Monday, August 31, 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.

The "tavola calda" at Popolino is the kind of welcome spread you just don't find much in Philadelphia anymore. Set on a long table near the entrance, this feast of colorful antipasti offers a cornucopia of appealing first bites, a dozen plates of room-temperature salads that change with the seasons (and with the leftovers, too, I presume).
HAMMONTON, N.J. - Long touted as "the blueberry capital of the world," this Pinelands town is rapidly gaining another distinction: taco capital of South Jersey.

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