Forty Years Later, Are These Philly Favorites Still the Best?

From Pat's to Ponzios, we revisit some of the most notable Best of Philly winners from 1974.

The cover of 1974's Best of Philly issue

For the 1974 debut of Best of Philly (which was actually the Best and Worst of Philly), the editorial team sought out dozens of worthy bars and restaurants on which to bestow awards. From the then-brand-new (and now just-closed) Le Bec-Fin (Best Meal Over $25) to Rittenhouse’s Seafood Unlimited (Worst Meal Under $2), they cataloged the city. These days, a handful of the original Best Of winners remain—a rather impressive feat in an age when new-and-trendy seems to win out so often over the tried-and-true. (Am I right, Le Bec?)

Is there some special Best Of mojo that has kept the hangers-on hanging for so long? I visited five of the oldies to see, first, if they were still worth the trip, and second, if there is, in fact, a secret that has kept them thriving for decades, with no signs of going anywhere anytime soon. Here’s what I found. …