The Expert Guide to Center City Restaurant Week

restaurant-weekYes, it’s that time again. Center City Restaurant Week starts today, Sunday, August 2nd and, as in years past, it is a huge thing with something like a hundred participating restaurants, all competing for your sweet, sweet dollars. The basic deal is the same as always: a three-course dinner for $35 per person (not including drinks or tip) and, at many places, a three-course lunch for $20.

But here’s the thing… You people, you don’t want the basic deal, do you? If you’re reading this, you’re already used to the regular Restaurant Week rigamarole (booked-solid restaurants, long waits, exhausted staffs, SO much salmon), and are looking for something more. Read more »

Summer Restaurant Openings We’re Looking Forward To

Bud & Marilyn's by Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran

Bud & Marilyn’s by Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran | Photo by James Narog

We made it through a long winter. We gloried in a warm spring. We saw new restaurants open and old restaurants close and it sometimes felt like we were gaining more than we were losing, but not always.

Still, there was always the summer to look forward to. There was the list of upcoming openings which seemed to be growing longer with each passing week — loaded down with well-known names and interesting concepts. The only thing was, so many of those places seemed like they should be open already. Like we’d been waiting so long for them that it was hard to believe they weren’t serving dinner tonight.

So with that in mind, we took a long look at our list of upcoming openings for the summer. We made a lot of calls, sent a lot of emails, pestered a lot of really busy chefs. And now, we have some updates for you — on everything from Bud & Marilyn’s to Johnny Manana’s. So for all of you out there who’ve been wondering if that Center City Meltkraft is ever going to open, or whatever happened to Jeremy Nolen’s Whetstone, you’ve come to the right place. The Best Summer Restaurant Openings, right this way

Introducing Vintage Beer T-Shirts

poths-brewerytown-400We here at Foobooz are excited to announce a new partnership with Shibe Vintage Sports, the sports apparel store on 13th Street in Midtown Village. The store is offering a Vintage Brewery Series of t-shirts (see what happens when Philly sports teams go in the dumps) and their first shirt represents Poth’s Brewery in Brewerytown.

The shirt features an overhead shot of the Poth’s brewery and the typeface taken off of their old cans. The artwork was done by John Billet of Beer Paste and Philly Beer Scene.

The shirt is available from the Foobooz Store for $25 and shipping is free for a limited time. You can also grab a Poth’s t-shirt and many other great vintage gifts at Shibe’s storefront at 137 South 13th Street.

And if that Poth’s typeface looks familiar to you, it might because it is featured on the wall outside of Fishtown’s Fette Sau.

Som history of Poth’s Brewery »

Philadelphia’s Spring Restaurant Openings

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Helm in Olde Kensington | Photo by Emily Teel

Despite what the weather might be doing, we’re calling it: Spring is here. And as always, the change in seasons gives us an excuse to look forward at all the upcoming restaurant openings that we’re excited about.

So here’s what we’ve got coming up on the calendar. One word of caution though: Before you all go getting too excited about one place or another, let’s keep in mind that restaurant opening dates are HIGHLY speculative. As history has taught us time and time again, just because some place says it’s going to be open in April doesn’t mean that we won’t still be waiting for it to open its door come November. Of next year. Read more »

Indian Restaurants and Food in Philadelphia

Chef/owner Rakesh Ramola at Indeblue | Photo by Neal Santos

Chef/owner Rakesh Ramola at Indeblue | Photo by Neal Santos

Indian food has been a part of Philadelphia’s culinary landscape for a long time — so long that there’s no specific neighborhood devoted to it, but rather a spray of outposts scattered around: biryani on Ridge Pike in Eagleville, goat curry in Northeast Philly, Punjabi cuisine in Chester County, dosa just over the bridge in Cherry Hill. The Indian canon is broad and fractious in its variety of regional specialties, so here’s a must-hit list for those looking to expand their tastes beyond tandoori chicken.

Read more »

Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, and Malaysian Restaurants and Food in Philadelphia

Penang and Fish-head curry from Banana Leaf | Photos by Neal Santos and Michael Persico

Penang and Fish-head curry from Banana Leaf | Photos by Neal Santos and Michael Persico

In Philly, Southeast Asian flavors are the gift that keeps on giving. In Point Breeze, South Philly and Chinatown, along Washington Avenue and even out in the ’burbs, there are enclaves whose composition and abstract representation of geopolitical borders are constantly shifting and changing. This means Thai and Laotian food on traditionally Vietnamese-heavy blocks, and awe-inspiring Malaysian food in Chinatown. It also means a deepening and broadening of available flavors, so if you’re looking to explore the subtle differences between Malaysian and Indonesian food, Vietnamese that goes beyond a bowl of pho, or Thai more complicated (and delicious) than a simple plate of pad Thai, there are many options.

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Korean Restaurants and Food in Philadelphia

A Korean BBQ feast at Seorabol | Photo by Michael Persico

A Korean BBQ feast at Seorabol | Photo by Michael Persico

So you got your Korean fried chicken and your Korean street tacos, both of which became fads that cemented themselves in the culinary gray matter of borderless grubniks. There’s kimchi, which is so popular now, it’s surprising Lay’s doesn’t have it as a chip flavor. And yet despite the fact that Philadelphia has a thriving Koreatown right in Olney, this is still a cuisine whose more traditional aspects are foreign to many eaters in the city. If you’re looking to amend that blind spot, start here.

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African Restaurants and Food in Philadelphia

Kilimandjaro owner Youma Bah | Photo by Neal Santos

Kilimandjaro owner Youma Bah | Photo by Neal Santos

There are no two ways about it: African food is tough on dilettantes. It’ll confront you with vegetables you’ve never heard of, meat that runs from tough to tender to straight-up cow skin, and starches that bewilder your attempts to choose a utensil. And for eaters not seeking already-acquired tastes of home, Philly’s African restaurants can be hit-or-miss. But no other realm rewards the adventurous with more fascination and deliciousness.

Start baby-step-style at Kilimandjaro (4317 Chestnut Street, 215-387-1970), which despite its East African namesake serves Senegalese food, including a mustardy, sweet-onion-draped yassa chicken that’s among the best in town. Grilled lamb chops dressed with sweet peppers and onions are what to get at Sahara (6528 Woodland Avenue, 215-727-0812), where the cooking is Malian and the portions are huge. And now that you’re already smack in Philly’s Africana epicenter, try African Small Pot (6505 Woodland Avenue, 267-713-7603), run by a globe-trotting Mauritanian who does right by thiebou dien — which you could think of as paella with twice the concentration and spice.

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Latin American Restaurants and Food in Philadelphia

Dinner at Quetzally

Dinner at Quetzally

Philly’s Hispanic population is mostly made up of Puerto Ricans and Mexicans, two Latin cultures that use similar ingredients but totally different cooking techniques. You’ll find the best Puerto Rican food in one neighborhood in North Philly, while Mexican food is more ubiquitous. Look out for a new wave of Mexican chefs who are combining authentic cooking with more attention to detail — the results are game-changing.

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Middle Eastern Restaurants and Food in Philadelphia

Shawarma platter at Hummus; Pastries from Manakeesh | Photos by Neal Santos

Shawarma platter at Hummus; Pastries from Manakeesh | Photos by Neal Santos

Middle Eastern flavors have long been a rich vein mined by chefs working in any number of styles. And Middle Eastern restaurants — whether of the wheeled or brick-and-mortar variety — have been a staple on the Philly scene for decades. But while you might think there’s nothing to this cuisine beyond chickpeas and falafel, here are six places that will prove you wrong.

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