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Belgian food in Philly????

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  • few Oct 28, 2012 01:04 PM
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Will be staying in Sonesta - but will have our car.

Any chance there is a Belgian spot with a great beer list? and good food would be a +++ !<lol>

Alternatively - a good spot with an extensive beer selection would be an option

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  1. Unfortunately Philadelphia is not a good place for beer. Its much better for wine.

    You might find a decent beer or two at Monks, with some moulles et frites. Monks was the first place in Philadelphia to serve Chimay on tap in North American and the eight trappist beer this week. Belgian Cafe, Eulogy are other places for beer. Our gastropubs have a few beers to look for. Standard Tap, Southwark, South Philly Tap Room, Good Dog and Brigids all will have one or two beers worth trying. The foodery has about 1000 different beers for takeout. So you might find something to quench your thirst.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cwdonald

      I'm curious why you say the city is not a good place for beer.

      Eulogy's and Monks' beer list is quite extensive. Beneluxx is another option in Center City.

    2. In case it wasn't obvious, cwdonald was being sarcastic -- Philly is a great place for a beer drinker. Really, the list of bars with no craft beer available is probably shorter than the list with good stuff on tap or a least in bottle/can. Monk's has a fantastic selection of beers, especially Belgians (they even brew a sour in Belgium under their own label). Besides the mussels, though, the food isn't really Belgian and the "frites" are the opposite of Belgian style -- they are very thin. But also very good. The rest of the food is just ok but definitely go there if you are into Belgian beer. Eulogy is very similar, as is Belgian Cafe which has the same owners as Monk's (I wouldn't go to both). The only Belgian food I can really think of in Philly is Maoz Falafel.

      To caveat cwdonald's list, Southwark is primarily a (fantastic) cocktail bar with only a few beers on tap, and Standard Tap only serves local beers, which can be a plus but is also limiting. I also just recently took Good Dog off my list; the beer list is good but not better than the other places, and the food which used to be good has gotten pretty bad. For bars not too far from your hotel, I add:
      - Jose Pistolas for a great international selection, including Belgians
      - Varga Bar with a great and ever-rotating selection of American craft beer
      - Percy Street BBQ, supposedly has the biggest selection of can beer in the world. I don't know if that is true but at 100+ cans it might be and most of it is craft beer.
      - Tria, lots of variety including some rare stuff.

      A little farther from your hotel but still possibly worth a visit if you like what's on tap, and a short cab or transit ride:
      - Devil's Den, probably the best happy hour for beer drinkers in the city, all drafts are half off what are already very well priced beers, for example you can drink Petrus Bruin for $4.25 or Great Lakes Nosferatu for $2.25.
      - Pub on Passyunk East (better known as the POPE).

      Almost all of these bars have up to date draft lists on Philly Tap Finder, which you can also use to search by the beer you are looking for:
      http://phillytapfinder.com/

      5 Replies
      1. re: barryg

        Barry has listed some great places for great beer.

        Let me defend Good Dog. Re food, I only order burger or the grilled cheese there, so I have not noticed a deterioration of quality. Their draught list is 10 taps but its quality. Currently Allagash, PBC, Firestone Walker among others. Its quality beer. Not the biggest but it is a good selection.

        Probably in addition to the great list that barry gave above, I would add Khyber Pass (food is cajun oriented with some very good vegan options) and really a great draught beer selection.

        Brauhaus Schmitz for its German beer selections, as well as Dandelion Pub for its cask beer selection deserve mention as well.

        Regarding Belgian food, we used to have more food. Now Belgian food really can be summed up as moulles steamed in a variety of different beers. It is harder to find dishes like chicken waterzoui are sometimes on the menu. (Eulogy has it, Monks no longer has it as a regular part of their menu). Beneluxx is closed due to flooding (prior to storm... ).. So if mussels are what you like, the you can find them.. others.. not as much.

        1. re: cwdonald

          Thanks for adding Khyber Pass and Brauhas Schmitz, those definitely need to be in the conversation. KP especially, the tap list is great and the food is probably the best of the Center City gastropubs.

          As for Good Dog, I was there just two weeks ago. The burger was ok, undercooked for us (ordered medium, got rare), but the biggest disappointment was the fries which were also underdone and the "aioli" it was served with was gloppy and had no flavor at all, completely off and usually my favorite part of the meal. The cheesesteak empanadas I always liked were drenched in truffle oil, pretty much ruining the dish. These items were the last things on the menu I liked and they sucked, so I'm done. Speaking of mediocre gastropubs in the immediate area (which is very convenient as it is centrally located and near the theaters), Perch Pub also has a good beer list but I would skip the food there too. Though I'm more likely to give the food there another shot since at worst they can meet my low expectations rather than disappoint like Good Dog has. Prices are similar.

          1. re: cwdonald

            I just looked over the Monk's menu for the first time in a while, and there are still a number of Belgian and Belgian-style dishes on it. Have you tried the food recently cwdonald?

            http://www.monkscafe.com/body.cfm?nav...

            1. re: barryg

              What dishes jumped out at you Barry? Duck confit is almost a cliche these days and done so poorly by so many. The scallops seem ordinary. Frankly I usually get the mussels when I am there but quickly perused the menu before my original post and really think the Eulogy menu is more authentic. And I am not a fan of Eulogy... (Would someone please burn the coffin already?!)

              1. re: cwdonald

                Boudin blanc on the charcuterie plate, stoemp served with the lamb, Nicoise salad, smoked trout. Lots of dishes and sauces involving Belgian beer. I guess you are right that these are more Belgian influences than traditional dishes.

        2. While others have quite nicely answered the beer question: I was thinking of what might answer the food inquiry. It was Belgian food being sought, right? Quite an overlap with Dutch and French. With some time spent in Antwerpen, Brugges, and Beerse my best guess would be good mussels, pomme frites with mayo, fish stew perhaps with eel, endive or nicoise salad, blood & pork sausages and waffles as a finish. Should be many options in Philly perhaps just not all under the same roof at the same time. Thus encouraging a food and beer crawl!

          9 Replies
          1. re: Bacchus101

            Bacchus you really get at one of my pet pieves with the so called Belgian restaurants in the area. Going back to the mid nineties, with Brigids, Monks, and Cuvee Notre Dame dishes like chicken waterzooi, boudin blanc or noir and duck chambord were common, and consistently well done. The beer selection were not as arcane as they are now, but were well representative of the belgian trappist and other beers. I think the beer has gotten a bit better, but frankly the food has deteriorated. For Duck I would go to Zinc where the duck press is really a fun way of enjoying the whole bird. I am not sure where I would go for a boudin noir now. Perhaps Fork though I do not know what their menu is like since Feury left. I would probably be more likely to go to Bar Boulud in NYC or the Brewers Art in Baltimore for a wider range of food beside Moulles.

            1. re: cwdonald

              I don't know if it is Belgian-style, but I had an awesome blood sausage at Cochon about a month ago, it was a special. I also had a great blood sausage at 943 when it first opened but I haven't made it back since. Both are BYOBs so bring whatever beer you want.

              1. re: barryg

                Good call.. and then there is always the rabbit at Bistro La Minette. Not to mention their Alsatian pizza Flammenkuche.

                1. re: cwdonald

                  Also, the fries at Hot Diggity on South Street are Belgian-style as are many of the wide variety of sauces they have available to dip them in.

                  When Noord opens in East Passyunk we should be getting some of those more traditional Northern European foods under one roof: http://www.passyunkpost.com/2012/10/p...

              2. re: cwdonald

                CW, sounds like you have spent some time in restaurants in the Beneluxx countries. I do recall some years ago having very good Moulles in white wine at Monks. The duck press sounds very interesting will have to look for it.

                BG, an awesome blood sausage at Cochon, while not my taste, should be a good option for "few", Belgian or not.

                1. re: Bacchus101

                  Bacchus - yes I do seek out the trad Belgian fare, mussels incl - but love to find spots that do a solid rabbit dish wouldn't hurt! Hard to find these spots - but they exist in DC and NY - I was hoping Philly might be another - Boston is a wasteland....
                  thanks - this is all great foodie intel!

                  1. re: few

                    Cochon, Zinc and Bistro la Manette are the places where you are going to find the Francophone type of fare you are looking for. Eulogy has a waterzooi but I am not real fond of the food there.

                    Monks is your best bet for belgian beer, and Barry has given you a good list of our gastropubs. Tom Peters has a Flemish Sour ale brewed for him in Belgium, and it used to be the place the late Michael Jackson would hold court when he would visit Philadelphia. The problem with the restaurant is its size (small) and how crowded it gets.I enjoy it best on a lazy saturday or sunday afternoon when it is a lot less crowded.

                    1. re: few

                      Possibly off-subject, but Le Virtu on E. Passyunk Ave (Italian) has a great rabbit "porchetta style" dish. They also have a small but nice selection of bottled Italian craft beers to pair with it. Maybe my favorite rabbit dish in the city. Down the street, Stateside does a nice rabbit rilettes too. Stateside has maybe half a dozen craft beers on tap, decent selection but not beer destination.

                      Previously mentioned Southwark has often had rabbit on the specials in the past. The housemade charcuterie there is always excellent and I believe I have had a rabbit pate as part of their platter.

                      1. re: barryg

                        Great suggestion. I would throw in Alla Spina is a great place to try italian beers, as are Birra and Farmers Cabinet (assuming its still in operation.).

              3. I know this isn't in town, but you could grab a train to Wayne and go to Theresa's next door.
                Both beverages and food have the belgian theme.