Strawberries: Our berry top picks

Russet chef Andrew Wood’s appetizer-course ravioli, filled with strawberries and ricotta cheese and finished with brown butter, thyme, Parmigiano-Reggiano, aged balsamic and foie gras.

The sweltering height of summer strawberry season is here — and with it comes ample, but fleeting, opportunities to take advantage of all the fruity meanderings the locals have to offer. Here’s where to lock in your red-berry fix, whether you’re leaning toward sweet or savory.


Flying Monkey Bakery

When she’s not Frankenstein-ing pie and cake into a single breathtaking mega-dessert, Elizabeth “E” Halen focuses on her whoopie pie wheelhouse. Right now, her Reading Terminal Market’s sweets stand features a mean strawberry-banana variety — soft banana cookie “buns” on the outside, with a filling of fresh strawberry frosting in the middle. Sweet, seasonal and surprisingly portable. (Reading Terminal Market, 51 N. 12th St., 215-928-0340)

Oyster House

Specializing in expertly executed sweet stuff to offset all that bivalvian brine, Oyster House pastry chef Danielle Amabile keeps the end-of-dinner old school with her classic strawberry shortcake. She simply layers flaky buttermilk biscuits baked in-house with lightly sweetened mascarpone cream and local strawberries cooked down with vanilla beans, lemon juice and white wine. (1516 Sansom St., 215-567-7683)


Tova DuPlessis, Lacroix’s resident dessert ninja, leans on several unexpected elements for her new strawberry-centric plate. Glazed organic strawberries and chamomile-flavored shortbread join up with a portion of local honeycomb and cucumber, pickled to skew more sweet than sour. (The Rittenhouse, 210 W. Rittenhouse Square, 215-790-2533)

The Baker's Jar

Prefer your seasonal berry action in Pinterest-ready format? Visit Avery Goldman at Baker’s Jar in South Street West, where each of her seasonal treats gets to live in a cutie Mason jar before being devoured by sugar freaks. A patriotic fruit mixture of strawberries and blueberries makes up the base of her Berry Crumb option, with a crunchy-sweet roof layer that stands out alongside the delicate fruit. (625 S. 16th St., 267-519-0609)

Vernick Food & Drink

The Hall & Oates of summertime produce partnerships, strawberry and rhubarb, make beautiful music together, and their synergy’s on display via Vernick’s berry-rhubarb crisp. Raspberries, strawberries and rhubarb come together to get tossed in a citrus-zested vanilla bean sugar. That mixture’s covered with almond streusel, baked and topped with cream cheese gelato. (2031 Walnut St., 267-639-6644)

The Gaslight

Showing that s’mores are more than just campfire fodder, The Gaslight has put together its own high-low rendition, combining sugar-macerated and smoked strawberries, dark chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker brittle for a sweet ending that’s very unlikely to cause a forest fire. (120 Market St., 215-925-7691) 


Joncarl Lachman has Dutch-style strawberry moves all over his latest menu at his East Passyunk BYOB. Dessert features optoins like Aardbei Vlaai, a traditional tart that originates in the southern Dutch province of Limburg, plus a fresh strawberry custard served in a stemmed glass. For a savory experience, check out the pickled strawberries that come alongside Lachman’s pork rillettes. (1046 Tasker St., 267-909-9704)

Rex 1516

Rex chef Justin Swain spins strawberries into slurpable soup format on his summer menu. He starts with strawberry-rhubarb jam, vanilla ice cream and lemon curd in a shallow bowl. Then servers swoop in to top the whole lot with a mixture of strawberry mint tea and Champagne. (1516 South St., 267-319-1366)


Another example of strawberries worked into savory cooking can be found at Russet. Check out chef Andrew Wood’s appetizer-course ravioli, filled with strawberries and ricotta cheese and finished with brown butter, thyme, Parmigiano-Reggiano and aged balsamic. Wood throws a hunk of seared foie gras into the mix here and there, too. (1521 Spruce St., 215-546-1521)