Philly’s Restaurant Scene Shines Bright in 2023

Philly's Restaurant Scene Shines Bright in 2023

A look at the standout restaurants and chefs that made waves in Philadelphia this year

Philadelphia has long been known as an underdog city, but when it comes to the restaurant scene, the City of Brotherly Love is making a name for itself. With a string of recent awards and an influx of exciting new dining destinations, Philly’s culinary landscape is on fire. From a revamped Thai gem to a lively French bistro, here are the highlights from the city’s thriving restaurant industry in 2023.

Restaurant of the Year: Kalaya 2.0

Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon’s Kalaya takes the crown

Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon’s Kalaya has been crowned the Restaurant of the Year. After winning the James Beard Best Chef Mid-Atlantic award, Suntaranon took her Southern Thai cuisine to new heights in a larger, more vibrant space in Fishtown. With a dedicated kitchen crew and an expanded menu, Kalaya offers a tantalizing array of dishes, from blue dumplings to street snacks like crispy gui chai. The charcoal-fired grill produces standout dishes like goong phao river prawns and lemongrass-marinated chickens. Suntaranon’s boundless talent shines through in every new creation, making Kalaya a must-visit destination.

Best New Restaurant: My Loup

Amanda Shulman’s My Loup brings French flair to Rittenhouse Square

Amanda Shulman, a finalist for the James Beard Emerging Star award, has struck gold with her second venture, My Loup. Located off Rittenhouse Square, this lively bistro exudes energy and creativity. From creative drinks to a satisfying côte de boeuf for two, My Loup offers an inspired dining experience. The raw bar pairs razor clams with sunchokes, while creamy uni plumes grace look-alike carrot puree. The winter menu features over-the-top creations like the Esca-Roll bun stuffed with garlic buttered snails. With refined classic sauces and innovative French cooking, My Loup is a standout addition to Philly’s culinary scene.

See also  Preparing for Winter: Philadelphia Residents and Road Crews Gear Up for Snowfall

Best New Suburban Restaurant, South Jersey: Gass & Main

Dane DeMarco’s Gass & Main brings nostalgia to Haddonfield

Dane DeMarco’s Gass & Main in Haddonfield offers a unique twist on 20th-century cafeteria kitsch. This quaint BYOB spot serves up reimagined classics like bison or boar meatloaf and a Birchrun blue cheese-and-vermouth cheeseball. Childhood nostalgia takes center stage with dishes like chicken croquettes, Ants on a Log (with foie gras), and a grown-up version of SpaghettiOs with butternut squash. Gass & Main’s original culinary perspective is a refreshing addition to the South Jersey dining scene.

Best New Restaurant, Pennsylvania Suburbs: Ground Provisions

Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby’s Ground Provisions shines in Chester County

Ground Provisions, the brainchild of acclaimed chefs Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby, showcases the best of the vegan scene in Philadelphia. Located in Chester County, this restaurant-market offers five-course tasting menus that highlight hyper-seasonal produce. Dishes like lasagna verde with green garlic béchamel and maitakes with black garlic over Hickory King polenta demonstrate Landau and Jacoby’s plant-based prowess. With stellar desserts and an intriguing selection of natural wines, Ground Provisions is a must-visit for vegans and non-vegans alike.

Chef of the Year: Carlos Aparicio, El Chingón

Carlos Aparicio’s solo venture pays homage to his Mexican roots

Carlos Aparicio, known for his work at popular Philly spots like Parc and Zavino, has finally stepped into the spotlight with El Chingón. This casual all-day eatery showcases the regional delights of Aparicio’s birthplace in Puebla, Mexico. Fresh-baked cemita rolls, overstuffed milanesa sandwiches, and vibrant aguachiles are just a taste of what El Chingón has to offer. Aparicio’s boundless creativity and dedication to updating Mexican classics make him a deserving Chef of the Year.

See also  Philadelphia Bans Ski Masks in Public Spaces to Increase Public Safety

Breakout Chefs: Yun Fuentes of Bolo and Phila Lorn of Mawn

Yun Fuentes and Phila Lorn make their mark with distinctive culinary visions

Yun Fuentes of Bolo and Phila Lorn of Mawn have emerged as breakout chefs, showcasing their unique culinary perspectives. Fuentes pays tribute to his Puerto Rican roots at Bolo, offering updated Latinx-Caribbean flavors like mofongo with butter-poached lobster. Meanwhile, Lorn and his wife, Rachel, celebrate their Cambodian heritage at Mawn, serving next-gen Khmer dishes like grilled steak and prahok. Both chefs bring a fresh perspective to the Philly dining scene, creating unforgettable dining experiences.

Conclusion:

Philadelphia’s restaurant scene has reached new heights in 2023, with a diverse range of culinary talents making their mark. From the award-winning Kalaya to the lively My Loup, these restaurants offer a taste of the city’s vibrant dining landscape. The suburbs are not to be overlooked, with Gass & Main and Ground Provisions providing unique dining experiences. And let’s not forget the breakout chefs, Yun Fuentes and Phila Lorn, who are making waves with their distinctive culinary visions. Philly’s underdog status may be a thing of the past, but its culinary fire continues to burn bright.