Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

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.

Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat: Craig LaBan: I got a chance to do some great cooking projects in the last two weeks, including some grilled whole Jersey black sea bass - expertly cleaned at the fish counter of Wegman's in Cherry Hill, then roasted on my grill. I love that it was a Jerse
The theme for Shore dining this year has been a soggy one so far, as the birth story of nearly every new restaurant project began, quite literally, under three feet of water. But if Sandy's wrath was profound and far-reaching, slowing the pace of new openings - let alone re-openings - to sluggish levels not seen since the beginning of the recession, the forecast is finally brightening.
Video: 2013 Shore Food Guide
Gallery: 2013 Shore Food Guide

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