Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Craig LaBan

Email claban@phillynews.com   Follow on Twitter

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.

Prospects for beery brunches at the South Philadelphia beer specialist took a most remarkable turn for the positive recently when Hawthornes, almost miraculously, was rebuilt and reopened within just 11 months after a fire.
Video: Hawthornes Cafe
As the tortilla chips crumble, Chestnut Hill has mostly missed out on the Mexican revolution that has brought an influx of more authentic flavors to so many corners of Philadelphia over the last decade. Avenida, which offered hints of that, recently closed. So, can the new El Poquito be the enchilada answer to Chestnut Hillers' margarita dreams?
Video: El Poquito

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