Tuesday, December 1, 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.

Nothing says retro Americana quite like the parasol-topped scowling-face mug of a good tiki drink. The Yachtsman in Fishtown has been at it for a year. And now Bud & Marilyn's is dabbling in island kitsch with a pop-up holiday tiki bar.
It was four decades ago that little Marcie Turney first walked up to the huge bar at the Spot, her grandparents' supper club in Ripon, Wis., and ordered herself a Shirley Temple.

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