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.
Beef, jumbo wings, chicken fingers, jalapeño poppers, french fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, marinara sauce, honey mustard, and melted cheese. Those are some of the items available on The Whiskey Barrel's menu, and somehow, they all fit on the Mother of All Barrels sandwich. The 12-inch behemoth anchors a menu full of similarly hearty, borderline ridiculous sandwiches, burgers, entrees, and jumbo-sized wings that come in a variety of sauces, from whiskey BBQ to garlic-teriyaki and hot & honey.
The food provides fuel for late nights at the pub, which, like the drive-thru window outside every grandma's kitchen, stays open until 2 a.m. six times a week—including for live music performances every Saturday. Beer specials accompany all Flyers hockey games, and happy-hour deals Monday–Friday help nerves unwind after another long, hard day of resisting the urge to burn the dictionary.
The many pages of Mandarin Cuisine's menu include an impressive range of dishes from across Asia—fresh sashimi from Japan, nutty noodles from Thailand, and tangy fried rice from China. But what is more impressive is the restaurant's team of seasoned chefs who are hard at work each day in the kitchen, expertly crafting these varied dishes from fresh produce, meats, and seafood, as well as flavorful herbs and spices such as garlic, chili peppers, and basil. They extend their culinary expertise to a sweeping array of specialty sushi rolls, pairing fresh pieces of tuna, salmon, and crab with inventive ingredients such as mango and lobster salad. And to craft their specialty bird's nest dish, they top roasted pork and jumbo shrimp with an edible nest cradling crab and jumbo scallops.
However, the energetic action of the kitchen is in stark contrast to the elegant dining room, where diners leisurely peruse the menu while sipping tea beneath the glow of hanging red lanterns. And to please the eyes, the soft blue walls use their invisible velcro to hold vivid Asian artwork, from Japanese geishas to golden Buddha statues.
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.
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.
Tall stalks of bamboo flank Woksabi’s front doors, welcoming patrons into a modern space with exposed brick, dark wood, and accent lights that radiate hues of marigold and cobalt blue. Sleek tables support sizzling parades of lobster, filet mignon, shrimp, salmon, and veggies, kissed by the flames of a hibachi grill or drizzled in teriyaki sauce. In addition to searing hibachi dinners and piling plates with noodle favorites such as spicy pad thai, chefs impress diners seated at the sushi bar by slicing and wrapping fresh ingredients into rolls that range from the common california roll to the Perfect Match, a sweet and salty creation named in reference to Captain and Tennille.