Growing up in South Philadelphia, Angelo Lutz spent hours looking on as his Italian grandmother handcrafted meals for their family. Now, as the head chef at The Kitchen Consigliere Café, Lutz tries to stay true to both Philadelphia and Italy by sourcing ingredients from local merchants and markets to craft time-tested Italian dishes. He molds gnocchi and meatballs in the kitchen and presses panini sandwiches, all the while remembering family recipes and the dangers of getting a chef hat tangled in a ceiling fan.
It would be too simple to describe Indiya as an Indian restaurant. After all, India is a vast nation with large metropolitan areas, small towns, and everything in between, encompassing hundreds of local cuisines. In this spirit, Chef Vipul Bhasin draws inspiration from India's 28 culinary regions to create a diverse menu celebrating the country's full spectrum of flavors. On any given day, he fires up the tandoori oven to grill tangy chicken kebabs, bake garlic naan bread, and char-grill jumbo shrimps. Away from the clay oven, Chef Bhasin crafts curries and vegetarian specialties such as Paneer Makhani: homemade cheese cubes simmered in a tomato-honey sauce.
At Osaka Japanese Sushi and Hibachi Steakhouse, your food might emerge from any of three locales. The first is the sushi bar, where chefs assemble creative maki rolls or drape slices of tuna, salmon, or striped bass over small mounds of sticky rice. Then there's the kitchen, where a separate crew fires up the grill to create sizzling entr?es of tofu, salmon, and chicken teriyaki. And speaking of grills, perhaps the most popular options here can be found at the hibachi tables. Seated around hot teppanyaki grills, guests watch as chefs prepare their meals right before their eyes, slicing and searing meats and doling out the exact amount of rice grains each person prefers.
With outposts in Moorestown, Voorhees, and Collingswood, Akira is one of New Jersey's go-to spots for sushi, noodles, and grilled hibachi meals. Chefs behind the sushi bar expertly assemble rice, fresh fish, and vegetables into maki rolls and hand rolls, while their counterparts behind the hibachi grill put on a performance for diners by searing meats and seafood. The hibachi side of the restaurant gets lively with conversation and jumping flames, making it a festive venue for group dinners and pyromancer parties.
Voted the Best Coffee Shop by Philadelphia Magazine, The Treehouse Coffee Shop has grown a loyal following with its comfy atmosphere and exquisite coffee made with beans purportedly grown on the roof. Caffeine cravers can choose from the shop's eclectic selection of java, including the dark Indonesian-grown Sumatra blend, roasted by the regional Crescent Moon Coffee Company. Aside from a potent cup of coffee ($1.45–$2.25), the rest of the menu features stress-quelling teas ($1.30–$1.60), frozen mochas ($4.05–$4.55) from the espresso bar, and scrumptious sandwiches such as the focaccia-bread chicken panini ($7). The Treehouse Coffee Shop completes its community-friendly image with open mic nights on Wednesday and traditional Irish music on Thursdays—a pleasant departure from typical coffee house entertainment such as yelling men and magazines without pictures.
El Sitio's chefs parade a vibrant menu of dishes from Ecuador, Peru, and Argentina across visiting palates. The lomo manchego, a grass-fed sirloin medallion stuffed and drizzled with manchego cheese ($26), is served on a stone plate designed to maintain warmth long enough for forks to tap out blissful sonnets in Morse code. Patrons can lick their plates clean after romping through staple dishes such as the sliced octopus covered in black-olive sauce ($9.25) or a sampler of empanadas, tequeños, and calamari ($11.50). Dine indoors beneath lime-green and marigold walls bathed in varietal lighting, or let the wind blow through your eyelashes while noshing on shrimp in an ivory mantle of coconut sauce ($17) on the patio. El Sitio's BYOB policy allows diners to bring along a bottle of wine, six-pack of beer, or bedazzled personal juicer.