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Philadelphia Style's Favorite Fine Dining Reservations of 2019

By the Editors | December 23, 2019 | Food & Drink Food & Drink Feature

Here, a collection of our top 10 must-try fine dining spots.

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No. 76 cocktail from Alpen Rose

1. Alpen Rose

THE BUZZ Everything’s coming up roses at Michael Schulson and Nina Tinari’s 44- seat Midtown Village steakhouse.

THE DRINK It’s easy to see why the No. 76 is Alpen Rose’s most popular cocktail: The refreshing libation is made with vodka, rose, cocchi rosa, lemon and cava rosat.

MENU HIGHLIGHT Beef Wellington, prepared for two

WHY WE LOVE IT From its dusky library- inspired interiors to the strict doorbell policy—ring twice for the hostess to
let you in—everything about dining at Alpen Rose feels like a secret that’s impossible to keep.

CHEF’S SPECIALTY The 45-ounce dry-aged tomahawk beef steak rounds out the stellar selection of dry-aged cuts.

116 S. 13th St., 215.600.0709, alpenrosephl.com

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Condesa's interior is complemented by natural elements and pops of color.

2. Condesa

THE BUZZ The team behind nationally acclaimed Fishtown hot spot Suraya take a turn at Mexican fare with a spacious, simply-designed concept inside new microhotel Pod Philly.

THE DRINK Get better acquainted with the booming mezcal movement with Condesa’s robust list.

MENU HIGHLIGHT Ceviche tostada, suadero chilango tacos, goat birria

WHY WE LOVE IT The retractable ceiling of Condesa’s rooftop bar El Techo guarantees that, come spring, this will be a mandatory stop on the Rittenhouse cocktail trail.

CHEF’S SPECIALTY Homemade tortillas and parrillada for two recall chef Nick Kennedy’s research time in Mexico.

1830 Ludlow St., 267.930.5600, condesaphilly.com

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Seasonal beet mezzaluna from Fiore Fine Foods

3. Fiore Fine Foods

THE BUZZ Tucked within sleepy Queen Village, this all-day Italian cafe, restaurant and amaro bar will impress the most traditional of nonnas.

THE DRINK A killer wine and cocktail list make pairings a breeze—try the Cab Franc with light fruity notes.

MENU HIGHLIGHT Order the classic cacio e pepe for a creamy Parm sensation made with homemade spaghetti and speckled with pepper.

WHY WE LOVE IT Traditional family meals with a sophisticated touch thanks to the wood-burning stove

CHEF’S SPECIALTY Gnocchi alla Romana: a mashed-potatolike consistency made from a concoction of semolina and pecorino.

757 S. Front St., 215.339.0509, fiore-finefoods.com

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Sweet potato agnolotti with lamb neck, served at Forsythia

4. Forsythia

THE BUZZ Chef-owner Christopher Kearse shuttered East Passyunk's Will BYOB earlier this year and is wowing the Old City set with his contemporary riffs on classic French recipes.

THE DRINK The effervescent RBG+T, made with Bluecoat elderflower gin, is picture- perfect with its rose-petal garnish.

MENU HIGHLIGHT Dig into exquisite canapes like panisse with raclette cheese and escargot bathed in tomato butter.

WHY WE LOVE IT As the centerpiece of the main dining room, Forsythia’s open kitchen is the very definition of dinner theater.

CHEF’S SPECIALTY Kearse’s braised rabbit leg in a black-truffle cassoulet prepared for two is a worthy winter warmer.

233 Chestnut St., 215.644.9395, forsythiaphilly.com

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Nigiri x uni from HIROKI

5. HIROKI

THE BUZZ Travel to Old Kyoto thanks to HIROKI’s traditional omakase dining room.

THE DRINK A carefully curated sake list highlights some of executive chef Hiroki Fujiyama’s favorites—like the tengumai junmai daiginjo 50, which pairs well with the nigiri.

MENU HIGHLIGHT Seared scale-on amadai red tilefish takes 24 hours to brine and dry before serving. Think crispy skin with delicate meat.

WHY WE LOVE IT Forget about ordering—this omakase restaurant’s menu is up to the chef.

CHEF’S SPECIALTY Take part in an old tradition with the white Saikyo miso soup. In Kyoto, it’s served on New Year’s Day for good luck.

1355 N. Front St., 215.422.3222, hirokisan.com

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Floor-to-ceiling windows make for the best city views at Jean-Georges Philadelphia

6. Jean-Georges Philadelphia

THE BUZZ Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten brings international swag to Philly’s rock-star restaurant scene from his 59th-floor culinary kingdom in the sky.

THE DRINK Chef de cuisine Nicholas Ugliarolo recommends the Negroni.

MENU HIGHLIGHT The classic egg caviar— soft scrambled egg, vodka-laced whipped cream and a generous crown of caviar

WHY WE LOVE IT Between the miles of unobstructed views, prime people- watching and fanciful preparations, has one Philly restaurant ever served so much eye candy?

CHEF’S SPECIALTY Rooted in the chef's signature dishes, the tasting menu changes every four to six weeks.

1 N. 19th St., 215.419.5059, fourseasons.com/philadelphia

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Persian Lamb shank over saffron rice is on K'Far's dinner menu

7. K'Far

THE BUZZ What happens when an all-day cafe concept rooted in homey Israeli classics meets modern, warm interior design? K’Far, the latest concept for Zahav visionary Michael Solomonov.

THE DRINK Cozy up to aperitif cocktails, the “toast” of its spirits program

MENU HIGHLIGHT Try as many of K’Far’s baked goods as possible—but especially the savory, satisfying borekas.

WHY WE LOVE IT From the crowds of grad students and empty nesters to millennial couples with kiddies, K’Far—which means “village” in Hebrew—easily lives up to its name.

CHEF’S SPECIALTY T’bit, an Iraqi- style Sabbath dish, is similar to a casserole and filled with beef, rice and apricots.

110 S. 19th St., 267.800.7200, kfarcafe.com

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A centerpiece light fixture greets Pizzeria Beddia guests

8. Pizzeria Beddia

THE BUZZ Esquire loves it. Time loves it. Who cares? What matters is that Philadelphia loves it. (And we loved it first).

THE DRINK Owner Joseph Beddia is a firm believer that sparkling wine—especially Champagne—is the best bottle with your pizza. Try the Blanc De Noir.

MENU HIGHLIGHT The #4, made with tomato sauce, sliced garlic and Sicilian oregano, is topped with Sicilian anchovies, grated cheese and extra- virgin olive oil. You won’t even notice the mozzarella is missing.

WHY WE LOVE IT Beddia spun his original concept—takeout-only, 40 pies a night—into a dine-in-only destination restaurant in Fishtown.

CHEF’S SPECIALTY Order a few slices of tomato pie for the table.

1313 N. Lee St., 267.928.2256, pizzeriabeddia.com

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The chef's counter at River Twice

9. River Twice

THE BUZZ Modern American plates are formal but not fussy in the skilled hands of James Beard semifinalist Randy Rucker.

THE DRINK Tote your favorite bottles—best to bring a variety—to this BYOB gem.

MENU HIGHLIGHT Don’t bother asking for a straw for the dessert menu’s foie gras milkshake. Only a spoon can scoop up this savory sweet.

WHY WE LOVE IT Reserve a seat at the eight-seat chef’s counter to chat up Rucker—wife Amanda tends to the front of the house—and hear about his stints cooking in Houston and Martha’s Vineyard.

CHEF’S SPECIALTY The wild rose ranch 32-ounce bone-in strip steak lets you sample another chef speciality, the caviar-topped Robuchon-style potatoes.

1601 E. Passyunk Ave., 267.457.3698, rivertwicerestaurant.com

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Vernick Fish's pork Milanese

10. Vernick Fish

THE BUZZ Greg Vernick’s third concept delivers high-style dishes reminiscent of the chef-owner’s childhood at the Jersey Shore in an equally high-style setting created by world-renowned designer Adam Tihany.

THE DRINK More than a few guests have ordered That Swizzle Jawn—a vodka and pineapple elixir with splashes of rum and green Chartreuse—based on the name alone.

MENU HIGHLIGHT Anything and everything from the “Pristinely Raw” section

WHY WE LOVE IT Have you tried to get a reservation at Vernick Food & Drink lately?

CHEF’S SPECIALTY Plan your dining experience around two signature dishes: the dover sole, filleted tableside, and the silky uni and caviar french toast.

1876 Arch St., 215.419.5055, vernickfish.com



Photography by: PHOTOS: 1. COURTESY OF SCHULSON COLLECTIVE 2. BY TESSA MARIE COMMERCIAL FOR TEAM 624 COMMUNICATIONS 3. BY NEAL SANTOS PHOTOGRAPHY 4. BY LEXY PIERCE 5. BY COLE WILSON 6. COURTESY OF FOUR SEASONS PHILADELPHIA 7. BY MICHAEL PERSICO 8. BY JASON VARNEY 9. BY RAM HOLGADO 10. COURTESY OF FOUR SEASONS PHILADELPHIA

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