Best of Philly 2005: Restaurants & Food

Our cheat sheet on where to eat

Steakhouse in the suburbs: Chops The scene — a Palm West for Main Line power brokers—is even more of a draw than Chops’ substantial dry-aged steaks and steely-cold nine-ounce martinis (401 City Line Avenue, Bala Cynwyd; 610-668-3400).

Chinese restaurant, authentic : Tifco’s China Bistro
The trick at Tifco’s is to dispose of the standard menu they’ll give you (think General Tso’s) and demand the Szechuan one. Okay, so not even half of the 96 items are translated into English. But if the pungent steamed pork ribs with potatoes and the fiery ma po dishes are any indication of the quality of the mystery items, you can pick at random and make out just fine (163 West Lincoln Highway, Exton; 610-363-1850).

Chinese restaurant, fusion: Yangming
The Chinese-Continental fusion here may not be the most authentic Asian around, but that’s no reason to pass up East-meets-West dishes like rigatoni in garlic-lemon-saffron sauce, and “gunpowder” shrimp with tomato and ginger, or that American Chinese classic, General Tso’s chicken, made with high-quality ingredients at this high-style spot (1051 Conestoga Road, Bryn Mawr; 610-527-3200).

New Indian Restaurant: Rajbhog This super-casual strip-mall find features vegetarian fare from all over the subcontinent at bargain-basement prices. Try the area’s best masala dosa (a spicy stuffed South Indian crepe), the chickpea curry, or one of the fabulous $5.99 combos, and be sure to cool down with a salted buttermilk lassi (1900 Greentree Road, Cherry Hill; 856-751-0257).