Critic’s Notebook: The Top 10 (New) Dishes of 2008

Looking back over my notes from the new restaurants I visited in 2008, I realized how incredibly well fed I am. I ate a lot of amazing food. But of all the dishes I tried this year, here are my personal top 10.

10. Navratna curry at Ekta: The vegetables in this creamy-with-a-kick cashew sauce are not overcooked or mushy — rare for Indian food.

9. Fried olives at Le Virtu: These crisp goodies are stuffed with moist and flavorful braised beef, pork and chicken.

8. The Remy Roll at Izumi: This unusual roll is filled with white fish, eel and crab, then topped with savory bonito flakes and homemade mayo.

7. Chestnut potato gnocchi at The Blue Horse Restaurant & Tavern: I’m still thinking about these light, nutty dumplings almost a full year after I had them.

6. Trout in brown butter at 10 Arts: Fresh local fish in the best brown butter sauce I’ve ever tasted.

5. French onion soup at Parc: A crock of onion soup is so often a let down. Not here — it’s everything you want it to be: A rich broth filled with sweet onions and topped with bubbly provolone and gruyere cheese.

4. Greek meatballs at Pub & Kitchen: The flavorful, seared exterior and moist pink inside are the perfect bar bite.

3. Athenian stuffed pepper at Kanella: Rarely do I clean my plate on a review meal, but I devoured every molecule of this vegetarian entrée of peppers stuffed with feta, olives, onions and tomatoes and paired with lentils, rice and yogurt.

2. Tortilla soup at Distrito: Tortilla soup is one of my favorite dishes and this one, brothy and herbaceous with tender chicken and a hint of tomato, is simply the best I’ve ever had.

1. Hummus and laffa at Zahav: If I had to commit to only one food for the rest of my life, it would be Zahav’s heavenly, creamy, nutty hummus-masbacha with fresh laffa.

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.