Scarpetta Opening at the Rittenhouse on September 28

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A couple days ago, we rolled out our Fall Restaurant Preview. In it, we talked about the opening of Scarpetta–the fancy-pants, double-decker modern Italian restaurant coming to the former Smith & Wollensky space at the Rittenhouse Hotel–and said that it was looking to open “in a couple weeks.”

Turns out, our estimate was right on. Because we just got word today that after some test dinners and a full run of friends and family services, Scarpetta will be opening to the public on September 28.

But wait, there’s more…

It’s The Foobooz Fall Restaurant Round-Up

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Octopus at Mica

This summer (like all summers) was a pretty slow time for restaurant openings. We had a few big names come through on their promises to switch on the lights, but for the most part, we were eating at the same places in August that we were in June.

The autumn, though? That’s when the opening-and-closing cycle really gets going again, with some of the biggest restaurateurs in the city (Michael Schulson, Ben Puchowitz and Shawn Daragh, Jose Garces and more…) all working to get their new places open before the holidays hit.

So this, then, is the list of the restaurants (either recently opened or upcoming) that have us most excited–the dining rooms we can’t wait to sit in, and the menus we can’t wait to see. It’s going to be a big season in Philly. So here’s where you’ll all be eating in the upcoming months, starting with…

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The Chefs Of Passyunk Are Coming To Bok Bar

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Right now, Bok Bar is one of the coolest places to eat and drink in Philly. And for one night, things are going to get even better when, on Monday, September 26, chefs from 19 East Passyunk restaurants all gather for a single huge event.

No, really. Townsend Wentz is going to be roasting a whole pig. Chhaya Cafe is doing coffee service. Guys like Nick Elmi and Joncarl Lachman are going to be there whipping up snacks and hors d’oeuvres. There’s also going to be music, a fall fashion show and a raffle, but we know what really matters here, right? The food.

So here’s a list of all the restaurants that’ll be there…

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Fall Fest Coming To Spruce Street Harbor Park

Spruce Street Harbor Park

‘Tis the season for fall festivals, folks, and one of the big ones–the third annual Fall Fest at the Spruce Street Harbor Park–is coming on September 16-18.

So what do they have going this year? Beer. Lots and lots of beer. Themed beer and flavored beer and just plain old beer for drinking–plus arts and crafts and food and fun. So let’s break it all down, shall we?

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For Those Of You Who Just Can’t Get Enough Of Oktoberfest

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This year, it seems like everyone is throwing some sort of Oktoberfest celebration (or, in some cases, more than one). So in order to stand out in a crowded field, a restaurant really has to do something special.

Which is why McGillin’s Old Ale House decided to make their own beer for the occasion.

And to celebrate for an entire month straight.

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Sneak Preview: October At COOK

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And here we are again, staring down another new month of classes at COOK. Want to see what they’ve got goin in October? We have an early sneak peek at the list just for you, and it has everything from gourmet mac and cheese to brunch with the crew from The Dutch.

You ready? Here we go.

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Anyone Interested In Brunch At Bufad?

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We know that Philly is already lousy with brunch spots. On a Saturday or Sunday morning it’s hard to walk a hundred feet in any direction without someone shoving a mimosa and a an egg sandwich into your hands. And while we’re certainly not complaining, it takes a lot to make another brunch in Philly worthwhile these days.

Which is why it’s good that this newest one is being done by the crew from Bufad.

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The Three-Umbrella Problem: Bop Reviewed

Bop's bar with kitchen in the background | Photo via BOP

Bop’s bar with kitchen in the background | Photo by Laurie Satran

I ate the mandoo at Bop and they were fine. Tasted like a thousand other dumplings at a hundred other American-Asian restaurants in a dozen other cities and were, in exactly that way, as perfectly satisfying and completely non-threatening as McNuggets. The leeks (chopped in with the beef, pork and vermicelli noodle filling) were a nice touch, I thought. But I wasn’t in love.

I had the fried rock shrimp, too — little knuckle-sized lumps with the consistency of fried shrimp, if not the flavor, and a nicely crisped tempura crust that stood up admirably to the generous slicking of sweet-hot, creamy, almost mayonnaise-y chile sauce. They, too, were fine. I’m a sucker for fried shrimp on an appetizer menu anyway. (Some lingering poor kid’s equation of shrimp=special and fried=awesome that will never go away because shrimp is the lobster of the lower-middle class and the white in my collar still looks blue in the right light.) I’ll order them anywhere, in any regional or ethnic variation, and these were, if not unique (at all), then certainly as good as anyone else’s fried sea protein in spicy Asian goop.

I ordered the bulgogi and I ate it and I was surprised when I saw that half the Korean marinated beef and half the rice and half the seasonal vegetables were gone without my hardly even noticing. Then I paid my bill. Then I left. And outside, I saw a man carrying three umbrellas.

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