Friday, October 9, 2015

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.

When a diner loses its soul, the meat loaf arrives welded to the plate in a brown sludge of unnaturally thick gravy. The bacon is ironed paper-flat, limp and dry. The cream of broccoli soup is lukewarm glop. The fried eggplant rounds are half raw. The coffee tastes like it was steeped through brown paper bags.

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