Over the past couple years, Bar Volver has been refining the experience of eating and drinking at this kind of antechamber to Volver proper. It has always been the easier and more approachable of the two rooms–a place to just drop by for drinks, a snack, whatever. In the beginning, the menu was seriously limited (caviar, a handful of tartines), and the focus was on champagne. Then it became cocktails and snacks, with a guest bartender program on Wednesdays and a menu that slowly grew over the seasons.
But now, things have changed again.
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Volvér has been named a Five-Star Restaurant by Forbes Travel Guide in its 2016 Star Ratings. Only 56 restaurants around the world received Forbes’ highest rating. Restaurants that receive the highest rating are described as “outstanding, often iconic properties with virtually flawless service and amazing facilities.”
The Forbes guide was formerly the Mobil Travel Guide and has been issuing ratings since 1958. The last restaurant in Philadelphia to receive five stars was the Fountain at the Four Seasons, which had it five consecutive years before closing in December of 2014.
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Say what? Say what? Yes, tonight only, Pizza Brain will be selling a special Third Thursdee slice that is a collaboration with Jose Garces’s Volver. We don’t know if this idea is Pizza Brain’s or Volver’s, but it is an inspired collaboration.
The slice, which will be available at Pizza Brain between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. will be topped with scallion, radish, truffle aioli and cured wagyu beef. Get there early, there’s no guarantee it will last all the way till 8 p.m.
Pizza Brain [Foobooz]
Pu Pu Platter at Bud & Marilyn’s | Photo via Bud & Marilyn’s
Summer can be a distracting time. There are trips to the shore, rooftop beer gardens, empty lot beer gardens and beer gardens surrounding 1960s architecture. But while you may have been…elsewhere, the restaurant scene marched on, and here are some of the best openings and reboots of the summer. Read more »
Menu testing at Volver | Photos by Joni Nimrod
A couple weeks back, we got the chance to bop over to Volver and sit in on one of their menu testing sessions for the new season. It was a pretty cool experience (read: super-cool, and basically one of my favorite parts of this job–getting to witness the way chefs think and work when they’re not in the thick of service), and also represented our first look at what the menu at Volver might look like in this new season.
Well now, with the scheduled resumption of service set for Wednesday night, we have the full menu for you to look at.
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Several months ago, I took a good friend of mine to Volver for drinks. He’s a little bit of a New York snob (which he’ll openly admit), but I knew I won him over when he said that this was the first place in Philly that he’d been to that felt like New York.
I, too, loved the place, even though it had received the reputation of being way out of my price range. Yes, dinner at Volver is, by far, quite an expense, but Bar Volver is a whole other experience. In short, it’s a little place of hip heaven just a few blocks away from the Gayborhood (attached to the Kimmel Center), and you really ought to check it out. Read more »
We’ve said a lot of things about Volver over the past two years. From excitement over its potential, to bewilderment over its policies and pricing, to amazement at our first experience with a full-on performance dinner, to more bewilderment as the menu resolutely refused to change over the course of many, many months even as the concept got tweaked to make it more approachable in the second “season”.
Along the way, Volver picked up the only 4-star review that Trey has ever handed out at Philly mag, warranted a special, extra digression online after the review went up, discussing the booze, the price, the stars and the fish with its own TED Talk, and then frightened us all deeply when it announced a summer vacation–a two month long summer vacation which, not for nothing, seemed extraordinary and odd. I mean, what restaurant just gets to close down for two months in the middle of summer? What is this, France?
The team promised that they’d be re-opening on September 2nd (with Bar Volver debuting early–this Wednesday, as a matter of fact), reinvigorated and with brand new menus. We were skeptical, but hopeful. Volver has had a weird, bumpy run. We have been both fervent supporters and aporetic assholes, loudly voicing our worries and complaints in public. But the place still served me (and several of my colleagues) some of the best plates we’ve had in years, and considering the professional mouths I associate with, that’s no small thing. So when they invited us down to the kitchen late last week to show us what they’ve been working on during their summer vacation, we wasted no time.
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The Vetri Family is hosting several summer dinner events, and if a little education (and a lot of good food) sounds ideal to you, then there’s probably something here that you’ll want to check out.
The dinners will happen once a week throughout July, each night following a distinct theme. Peruse the list below and decide on your favorite. Not sure there’s actually a bad choice here…
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Volver is done for the summer. Not for a week (as is becoming almost standard among many of the more notable Philly restaurants), or for two weeks (which is the point at which we grow nervous about them ever opening back up again), but for a full two months.
The final night of service was June 30, at which point the whole place (Bar Volver included) went quietly dark. This is the message left on their Open Table page:
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If you like your wine like you like your jewelry, sparkling, then we have the dinner for you. On Wednesday, May 27th at 6:30 p.m., Volver is hosting a Raventos i Blanc wine dinner with winemaker Pepe Raventos. The dinner is limited to 20 people and will be $150 per person. Reservations can be made by calling, 215.670.2303.
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