Saturday, October 10, 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.

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4 Bells: According to Craig, the best restaurants in the Philadelphia area.

Of all the reasons to visit Osteria's new sibling in the Moorestown Mall, the most compelling (aside from a movie and a good sale at Lord & Taylor) is an exceptional Italian wine list - often a third less expensive than at the Philly original.
Marc Vetri has heard the jokes about battling for pizza dollars with Sbarro, his neighbor at the Moorestown Mall. He's heard the wisecracks about needing to accessorize with blinking pagers - and a Cheesecake Factory line's worth of waiting diners - if his new Osteria is to amount to anything in chain-crazy South Jersey.

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