The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Philly Edition
Ok, so I'm doing some restaurant research of New Orleans since my husband and I are going early June for a trip (hooray!). And there was this thread: Best Thing I Ever Ate: New Orleans. It was such a cool way to read about the restaurants worth visiting, as well as the specific dishes they ate as kids or adults.
So....what are the best dishes you ever ate in Philly?
I have to start it off thusly...
Best Burger: Village Whiskey. Get the duck fat fries with the Sly Fox sauce and DUNK YOUR BURGER IN IT.
Best cheesesteak: John's Roast Pork
Best dessert: Creme Brulee, Valanni, New Years Eve menu
Best Salad: Belgian Endive Salad, Blue In Green (sadly closed now)
Best Pasta: Tagliatelle (or is it Papardelle?) with Mushrooms and Pecorino, Melograno
Best Iced Tea: El Rey Sol (little mexi place on South Street years ago)
Best Ice Cream: Bassett's Cinnamon
Ok, I could go on...
Best fish: skate with spinach spaetzle at Little Fish, tied with skate with truffle spaetzle and parmesan broth at Fish
Best cheese plate: the generous, from the Italian market, cheese plate at (dear departed) Pif, where they let you choose which cheeses you want (eg. two of the same and another...)
Best dessert: red velvet cake at Golosa
Best bread: the bread they used to serve at Pif from boulangerie artisanal, with the small ramekins of unsalted butter topped with Hawaiian sea salt
Best whole fish: branzino at Meme
Best dessert: blood orange sorbet at Pumpkin
Best bread: Modo Mio
Best cholesterol: breaded bone marrow, seared foie gras and sweatbreads at Bibou
Best BBQ: Carolina-cut pork ribs at Smoke Daddy's
Best crab cake: Smith Island crab cake at Capt'n Chucky's
Best dessert: goat cheese cake at Le Bec Fin
Best offal (my definition): deep-fried shrimp heads at Bluefin
Best pasta: Elysian Fields lamb papardelle at Blackfish
Best pork: Berkshire Pork Belly with Okinawan sweet potatoes at Fond
Best steak: Grilled 31 oz bone-on prime rib at The Prime Rib
Best tasting menu bargain: Monday-Thursday prix fixe Matyson
Best sandwich: burnt ends sandwich at Smoke Daddy's
Best dessert: Osteria's Polenta Budino with gianduia mousse and candied hazelnuts
Best pasta: Osteria's Candele with boar ragu
tied with Melagrano's Papperdelle Tartufate (wild mushroom with truffle oil)
Best Asian apps: Vietnam's Cha Gio
Best bread: Parc Bistro
Best ice cream: Bassett's Vanilla
Best pad thai: Chaaba Thai
Best croissant: Baker Street
Best wonton soup: Cin Cin
Best steak: Blackfish
Best pasta: Osteria, chicken liver rigatoni
Best fried chicken: South Phila Tap Room
Best dessert: Barbuzzo, salted caramel budino
Best fancy pizza: Kennett, porchetta pizza
Best calamari: Bomb Bomb BBQ, calamari & peas
Best octopus: Estia, grilled octopus
Best soup: Hardena, Indonesian chicken soup
Best bar snack (tie): South Phila Tap Room, wild boar tacos
Best bar snack (tie): Royal Tavern, bacon wrapped tater tots
Best slow cooked meat: Zahav, lamb shoulder
Best coffee drink: Ultimo Coffee, cappuccino
Best cocktail: Ranstead room, Penicillin
One more vote for the lamb shoulder at Zahav. Aside from the weekly pancake inhalation, it's probably the most memorable thing I have eaten in Philly for a while. It brought back memories of the opening of the Flintstones when the large portion of meat was placed on Fred's car causing it to tip over...
Admittedly, I haven't been there in three months (I live in Cleveland). The three times I've been there he's been in the kitchen twice and was in Israel the other time. Don't even talk to me about Federal Donuts. I'm wondering if that spice master guy at Zahav was coming up with the fried chicken breading FD. If my travel schedule wasn't so full for the next few months, I'd definitely be getting in on a long weekend in Philly.
Best steak-Grilled 31 oz, bone in prime rib
Best sandwich-Nick's roast beef, overboard with rabe
Best Jewish sandwich-Hot Pastrami at Hershel's
Best bread-Modo Mio
Best oysters-Long Island Salts at Snockey's
Best restaurant hosts-Charlotte and Pierre of Bibou
Best pork-Pork belly at Cochon
I live 50 miles north, and get into Philly about six times per year. Last fall, we did some research and ended up at Tony Luke's nearly under rt. 95. I got the roast pork, provolone, and broccoli rabe. It was pretty close to the best thing I've ever eaten! I rarely eat lunch, but had no problem polishing off the entire sandwich. Truly fantastic!
Best items not yet mentioned
Best fried shellfish: sizzling mussels at Meme
Best slow-cooked meat pasta combo: short rib ragu gnocci at Mercato
Best under-the-radar pork belly: Happy Rooster
Best dessert: Baked Alaska at Butcher and Singer
Best unconventional pizza: Polpo at Osteria
The best non-fried chicken I've ever eaten: Jidori chicken at JG Domestic
Best take on a cheesesteak: Ansill's oxtail "cheesesteak" at Ladder 15
Best comfort food appetizer: cheese-stuffed meatballs at Barbuzzo
I didn't realize there was still a Lenny's. I have fond memories of the one on Castor Ave. in the Northeast. That was more than 45 years ago when my friends and I were walking around on the avenue looking for something to do. I wouldn't say it was my favorite ever food - but I definitely liked a hot dog with mustard, pepper hash, and sauerkraut. I will need to check this one out.
I'm not clear if this is your all time best or best of current places. I will go with my all time best - things I still remember although the places are gone. This post is just dessert.
Best dessert - non ice cream - H&H - Chocolate fudge whipped cream cake. Real whip cream.
Best dessert - plain ice cream - at least this is still around Bassetts vanilla fudge. With some add ons - Three Threes also long gone had a vanilla ice cream with candied chestnuts that was absolutely delicious.
I'm finally getting around to this great thread:
Best cold cucumber soup: Nan
Best foie gras: Bibou
Best pizza: Taconneli's
Best chicken liver appetizer: Davios
Best bread: Parc
Best dessert: Coconut custard pie at August (not always on the menu)
Best dessert runner up: many things at Matyson
Best mixed fries: Good Dog
Best Guinea hen: Vetri
Best veal filets: Tre Scalini
Best sandwich: Roast Pork at John's (it's been a while)
Favorite Caesar salad: Yang Ming
Best pastas: Can't do it. Love Vetri, Le Virtu (lemon), and too many others.
Thanks for listening!
Michael Symon chose the pasta tasting menu at Vetri, declaring it to be his favorite restaurant in the country.
“If I had to go to one place for pasta, I would go to Vetri in Philadelphia, my favorite restaurant in America. I’ve never had a pasta there that is anything less than the best pasta I ever ate. [...] Marc’s pasta is breathtakingly perfect.”