Thursday, July 31, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Craig LaBan

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I joined the Inquirer as its restaurant critic in 1998, after a stint covering the food beat for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans. Having eaten about 500 restaurant meals a year here ever since, I never cease to be amazed by the diversity and sophistication of Philadelphia's kitchens. To travel from its many authentic ethnic neighborhoods to the gastronomic temples of Walnut Street to its beery gastropubs, cozy BYOBs and multitude of greasy-but-great steak joints, is to know this town delivers satisfaction at every level of the food chain. Including online dish.

Live chat: Join Craig at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays in the chatroom.

Book: The Philadelphia Inquirer Restaurant Guide is available through our online store.

4 Bells: According to Craig, the best restaurants in the Philadelphia area.

Every so often, it's the secondary mixer - not the starring liquor - that distinguishes a drink. Sorel is that kind of player, an artisanal liqueur by Jack From Brooklyn that leaves an exotic blush on anything it touches.
It's been a long road to Paris from Oberon. Remember that splashy but short-lived bistro, which opened in Old City 16 years ago? That was the last time chef Al Paris (with partners) dabbled in French classics, somewhat unsuccessfully, muddying the Gallic canon with Italian riffs and an occasional Asian-fusion folly: "It wasn't awful, but it wasn't good," he concedes.
Video: Paris Bistro & Jazz Cafe
Gallery: Paris Bistro & Jazz Cafe

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