January 12, 2015

Center City Restaurant Week: Where to go and what to get

We roundup the best new spots with the hottest reservations

Events Restaurant Week
AbeFisher Abe Fisher/CookNSolo Restaurants

Abe Fisher's Borscht Tartare with beets, trout roe, & potato chips.

The chaotic food-grab called Center City Restaurant Week, which runs Jan. 18-23 and Jan. 25-30, brings every would-be foodie out of the woodwork. Frequent diners will complain about the fast-and-furious table turning, the small portions or the simplified menus, but they're missing the best part of Restaurant Week. Twice a year, the Center City District challenges us with roughly two weeks to sample as many restaurants as we can - to try out new dishes, and just get out of the house - even if it is for a "deal" that doesn't really save us much dough. 

Sure, patrons will be packed together like sardines and hosts will be irritable, but when else will you finally make it to that new spot you've been dying to try? Never, unless this manufactured sense of demand gives you a serious case of FOMO. Plus, you'll get a three-course meal for just $35 ($20 if you go for lunch). It's the perfect time to try out one of Philadelphia's recent openings, so check out our picks below and grab a table. 

For the Wannabe World Traveler: Abe Fisher

If you're a Philadelphia foodie, you can essentially travel the globe with just a fork and knife. This city has quality Italian, Israeli, African, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, New American, Dutch and every other type of cuisine you could possibly want. Now we have food inspired by the Jewish diaspora. We're Betting On: the Borscht Tartare, Kasha Varnishkes, Veal Schnitzel Tacos, and the Apple Strudel.

1623 Sansom St.
(215) 867-0088

For the Craft Cocktail Obsessive: Bank & Bourbon

The name of the game at Bank & Bourbon is craftsmanship. They take so much care in their cocktails that they age their liquors in-house and have a Bourbon Locker Club for serious customers to age their own bottle. Their classic-with-a-twist American fare should be paired with a drink, naturally. We're Betting On: the Taste of Ham plate, Grilled Flat Iron Steak, and the Warm Toffee Pudding.

1200 Market St.
(215) 231-7300

For the Dive Bar Lover: 2nd Story Brewing

Though this is by no means a dive-y, sticky floor kind of place, bar hoppers should feel right at home here. A welcome addition to Philly's ever-growing craft beer scene, 2nd Story's place on the Restaurant Week roster is refreshing to see on a list of bistros and steakhouses. The beers they brew in house are top-notch, too. We're Betting On: the Oysters Rockefeller, Spicy Shrimp (Fun) dido, Fish N Chips, and Banana Puddin.

117 Chestnut St.
(267) 314-5770

For the Celebri-Chef Fanboy: The Treemont

This newbie is the latest in local celebrity Chip Roman's line of restaurants. The Drexel alum served time at Le Bec Fin and Vetri before opening Blackfish, Mica, Ela and Tradestone Cafe. The Treemont is seasonal and New American in style, located conveniently on Philly's theater circuit. We're Betting On: the Marinated Olives, Chick Pea Fritters, Amish Chicken and Tradestone Confections. 

231 S. 15th St.
(267) 687-2237

For the Picky Eater: Little Nonna's

You already know about Valerie Safran and Marcie Turney's spot in Philly's Italian renaissance. Bring your un-adventurous friends to Little Nonna's this Restaurant Week. It's serving up straight up Italian comfort food with the quality Safran and Turney are known for, perfect for diners who are easily intimidated by a complicated menu. We're Betting On: B+V+P Meatballs, Tonight's Macaroni, Tiramisu.

1234 Locust St.
(215) 546-2100

 (Psst! Celebrity Cruises is handing out free parking vouchers for Thursdays Jan. 22 and 29. Get them while they last.