Saturday, February 28, 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.

I love Alsatian whites because they manage to be both crowd-pleasers and complex, usually with a tease of fruity sweetness (and sometimes spice) on the nose, but most often completely dry when you take a sip. This 2012 Crustaces from Dopff & Irion is an a
Drink: The Brooklyn
Succulent chicken in Ardmore
Drink: Saigon Flip
We arrived just a few minutes after our reservation time at Ocean Prime, and a pleasant hostess greeted us with Chapter One of the universal Corporate Steak Chain Manual (the Pre-Meal Bar Soak): "Your table will be ready in 20 to 25 minutes. Would you care to wait in the bar?"
Video: Ocean Prime
Gallery: Ocean Prime
Little Nonna's drops some (meat)balls

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