice under there too!

The salmon avocado ball is truly a work of art.

The salmon avocado ball is truly a work of art.

The guts of the salmon avocado ball include crab, cucumber and secret delicious ingredients. Make sure to sop up the sauce.

The guts of the salmon avocado ball include crab, cucumber and secret delicious ingredients. Make sure to sop up the sauce.

Who needs dessert when you can shoot one of these Maeil Biofeel "soft drinks". Typically mixed with soju, this could be quite addicting.

Who needs dessert when you can shoot one of these Maeil Biofeel “soft drinks”. Typically mixed with soju, this could be quite addicting.

A whole six-pack of these yogurt like drinks can certainly cure a hangover!

A whole six-pack of these yogurt like drinks can certainly cure a hangover!

Buena Onda – 1901 Callowhill Street (Spring Garden)

Fresh fish tacos via Bala style with the name translating to “Good vibes,” we’re pretty sure it means “Surfs up, dude!” It’s a very chill, cafeteria style restaurant where hearing the Beach Boys playing may be just normal there. The fish is fresh, sustainably sourced, and chosen in partnership with seafoodwatch.org.

You have the option of fried or grilled and of course, there are some pork tacos thrown in there for good, delicious measure. Sample some tap beer while waiting in line and get there at off peak hours for a seat (indoor and outdoor). There are veggie options too but when in fish taco land… make sure you get two, they’re pretty small but add a side of stellar, chunky guacamole, a natural soda (ginger’s a zinger!) and you’re all set.

A beachy blue sign greets you inside Buena Onda.

A beachy blue sign greets you inside Buena Onda.

Get in line and pick your faves, then belly up to the cashier.

Get in line and pick your faves, then belly up to the cashier.

A theme of clean lines is the decor of the day.

A theme of clean lines is the decor of the day.

Prickly pear margarita is surefire way to tune you up and mellow you out.

Prickly pear margarita is surefire way to tune you up and mellow you out.

A nice sampling of the meatier side of the menu includes chicken, pork and beef.

A nice sampling of the meatier side of the menu includes chicken, pork and beef.

The chicken quesadilla touts Poblano Rajas, Mexican Red Rice, Queso Mixto, Caramelized Onions.

The chicken quesadilla touts Poblano Rajas, Mexican Red Rice, Queso Mixto and Caramelized Onions.

A salad always makes you feel healthier. This Romaine, Kale, Charred Corn, Black Beans, Cherry Tomatoes chopped salad almost fools you.

A salad always makes you feel healthier. This Romaine, Kale, Charred Corn, Black Beans, Cherry Tomatoes chopped salad almost fools you.

Now for our favorites, the fish tacos. Atlantic Mahi Mahi, Jumbo Pacific Shrimp and Catch of the Day was delicious, in that order.

Now for our favorites, the fish tacos. Atlantic Mahi Mahi, Jumbo Pacific Shrimp and Catch of the Day was delicious, in that order.

Thick, chunky guac with house made chips always hit the spot.

Thick, chunky guac with house made chips always hit the spot.

The Mini Marlin Tacos  with Malanga Chip and Pickled Jalapeños were a little heavy on the sauce, but we managed to choke 'em down... somehow.

The Mini Marlin Tacos with Malanga Chip and Pickled Jalapeños were a little heavy on the sauce, but we managed to choke ’em down… somehow.

CoZara – 3200 Chestnut Street (University City)

Chef Zama Tanaka and Bryon Phillips knocked it out of the park with this place. Even though the location is a hike for people without wheels into West Philly land, it’s well worth the payoff. Two floors of dining, a private space on the second floor, a covered outside patio especially during a steal of a happy hour ($2 skewers and $2 cocktails, house wine, and some beers), you can’t be beat.

And the saki! The saki! Only the best is what you’d expect at this Japanese izakaya-style bar and grill. Previously offering no sushi, they have taken that rule back and now happy sushi lovers ever can enjoy some of the best sushi we’ve ever had (not kidding!).

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Small but mighty, these black pepper teriyaki wings are finger licking good.

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Mushroom wantons with truffle soy cream just melt in the mouth… after crunching a little first.

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Mushroom mazemen “dry ramen” was so good we may have been fighting over it.

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Just when you think you’ve tasted all the best sushi in Philly, along comes this sushi…

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Followed by the most amazing sushi we’ve ever had. Can you guess what it is?

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Cocktails included spins of cult classics with saki and rice wine added in place of your usual suspects.

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The medley of meat skewers everyone is talking about. You can fill up on your protein with this plate.

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Braised pork belly is like a soup that never ends – with flavors to match.

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Chef Zama Tanaka entrusts Bryon Phillips to oversee service as General Manager of CoZara (and a good choice indeed!)

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If you’re not careful you may be sent home with a bag full of delicious Japanese cookies, candies, seaweed and snacks.

Hawthornes Cafe – 738 S. 11th Street (South Philly)

Once upon a time, this writer was on assignment for a certain men’s website at this location and the very next day, the whole place burned down. Having nothing to do with it (we swear!), it turned out to be an electrical problem on the third floor apartment that trickled down into the walls and then engulfing poor helpless Hawthornes below.

However, like a phoenix being resurrected through the ashes, they came back better and stronger – with more beer and food options and a nifty little 1950’s style counter. We’re going to show them a little more love here as we feel somehow guilty/responsible (issues!) with a little blast from the pre-ashes past.

Hawthrones looks the same from the outside...

Hawthrones looks the same from the outside…

And from the corner of the street.

And from the corner of the street.

Hawthrones interior is pretty much the same layout as before.

Hawthrones interior is pretty much the same layout as before.

Hawthrones interior is pretty much the same layout as before.

Hawthrones interior is pretty much the same layout as before.

This is new, a cute little owl planter to greet guests.

This is new, a cute little owl planter to greet guests.

The fireplace with new/old vintage chairs still as cozy as ever.

The fireplace with new/old vintage chairs still as cozy as ever.

The beer cases were the only thing that (ironically) survived the fire. Even fire knows not to ruin good craft beer.

The beer cases were the only thing that (ironically) survived the fire. Even fire knows not to ruin good craft beer.

Anyone need a growler?

Anyone need a growler?

Excellent selection of beer choices as usual.

Excellent selection of beer choices as usual.

More awesome selection of beer choices as usual.

More awesome selection of beer choices as usual.

And even more delicious beer!

And even more delicious beer!

The nifty 1950's counter where we met someone from central Pa.

The nifty 1950’s counter where we met someone also from central Pa.

... we've been here for years! Thanks for the ear worm, Hawthornes!

… we’ve been here for years! Thanks for the ear worm, Hawthornes!

BLT's and a Yard's beer, it doesn't get much better than that.

Turkey BLT’ and a Yard’s beer, it doesn’t get much better than that.

French half a loaf toast... with some fruit of course to make it seem somewhat healthy.

French half a loaf toast… with some fruit of course to make it seem somewhat healthy.

Chris Doran shows the proper way to fill a growler (and they have local bike beer delivery!)

Chris Doran shows the proper way to fill a growler (and they have local beer delivery by bike!)

A completely stellar list of beer options to get on tap or in your growler.

A completely stellar list of beer options to get in your growler.

Fried chicken on a biscuit at the old Hawthornes.

Fried chicken on a biscuit at the old Hawthornes.

And fried chicken with bacon sandwich never hurt for a chicken bender kind of day.

And fried chicken with bacon sandwich never hurt for a chicken bender kind of day.

Mac and cheese with gravy to slop it up.

Mac and cheese with gravy to slop it up.

Bacon muffins!

Bacon muffins!

Kensington Quarters – 1310 Frankford Ave. (Northern Liberties aka No Libs)

Meat. Organic meat. And more meat with meat on top. A couple wickedly good cocktails and some hanging meat. That about sums it up at this fancy-for-hipsters joint in No Libs. You will see lots of flannels, funky hair and talk about …. you guessed it – meat!

Philly’s biggest butcher shop/restaurant/bar joins trendy No Libs growing list of stellar farm to table, no-GMO treats. The crew from Kensington Quarter includes Chef Damon Menapace, co-owner Michael Pasquarello, co-owner and butcher Bryan Mayer. They do have some non-meaty options but it’s not a place to bring Bambi lovers, kids.

This just in! New meaty news: Beginning weekly on Friday, July 31, head butcher Heather Thomason of Kensington Quarters, along with COOK (253 South 20th Street), will provide a second location for guests to pick up and enjoy pre-ordered sustainably-raised beef, pork, goat and poultry products. Each week, Thomason and her staff will cut and deliver orders placed in advance to be picked up at COOK, adding a convenient location for Center City residents and commuting professionals. Orders must be placed on or before Wednesday of each week, to be dropped off by Thomason and her staff on Friday of the same week for guest pick-up.

Some mighty fine, tasty and strong cocktail options on the list.

Some mighty fine, tasty and strong cocktail options on the list may tempt you to take it outside on the patio.

Hanging meat greets customers who walk toward the back wall of the first floor.

Hanging meat greets customers who walk toward the back of the first floor.

Charcuterie with the Shaved Lamb Leg (charred garlic, radishes, chili) with a nice spicy kick.

Charcuterie with the Shaved Lamb Leg (charred garlic, radishes, chili) with a nice spicy kick.

Head Cheese (cabbage slaw, fennel mayo) reminded the tastebuds of central Pa. scrapple.

Head Cheese (cabbage slaw, fennel mayo) reminded the tastebuds of central Pa. scrapple.

Egg whites made this cocktail heavenly.

Egg whites made this cocktail heavenly.

Wood Fired Mushrooms (swiss chard, croutons, bacon and fried oysters) which was a nice blend of creamy and crunchy.

Wood Fired Mushrooms (swiss chard, croutons, bacon and fried oysters) which was a nice blend of creamy and crunchy.

Roasted Sunchokes (chevre, hazelnuts) that had a bit of a popcorn tasting finish.

Roasted Sunchokes (chevre, hazelnuts) that had a bit of a popcorn tasting finish.

Pig Head Ravioli (almond, fennel seed, orange zest) which was sweet, tangy and greasy.

Pig Head Ravioli (almond, fennel seed, orange zest) which was sweet, tangy and greasy.

Tagliatelle (veal sausage, royal trumpet mushrooms) that was a hearty little power package of Italian flavor.

Tagliatelle (veal sausage, royal trumpet mushrooms) that was a hearty little power package of Italian flavor.

Tagliatelle guts.

Tagliatelle guts.

Pork Shoulder (potato torta, winter greens) was fatty and hearty as expected.

Pork Shoulder (potato torta, winter greens) was fatty and hearty as expected.

The medium rare New York Strip steak tasted clean and fresh with a tangy beet salad on the side.

The medium rare New York Strip steak tasted clean and fresh with a tangy beet salad on the side.

Peanut Butter Semifreddo (salted caramel, milk chocolate and gingerbread) was a peanut butter lovers dream.

Peanut Butter Semifreddo (salted caramel, milk chocolate and gingerbread) was a peanut butter lovers dream.

Goats Milk Panna Cotta (fennel streusel, cinnamon) which tasted like herbs and sweet earth.

Goats Milk Panna Cotta (fennel streusel, cinnamon) which tasted like herbs and sweet earth.

Le Castagne – 1920 Chestnut Street (Rittenhouse Square)

If your stomach prefers less pasta and more fish, a la the Northern coast of Italy, this is your nirvana. One of the best Italian restaurants in the city is home base for many Boyd’s fashionistas for lunch, dinner and drinks. Every single suggestion and plate was perfectly on point with special touches only a true food lover can appreciate.

The setting suggests romance, the mood is relaxing and inviting and the food is divine. Suggested wine pairings brought out the flavors of the fish, pasta and more. Of course there are plenty of pasta options for all you carb lovers and of course, we had to try the truffle gnocchi because… well, it’s truffle gnocchi!

A mental image to keep in mind when looking for the street sign toward Center City.

A mental image to keep in mind when looking for the street sign toward Center City.

You really can't miss this building... but somehow can walk right past it. How?!?

You really can’t miss this building… but somehow can walk right past it. How?!?

As any good Italian restaurant knows, bread must be shared first.

As any good Italian restaurant knows, delicious house-made bread must be shared first.

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Some stellar white wines by the glass for tasting or bottle for sharing… or not.

The octopus was succulent with a medley of fresh flavors.

The octopus was succulent with a medley of fresh flavors.

A beet salad never tastes beat especially with all these tasty friends.

A beet salad never tastes beat especially with all these tasty friends like goat cheese mousse, apple and pistachio.

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The five course tasting menu deal is quite a steal for this fine Italian dining restaurant.

White truffle gnocchi is worth the trip alone, perfect fluffy pillows of heaven.

White truffle gnocchi is worth the trip alone… these perfect fluffy pillows of heaven.

The braised pork was hearty, flavorful and creamy.

The braised pork was hearty, flavorful and creamy.

Prosecco (in many forms and from many countries) offers the bubbles without the killer price.

Prosecco (in many forms and from many countries) offers the bubbles without the killer price.

Sea bass that is as big as your fist and flakes apart perfectly with your fork is a seafood lovers dream.

Sea bass that is as big as your fist and flakes apart perfectly with your fork is a seafood lovers dream.

Tasty little bites of duck were a nice transition and not greasy at all, more sweet and savory.

Tasty little bites of duck were a nice transition and not greasy at all, more sweet and savory.

No meal is complete without chocolate, it was so decadent coffee was a perfect pair.

No meal is complete without chocolate, it was so decadent coffee was a perfect pair.

And of course, the Italian tiramisu - full of flaky pastry flavor and not overwhelmed by the cream.

And of course, the Italian tiramisu – full of flaky pastry flavor and not overwhelmed by the cream.

Liberté Lounge – 120 S 17th Street (Center City, West)

Bonjour! Now that your eyes have feasted upon délicieux Italian food, it is time to travel to France. Join Chef Justin Perdue on his culinary exploration for the summer and soon into fall with light, refreshing cuisine full of pops of color and flavor. Located inside the always chic Sofitel, this is not your typical hotel lounge.

Try a lovely flight of champagne to find your favorite first and then dig into some tasty treats like escargot, button mushrooms (chef’s favorites) and more. Everything is delightful here and a perfect place for a quick lunch or an intimate dinner. Even better, there are couches to get snuggly. Heavenly indeed! Oh la la!

Champagne flight almost in motion... our fave, the rose. If you know us well, we love our bubbles. And Liberte Lounge delivers with a flight option!

Champagne flight almost in motion… our fave, the rose. If you know us well, we love our bubbles. And Liberte Lounge delivers with a flight option – pure brilliance!

Tuna tartar with a creamy avocado topping is pure puree heaven to the tastebuds.

Tuna tartar with a creamy avocado topping is pure puree heaven to the tastebuds.

Escargots, cleverly disguised by delicious vegetables and petit pain, was meaty and tres Francais.

Escargots, cleverly disguised by delicious vegetables and petit pain, was meaty and tres Francais.

Who doesn't love a watermelon salad? We sure do!

Who doesn’t love a watermelon salad? We sure do!

The beauty of soft shell crab is you can eat the whole thing and that we did because it was that good. No parts left behind!

The beauty of soft shell crab is you can eat the whole thing and that we did because it was that good. No parts left behind!

Salmon with a pea puree is pure simplicity and perfection in taste. Notice the crunchy sides? That's taste perfection right there.

Salmon with a pea puree is pure simplicity and perfection in taste. Notice the crunchy sides? That’s taste perfection right there.

Mango chocolate mouse with caramel popcorn is such a journey of flavors and texture for your tongue.

Mango chocolate mouse with caramel popcorn is such a journey of flavors and texture for your tongue.

Goats milk cheesecake trumps regular cheesecake any day. Just sayin'

Goats milk cheesecake trumps regular cheesecake any day. Just sayin’

Parlor Ardmore – Suburban Square, 30 St James Place (Ardmore, Pa.)

… And we’re back to a spin on Italy with pizza pies and crispy sides. Although American pizza pies are nothing like their Italian counterparts, we think we’ll eat ’em all anyway… mmmmkkkk?

DO park at the free lot adjacent to the shopping plaza (this is the burbs, kids, so you need wheels… or an Uber/Lyft ride). And then DON’T get lost. Keep walking until you see you can see a change in the plaza, it’s like on the inside of a box. There, that helped… right? But you can always call and get guided there like we did. And once you’re inside, loosen that belt buckle because it’s about to get real.

Check out this fine stone oven imported from Italy and built in-house.

Check out this fine stone oven imported from Italy and built in-house.

Calamari connoisseurs know that perfection lies in the flash fry - and marinara sauce. A cold, light wheat beer never hurt anyone either.

Calamari connoisseurs know that perfection lies in the flash fry – and marinara sauce. A cold, light wheat beer never hurt anyone either.

Goat cheese salad was likely taken fresh from the garden.

Goat cheese salad was likely taken fresh from the garden.

Fresh parmesan cheese, hot pepper flakes, oregano and parsley waiting to smother some food.

Fresh parmesan cheese, hot pepper flakes, oregano and parsley waiting to smother some food.

If you haven't tried the JAWN yet, you're not from Philly. (And this place is in Ardmore!)

If you haven’t tried the JAWN yet, you’re not from Philly. (And this place is in Ardmore!)

Who knew cauliflower could taste so damn good without all the grease? We could eat a whole damn plate of this.

Who knew cauliflower could taste so damn good without all the grease? We could eat a whole damn plate of this.

The broccoli got a little burnt but we still choked it down... somehow.

The broccoli got a little burnt but we still choked it down… somehow.

Thick, hearty pasta with a pasty tomato sauce fills the tummy on a rainy day.

Thick, hearty pasta with a pasty tomato sauce fills the tummy on a rainy day.

A lighter and fluffier pasta with crab makes you wish there was room for more carbs.

A lighter and fluffier pasta with crab makes you wish there was room for more carbs.

Mushroom and sausage, oh my! We had to try the pizza and were happy we did  so because it just got better.

Mushroom and sausage, oh my! We had to try the pizza and were happy we did so because it just got better.

Big slabs of bacon was the best possible idea for this brick oven pizza pie.

Big slabs of bacon was the best possible idea for this brick oven pizza pie.

One of the most delicious porter beers around, it was almost a replacement for dessert.

One of the most delicious porter beers around, it was almost a replacement for dessert.

Lemon and raspberry sorbet was needed to fill in the cracks before we weeble-wobbled our way home.

Lemon and raspberry sorbet was needed to fill in the cracks before we weeble-wobbled our way home.

P.S. & Co. – 1706 Locust Street (Rittenhouse Square)

Watch your back Vedge, because there’s a new vegan restaurant in town. And according to the chef who joined us for dinner, “this food is much better than Vedge and at an amazing price.” And this is vegan food (Vedge is vegetarian) which means even less food options for cooking amazing meals. Now that’s talent.

The name stands for Pure Sweets and Co. and is touted as “an all-day vegan cafe/bakery with gluten-free & organic dishes & sweets, a rustic feel and outdoor space”. Normally never full from any sort of vegan or vegetarian restaurant, this one left us stuffed, happy and quite impressed. Schedule your multi-course BYOB dinner soon before word gets out (oops, too late!)

Creeping up on the doorstep, you wonder am I still in Philly?

Creeping up on the doorstep, you wonder am I still in Philly?

Kicking boxing butt with healthy food options and exercise is pretty sweet in our book.

Kicking boxing butt with healthy food options and exercise is pretty sweet in our book.

Pure Sweets hot pads for all the budding chefs. See what we did there?

Pure Sweets hot pads for all the budding chefs. See what we did there?

The pastry and juice bar section.

The pastry and juice bar section.

It's a long walk back to the end of the store.

It’s a long walk back to the end of the store.

Grab a seat by the window and people watch all day.

Grab a seat by the window and people watch all day.

Fresh, homemade hot soup is also available for take out.

Fresh, homemade hot soup is also available for take out.

These pineapples scattered around the whole restaurant make amazing smoothies and dishes when ripened.

These pineapples scattered around the whole restaurant make amazing smoothies and dishes when ripened.

The tasting menu (for $58 each!) and X marks the spot.

The tasting menu (for $58 each!) and X marks the spot.

Vegetable dumplings with chili sauce that was surely scrumptious.

Vegetable dumplings with chili sauce that was surely scrumptious.

Cilantro salad with roasted sweet potatoes, truffles and the best carrot ginger dressing.

Cilantro salad with roasted sweet potatoes, truffles and the best carrot ginger dressing.

Organic dan dan noodles that can beat up any other dan dan noodles, hands down.

Organic dan dan noodles that can beat up any other dan dan noodles, hands down.

Organic curries with cauliflower "rice" with varying levels of spice and decadence. An amazing taste tour for the tongue!

Organic curries with cauliflower “rice” with varying levels of spice and decadence. An amazing taste tour for the tongue!

Vanilla "ice cream" made out of coconut milk with red beans, a few of our favorite things.

Vanilla “ice cream” made out of coconut milk with red beans, a few of our favorite things.

The Gaslight – 120 Market Street (Old City)

Because sometimes you need a little quickie, we popped into The Gaslight on a wicked awesome Bluecoat Gin happy hour party. The space is pretty sweet for squished space Old City standards and it was nice to see the Top Chef alum Jason Cichonski getting his fingers sticky behind the bar.

With some tasty app options and drinks that tasted a little too good, this could make a great spot for date night, a quick drink or full-out dinner when in the area. Or a quickie…

Bluecoat Gin representing cool drinks on hot days well.

Bluecoat Gin representing cool drinks on hot days well.

Chef Jason making sure all is well with thirsty patrons.

Chef Jason making sure all is well with thirsty patrons.

A surprise attack photo at the other (more packed) bar always yields funny results.

A surprise attack photo at the other (more packed) bar always yields funny results.

The interior is surprisingly spacious for Old City standards.

The interior is surprisingly spacious for Old City standards.

And a private little nook on the side of the street for game day - or something...

And a private little nook on the side of the street for game day – or something…

Fois gras is a perfectly acceptable snack at The Gaslight with caviar topping.

Fois gras is a perfectly acceptable snack at The Gaslight with caviar topping.

The savvy bartender mixing up mass cocktails... for the masses.

The savvy bartender mixing up mass cocktails… for the masses.

Angelina Rose reminds us of a rose, perfect and deliciously flavorful.

Angelina Rose reminds us of a rose, perfect and deliciously flavorful.

Volvér – 300 South Broad Street (Center City)

There is Bar Volvér and then the restaurant itself, Volvér, that is the epitome of class, ambiance and fine yet artistic dining in the city. Conveniently attached to the Kimmel Center, the bar is a great place to pregame before a fabulous show or extend your cultural delight night with an artsy food flair at the restaurant.

Tinkering around with tickets for dinner didn’t work at first, so they have seem to stuck with an extensive and impressive tasting menu. And yes, the bar has happy hours. But because those who work hard also must play hard, the staff is taking a holiday (yes, like a European month-long one). Bar Volvér has reopened on Wednesday, Aug. 12. The Dining Room at Volvér will reopen on Wednesday, Sept. 2. Reservations are now available. If you to be treated like royalty, this place is worth the splurge. Don’t get too attached to this menu though, new things are on the horizon. Meaning “to return,” you will indeed.

Delicious little croquettes were a perfect compliment to cocktail hour(s).

Delicious little croquettes were a perfect compliment to cocktail hour(s).

Champagne and Chambord are a mighty fine mix.

Champagne and Chambord are a mighty fine mix.

Fois gras macaroons is a medley of meat and sweet.

Fois gras macaroons is a medley of meat and sweet.

This wicked peach concoction was the bees knees (and left wobbly knees)!

This wicked peach concoction was the bees knees (and left wobbly knees)!

Chef Jose Garces explains the inspiration behind the menu.

Chef Jose Garces explains the inspiration behind the menu.

Beautiful appetizers await curious patrons.

Beautiful appetizers await curious patrons.

A glass was never left empty thanks to the amazing staff at Volvér.

A glass was never left empty thanks to the amazing staff at Volvér.

Natalie Maronski, chef de cuisine at Volvér, was obviously another great Garces idea.

Natalie Maronski, chef de cuisine at Volvér, was obviously another great Garces idea.

Before the purse could even touch the floor, a purse clip was put in place.

Before the purse could even touch the floor, a purse clip was put in place. We are in love.

Beet meringue  "Hershey Kisses" were heavenly - all beet whip and no chocolate.

Beet meringue “Hershey Kisses” were heavenly – all beet whip and no chocolate.

French onion soup, perfect for hamsters (can someone please make a video of this?)

French onion soup, perfect for hamsters (can someone please make a video of this?)

Uni on sourdough sopped up just some of the pairings to follow.

Uni on sourdough sopped up just some of the pairings to follow.

The sheer attention to detail in the open kitchen was amazing.

The sheer attention to detail in the open kitchen was amazing.

Chef makes sure things are perfectly in place. It's the fine details that makes Natalie Maronski, chef de cuisine at Volvér stand out.

Chef makes sure things are perfectly in place. It’s the fine details that makes Natalie Maronski, chef de cuisine at Volvér stand out.

Sommelier Gordana Kostovski is so full of knowledge and an amazingly sweet person too.

Sommelier Gordana Kostovski is so full of knowledge and an amazingly sweet person too.

Ecuadorian style ceviche was one of our favorites being so light, fresh and lovely.

Ecuadorian style ceviche was one of our favorites being so light, fresh and lovely.

A little Asian influence with this chawanmushi, short rib, shittake, puffed nori and sea cress.

A little Asian influence with this chawanmushi, short rib, shittake, puffed nori and sea cress.

This salted prawn has some paint-like dipping sauces, all different flavors and textures.

This salted prawn has some paint-like dipping sauces, all different flavors and textures.

Sommelier Gordana Kostovski introduces the table to a wine that tastes like a beer.

Sommelier Gordana Kostovski introduces the table to a wine that tastes like a beer.

It's certainly a red wine, but so much like Framboise.

It’s certainly a red wine, but so much like Framboise.

Another lovely dish that was full of texture and flavor.

Another lovely dish that was full of texture and flavor.

The stiff seaweed wind sail added the right amount of crunch to this plate.

The stiff seaweed wind sail added the right amount of crunch to this plate.

Dessert was tropical with pineapple granita with coconut and rum caramel.

Dessert was tropical with pineapple granita with coconut and rum caramel.

Our favorite, rhubard, that tasted like creamy watermelon.

Our favorite, rhubard, that tasted like creamy watermelon.

SkyBrunch at The Top of the Tower – 51st Floor, 1717 Arch St. (Center City)

Something you have to do if you are to call yourself a true Philadelphian (or a savvy visitor) because you’re not gonna find views like this anywhere else, son. And it’s a gourmet buffet with a rightly named Skyy Vodka cocktail included for $50, which you also won’t find anywhere else. And an omelet chef with fresh sliced meat options… and a dessert table… and pretty much just park your butt for a couple hours. Eat, drink and repeat.

Enjoy, relish and lay off the carbs ’til the end. This is how a buffet is done right! Join us high in the sky for the most delightful fancy Sunday-only brunch option in the city. And blame the vertigo on the alcohol, not your fear of heights.

These lovely smiles will greet you at the elevator doors so have your reservation ready!

These lovely smiles will greet you at the elevator doors so have your reservation ready! Mickey Rowley and Louisa know how to brunch hard.

Bouquets of fresh flowers  are seen first, then the view.

Bouquets of fresh flowers are seen first, then the view.

Beautiful views of the city never get old.

Beautiful views of the City Hall never get old.

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A little river action here.

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People spend quite some time gazing and snapping shots.

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A photographer’s dream right here can be downright romantic at night.

The interior of the brunch seating area.

The interior of the brunch seating area.

Quite a spread for all the omelet fixins.

Quite a spread for all the omelet fixins.

Always a staple for any Italian food lover.

Always a staple for any Italian food lover.

Cheesy baked potatoes were heavenly.

Cheesy baked potatoes were heavenly.

Roast beef is perfectly pink in the center for slicing.

Roast beef is perfectly pink in the center for slicing.

No meal is complete without chicken.

No meal is complete without chicken.

Chick pea salad for the veggie lovers.

Chick pea salad for the veggie lovers.

Mushroom risotto fills the belly full.

Mushroom risotto fills the belly full.

Salmon any which way you like it!

Salmon any which way you like it!

Salmon any which way you like it!

Salmon any which way you like it!

Salmon any which way you like it!

Salmon any which way you like it!

Sushi was easy to pop in your mouth and freshly restocked.

Sushi was easy to pop in your mouth and freshly restocked.

Salsa verde crab claw shooters were so green and clean with a side of refreshing shrimp.

Salsa verde crab claw shooters were so green and clean with a side of refreshing shrimp.

Dessert was a wide array of mouth-popping treats.

Dessert was a wide array of mouth-popping treats.

Chocolate with chocolate on top? Yes please!

Chocolate with chocolate on top? Yes please!

And chocolate covered strawberries were to dye for... we may have eaten more than a dozen!

And chocolate covered strawberries were to dye for… we may have eaten more than a dozen!

Truly decadent cheesecakes and brownies.

Truly decadent cheesecakes and brownies.

Don't forget the peach cobbler!

Don’t forget the peach cobbler!

No brunch is complete without "home fries".

No brunch is complete without “home fries”.

Chicken sausage was one of our faves.

Chicken sausage was one of our faves.

Applewood smoked bacon was thick and supple.

Applewood smoked bacon was thick and supple.

We resisted the urge to put our faces in these muffins just for more stomach space.

We resisted the urge to put our faces in these muffins just for more stomach space.

Customers load up on fresh fruit, also an option.

Customers load up on fresh fruit, also an option.

Yogurt fruit cocktails were also among the healthier choices.

Yogurt fruit cocktails were also among the healthier choices.

A sponsor of SkyBrunch is  Skyy vodka.

A sponsor of SkyBrunch is Skyy vodka.

We nicknamed this the smurf martini but it was mighty powerful and delicious.

We nicknamed this the Smurf martini but it was mighty powerful and delicious.

After a few cocktails, we began a guided tour which led us to this wedding ballroom.

After a few cocktails, we began a guided tour which led us to this wedding ballroom.

And then up to the Top of The Tower with breathtaking views.

And then up to the Top of The Tower with breathtaking views.

Ben Franklin never looked so good!

Ben Franklin never looked so good!

So much city!

So much city!

We felt the vastness of Philadelphia.

We felt the vastness of Philadelphia.

City Hall looking handsome.

City Hall looking handsome even from above.

Our view to the right included cloud reflections.

Our view to the right included cloud reflections.

Just in case you want to find it on the 'Gram.

Just in case you want to find it on the ‘Gram.

Don't look down if you're afraid of heights, they say.

Don’t look down if you’re afraid of heights, they say.

To the left of the tower.

To the left of the tower.

Perhaps you can still recognize some of these buildings?

Perhaps you can still recognize some of these buildings?

Reflection fun with the camera.

Reflection fun with the camera.

This is what separates us from certain death.

This is what separates us from certain death.

Either this bee was way confused or considering world domination.

Either this bee was way confused or considering world domination.

And back in the ballroom, we couldn't resist.

And back in the ballroom, we couldn’t resist.

Just one last shot from another view and we were done. When back on the ground, you realize what an ant humans really are.

Just one last shot from another view and we were done. When back on the ground, you realize what an ant humans really are.

Waffles & Wedges – 1511 Pine Street (Center City)

One of the newest kids on the block, this Belgian waffle shop is a perfect way to end a no-carb cleanse. Or begin a mostly all-carb cleanse. Because it’s all about waffles and potato (or sweet potato) wedges here. And we loved the waffles (which also come in gluten free options) which can come with protein like cheesesteak or pork roll on top or perhaps some crab. Same goes for the fries but who wants those “healthier” carbs when you can have waffles!?

These are the chics that brought you Pbon’s Fresh Phood truck (still rollin’ by the way), the lovely Andrea Capecci and Laura Judy delved into brick-and-mortar land near 16th and Pine. With prepackaged, frozen treats in biodegradable containers, you can even have your waffle ice cream sandwich and eat it too. As well as your toaster oven treats. #TopEveryBite is their motto and by the tastes of it, they’re doing that and more.

The corner restaurant offers outdoor seating on scenic Pine Street.

The corner restaurant offers outdoor seating on scenic Pine Street.

The logo greets you as does pennies all over the floor.

The logo greets you as does pennies all over the floor.

Guess the amount of pennies used to cover the floor and you may win a free waffle or wedges!

Guess the amount of pennies used to cover the floor and you may win a free waffle or wedges!

Incorporating the old structure with new design, an a la carte menu is born.

Incorporating the old structure with new design, an a la carte menu is born.

Andrea whips up a waffle for us to try on a Tuesday afternoon.

Andrea whips up a waffle for us to try on a Tuesday afternoon.

Fresh off the waffle machine and soon into our mouths!

Fresh off the waffle machine and soon into our mouths!

Window seating offers cat-like options.

Window seating offers cat-like options.

Mexican coke is a reason to stop by alone!

Mexican coke is a reason to stop by alone!

Strawberry mojito heat with peppers and jalapeno was light and refreshing yet gooey and warm in the middle.

Strawberry mojito heat with peppers and jalapeno was light and refreshing yet gooey and warm in the middle.

The potato wedges are like a clean slate, ready for you to put all the toppings on.

The potato wedges are like a clean slate, ready for you to put all the toppings on.

Our choice was the wasabi (with we guess cucumber, it's a secret), yin yangery (tastes like pancake syrup) and spice up your life (creamy and tangy).

Our choice was the wasabi (with we guess cucumber, it’s a secret), yin yangery (tastes like pancake syrup) and spice up your life (creamy and tangy).

Each container is earth conscious and has a handy little dipping spot for whatever sauce you choose.

Each container is earth conscious and has a handy little dipping spot for whatever sauce you choose.

The Capital Grille – 1338-46 Chestnut Street (Penn Center)

Located steps from City Hall, a dimly-lit, classic Center City steakhouse awaits to tempt you with dry aged Porterhouse, stellar seafood dishes and an award-winning wine list, based on a point system (always go 90 or above!)  Transport yourself into a huge (literally, the place takes up multiple blocks, just look at the address), fancy place where white linen tablecloths are perfectly creased while sitting on velvet chairs.

Part of the beloved city restaurant week (that customers love and restaurant folk hate), you can get a sampling of what they truly have to offer. We went during The Generous Pour, an annual summer wine event celebrating women who have created eight of California’s most spectacular wines (including Barrymore Wines, from beloved actress Drew Barrymore). For $38 with unlimited pours, it’s a steal and only lasts until August 30, so round up your winos asap!

With godawful construction going on outside the building, it was nice to see this hawk protecting the doors.

With godawful construction going on outside the building, it was nice to see this hawk protecting the doors.

The wines of The Generous Pour in all their glory.

The wines of The Generous Pour in all their glory.

You can stash your favorite booze here if you rent an alcohol locker and one is available.

You can stash your favorite booze here if you rent an alcohol locker and one is available.

We arrived early while the house prepared for a busy Friday night.

We arrived early while the house prepared for a busy Friday night and it seems to go on for miles.

The Generous Pour is indeed generous with so many options available. Drink, rinse and repeat! Our favorite was the Stonestreet "Bear Point" Alexander Valley Chardonnay by Winemaker Lisa Valtenbergs.

The Generous Pour is indeed generous with so many options available. Drink, rinse and repeat! Our favorite was the Stonestreet “Bear Point” Alexander Valley Chardonnay by Winemaker Lisa Valtenbergs.

Even though the menu lists all of the calorie content, we rationed that if we split the spicy calamari, it was worth it. We were right!

Even though the menu lists all of the calorie content, we rationed that if we split the spicy calamari, it was worth it. We were right! It was crispy, tangy and just greasy enough to hit the spot.

Delicious oysters only have 30 calories for six! A decent trade off.

Delicious oysters only have 30 calories for six! A decent trade off.

Butter lettuce, strawberries and blue cheese are a winning combo.

Butter lettuce, strawberries and blue cheese are a winning combo.

Tomatoes and fresh mozzarella are best friends for your tastebuds.

Tomatoes and fresh mozzarella are best friends for your tastebuds. So. Good.

Bone-in filet simply seasoned with salt, pepper and steak butter is scrumptious while the South African lobster tail is sweeter than usual and excellent dunked in butter.

Bone-in filet simply seasoned with salt, pepper and steak butter is scrumptious while the South African lobster tail is sweeter than usual and excellent dunked in butter.

Lobster mac and cheese have some hefty chunks and crumbly cheese of perfection.

Lobster mac and cheese have some hefty chunks and crumbly cheese of perfection.

Tuna steak as thick as a fist, seared on the outside and pink on the inside is perfect.

Tuna steak as thick as a fist, seared on the outside and pink on the inside is perfect.

The lamb chops just falling off the bone were excellent.

The lamb chops just falling off the bone were excellent.

Brussel sprouts always taste better with bacon.

Brussel sprouts always taste better with bacon.

Asparagus with a squeeze of lemon makes steamed veggies taste great.

Asparagus with a squeeze of lemon makes steamed veggies taste great.

This spicy fresh corn was so delicious and flavorful.

This spicy fresh corn was so delicious and flavorful.

You can order desserts from a trusty iPad (and see the drink list too) and of course we picked the molten chocolate cake with the most calories. We ate the middle yummy goo and left the crusty outside, to save calories.

You can order desserts from a trusty iPad (and see the drink list too) and of course we picked the molten chocolate cake with the most calories. We ate the middle yummy goo and left the crusty outside, to save calories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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