With nearly 120 tasty options to choose from during this month’s Center City District Restaurant Week on January 17-22 and 24-29, settling on a spot to eat can be a tough task.
We asked several top chefs and food entrepreneurs from around the city to lend us a hand. Each selected their number one pick from the list of participating restaurants, outside of their own eatery empires, of course.
From newly opened, highly praised successes such as Bud and Marilyn’s to longtime staples like the Oyster House, you’ll find an array of places to help you in your Restaurant Week quest.
High Street on Market
Chef Andrew Wood of Russet is an ingredients man — he wants them sourced locally, sustainably and, of course, at peak quality. You’ll find all of this at his brownstone BYOB in Center City, and also at his top pick for Restaurant Week: High Street on Market.
"Ellen Yin and Eli Kulp are an incredible team. Eli’s food has been some of the best and most innovative we’ve had in this city. The service is always impeccable as well. It’s just an overall welcoming and delicious experience," says Wood.
High Street on Market
After years of working in such acclaimed Philadelphia kitchens as Fork and Barbuzzo, in 2014 George Sabatino opened Aldine, his first venture as a chef-owner, with his wife Jennifer Sabatino. If they could escape their restaurant on a date night, they know just where they'd head.
"Zahav is simply one of our favorite places in the city," notes the Sabatinos, "We don't get out much since opening Aldine and Bud and Marilyn's is on the top of our to-do list [to check out]."
Award-winning chef Michael Solomonov of Zahav, Federal Donuts, Abe Fisher and Dizengoff is best known for his creative, on-point Israeli pairing. For his restaurant week pick, Solomonov chose a restaurant that's made a name for itself off of its own unique pairings, Aldine.
On Aldine’s restaurant week menu, you’ll find some of these match-ups, such as a shrimp ceviche seasoned with fennel, sesame cucumber pickles and blood orange. “My good friend George is doing his own thing, and the food is really special," says Solomonov.
Aimee Olexy of Talula's Table, Talula's Garden and Talula's Daily is no stranger to multi-course meals like those that make restaurant week so grand. Serving up eight-course tasting menus at Talula’s Table in Kennett Square, Olexy is certainly familiar with what it means to transform dinner into a full-out experience.
During restaurant week, Olexy looks to Oyster House for the experience she’d most seek out. "It is a gem of Philly history with a fresh, modern vibe. The entire staff is well-trained, hospitable and the seafood is fantastic. They put serious effort into local, seasonal ingredients. Oh, and don't forget... they offer great beer, cocktails and wine, too," she says.
With a full plate of their own Center City Restaurant Week participants (Barbuzzo, Bud and Marilyn’s, Jamonera, Little Nonna’s and Lolita), it’s hard not to be curious where chef Marcie Turney and partner Valerie Safran would choose to dine out for the week.
For Turney's part, she's interested in checking out what Michael Solomonov is up to, telling us she'd check out Abe Fisher — "Everything they do there is top notch, from their food to their service,” says Turney.