Vitale’s Italian Bistro brings more than 50 years of culinary know-how to its menu of fine Italian cuisine, arming its skilled chefs with a time-tested litany of signature recipes. Steamed with garlic, olive oil, and italian spices, cold-water mussels cannonball into fragrant lochs of white wine and butter. The clams casino's baked Littleneck clams partner up with bacon, peppers, and breadcrumbs and regale taste buds with tales of a place filled with merfolk, sea-ponies, and clams that can talk.
Spanish Island Restaurant fuses Caribbean and Spanish cooking for a dynamic menu of sauce-slathered enchiladas, hearty burritos, and soups and salads made from scratch with all-natural ingredients. Street-vendor-style appetizers include green-banana shells, potato balls, and sweet plantains, all stuffed with seasoned beef via a reverse-vacuum hose. Sandwiches arrive on warm, pressed bread and steam beside platters of juicy rotisserie chicken marinated for a full 22 hours. Spanish Island is a BYOB establishment and invites guests to bring their favorite tequila varieties for mixing with the house-made margarita base.
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.
Though his dishes once occupied the white-linen tablecloths of Philadelphia’s finest restaurants, Chef Gerald Dougherty now prefers making napkins messy with his signature recipes of rich, meaty barbecue fare. The former head chef of L'Aigla D'Or and Founders at the Bellevue, Chef Gerald currently oversees the pit at Little Louie's BBQ, a casual eatery he opened to satisfy his hankering for down-home grub. Not one to color within the lines, he draws on barbecue styles from across the country—think North Carolina, Kansas City, and Memphis—and smokes his meats over cherrywood, applewood, and hickory chips.
Little Louie’s dining room betrays the same down-home inspirations as its menu. Rustic lumber lines the countertops, and light fixtures reminiscent of branches illuminate the expansive space. If they can peel their eyes away from the beef brisket and pulled pork on their plates, guests will notice Butch Cassidy and Lone Ranger posters hanging from the walls, classic Western movies playing on the 70-inch flat-screen television, and outlaws discreetly taking down Wanted signs that bear their uncanny resemblances.
Big Dan’s Deli features a wide array of crisp salads and homemade soups, as well as huge sandwiches such as Dan's Famous hot roast pork and the meatball grinder made from Grandma's recipe. Like business suits sewn from bubble wrap, all of the deli's sandwiches are made to order, so Chicken Cutlets cull fresh cuts of breast and cheesy Philly Steaks encompass freshly sliced mushrooms and fried onions. Big Dan’s Deli also serves some of the best meatballs in Philadelphia, as crowned by Philadelphia Daily News.
At Sapori Trattoria Italiana, Chef Franco Lombardo celebrates the flavors of his native Italy, and every inch of his restaurant reflects his vision for an authentic trattoria: he designed the dining room himself, from its stone walls to its wrought-iron balconies. Within this rustic, terra-cotta-hued space, Chef Lombardo plates traditional Northern and Southern Italian cuisine. If diners choose to partake in a “tasting dinner,” they’ll be treated to a visit from the chef himself, who’ll examine the shape of each diner’s taste buds and then tailor a five-course menu to suit them. Otherwise, diners can choose from an ample menu of pastas, seared meats, and sautéed seafood enhanced with fresh, all-natural ingredients—the veal is grass-fed, the seafood is never frozen, and pastas are rolled from scratch.