By Shannon Frost Greenstein
It’s a common misconception that the only good restaurants in the area are in Center City. The Philly suburbs have been making quite a name for themselves in the foodie scene, particularly recently, and it would be a crime to write them off just because they’re slightly outside the city limits.
In that vein, we’ve compiled a list of the top five restaurants throughout the suburbs, a few of several recommended by Craig LaBan, the food critic for Philly.com. Regardless where you live, these hotspots promise to deliver a top-notch culinary experience and are, inevitably, worth the drive. Without further ado:
1. Blackfish: 119 Fayette St., Conshohocken, 610-397-0888
This BYOB in Conshy might bring to mind images of Catlyn Stark’s uncle, Brynden Tully, but that will only be until you taste the food. Owner Chip Roman, an alum of Vetri and Le Bec-Fin, has put together a stellar menu of classic favorites and new dishes with a Latin flair. There is a tasting menu on Tuesdays and Wednedays…ever-changing…with prices far more reasonable than you might find at a Center City establishment.
2. Dubu: 1333 W. Cheltenham Ave., Elkins Park, 215-782-3828
You wouldn’t think to look at a quiet spot hidden in a generic Elkins Park strip mall, but that would be an error. Dubu, meaning “tofu”, certainly offers a wide array of dishes featuring bean curd, but that is by no means the extent of this Korean restaurant’s menu. Even better for families with young children in tow, the space features a glassed in, brightly-colored playroom COMPLETE with video monitor for dining parents. Don’t judge a book by its cover, or a restaurant by it’s location…Dubu is high-quality and undeniably tasty.
3. Farm & Fisherman’s Tavern: 575 Horsham Rd., Horsham, 267-673-8974
Local ingredients. Seasonal dishes, made from scratch. Farm & Fisherman’s Tavern serves to dispel the myth that people in the suburbs only go to chain restaurants. This polished neighborhood favorite includes knowledgeable staff and an extensive drink menu featuring local craft beer and produce-forward cocktails. Speaking of produce, co-chefs and co-owners Josh Lawler and Todd Fuller source their’s locally, which is substantially more expensive; however, the quality of the ingredients MORE than justify the price. AND…surprisingly, that cost is not shifted to the patron; the restaurant brags that a family of 4 can be fully fed for $40.
4. Talula’s Table: 102 W. State St., Kennett Square, 610-444-8255
This Chester County BYOB is renowned for its 10-course seasonal tasting dinner. Yes, you read that right…10 courses. The priciest restaurant on this list, patrons literally have to make reservations a year in advance if they hope to sit at the country-style dinner table in the market dining room, or even several months early to be at butcher block tables in the kitchen. However, for anyone looking to splurge, there is no better location than Talula’s. The highest quality food, impeccable service, artisan presentations, and the fact that no dish is ever repeated on the menu all combine to make this a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience.
5. Zeppoli: 618 W. Collings Ave., Collingswood, 856-854-2670
Let’s not forget, readers, about New Jersey. Some towns in new Jersey are closer to Philadelphia proper than those out in some of the more popular Pennsylvania suburbs, so it definitely bears including a Jersey restaurant on this list. And Zeppoli is the one to include. Classic Sicilian flavors define this BYOB, which offers traditional favorites crafted to near perfection. They say the best test of a chef is his ability to master the simplest of dishes, and Joey Baldino delivers on point. It might be a good idea to go with a mid-week reservation to avoid the boisterous weekend crowds in the 32-seat spot, but WHENEVER you go, you can rest assured that the food will be spectacular.
This list, sadly, is far from complete, as there are COUNTLESS other restaurants which are deserving of recognition. If you have a favorite in the Philly suburbs, let us know, and maybe it’ll make it onto our list of “5 Best Restaurants for Dining in Philly’s Suburbs: 2.0”!