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philly, can you please catch me up?

hi philly hounds!!! i've missed this board & all my favorite restaurants so! i've been away for the last 3 months (the story of why can be found on a recent thread within my chow profile... been on an asia chow tour!), and i'm returning on july 9th to hopefully a whole new dining scene (and hopefully my old favorites, too)... i know that specifically, in northern liberties where i am, a ton of stuff has opened recently in the piazza which i have not yet seen since midway through its construction. and i think i heard word about a diner, the silk city beer garden, and an asian place? what's new in philly the past few months? most importantly what's good? (sorry, i just can't seem to get through the 1,000,000 pages of posts since i left off so i'm lazily asking you all to summarize it for me!!!) where should my first few new-place meals be? for sure, i'll be making the rounds of my old favorites... i'm making a reservation for the first sunday available at little fish, dragging a friend or two to melograno and modo mio and the prohibition taproom and interviewing potential roommates over brunches at the standard tap and north third. oh, man, and a proper coffee at higher grounds... oooh i'm so excited!!!!

happy 4th!!

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  1. I don't have any city news to report, but want to wish you a safe journey home. Welcome back!

    1. If the 'diner' you're thinking of in the Piazza is Darling's, don't bother, it's not good.

      Far and away the best place that's opened in the last 3 months is Bibou, a french BYOB in the space formerly occupied by Pif, run by the former executive chef of Le Bec-Fin and his wife.

      Some other new places include Noble (very good, but not fantastic), and the reopened Sansom Street Oyster House (it's just 'Oyster House' now, but it's still on Sansom).

      1. My friend visted the swift half and liked it alot in terms of decor/ beers/ etc She didn't eat or see the menu. However, I personally have issue with the Piazza. It 100% feels like a college campus and not in a good way.

        1. Hey rabidog, welcome home! Your trip looked amazing. You definitely need to get to Bibou - getting raves from all corners. I have heard mixed reviews of Noble and only good things about the Oyster House. In the Italian Maket is Bebe's - NC style BBQ, and my understanding is that their sides are vegetarian. There is also an Argentinian - something place about to open in the Italian Market.
          I haven't been to the Silk City beer garden, but Rick Nichols wrote about it a week or so ago and it is definitely on my to do list. Mixed info on the Piazza, but I understand Bart Blatstein insisted that most places open on the same day and folks just weren't ready - there is Swift House which is run by the Good Dog folks which seems to be the most promising spot.
          Little Fish, Standard Tap, No. 3rd have all kept there standards up while you were away. Enjoy!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bigley9

            Yeah I'd second Bebe's. Skip that awful Q place in Old City though, and salivate at the prospect of what is opening where Crescent City was this fall... And now there are four Capogiro's and three Naked Chocolate Cafes (does anyone eat there anymore?) to choose from.

          2. thanks for the warm welcome!! it's GREAT to be back in philly. i've spent the past few days hosting my dad who's visiting from DC, and we've spent the past few days walking around non stop, taking in all the new places and noticing what's closed. otolith on girard seems to have vanished. and in that former let's wok/el wingador/curbside chef place there is a new pizza joint with a fancy name. in between jetlag naps i've managed to make it out to a few old favorites that i was craving: govinda's, pagoda noodle cafe, cafe lift... working on the rest...
            i also went to the new beer garden at silk city, and it's pretty decent! cool space definitely. had the flounder sandwich which was great. ahhh deep fried fish (also what i'm planning on ordering whenever i make it up to swift half)... i have missed you so!!!

            7 Replies
              1. re: mlplyons

                hahah it sounds like it's due for a visit!!! what's great there? BYOB ?

                1. re: rabidog

                  pig trotters stuffed with foie gras and yes, BYOB. the warm and charming service makes it even more enjoyable!

                    1. re: urbanfabric

                      I'm pretty sure rabidog is vegetarian, even if not I'd warn all but the most enthusiastic meat-eaters to think twice before ordering the pig trotter. The texture is very gelatinous. Luckily the whole menu is delicious, but there isn't much (if anything) on it that's vegetarian, and precious few pescatarian options.

                      1. re: Buckethead

                        Even though it's not on the menu, Chef Pierre will make vegetarian dishes upon request. He can also accomodate gluten free, vegan, and all standard food allergies (garlic, nuts, shellfish, etc.). You don't need to give them advance notice, but it's always helpful because it gives Pierre more time to think about what to make. Pierre will also accomodate special requests in general with enough notice; I had requested softshell crabs, and Pierre prepared a truly extraordinary dish.

                        I'd go one step further than the others here - I would argue that Bibou is the best overall French dining experience in Philadelphia when you consider the talent in the kitchen, the quality of the ingredients, the extremely reasonable prices, and BYOB.

                2. New German "Beer hall" called Brauhaus Schimtz opened on South St. to mixed reviews. I haven't been there yet, but their menu and beer list look promising

                  http://brauhausschmitz.com/

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Chefmonty

                    Thumbs up to Brauhaus Schmitz. It's exactly what the Philly beer scene has been missing: Great selection of multiple lager styles on draft in one location.

                    Thanks

                  2. Leila Cafe - new FANTASTIC middle eastern place on 13th and Pine.
                    Best falafel in center city.

                    6 Replies
                      1. re: barryg

                        definitely better than Mama's.

                        Okay, so I haven't had the truck yet, so I can't say that it's better than that. I'll qualify my statement to say best convenient falafel in center city.

                        1. re: jaba

                          goodness! this i must try!!! i did notice leila while walking around the other day and the menu looks fabulous. unfortunately i'd just consumed a govinda's hoagie ten minutes prior and was unable to indulge!

                          did anyone notice the south st mama's now goes by a different name? menu looks the same... new owners or same?

                          1. re: rabidog

                            South St Mama's is now Chickpeas. And it's not good.

                            1. re: rabidog

                              Different owners and as far as I know it is no longer Kosher.

                        2. p.s. was it just me, or has the reading terminal market undergone some SERIOUS changes the past couple months?! i almost couldn't find the smoothie place the other day, it looked so different. i almost panicked that it was gone.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: rabidog

                            The Pretzel place changing and the expanded candy/nut store change that end, then the Rick's Steaks area being prepped for FFFarms, something else too but I am drawing a blank, yeah, it has changed alot. And since we're talking about it have you seen this:
                            http://www.epicurious.com/articlesgui...