The Best Food and Drink in Pennsylvania for 2019
The Best Food and Drink in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is at a bit of a cultural crossroads. On one hand, you have the backbone of this country, the blue collar workers, chugging along and enjoying a cheap beer at the state’s best dive bar (McGlinchey's Bar & Grill) and eating the best pretzels in the country at Miller’s Twist. On the other hand, you have the growing metropolises of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The latter is quickly drawing in millennials and developing into what some anticipate will be “the next Brooklyn.” Thus, Philly is a bit of a growing culinary hotspot, thanks in large part to its stellar bars, such as Monk’s Café and world-class restaurants like Barclay Prime and Zahav.
But don’t think that means Philadelphia or Pennsylvania as a whole are becoming pretentious. You can still kick back with the best cheesesteaks and roast pork sandwiches in the whole country. To celebrate the breadth of Pennsylvania’s culinary landscape, we rounded up 30 of the state’s best dishes, restaurants, bars, and brews as a part of our second annual guide to the best food and drink in every state.
Over the course of the past year we’ve honored everything from its best hot dogs and brunch spot to its best bar and craft beer in our comprehensive and wide-ranging lists and rankings, compiled through extensive research and with input from a wide network of site contributors, bloggers, journalists, and chefs.We’ve compiled these into individual slideshows celebrating the best food and drink in every state, and you can find our Pennsylvania gallery ahead.
Best Airport Restaurant: Tony Luke’s (Philadelphia International Airport)
Tony Luke’s boasts an offering of “the real taste of South Philly,” and their many varieties of cheesesteaks give you plenty of ways to enjoy it. In addition to classic cheesesteaks and chicken steaks, sandwiches can be made with chicken cutlets, roast pork, and mixed veggies served alongside natural-cut fries with all sorts of toppings, or egg sandwiches, bagels, muffins, croissants, and hash browns for the morning.
Best All-You-Can-Eat Deal: Shady Maple Smorgasbord (East Earl)
The longest buffet in Lancaster County (clocking in at 200 feet), Shady Maple boasts a massive selection of expertly prepared Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine. A breakfast buffet hits all the right notes (make sure to try the house-made biscuits and scrapple), but the buffet really comes alive at dinner, when 46 salad bar items, eight homemade breads, five soups, six cheeses, eight meats, 14 vegetables, 14 desserts, eight pies, six cakes, and the Sunday bar are just the beginning. Every day (except Sundays, when they’re closed) has a different theme: Monday is steak night; Tuesday is surf & turf night;, Wednesday is prime rib night; Thursday is shrimp and steak night; and Friday and Saturday nights bring The Grand Menu, loaded with smoked brisket, salmon, Cajun catfish, fried crab cakes, and New York strip. And on top of all that, it’s a great deal: Weekly dinners range in price from $19.99 to $23.99.
Best Bar: Monk’s Café (Philadelphia)
Monk’s Café is a Belgian beer emporium with a repertoire of rotating beers on tap and hundreds by the bottle, from the limited-supply Chimay Dorée, to the drier Tripel Karmeliet on tap, to Achel Blond and Westmalle Tripel by the bottle. The bar also stocks locally made Belgian-style beers, so there is something for everyone. The hearty sandwiches, burgers, and mussels pair well with the beer.
The Best Bar in Every State
Best Beer: Alien Church, Tired Hands Brewing Company (Ardmore)
Aliens need Jesus, too. Alien Church from Tired Hands Brewing Company is brewed with oats and hopped with Mosaic, Citra, Chinook, Centennial, and Columbus hops. Drinkers can expect out-of-this-world bitter and tart tastes of blueberry, orange, melon, guava, papaya, pineapple, passionfruit, and grapefruit. If that sounds like a dynamic, juicy beer, that’s because it is.
Best Brunch: Lacroix at the Rittenhouse (Philadelphia)
Lacroix Restaurant at The Rittenhouse/Yelp
The Rittenhouse is one of Philadelphia’s most luxurious hotels, perched in a perfect location overlooking Rittenhouse Square. Its Sunday brunch buffet, served at its fine dining gem Lacroix, is nothing short of spectacular, with more than 50 offerings, each of them demonstrating some serious attention to detail and culinary know-how. The expected breakfast dishes are all there, but everything’s kicked up a few notches: scrambled eggs are soft and pillowy, house-made chicken sausage is studded with chunks of apple, bacon is thick-cut and perfectly crisp, and pancakes are delivered to your table on demand. Standouts include foie gras s’mores; branzino crudo with passionfruit, buttermilk, and coriander blossom; Spanish octopus with bok choy, pea leaf, and fried shallot; gochujang fried chicken bao bun with pickled onion aïoli; khachapuri with caramelized onion, goat cheese, and quail egg; mini buttermilk biscuits with pork roll, piperade, and comte; Oaxacan shakshuka with black bean, tomatillo, and queso fresco; and grilled Rhode Island squid with sweet corn and red miso spaetzle. At the carving station you’ll find Scottish salmon with lavender mustard; a grilled sausage made from diver scallops; porchetta with green tomato kimchi; roasted leg of lamb with gooseberry glaze; and a slow-roasted Sichuan-spiced wagyu brisket with broccoli and ginger relish, a dish inspired by beef and broccoli that I was told took more than a year to perfect. And that's not even including dessert! (Don't miss the sticky buns and chocolate fountain.) Many of these dishes would be right at home on the menu of a Michelin-starred restaurant, but at Lacroix they’re all just a part of the buffet.
Best Burger: Whiskey King Burger, Village Whiskey (Philadelphia)
Chef Jose Garces has won heaps of praise for the burgers he’s serving at Village Whiskey, and it’s well-deserved. His burgers are so lightly packed that they’re almost fluffy, and they come on a house-baked pain au lait bun that’s similar to brioche, but less eggy. The patties are well seasoned, super juicy, and full of flavor. If you’re looking for something especially decadent, go for the Whiskey King Burger, which is topped with maple bourbon-glazed cipollini onions, blue cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, and foie gras for good measure. It’s a wonder to behold.
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Best Burrito: Cantina Los Caballitos (Philadelphia)
Go sit in Cantina Los Caballitos on East Passyunk Avenue in Philadelphia, eat their goat burrito, and be happy. A flour tortilla is filled with rice, black beans, onions, cilantro, and braised goat, and the result is really fantastic. In a departure from many of the restaurants on this ranking, Caballitos has a modern, gastropub feel.
Best Cheesesteak: John’s Roast Pork (Philadelphia)
Since 1930, the corner of Weccacoe and Snyder Avenues has been home to John’s Roast Pork, a South Philly institution if ever there was one. John’s cheesesteak toiled in relative obscurity until 2002, when the Philadelphia Inquirer’s restaurant critic Craig LaBan hailed it as the city’s best. And it is essentially a perfect cheesesteak. It starts with a soft and crusty seeded roll delivered fresh from nearby Carangi Baking Company every morning, which has some of its insides scooped out before being loaded with a full 12 ounces of thin-sliced loin tail (which has less gristle than the usual rib-eye). Meat is grilled to order atop diced Spanish onions and allowed to brown on one side before being flipped and separated, but not chopped. Five slices of American cheese are then added and folded in as the cheesesteak continues to cook. Fried Italian long hot peppers and ketchup are optional, but certainly don’t detract from this cheesesteak’s perfection.
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Best Chinese Restaurant: Han Dynasty (Philadelphia)
Han Dynasty is a Philadelphia legend, and it’s spawned five additional locations in the Philly area and three in New York. The reason for its success? It serves some of the finest Szechuan fare this side of Chengdu. Fiery chili oil bathes chicken, beef, tripe, dumplings, cold noodles, and wontons; other spot-on Szechuan specialties include dan dan noodles, tea smoked duck, ma po tofu, and your choice of protein in styles including dry pot, dry pepper, dry fry, cumin, double cooked, and kung pao. If you’re looking for an education in Szechuan cuisine, your first stop should be Han Dynasty.
Best Chocolate Shop: Éclat Chocolate (West Chester)
When Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert choose your shop to make their own custom chocolate bar, you know you’re doing something right. You can’t go wrong with any of the offerings at Éclat Chocolate, but their Peruvian Nacional Truffles have been called the best in America, so that’s a great place to start.
Best Coffee Shop: Ultimo Coffee (Philadelphia)
Aaron and Elizabeth Ultimo met working in a coffee shop in Washington, D.C., and when they moved to Philadelphia in 2009, they brought their love and their coffee with them. Ultimo Coffee has three locations in the city, as well as its own roastery and lab, which means that they select and roast their own coffees to make sure they serve their customers the best.
Best Craft Brewery: Victory Brewing Company (Downingtown)
Created in 1996 by best friends Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski, Victory Brewing Company is the toast of Pennsylvania, with a reach that spans the nation. The company uses German malted barley and both American and European whole-flower hops. (The use of whole-flower hops is unusual; the brewers insist this creates a better flavor and aroma in the beer.) Victory is well known for their Hop Devil IPA, but Belgian-style lovers flock around any tap that is pouring the fruity and spicy Golden Monkey. In 2016, Victory and New York State’s Southern Tier Brewing Company united under parent company Artisanal Brewing Ventures (ABV). “Like-minded brewers such as Victory and Southern Tier can preserve our character, culture and products by banding together,” said Bill Covaleski, founder and brewmaster of Victory.
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Best Cupcake: Whipped Bakeshop (Philadelphia)
Best Dive Bar: McGlinchey's Bar & Grill (Philadelphia)
McGlinchey's Bar & Grill in Philadelphia is dark and dingy, and the smell of cigarette smoke from years past still lingers in the air. And that’s only the beginning of what makes this joint a spectacular dive bar. You can get hot dogs for less than $1 and beer for less than $4 while you sit among Philly’s most colorful characters.
Best Doughnut: Federal Donuts (Philadelphia)
Chef Michael Solomonov is well known for his take on Israeli cuisine at his restaurants, which include Zahav and Dizengoff, but he also mastered the art of making doughnuts. Opt for the classic "Hot Fresh" Cinnamon Brown Sugar doughnut, a fresh cake doughnut that's dredged in cinnamon and brown sugar, and cooked to order, so that it’s still comfortingly warm when you eat it.
The Best Doughnuts in Every State
Best Food Truck: Cucina Zapata (Philadelphia)
Cucina Zapata serves up Thai food in a taco, so you can go ahead and cross that one off of your food fantasy mash-up list. Other dishes include items like a Cap’n Crunch-crusted tilapia burrito topped with avocado, pico de gallo, and peanut sauce. Or the sweet potato curry. Or the Thai short rib tacos covered in veggies and topped with avocado, or basically anything else. Thai-Mexican is a culinary combination we would definitely like to see out there more often.
Best French Fries: Village Whiskey (Philadelphia)
We have three words for you: duck fat fries. That’s right, at Village Whiskey in Philly, that’s the only kind of fries served, and they’re available on all three of the restaurant’s menus: All Day, Late Night, and Brunch. For an extra $2, you can get them topped with Sly Fox Cheddar sauce, and for an extra $7, you can add not only Cheddar but also short rib. We suggest you start with the ordinary version first, though, as you’ll most likely find there’s very little that’s ordinary about them.
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Best Fried Chicken: Federal Donuts (Philadelphia)
Philadelphia has long been food-famous, but just for cheesesteaks and pretzels, right? Not so for the past few years, since Federal Donuts opened; it's currently up to seven locations, with a best-selling cookbook, to boot. While they are celebrated for their doughnuts, which come in unusual flavors like lavender, their tasty Korean-style fried chicken is also a force to be reckoned with. Every order of chicken includes Japanese cucumber pickles and a honey doughnut, and is served with your choice of dry seasoning (coconut curry or za’atar buttermilk ranch) and glaze (chili-garlic or honey ginger).
Best Fudge Shop: Sweet as Fudge Candy Shoppe (Philadelphia)
This confectionery, located inside Philly’s renowned Reading Terminal Market, serves a huge variety of handmade sweets including, as the name might imply, fudge. Handmade on a daily basis, flavors include cappuccino, crème brûlée, dulce de leche, mint cookie, and peanut butter explosion.
Best Grocery Store: Giant Food Stores
Giant Food Stores: “Great selection of name brand and store brand items. Very nice employees and a nice interior. Although not the 'hippest' looking inside, the lower costs and excellent customer service more than makes up for a more plain looking store,” local shopper Robert Britton said.
The Best Grocery Store in Every State
Best Hot Dogs: Coney Island Lunch (Scranton)
Calling itself "downtown's oldest restaurant," Coney Island Lunch was founded (at a nearby location) in 1923. The name of the place might suggest a Coney Island-style dog, but the specialty here is the Texas wiener. That's a variety of dog supposedly invented by a Greek diner owner in Altoona, Pennsylvania, in 1918, and considered an authentic regional hot dog style in the Altoona-Scranton-Philadelphia triangle today. What makes it "Texas"? A slathering of chili. At Coney Island Lunch, the meat is a half-sliced Berks all-beef wiener from Reading, south of Scranton, grilled and served on a steamed non-traditional bun made by Scranton's own National Bakery. Düsseldorf mustard and onions diced on a 1928 Hobart chopper complete the package.
Best Hotel Restaurant: Lacroix (Philadelphia)
Overlooking Rittenhouse Square in the posh Rittenhouse Hotel, Lacroix is a Philadelphia fine dining destination that’s also home to one of the city’s top Sunday brunch buffets. À la carte breakfast and lunch are served daily (if you go for lunch make sure you try the dry-aged roast duck for two or the city’s most high-end cheesesteak), but come dinner, chef Jon Cichon is serving a seven-course tasting menu utilizing only the freshest seasonal ingredients. Expect items like Alaskan halibut with morels, lobster, and smoked sweetbreads, Niman Ranch lamb with baby lettuce and black garlic, and king salmon with sorrel and mango, and expect to pay $115 for the experience, not including wine.
Best Ice Cream Stand: Fox Meadows Creamery (Ephrata)
Fox Meadows Creamery & Country Market/Yelp
Best Indian Restaurant: Ekta (Philadelphia)
Ekta has two locations in Philadelphia and another in Bryn Mawr, having been established by chef Raju Bhattarai after he left fellow Indian restaurant Tiffin — an episode that led to a long-lasting rivalry between him and Tiffin owner Munish Narula which has involved police reports and accusations of health code violations. On the culinary level, however, Ekta seems to have won out thanks to Bhattarai’s own blend of garam masala used in much of their dishes. Try the Ekta naan, stuffed with black sesame seed, dry fruit, and nuts, with kid-friendly saag paneer (paneer cheese cooked with spinach, light cream, tomato sauce, and onion) or lamb vindaloo.
Best Irish Pub: McGillin’s Olde Ale House (Philadelphia)
Going strong since 1860, McGillin’s is Philly’s oldest tavern, and it’s also one of the city’s very best, frequented by locals, including city politicians, and tourists alike. Be generous to your server: The ship's bell behind the bar tolls for bad tippers. It’s also a perfect place to catch a Phillies game in the summertime, and it's one of the only bars left that still offers a Citywide Special — a shot of whiskey and a can of PBR for just 4 bucks.
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Best Italian Restaurant: Vetri (Philadelphia)
In this little jewel box of a place, now 20 years old, chef Marc Vetri offers diners sophisticated, hand-crafted Italian and Italianate specialties in a long, narrow dining room with tall windows, old wood floors, tables topped with crisp white tablecloths, a chandelier hanging from the ceiling, and expert service. Only tasting menus are served; available items are listed under Antipasti, Pasta, Secondi, and Dolce (dessert); chef de cuisine Matt Buehler will personalize the menu to your taste. You might end up with, for instance, roasted cauliflower with bagna càuda, lumache with duck ragù, guinea hen with seasonal mushrooms, and chocolate polenta soufflé for dessert. All is served with precision and grace, and there is a wine cellar of more than 2,500 bottles to choose from.
The Best Italian Restaurant in Every State
Best Lobster Roll: Oyster House (Philadelphia)
At Oyster House, freshness and authenticity are key. Owner Sam Mink ships in fresh lobster from Maine daily, along with buns made by New England’s JJ Nissen. This means that the lobster in your roll was in Maine waters less than 24 hours ago, and these rolls, which contain about a third of a pound of meat, are treated with as much reverence as they deserve: Warm rolls are topped with a citrus-kicked butter, cold ones are tossed with a little bit of mayo, diced celery, and a pinch of salt.
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Best Mexican Restaurant: Distrito (Philadelphia)
Chicago-born Ecuadorian Iron Chef Jose Garces (who runs some of Philly’s most acclaimed restaurants, like Amada, Village Whiskey, and Volver) serves nachos, ceviches, huaraches, tamales, enchiladas, and moles here that Philadelphians recognize as some of the most satisfying versions on the East Coast. The somewhat gaudy, pink, loud, huge restaurant is dedicated to the cuisine of Mexico City, which is a rich source of inspiration.
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Most Outrageous Restaurant Dish: Barclay Prime Cheesesteak, Barclay Prime (Philadelphia)
Philadelphia is known for its cheesesteaks, and you'll find all kinds of variations in the city that perfected it. Barclay Prime's version, however, is in a class of its own. Made with wagyu rib-eye steak, it also contains foie gras, onions, and truffled Cheez Whiz on a fresh-baked sesame roll. Served with half a bottle of Champagne, it'll cost you $120, making it the most expensive Philly cheesesteak in America.
Best Old School Candy Shop: Shane Confectionery (Philadelphia)
Shane Confectionery has everything from fudge and fruit slices to saltwater taffy and nonpareils. The adorable vintage décor looks as if it hasn’t changed since the shop’s conception in 1863, and certain treats pay homage to history. Try the house-made Liberty Bell bonbon or Thomas Jefferson’s Nightcap — a jar of rich, European-style drinking chocolate.
Best Over-the-Top Grilled Cheese Sandwich: Meltkraft (Philadelphia)
Meltkraft is run by Valley Shepherd Creamery, and they’re using their high-end cheeses to turn out some astounding creations. There’s the Melter Skelter (three month raclette, pickled green tomatoes, jalapeños, barbecue potato chips, and watercress) and the Somerset (12- to 18-month Gruyère, cured ham, cornichons, and whole-grain mustard), but the Valley Thunder is the real scene-stealer: 12-month Cheddar, beef brisket, and baked macaroni and cheese.
15 Best Over-the-Top Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in America
Best Pasta Dish: Maccheroni Alla Mugnaia, Le Virtu (Philadelphia)
A Philly favorite for 10 years, Le Virtu specializes in the cuisine of Abruzzo, and it turns out some of the best handmade pastas you’ll ever try night after night. Executive chef Joe Cicale keeps it simple, focusing on classic flavor combinations, high-quality ingredients, and an insane amount of skill. That’s best displayed with his maccheroni alla mugnaia: One long hand-pulled strand of pasta, simply dressed with garlic, extra virgin olive oil, hot pepper, and pecorino. It’s a dish you’ll be remembering for a long time.
The Best Pasta Dish in Every State
Best Pizza: Pizza Brain (Philadelphia)
When you’re craving great pizza in Philly, go no further than this 19th-century brick building in Kensington. You’ll find thin-crust pizza cooked in the double-decker gas-fired oven at the cash-only joint Kickstarted in 2012 by Ryan Anderson, Joseph Hunter, Brian Dwyer, and Michael Carter. As you wait for the crew to cook your pie, bask in Pizza Brain’s unique ambience, peruse their pizza memorabilia museum (featuring what Guinness World Records called the world’s largest collection of pizza memorabilia), or rummage through their pizza tattoo book for laughs. Pizza Brain’s “Jane” is their version of a Margherita — a cheesy trifecta of mozzarella, aged provolone, and grana padano blended with basil — and it’s a good place to begin. The salty and satisfying Forbes Waggensense is a true stunner, though: mozzarella, fontina, grana padano, basil, smoked pepperoni, and tomato sauce.
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Best Ramen: Hiro Ramen House (Philadelphia)
Philly’s best ramen shop, Hiro claims that it’s on “an endless search for the soul of ramen.” They’re certainly getting pretty close, as the ramen here is out of this world. Chef/owner Dan Zhao’s ramen creations are unique, delicious, and a whole lot of fun: Hiro's Inch Of Heaven contains a Berkshire pork and homemade soy sauce broth, pork belly, egg, bean sprout, bamboo, scallion, and nori; Black Pig contains Berkshire pork and bonito broth, burnt garlic oil, pork belly, bean sprout, bamboo, scallion, and Naruto; and Gates Of Hell contains Berkshire and chile broth, intense chile oil, bean sprout, pork belly, bamboo, scallion, and togarashi. Zhao isn’t afraid to experiment, and the results are stunning.
Best Restaurant for Breakfast: Eggs-R-Us (Pittsburgh)
The name of this Pittsburgh gem might be a little silly, but the big country breakfasts served at Eggs-R-Us, which is tucked away in a strip mall and opens at 6 a.m. daily, can’t be beat. Build-your-own omelettes; a French toast sandwich with eggs, cheese, and bacon, ham, or sweet or hot sausage; biscuits with sausage gravy and eggs; huge buttermilk pancakes and Belgian waffles; country fried steak; shrimp and grits; a huge breakfast burrito… the offerings here aren’t anything too fancy, but when it comes to breakfast, they’re perfect.
Best Restaurant: Zahav (Philadelphia)
Modern Israeli in Philadelphia? What does that entail? A melting pot of Middle Eastern and Central European cuisines, interwoven with a fine hand to create a feast of flavors by chef-owner Michael Solomonov (born in an Israeli town south of Tel Aviv called G'nei Yehuda, and raised in Pittsburgh). Settle into the warmly lit casual dining room at Zahav (“gold” in Hebrew) and start by ordering the hummus with house-baked laffa flatbread or ethereally silky hummus with butter and grilled garlic. If you’re in the mood for small plates, Zahav offers crispy grape leaves with ground beef and tomato; grilled duck hearts with pickled green tomatoes, green matbucha (a Moroccan sauce of tomatoes and peppers), and shabazi (a fiery Yemeni spice blend) onion rings; and crispy haloumi cheese with dates, pickled onion, walnuts, and Turkish Urfa chile flakes, among other dishes. Move on to the duck leg kebab with pistachio pilaf, pickled onions, and fig jam; kofte (ground beef and lamb) with peppers, carrots, and flageolet beans; and chicken shishlik and root vegetable tagine with Moroccan couscous and pickled mushrooms. Israeli Goldstar beer, imaginative cocktails, and one of the largest arrays of boutique Israeli wines outside of Israel complete the picture.
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Best Sandwich: Roast Pork, DiNic’s (Philadelphia)
DiNic’s, an always-bustling stand located inside the famed Reading Terminal Market, serves a handful of classic hot Italian sandwiches such as slow-roasted brisket of beef and Italian-style pulled pork. The must-order, however, is DiNic’s roast pork sandwich. To make this beauty, a mound of juicy, thin-sliced, falling-apart pork is pulled from a tub of its own juices and added to thick slices of sharp aged provolone on a semolina roll then topped with slightly bitter, garlicky, tender, chopped broccoli rabe. The hot pork slightly melts the cheese below it, and the rabe ties it all together. One bite and you'll forget all about that other Philly sandwich.
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Best Soft Pretzel: Miller’s Twist (Philadelphia)
Philly has no shortage of great soft pretzels, but the best just might be found inside Reading Terminal Market, at Miller’s Twist’s stand. Pretzels are made in full view of the public throughout the day, and the end result is a perfect representation of the Pennsylvania Dutch style: big, brown, soft, and topped with just the right amount of salt. They’re malty, buttery, slightly crisp on the outside, and warm and chewy on the inside. They’ll completely spoil you for all other pretzels.
Best Soup: Snapper Soup, Oyster House (Philadelphia)
Snapper soup (made with snapping turtle, not the fish) is a lesser-known local Philadelphia delicacy popularized by the now-defunct Old Original Bookbinder’s. While Bookbinder’s famed version is now sold, sadly, only in a can, you can still find a stellar rendition at The Oyster House. The rich, deeply flavorful soup is loaded with turtle, chopped carrots, and celery, and hard-boiled egg, and a little sherry on the side kicks up the classiness factor.
The Best Soup in Every State
Best Sports Bar: Chickie's and Pete's (Philadelphia)
This family-owned Philly sports bar chain has won numerous awards from ESPN, but they’re also known for one particular item on the menu: crabfries. Imagine a crinkle-cut French fry topped with a secret blend of crab seasoning, with cheesy sauce on the side — it doesn’t get any better than that. Besides the seafood-heavy menu, the fans and constant games on TV that make every Chickie's and Pete's outpost a favorite for game-watching. The South Philly location is known for legendary Eagles watch parties, but we’re sure any Philly team gets a lot of loving at Chickie's and Pete's.
Best Steakhouse: Barclay Prime (Philadelphia)
Sure, this Stephen Starr steakhouse on Rittenhouse Square might boast a selection of as many as seven different steak knives and a $100 wagyu ribeye and foie gras cheesesteak that comes with a half-bottle of Perrier-Jouët, but that doesn’t mean it’s gimmicky. Described as a "luxury boutique steakhouse" on its website, the restaurant replaces red leather with green and yellow suede, a clubby soundtrack, and slightly incongruous crystal chandeliers. While the setting is undoubtedly twenty-first century, the menu is as classic as can be: Steaks are dry-aged for 28 days, and the rib-eye, from New York's Gachot & Gachot (which supplies the legendary Peter Luger Steak House in Brooklyn), is arguably the best steak in the city — and there's world-class service to boot. Don’t forget to order the shrimp cocktail; these monsters come four to a pound.
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Best Taco: Shrimp Tacos, El Vez (Philadelphia)
Restaurateur Stephen Starr knows what people love to eat, and at Philadelphia’s El Vez he’s bringing top-notch Mexican food to the hungry masses. An order of the tacos al carbon is enough to feed two, and the grilled shrimp is the way to go; it’s a masterpiece. Homemade flour tortillas get filled with slightly spicy and super flavorful shrimp that are hot off the grill, and you can customize how much poblano, pico de gallo, guacamole, and queso fresco you want to add. For more states, check out our ultimate guide to the best food and drink in every state for 2019.
The Best Taco in Every State