Taste: Dining Out: Where We’re Eating

Five new or noteworthy places to try in January.

Cafe Fulya

Some Fulya regulars sprawl out with laptops and stick to the strong Turkish coffee, but you can make a satisfying meal at this pretty, cozy Queen Village cafe. Start with the generously portioned appetizer sampler, which includes finely shredded carrots mashed with olive oil and mixed with a yogurt sauce, then order the only entrée, a plate heaped with delicate Turkish dumplings stuffed with savory spinach or beef. If you’re too full for dessert, get some homemade banana-coconut cake and baklava to go.

Earth Bread and Brewery

First, there was Heavyweight Brewing, a New Jersey-based craft brewer with a dedication to big beers and a cult following. But the brewers — husband and wife Tom Baker and Peggy Zwerver — closed the operation in 2006. Now the couple has resurfaced in Mount Airy, perfect for their spacious, coffee-shop-casual eatery. The beers retain Heavyweight’s playful ­sensibility — two recent offerings included unhopped The Bradley Effect and smoked-wheat Terra Fume — without its heft, and work well alongside a menu that includes inexpensive flatbreads with crackling crusts. 7136 Germantown Avenue, Mount Airy, 215-242-6666, earthbreadbrewery.com.
 
Bliss Restaurant

Christ Dhimitri may be best known for founding fun-loving Chris’ Jazz Café, but he’s very serious about the food at Bliss, which he recently acquired from original owners Francesco Martorella and Ed Snider. New chef Fabrizzio Pace has added both Asian (tempura prawns) and Italian (house-cut gnocchi with truffles) influences to the menu, plus a standout selection of homemade breads. And there’s fun, too: specialty cocktails and live jazz on weekend nights. 220 South Broad Street, 215-731-1100, bliss-restaurant.com.
 
Novitã Bistro

A new BYOB has taken up residence on what had long been Pumpkin territory, the 1600 block of South Street. From the tiny open kitchen comes a Mediterranean menu heavy on well-executed Italian fare — calamari tossed in a balsamic and cherry pepper reduction; house-made porcini ravioli covered in a silky cream sauce. But it’s Morocco native chef Hassan Zanzoul’s tagines that rule any meal here. A recent iteration of this traditional Moroccan stew, named for the clay pot used in its preparation, featured meltingly tender short ribs in a broth of sweet peas and artichoke hearts.

Bridget’s

While most restaurateurs are nervously worrying about their future, Bridget’s chef/owner Kevin Clib has expanded the Montco restaurant, adding a rustic sunroom that seats 30. The reimagined dinner menu really shines, and on a recent Saturday evening, a neatly coiffed crowd nibbled on the newly added small plates (the lobster corn dog and diver scallops were big hits) and the shareable portions of chops and steaks presented on tabletop butcher blocks. The drink list, too, offers newfangled cocktails like the Buck, a pleasingly unfruity combo of Beefeater, mango, lemon, bitters and ginger ale.

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