Best of Philly 2005: Restaurants & Food

Our cheat sheet on where to eat

Gourmet store: Di Bruno Bros. Legendary Di Bruno’s has replaced its two small 18th Street storefronts with the city’s largest one-stop gourmet shop, and it’s dazzling. Look for must-have imports and proudly local products like La Colombe coffee, Capogiro gelato, and Tom Sciascia chocolates. And, of course, there’s the cheese—more than 500 varieties housed in state-of-the-art aging caves (1730-1732 Chestnut Street; 215-665-9220).

Cheesemaker: Hendrick’s Farm and Dairy Proof that Pennsylvania cheeses shouldn’t be overlooked. Try the Cabriejo, a raw goat-milk cheese, similar to parmigiano reggiano, that recently won first place at the U.S. Cheese Championship in Wisconsin. The only bad thing about Trent Hendrick’s cheeses is that you have to drive all the way to Telford to buy them if Di Bruno’s runs out (690 Godshall Road, Telford, 267-718-0219; new location at 202 Green Hill Road in Telford opening next month).

Eggs: Meadow Run Farm No, all eggs are not equal. At this Lancaster County farm, free-range chickens fed a mineral-rich diet produce the ultimate omelet ingredient: Substantial shells open with a satisfying crack to reveal a thick, rich orange yolk. On summer Saturdays, farmer Phillip Landis peddles them at the Rittenhouse Square Farmers Market (also available at the Fair Foods Farm Stand in the Reading Terminal Market).

Sandwiches: Three Little Pigs Quick-and-cheap meets fresh-and-delicious at this weekday lunch hot spot in West Chester. Anything that can be homemade is, from the seafood and tuna salads to the multi-grain, sourdough and French breads; the taste is noticeably fresh and never greasy (131 North High Street, West Chester; 610-918-1272).

Place to go with the kids: Fuji Restaurant It doesn’t have to be McDonald’s. With an entertaining atmosphere, private booths, and choices like kid’s chicken teriyaki and mini cooked sushi combo (served with fries and ice cream), Fuji will make your offspring forget you’re all eating eel (404 Route 130 North, Cinnaminson; 856-829-5211).

Place to go with a vegetarian: Blue Sage The chow at this vegetarian grill is so tasty, textured and elaborate, you’ll forget it’s meat-free. And you won’t find tofu or seitan here. Try the roasted fingerling potato salad with nuts and blue cheese, or the green curry summer rolls (772 2nd Street Pike, Southampton; 215-942-8888).

Place to go on your anniversary: Dilworthtown Inn
The glow from the candles and fireplaces sets the mood in this quiet retreat. Heighten the romance by ordering the Chateaubriand for two, and choose from the 860-bottle award-winning cellar. The evening doesn’t have to end after dessert—book a room and spend the night (1390 Old Wilmington Pike, West Chester; 610-399-1390).

Fresh-squeezed juice: Apple juice at Ants Pants This made-to-order juice tastes like a fall afternoon in the orchard. Proof that it’s fresh: The green foam browns slightly as it oxidizes, just like a cut apple (2212 South Street; 215-875-8002).