Owner and culinary mastermind of French Quarter Bistro, Mark Van Horn’s prerequisites for a good meal are simple: authenticity, home cooking, and a liberal dash of soul. This dedication to comfort cooking has earned the French Quarter Bistro a host of dedicated regulars as well as the Philly Hot List's award for Best Soul Food in 2009, 2010, and 2011. In the bustling kitchen, chefs whip up creole and Cajun eats using unique ingredients such as house roasted peppers, alligator sausage, and fried pickles. Along with their flavorful dishes, French Quarter Bistro also serves up a variety of entertainment throughout the week, including open mic nights with local singers and poets tired of the wrestling portion of poetry slams.
TJ's gourmet a la carte menu features fresh-made fare, with everything prudently prepared to order. Wake up to a savory serving of crab hollandaise over poached eggs, a homemade biscuit, and steamed asparagus ($9.50) or keep your strength up for a long day of clown wrestling with a protein-packed breakfast sandwich ($7.25), which you can top with apple-wood-smoked bacon or maple sausage, scrambled eggs, and cheddar and jack cheeses—all encased in either a pub roll or a garlic-herb wrap. Patrons with sweetie-pie palates will be more pleased with a decadent plate of cinnamon-bun french toast topped with maple butter and pecan syrup ($8.25) or the banana-walnut pancakes ($8.25).
The penchant for modernity at o-toro recently caught the eye and taste buds of County Lines magazine’s staff, which named it one of Philly’s Best New Ventures of 2013. The restaurant’s track lighting illuminates a contemporary scene marked by wooden fixtures, vibrant splotches of red and orange, and plates of Japanese cuisine with Mexican, Korean, and American influences. Sushi, sashimi, and specialty rolls—such as the signature o-toro roll with fatty tuna tartar, spicy mayo, and jalapeño—are served alongside tapas-style plates of filet mignon dumplings, duck tacos, and skewers of Korean-style fried chicken. At the polished wooden bar, bartenders pour wine, sake, and craft beer.
The able alemen and grill captains at KC's Alley dish out high-grade burgers and high-quality brews to satisfy the bellowing bellies of hungry visitors. After browsing KC's varied menu, put in an order for a BYO burger ($7+) to initiate construction of a beef monument made to your royal designs, or opt for the classic ($8) or barbecue ($8) options to leave the work to experienced food architects. Salty baskets of Alley fries ($4.50) lightly drizzled with butter and seasoning keep peckish patrons satisfied, and nine salad options ($5–$11) appease leaf-seekers and burgerphobes. House-roasted turkey smothered in gravy ($13) gives diners a flavorful taste of Thanksgiving without forcing them to learn things like how an oven works or how to coax a turkey into one.
Every year, the Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance offers a presentation of classic automobiles during a slew of engine-revving events, encouraging mingling between proud owners and spectators. In the past, auto enthusiasts have cried antifreeze tears while marveling at everything from pristine Henderson motorcycles to sleek, aerodynamic Ferraris.
The Shanachie's cooks forge culinary classics from Ireland and America to fill a menu with traditional comfort cuisine from both sides of the Atlantic. Tables groan beneath such hearty fare as the shepherd's pie ($14), which corrals a flock of ground beef, carrots, onions, and peas beneath a cumulus cloud of mashed potatoes and fuels attempts to reenact celebrity jigs. Chefs flash-fry slabs of ale-battered fish in a shimmering lake of hot oil before adding heaps of homemade Irish chips to complete the famed dynamic of fish 'n' chips ($12). The burger's ($9) Angus beef patty lounges atop a sourdough roll like a lethargic baker, and a bacon-wrapped plateful of pork tenderloin ($18) bastes in apple brandy jus as it acquires a dulcet tenderness. The pub's dessert menu hushes clamoring sweet teeth with such saccharine delights as homemade bread pudding infused with stout and custard ($6).