December 8, 2000 |
Had Michael Granato been around to offer some amenities to Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher when they lost their way in McDougal's Cave, the subterranean adventure might have turned out quite differently. No, Granato is not a Mark Twain character, he's the man behind Bistro Romano, a dining dream-come-true for spelunkers with a taste for Italian food and seclusion. The Bistro, on Lombard Street in Society Hill, features a handsome underground dining room with high, wooden booths offering the utmost privacy.
August 26, 1994 |
I hadn't been to Judy's Cafe, at Third and Bainbridge Streets, in quite some time, so it was a pleasant surprise to find that things had pretty much stayed the same since my last visit. That means good food, fair prices, and the kind of comforting, wacky atmosphere that at times makes you feel as if you've been thrust into a theater-in-the-round production. If you've never been to Judy's, picture a place that has nearly bare-walls decor (OK, so some consignment art hangs there at times)
March 11, 1994 |
After only a few minutes at the Gourmet Room in Berlin, it's evident that a large number of the diners are repeat customers. And when you finish dinner, you realize that the reasons for this are undoubtedly the excellent food and first-class service. Many of the them are on first-name basis with the tuxedo-clad servers as well as with each other. And the small, intimate dining room fills up so quickly - especially on weekend nights - that making reservations is advisable, if not downright imperative.
September 21, 1990 |
On the east side of the Delaware, the name Ventura has been synonymous with dining for nearly four decades. Certainly, anyone who has ever lusted after Italian food is familiar with the sprawling Mama Ventura's restaurant on Route 73 in Marlton. Now the Ventura touch has come to Philadelphia. Two months ago, Nicholas Ventura, who helped build, open and operate Mama Ventura's with his mother and father, opened a reasonably priced restaurant on South Street between Fifth and Sixth with his son Anthony.
March 2, 1990 |
There is a table at Ristorante San Carlo that I wouldn't recommend to anyone. I know, because I've sat there. It's in the back, with a view of the service bar, hard by the kitchen and restroom doors. When foot traffic passes by, and plenty does, the floor shakes. When the waiter takes an order, he must bend low to listen because the sound system speakers are back there, too. The dining room's atmosphere-making flourishes - chandeliers overhead, comfortable table spacing, a red rose on each - are lost on this table.
March 5, 1993 |
These are a few of my least favorite things: Seafood-poultry dishes. Seafood-steak dishes. Seafood-cheese dishes. To me, these improbable combinations almost always seem forced. Then I go to Joseph's in South Philadelphia, where almost every dish incorporates crabmeat, or some kind of cheese, or both. I try calamari with mozzarella, a shellfish salad with a cheese-sprinkled vinaigrette and chicken stuffed with crabmeat and cheese. All three are delicious. The secret is in the sauces, which brought these disparate ingredients together like a skillful matchmaker.
March 22, 1992 |
With its good Italian cuisine, Caffe Anecia is an oasis in the culinary wasteland of Burlington County. Named after the owner's daughter, the unpretentious Riverside restaurant was opened four months ago, offering "casual family dining," which means generous portions of good, moderately priced food, with minimal decor. Since there are precious-few good restaurants in this part of the county, Anecia is a place to be treasured. The menu is filled with dozens of enticing dishes that make selection difficult, a circumstance of little concern, for it seems you can't go far wrong no matter what you order.
March 6, 1992 |
It seems to me that ever since Paul Rimmeir divested himself of Rib-It, he's been looking to get involved with restaurants again. He's opened a few, but none proved terribly successful. This time I think he's got one. It's called Crab Corner. The new place is at an old spot on the corner of Chestnut and Front Streets. Years ago the first H.A. Winston's opened here. Over the years, the building has been home to more than one short-lived restaurant. This new venture by the venerable rib-man features very competitive prices and more than ample portions.
February 17, 1989 |
Although it hasn't been open long, the Walnut Hill Tavern in Germantown already has a solid sense of self. The simple menu is a model of sandwich-or-entree variety and low prices; the staff is exceptionally pleasant; the place is equally comfortable for family dining or a drink with friends; there's takeout for those who live nearby. A pianist plays in the handsome bar after 9:30 on Friday and Saturday nights. Once word gets out, crowds are sure to pile in. The three wood-paneled dining rooms have an obvious labor-of-love look.
January 4, 1987 |
Lamberti Restaurant & Pizzeria is not a place of great beauty, but the southern Italian food is quite nice and prices are immensely appealing. This family restaurant in the Fashion Square Shopping Center in Cherry Hill is not a place for romantic, leisurely dining; indeed, it suffers heavily from blinding commercial lighting, although beautiful Tiffany-style lamps soften the glare. Wainscoting fairly glistens in the brightness, which is reflected in strips of mirror rakishly affixed to a pink stucco wall.