The full list of the 50 Best Restaurants in Philadelphia is now live on Phillymag.com, complete with photos and full write-ups. Check it out.
50 Best Restaurants in Philadelphia [Philadelphia magazine]
Photo by Ashley Catharine Smith
Kiehl’s enthusiasts were stunned to hear that the location at 18th and Walnut had closed suddenly on January 3rd. But the prime corner location won’t be empty for long. A.kitchen’s David Fields’ tells us that AKA is taking over and plotting a “little sister to a.kitchen.” The concept is still being developed, but expect a 35-seat space with a focus on raw foods. The space won’t have a hood, so hot food won’t be a priority, wine and cocktails will.
The 700-square foot space is being designed by the same firm that did the work at a.kitchen. A May opening date is anticipated.
a. kitchen [Official Site]
With 2012 in the rearview mirror we mine Google Analytics for a look at the year that was. From most searched for restaurants to the biggest traffic days, we look back on our biggest year yet.
Rex 1516—the modern Southern restaurant on South Street whose kitchen entices diners with crawfish potpies and creamy low-country grits—is Philadelphia’s 51st-best restaurant.
This place, which is loved so dearly for lingering brunches of sweet-potato biscuits with chorizo gravy, for collard greens and cabbage salads with pork fat vinaigrette, never really made it onto the Big List. Oh, it had a brief rise into the high 40s during one pissed-off afternoon in which we scrapped almost everything from number 26 on and rebuilt the entire low end of the list from scratch. But almost since the start of our research, Rex has held tenaciously to its spot at number 51, fending off better-known challengers (Ela, Distrito, Rittenhouse Tavern) and scrappy upstarts (Hot Diggity, Russet, Bar Ferdinand under the command of David Ansill) alike.
I can pinpoint the exact moment when I went from zealot to naysayer. I was out to dinner in the city with a group of friends, and the talk at the table—as it inevitably does these days—turned to restaurants. You know … have you been here, who just left there to open that, and so on. The conversation lasted for 30 minutes, right through our just-muddled cocktails, past the warm house-baked bread, beyond the first round of seasonal small plates. No one paused, not even for a second, to comment on the food we were eating or the restaurant we were in. And that’s when I became a culinary curmudgeon. I realized that all of the excitement surrounding our food scene suddenly seems to have very little to do with the actual food. Talking about restaurants—whether you’ve actually been there or not—is now our city’s favorite topic du jour.
Backlash is an integral part of the trend curve. Things become cool, then popular, then saturated, then overwrought, and then over (cupcakes being the quintessential—and still inexplicable—exception). I’ve been writing about food in Philadelphia since interning at this magazine in 2004—I eventually became food editor—and was fortunate enough to be on the upslope of that curve. When I began covering food, Marc Vetri had one restaurant, and Jose Garces had none. But the hits kept coming, and fast. My food friends and I would rehash the progressions of courses and get giddy over perfected techniques, smart interpretations of classics, novel presentations, increasingly creative concepts. We were participating in a food scene that was getting richer, denser and more exciting by the minute.
We’ve done it again. Foobooz has polled a panel of writers, bloggers, noted drinker types and others whose opinions we respect to assemble our list of Philadelphia’s Top 50 Bars for 2012 ranked 1 through 50.
We’re once again impressed with the way the list has turned out. There is a bar or three for every occasion, whether it be fraternizing with a dozen friends, reconnecting with a digital buddy from the 80s or looking for a new companion.
For each of the top bars in Philadelphia we provide some praise, a pro’s tip or a quote from one of our panelists. Check out the list and tell us what you think in the comments or on Twitter via our #50BarsPHL hashtag.
Best Bars in Philadelphia 2012 [Foobooz]
As part of Philadelphia magazine’s Bar issue we list Philly’s 20 Best Drinks. Check out the slideshow of top drinks and where to get them. And be sure to check out the special 21st slide, Philadelphia’s Signature Cocktail.