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Opa

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The Revisit: Opa
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Looking Back: The Best (And Worst) Restaurants Of 2016, Part 3

In the basement of Double Knot | Photo via Double Knot

In the basement of Double Knot | Photo via Double Knot

If Part 1 was a tale of woe and eventual closures, and Part 2 was a turning point in a year that’d started off rough, then Part 3 is a redemption story. The summer of 2016 was one of the best times to be an eater in Philadelphia in recent memory, and it all started with the best new restaurant opening of the year thus far: Michael Schulson’s Double Knot.

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The Revisit: Opa

Fig Dakos at Opa | Photo via Opa

Fig Dakos at Opa | Photo via Opa

When Opa first opened, it was loud, brash, crowded and dull. The kitchen seemed incapable of dependably executing the most basic dishes. The cooks were occasionally flummoxed by the simple interaction of meat and fire and would season things like toddlers given a spice rack to play with. I’d seen dudes in the park fresh off the spike who moved with more purpose than the floor staff on a weeknight, and the crowds that mobbed the place were a weird collection of neighborhood regulars and knots of sports-coated business bros who’d cluster like wolves at the corners of the bar, laugh too loud, and order rounds of Heineken and Amstel Light like they were on the last night of their package tour to Ibiza.

Back in the day (August 2011, to be exact), Trey Popp, Philly Mag’s restaurant critic at the time, gave the joint one-and-a-half stars, which I thought was too many by three. I hated the place pretty much unreservedly, and in the augmented-reality Terminator vision I have while clocking restaurants in this city, I always saw Opa with a big red X through it and the words AVOID AT ALL COSTS.

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Where to Find the Best Food During Center City Sips

Sky Garten will be open tonight and serving

Sky Garten will be open tonight and serving potato pancakes, brats and pretzel sticks

We are now a little over a week into Center City Sips. The drinks ($3 beer, $4 wine and $5 cocktails) are flowing and when the threat of unyielding downpour subsides, the weather should be great.

The true beauty of this event though is not just the drinks, but the endless half-price appetizers to soak it all up. While it is easy to find snacks to accompany the booze, it can be hard to track down the places with great appetizers. Nachos, mozzarella sticks, and wings are a dime a dozen during Center City Sips. It takes time and dedication to weed out the duds.

We’ve helped you out by narrowing down the list of a few places that are going to give you more than a warm plate of mozzarella sticks for your hard earned dollars.

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