Chef Rene of La Villa Mexican Grille combines contemporary Mediterranean cuisine with classic Mexican flavors and traditions. The result: a menu that aims, in the words of the restaurant, to give each diner a "savory culinary experience." Dynamic artwork lines the richly colored walls that support the average-colored roof, engaging the eyes as guests feast on catch-of-the-day ceviche, chicken doused in house mole sauce, and mussels sautéed with garlic and chorizo.
Born and raised in northern Greece, Piazza Presto founder Chronis Sapalidis carries on a longstanding family tradition of restaurateuring in his open-kitchen bistro. Pizza, pasta, and sandwiches populate the lunch and dinner menus—and on Chronis’ specialties menu he betrays his Mediterranean origins and Philadelphian affinities. During the day the restaurant serves as a café and bakery, and patio welcome guests with open awnings whenever weather allows and no pteranodons darken the sky. A BYOB establishment, Piazza Presto secrets a wine cellar in a rich wooden cabinet, and will keep diners’ wines chilled for their next visit if requested.
Since its humble south Philadelphia beginnings in the 1990s, PrimoHoagies has quickly expanded throughout the region and garnered several awards on the strength of its cold-cut sandwiches, made with Thumann's brand of gourmet meats and cheeses. The shop's robust menu features dozens of specialty hoagies, many of which were created in-house rather than underwater, as is the industry norm. Sharp Italian hoagies teem with prosciutto and genoa salami, and pork Diablo hoagies marry Thumann's homestyle roasted pork with a blend of piquant spices.
Housed in the historic hotel, the cozy Bay Pony Inn boasts both lunch and dinner menus rife with an array of fresh salads, seafoods, and landfoods. Dinner diners can indulge their taste buds with smaller selections such as the grilled shrimp and spinach salad with raspberry vinaigrette ($19) or bigger bites such as the scallops and mushrooms in mornay sauce ($22). Sate carnivorous cravings while practicing shark-attack techniques by sinking fangs into the roasted half duck in Grand Marnier sauce ($23) or the filet mignon in a shiitake-merlot reduction ($29).
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.