Chef Joe Monnich makes it difficult for anyone to move beyond the ambitious bevy of Franco-centric first-bites. Standouts include the oysters (on the rocks), crudo-style scallops, tuna tartare Napoleon, a baguette topped with foie gras terrine, and escargots swimming in a heady Pernod butter.
7 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore, (610) 589-0500.
Related Article: Ardmore’s the Bercy Lives up to the Hype
At this old-school spot, the focus is on the southern Italian fare of Giuseppe Musso, who merges savory spices, cultivated seasonings, fresh vegetables and delectable cheeses with an array of tender meats, seafood, fish and pastas.
4799 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, (610) 353-4871.
Chef Yong Kim consistently wows devotees with his decadent spicy tuna sundae, prized toro sashimi, and heirloom tuna.
555 Wellington Square, Exton, (610) 458-3234.
Sean and Kelly Weinberg know that a great bar should deliver more than just drinks. Hence their delectable mélange of tuna crostini, crispy fried sausage-stuffed olives, arancini and more. Heftier small plates like handmade maltagliati pasta also pair nicely with Alba’s well-crafted cocktails and curated wine list.
7 W. King St., Malvern, (610) 644-4409.
Held in early fall and late winter, this biannual festival attracts scores of hop heads eager to sample an ample and diverse lineup of craft brews. Food trucks, live music and guest experts fill out the event, which benefits Historic Kennett Square.
La Cabra Brewing
We recommend a representative four-glass flight that includes the acclaimed Hipster Catnip IPA, Simone Witbier, Eloise Belgian Tripel and Hand Wedge Pale Ale. La Cabra’s rustic, relaxing atmosphere is the perfect setting for imbibing—and sinking your teeth into a tangy Cuban sandwich, crispy pork empanadas and assorted street tacos.
642 Lancaster Ave., Berwyn, (610) 240-7908.
Bring the fun home with a Stickman Brews four pack. Don’t pass up the creatively named Cousin Stoopid, Heavy C.R.E.A.M. and Queen Bey Got Nothin on Me.
861 Kimberton Road, Chester Springs, (484) 202-8576; 326 N. Lewis Road, Royersford, (484) 938-5900.
Bald Birds Brewing Company
A rotating food trucks keep fans fed on Bald Birds’ lively wraparound deck (with picnic tables out back). It also helps that Joe and Abby Feerrar’s 10-barrel system cranks out some great brews, including the excellent Hella Jawn IPA. Board games, darts, cornhole and videogames enhance the party vibe.
970 Rittenhouse Road, Audubon, (484) 392-7068; 4323 Main St., Manayunk, (267) 748-2282.
Made locally in Wayne, Mingle’s Blackberry Hibiscus Bellini and Cranberry Cosmo are soberly sophisticated, colorful and packed with flavor. And there are other flavors, too—all perfect on their own or as mixers.
Brandywine Valley Bread
Soft and chewy bagels, decadent pastries, hearty sandwiches, and (of course) crusty loaves line the shelves at Fran and Maria McLaughlin’s hidden gem. We love the caraway rye, sourdough and durum semolina.
3941 Lincoln Hwy., Downingtown, (484) 698-8172.
It’s a good idea to call ahead to lock down one of El Rinconsito’s belly-busting breakfast staples. Finding a table can be tough at this tiny spot, which also offers authentic huevos rancheros and hand-stuffed gorditas.
717 W. Cypress St., Kennett Square, (610) 444-2274.
This quaint and cozy downtown Media café offers feel-good eats, fair-trade coffee and steaming hot cocoa. Takeout favorites include decadent crème brûlée pancakes and breakfast sandwiches with house-made biscuits.
18 S. Orange St., Media, (610) 566-1660.
Originally a summer beer garden, this onetime Levante pop-up is now a permanent operation on a rustic 19th-century property. Look for local wines, mixed drinks, hard ciders and seltzers, and food trucks to be phased in soon.
160 Park Road, Chester Springs, (484) 359-4720.
Bodega by La Cabra
Bodega’s custom barbecue pit turns out a meaty, succulent Kansas City-style brisket. Get it as a cheesesteak, in a cottage potpie or in rich chili. Purists will love the Burnt Ends platter.
810 Glenbrook Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 526-2337.
Almost as old as our nation, this historic 18th-century institution prepares an elegant weekend brunch that includes smoked New York salmon, pan-seared jumbo shrimp, vanilla French toast, and eggs made to order. Enjoy live jazz on Sundays.
2105 Kimberton Road, Kimberton, (610) 933-8148.
The Smokin’ Love features Altos tequila with cinnamon, fresh lime juice and house-made apple purée, poured into an applewood-smoked glass. This love is sweet.
100 Old Gulph Road, Gulph Mills, (610) 520-1200.
Though this spot has a stellar reputation for its street tacos, loyalists also swear by its massive burritos. Fillings include chicken, beef, steak and shrimp—and the house-made crema Mexicana should be mandatory. Need to skip lunch? Opt for the breakfast burrito.
122 E. Gay St., West Chester, (610) 455-1400.
Already a hub for great live music, 118 North can now lay claim to some of the best burgers around. Its signature creation comes blanketed in American and brie cheeses. Richer yet is the ground pork belly/shoulder with bacon. For a Mediterranean spin, try the lamb burger smothered in goat cheese and black-garlic yogurt.
118 N. Wayne Ave., (610) 971-2628.
Related Article: Wayne’s 118 North Now Boasts Elevated Cocktails and a Bold Food Menu
Certified master butcher Dan Boxler aspires to conquer every carnivorous craving with his vast selection of beef, chicken and pork, along with custom cuts of bison, squab and pheasant. House-made sausages come in 16 varieties.
145 S. Walnut St., Kennett Square, (610) 444-5980.
Byrsa’s authentic culinary delicacies hail from Morocco, Spain, France, Malta, Italy and Tunisia—and there’s a true wine lover at the helm. Though he has his own selection, owner Ahmed Chraga encourages patrons to tote along their own bottles, waiving the corkage fee.
128 Glen Mills Road, Glen Mills, (610) 558-4700; 127 State St., Kennett Square, (610) 444-5050.
Four Dogs Tavern
For his imaginative, internationally focused flights, Four Dogs owner/chef David Cox selects premium blocks of French, Spanish and American cheeses. The result: bliss for even the choosiest turophile.
1300 W. Strasburg Road, West Chester, (610) 692-4367.
Chris Scarduzio’s specials live up to their billing, whether it’s the juicy roasted filet mignon, the mammoth veal rib chops or his exceptional Chicken al Mattone (under brick). For extra flair, dishes are filleted tableside.
191 S. Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square, (484) 420-4010.
At this all-in-one market, cafe, bakery, catering business and taproom, the signature 9th Street Special boasts a tender breaded chicken cutlet topped with sliced prosciutto, greens, roasted red peppers and fresh mozzarella.
1243 N. Providence Road, Media, (484) 444-0850.
The Original Colonial Village Meat Market
Others may jazz up their chicken salad with fruit, nuts, herbs and spices. But at this 40-year institution, it’s all about the high-quality poultry. Add dried cranberries for a bit of crunch—if you must.
1305 West Chester Pike, Havertown, (610) 449-1776.
Bridge Street Chocolates
Gail Warner’s artfully crafted and packaged peanut butter eggs, chocolate bark, pretzels, coconut creams, red Hawaiian sea-salt
drops and more look as good as they taste.
158 Bridge St., Phoenixville, (610) 935-8100.
Villanova University’s new upscale-casual American grill and wine bar lands a 40-proof kick to its lunch and dinner menu. The Dodge is a satisfying class act, made with Tito’s vodka, grapefruit, rose syrup and lemon.
862 Lancaster Ave., Villanova, (610) 519-5786.
Related Article: Villanova’s Refectory Offers Upscale Bites in a Relaxed Atmosphere
Stove & Tap
It’s all about comfort food at the latest success story from Justin Weathers and Joe Monnich. Think deviled eggs, fried cheese curds, a catfish po’boy, a Nashville hot chicken sandwich, and tender St. Louis ribs, all served in a setting that vaguely resembles a hunting lodge in the best way.
Flour & Oats Artisan Cookies
Lisa Russell’s salted caramel snickerdoodles, Nutella-stuffed chocolate chip cookies and savory shortbreads and lemon sugar cookies are indeed works of art. If you’re lucky, you might get a few hot of the rack.
1600 Yellow Springs Road, Chester Springs, (484) 678-5318.
A robust small-batch blend from West Chester’s Golden Valley Farms goes perfectly with a muffin or sandwich on Foxy Loxy’s front porch. When the weather won’t cooperate, settle into a comfy chair by the fireplace in the foxhunt-themed living room.
5 Cemetery Lane, Kennett Square, (610) 347-1129.
The Farmhouse at Loch Nairn
These sublime mounds are well worth the trip to southern Chester County. The petite version is served over sautéed spinach and drizzled with tarragon-dijon cream sauce. The (gluten-free) entrée comes with a whole-grain mustard sauce.
514 McCue Road, Avondale, (610) 268-2235.
Apple Walnut Café
The signature Florentine is stuffed with fresh spinach, Virginia baked ham and white cheddar cheese. Add some sweet to your savory with the apple crêpe, glazed in brown sugar and cinnamon and topped with whipped cream, powdered sugar and chocolate drizzle.
2924 West Chester Pike, Broomall, (610) 353-1384.
Aux Petits Delices
Pastry chef Marquessa Gesualdi manages a heavenly assortment of tarts, bonbons, glazed cakes and dessert pastries. Her croissants, however, are legendary. Varieties include almond, raspberry, raisin, pain au chocolat and white chocolate cinnamon.
162 E. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, (610) 971-0300.
Cool old-school vibes abound at this former 19th-century firehouse, where a menu highlight has a name that may give you grade-school flashbacks. Rest assured Slow Hand’s richly comforting croquettes—double-breaded, stuffed with Gruyère and ham, and sprinkled with fontina cheese—are hardly your standard cafeteria fare.
30 N. Church St., West Chester, (484) 999-8638.
Related Article: Slow Hand Brings Retro Vibes to West Chester
You can’t get any homier than the home of an actual chef. At her Glen Mills residence, Haneeda Riaz hosts fun and interactive weekly classes, with a focus on classic Indian cuisine like naan, tikka masala and basmati rice pulao.
5 Mount Aire Farm Road, Glen Mills, (609) 712-0150.
Cathey’s Coffee Bar & Dia Doce
This collaborative venture proves that there are few better pairings than coffee and cupcakes. The whimsically decorated spot offers small-batch coffees and tempting teas to go with a seasonal cupcake selection. Summer options include mango, berry lemonade, peach cobbler, frozen cappuccino and more.
100 S. High St., West Chester, (610) 476-5684.
Clay’s Creative Corner Bakery
Clay’s is a perennial winner for a reason. This beloved local institution could’ve locked it into cruise control years ago. Instead, owners Bill and Denise Bones continue to up their game. From pies to pastries to cakes, the execution is always colorful and elegant. As for taste, a certain editor-in-chief is still raving about the buttercream icing on his Clay’s wedding cake more than 20 years later.
700 Lancaster Ave., Berwyn, (610) 647-2119.
Kevin and Catherina Huang’s signature noodle bowl is a spicy, layered combination of chili oil, meat and pickled vegetables over swirls of noodles and leafy greens. Succulent and sublime.
214 Sugartown Road, Wayne, (484) 580-8558.
Master chef Martin Gagné orchestrates an unforgettable culinary experience on the first floor of this tiny auberge, with a focus on fine French cuisine. The weekly seasonal menu might include whole chicken braised in wine with locally foraged morels, black trumpets and pearl onions, or braised rabbit and cassoulet with confit of goose, duck and pork.
1470 Old Ridge Road, Pottstown, (484) 680-2631.
Brandywine in White
Much like Diner en Blanc, this buzzed-about summer event draws crowds in head-to-toe white, toting their gourmet meals and libations to a surprise outdoor location in a bucolic setting. Guests nosh, sing and dance the night away, all to benefit the Neighbors for Crebilly’s efforts to preserve historic Crebilly Farm.
Jared Adkins has been refining spirits at his award-winning grain-to-glass distillery for five years. Guests can sample six-pour flights of small-batch bourbon, whiskey, vodka, rum and gin, or enjoy classic and modern craft cocktails.
100 Bridge St., Phoenixville, (610) 933-7827.
With its friendly service and authentic neighborhood vibe, Manoa Tavern has a ton of love for its regulars, both living and otherwise. You know a bar is a true local hangout when menu specials are named for deceased members of the community—
like the Larry Storey, house-made bruschetta topped with a “proprietary hoagie dip.”
8 N. Manoa Road, Havertown, (484) 455-7448.
Margaret Kuo’s Kitchen
Returning to the recently reimagined Granite Run Promenade, where her restaurant empire originated in 1974, Margaret Kuo still has a definitive lock on dumplings, whether it’s seafood and spinach, chicken and mushroom, or pan-seared beef.
1109 W. Baltimore Pike, Media, (610) 891-8880.
It’s worth waiting in line for the handheld marvels from this mobile culinary operation, which can be found outside Lancaster County Farmer’s Market every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Abuelita’s excels at the traditional beef, pork or chicken iterations, along with specials like potato and chorizo or broccoli and cheese.
The Whip Tavern
A trek through the bucolic Chester County hills all but lands you in a slice of the English countryside, thanks to the Whip and it’s authentic U.K. pub fare. The recipe for Welsh rarebit is hardly complicated—a rich blend of English cheddar and Stilton cheeses, Smithwick’s Irish Ale and Coleman’s mustard, ladled over crostini. It’s the ultimate comfort food from across the pond.
1383 N. Chatham Road, Coatesville, (610) 383-0600.
La Belle Epoque Wine Bistro
In true Parisian fashion, La Belle Epoque’s tender escargots de bourgogne are served in a classic garlic butter sauce perfect for sopping up with crusty slices of French bread.
38 W. State St., Media, (610) 566-6808.
This youngish culinary phenomenon continues its dominance thanks to chef and namesake Anthony Andiario. House-made pastas and foraged and local ingredients come together in an impressive display of technique orchestrated in an open kitchen. Andario’s recent acquisition of La Baguette Magique means more good news for foodies.
106 W. Gay St., West Chester, (484) 887-0919.
Related Article: Andiario is West Chester’s New Culinary Gem
TJ’s Restaurant and Drinkery
TJ’s may be under new ownership, but don’t expect big changes. One of the region’s original hubs for beer aficionados still offers generous portions of well-thought-out gastro-pub fare—and the fries remain a huge draw, stacked high and crisped just right.
35 Paoli Plaza, Paoli, (610) 725-0100.
This one-of-a-kind shareable assembles finger-friendly piles of russet waffle, sweet-potato waffle, cinnamon-dusted, crabby, truffle, purple-potato and Parmesan-dusted fries. Dips include marshmallow, honey mustard, ranch and hot cheese.
128 Ford St., Conshohocken, (610) 828-8494.
Barndawg’s Gourmet Hot Dogs
This new spot ups the ante on a summer favorite with its creative selection of Nekid, veggie and chili “dawgs.” Don’t ignore the soon-to-be-legendary D-Town Destroyer: kielbasa, spicy brown mustard, house slaw and pickled red onions.
84 W. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown, (484) 364-3111.
Pomodoro Pizza & Italian Restaurant
This popular family-owned bistro earns raves for its crusty white, margherita and veggie pies. Other favorites include prosciutto and arugula, Italian pita, and a hearty meat lover’s combo.
200 Chestnut St., Downingtown, (610) 873-0405.
Double Decker Pizza
Founded by the Vlazakis family in 1976, this Ridley Park fixture now has five locations, including the newest in West Chester. The Vlazikis swear by their authentic Greek-style crust and signature inside-out pie, a folded pizza (baked or fried) that’s not unlike a calzone.
333 Belrose Bar & Grill
Carlo DeMarco’s seasonal salmon is grilled to tender perfection and served over roasted beets and spring greens. Pair it with a buttery Chardonnay from the well-honed wine list.
333 Belrose Lane, Radnor, (610) 293-1000.
2SP Brewing Company
There are plenty of reasons to love 2SP for more than its deep Delco roots. Head to its tasting room, grab a 32- or 64-ounce growler, and fill up on its IPA, pale ale, lager, pilsner, stout or porter. You’ll be the hit of your next barbecue.
120 Concord Road, Aston, (484) 483-7860.
Tucked away in the Market at Liberty Place, Carlos Vargas’ lively “Mexiterannean” joint offers a tantalizing mix of Greek and Mexican cuisine. His $2 side of fresh guacamole is a delicious necessity for any bowl, taco or wrap.
148 W. State St., Kennett Square, (610) 880-6074.
Served with hand-made pita bread, the grilled halloumi—a traditional semi-hard Cypriot cheese typically made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk—is as light and airy as the atmosphere at this corner spot.
40 E. Gay St., West Chester, (610) 696-4100.
Old Stone Cider
This crisp (gluten-free) cider comes in five seasonal flavors on tap. We love the Ashmead’s Kernel variety, with its delicate tannins and notes of apricot, cloves and nutmeg.
959 Chesterville Road, Lewisville, (484) 441-3344.
The Country Deli
You’d be forgiven for missing this family-owned sleeper, tucked away off a two-lane road with a feed-and-seed outlet and an antiques store. Regulars will tell you that the omelets, pancakes, hoagies, steaks and freshly baked muffins are all next level. More than 30 years later, it’s a secret no more.
1176 N. Middletown Road, Media, (610) 558-3354.
Since moving to a larger space just down the street, the Social hasn’t lost a hint of its convivial charm. The kitchen’s chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, and short-rib-and-crawfish jambalaya are admirable takes on traditional Southern comfort food. The bar is always buzzing, and there’s a beer garden out back.
117 E. Gay St., West Chester, (610) 738-3948.
With its historic 18th-century digs, Savona dazzles in every capacity. Memorable private events are held in the wine cellar and the second-floor wine loft. The ace in the kitchen is executive chef Andrew Masciangelo, who crafts savory hors d’oeuvres and inventive dinner menus for all occasions.
100 Old Gulph Road, Gulph Mills, (610) 520-1200.
Fork & Bottle at the Desmond
At the Desmond’s gorgeously retooled main restaurant, executive chef Chris Calhoun continues to wow hotel guests and locals alike with his porcini mushroom soup, blackened octopus and grilled grass-fed lamb. Sunday and holiday brunches include brioche French toast, three-egg omelets, award-winning bread pudding and signature bloody Marys.
1 Liberty Blvd., Malvern, (610) 296-7300.
Manam Indian Cuisine
The traditional cuisine of southern India is impeccably represented at Manam. Menu musts include lentil coconut soup, chilli parotta, tandoori salmon, and spicier options like goat curry, prawn pepper fry and mutton.
124 Lancaster Ave., Malvern, (610) 400-1133.
This communally focused newcomer already has a stellar rep for its fried chicken wings served six ways. We’re partial to the kimchi pineapple, gochujang barbecue and sweet chili. 2
228 Pottstown Pike, Pottstown, (484) 985-8071.
Side Bar & Restaurant
From 10 p.m. to midnight, this borough bistro satisfies late night cravings with mouthwatering munchies like plantain chips, flash-fried brussels sprouts, and carne asada tacos or bowls. Sandwiches and pizzas are also available.
10 E. Gay St., West Chester, (610) 429-8297.
The Latin Corner
At this no-frills family business, slow-roasted pork and chicken, beans and rice, beef patties, and mashed sweet plantains are menu highlights. Look for the fried pork-rib tips as a daily special.
13 Riverside Drive, Spring City, (610) 948-3207.
Chadds Ford Tavern
Chef Philip Ferro’s lobster bisque is quickly winning over newbies at this year-old spot, thanks to its impossibly rich cream base and ample and flavorful lobster meat. Topping it all off with crumbled bacon, blue cheese, green onion, crusty bread and truffle oil doesn’t hurt, either.
1400 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, (484) 800-4084.
La Fava Restaurant and Wine Bar
Lured by La Fava’s Italian-Mediterranean fusion menu and the $14.95 price tag, lunch patrons gather for the antipasti, chicken lollipops, herb-crusted salmon, fusilli Genovese, and tortellini in Gorgonzola cream. One of the most delicious midday deals in the region.
1102 Baltimore Pike, Glen Mills, (484) 840-8603.
Related Article: La Fava Brings the Taste of the Mediterranean to Glen Mills
Sugar Philly’s macarons are as pretty as they are tasty. Unique flavors include milk and honey, mango passion fruit, and cinnamon-toast crunch.
4409 Main St., Manayunk, (215) 377-9997.
Pinocchio’s Beer Garden To Go
With over 200 American craft and international brews to peruse and knowledgeable Pinocchio’s staffers to assist, you won’t leave empty handed. You can even sip a pint while browsing.
131 E. Baltimore Ave., Media, (610) 566-7767.
This busy burrito joint’s gigantic, colorful margaritas—with salt or sugar on the rim—are worth the trip alone. In lieu of straight up, go with pear or passion fruit.
2755 Lincoln Hwy., Thorndale, (610) 380-2088.
The Meat House
This multipurpose destination offers expert butchers, prime meats and poultry, sandwiches, and specialty grocery items. More adventurous types will appreciate the frog legs, gator, snake and ostrich.
200 Wilmington West Chester Pike, Chadds Ford, (610) 910-4030.
A seamless blend of veal, pork and beef, these gourmet wonders are baked in tomato sauce and topped with kale pesto for a slightly modern twist.
816 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 525-1007.
Sage Mediterranean Cuisine
Incorporating traditional spices and techniques, the Srour family brings the authentic flavors of the Middle East to Chester County. Highlights include the tabbouleh, baba ganoush and kabobs.
150 Bridge St., Phoenixville, (484) 927-4168.
Real Mexican Kitchen
Devotees would prefer to keep this BYOB a secret. But the tacos, fried burritos and chicken tortilla soup deserve a larger audience. The asada fries—topped with queso and pico de gallo—are sublime. 3
91 Wilmington West Chester Pike, Glen Mills, (610) 361-9700.
Third Party Mobile Bar
Affectionately dubbed “Vicki,” Ryan and Sarah Fleming’s lovingly restored 1972 Airstream Safari can be found at parties, wedding showers and corporate events, serving expertly mixed classic or signature cocktails and vibrant vintage vibes.
Casablanca Moroccan Cuisine
First-timers should go with the seven-course prix fixe menu: Moroccan salad, chicken bastilla (pie), shish kabob, fresh fruit and baklava, served with hot mint tea. Ottomans, pillows, tapestries and upholstered benches exude a comfy, exotic North African vibe.
1047 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, (484) 380-3911.
Split Rail Tavern
Mixologist extraordinaire James Mullally has been shaking and stirring craft cocktails since Split Rail opened in 2015. A perfect summer sip, the Moscow Mule is made with local Faber vodka and house-made ginger syrup.
15 N. Walnut St., West Chester, (484) 999-8805.
Tucked beneath the Brandywine River Antiques Market, this charming breakfast-and-lunch spot is just down the road from Kennett Square, the Mushroom Capital of the World. So perhaps it’s no surprise that its creamy mushroom soup is a perennial favorite—so much so that the cafe has takeaway pints and quarts.
880 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, (484) 885-4556.
Steel City Coffeehouse
Great live music has always been a staple at this Phoenixville institution, which carries on the great tradition of the coffeehouse as a place for nurturing creativity. Owners Ed Simpson and Laura Vernola-Simpson have also added a brewery to the mix, along with wine from Maple Springs Vineyard and whiskey, gin and vodka from Manatawny Still Works.
203 Bridge St., Phoenixville, (484) 924-8245.
Just over a year old, this small brewery also roasts small-batch coffee. Enjoy your IPA or a coffee-based stout in the private beer garden, which hosts live music on weekends.
342 Pottstown Pike, Exton, (484) 879-4161.
Hilary Hamilton, Jasper’s Westside
With a background that includes stints at Center City’s Le Bec-Fin and Pumpkin, chef Hilary Hamilton now runs the kitchen at Jasper’s Westside. There, she offers visionary interpretations of pan-seared bass, flat-iron steak, and butter-poached scallops, and more. 101 Ford St., Conshohocken, (484) 368-3529.
Emily and John Smith have been in the breakfast (and lunch) business since 2011, so they know their way around an omelet. Theirs are fluffy and light, with standard veggie, cheese, meat fillings and more high-end options like brie and smoked salmon. 814 Lancaster Ave., Berwyn, (610) 644-8275.
Cornerstone Bistro & Artisanal Market
Cornerstone’s daily oyster hour features rotating shucked selections from Maine, Massachusetts and Washington State, accompanied by an exquisite selection of charcuterie, cheese, spiced nuts, liver mousse and bluefish pâté.
1 West Ave., Wayne, (610) 688-1888.
Mango Tree Bistro
There’s plenty to recommend on the Mango Tree menu, but the pad thai is what makes us repeat customers—thin rice noodles delicately stir fried with bean sprouts, scallions, egg and a choice of chicken, beef, fish or tofu.
2717 W. Main St., Norristown, (610) 631-0969.
Pietro Belfiore and Antonella Gamba craft some of the best house-made pasta around. Making the most of ingredients from local and Italian farms, the couple’s small-batch standouts include tortelli, gemelli, linguine and paccheri. Sauces are all freshly made.
134 E. Gay St., West Chester, (484) 887-0760.
The menu at this charming country nook changes daily. Look for pecan sticky buns, chocolate hazelnut cake, the divine namesake butterscotch cake and other treats, along with souffles, wraps, sandwiches, soups and salads for breakfast and lunch.
1406 Hollow Road, Birchrunville, (610) 827-0900.
The artful pizazz of Autograph’s exceptional interior typically gets all the attention. When warm weather hits, however, there’s some serious competition from the secluded oasis out back, with its lush greenery, vivid seasonal flowers, snaking vines and water feature.
503 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, (610) 964-2588.
The traditional Vietnamese cuisine is loaded with texture, taste and aroma at this relative newcomer. Its signature noodle soup comes with steak, brisket or shrimp, plus onions, scallions, cilantro, bean sprouts, Thai basil, lime and jalapeño.
226 Haverford Ave., Narberth, (610) 881-5111.
Saint Peter’s Bakery
Antique-laden walls facilitate a step back in time at this bakery overlooking French Creek. The same goes for that first mouthful of decadent Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Pie, its chewy crunch giving way to a hint of the hard stuff.
3441 St. Peters Road, St. Peters, (610) 469-7501.
Pillows of heaven. It’s how one loyal customer describes the pierogi at this family-owned Delaware County bakery, which has obviously been doing something right since 1954. We’ll leave at that.
Not too many classic mom-and-pop pizza joints offer the luxury of grabbing some suds with your pie—and it’s not just the beer license that makes Malvern Pizza special. Loyalists swear by the fresh house-made pizza dough.
19 E. King St., Malvern, (610) 644-8888.
Julie Anne’s Place
Breakfast on the front porch of this converted townhouse affords a lovely view of Malvern’s Burke Park. You’ll feel at home as you dive into an omelet, a stack of pancakes, stuffed French toast or one of the daily specials.
22 S. Warren Ave., Malvern, (610) 640-1482.
La Cabra Brewing
La Cabra’s crispy pork belly comes two ways: topped with bacon lardons, or in a burger with honey chipotle, bacon jam and frizzled onions. Counter all that meaty richness with a fresh frisée salad.
642 Lancaster Ave., Berwyn, (610) 240-7908.
Bodega by La Cabra
Homey and substantial, the brisket cottage and chicken-and-vegetable versions arrive fresh from the oven with crisp crusts and steaming centers. Pair with a pint or two from the rotating draft list.
810 Glenbrook Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 526-2337.
Keep your grill under wraps for the day and head to Uncle B’s, where the tender, smoked pulled pork comes heaped on a brioche roll with a choice of sauces. Sides include deviled eggs, coleslaw, baked beans, fried okra and collard greens.
425 Bridge St., Phoenixville, (610) 935-1363.
Excelling at spicy Szechuan cuisine, this BYOB serves a crispy roast Peking duck that’s not to be missed. Try it both ways—with plum sauce or in a savory soup.
268 Eagleview Blvd., Exton, (484) 713-8888.
Related Article: Mama Wong is Among the Region’s Elite Chinese Eateries
Ravanesi Pizzeria Napoletana
The thin, crispy crusts of Ravanesi’s 14-inch pies come loaded with fresh and authentic ingredients like roasted red peppers, arugula, San Marzano tomatoes, spicy Sopressata, Parmigiano-Reggiano and, of course, mozzarella.
790 Baltimore Pike, Glen Mills, (484) 840-8912.
Adorned with white lights and shielded by overhead canvases, Azie’s rooftop bar overlooks lively State Street but is far removed from the bustle. Signature cocktails include the Pom Pop 11, a blend of Prosecco and pomegranate juice, and the Hail Caesar, with house-made herb-infused vodka, olive juice and stuffed olives.
217 W. State St., Media, (610) 566-4750.
Though owner/chef Lee Krasley is known for his elevated comfort food, his salad creations are also extraordinary. The Plancha Grilled Miso Salmon Bowl offers an inventive combo of white quinoa, golden raisin slaw, baby greens, roasted-corn-and-black-bean salsa, avocado, orange slices and a tangy Asian-inspired vinaigrette. Also try the char-grilled steak, grilled chicken mango and buttermilk blue cheese salads.
570 Simpson Drive, Chester Springs, (610) 615-5189.
The Gables at Chadds Ford
The Gables’ fruity sangria is refreshing any time of day. It’s also a happy-hour steal at $5 a glass.
423 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, (610) 388-7700.
Forego the sushi and rolls for a change, and go basic with luscious portions of thin, tender salmon and tuna—perfect with just a little soy sauce (or nothing at all).
180 E. Dekalb Pike, King of Prussia, (610) 878-9203.
Chadds Café and Store
The scones are made fresh at this little culinary oasis in the Chadds Ford Barn Shops. Enjoy them with the signature coffee blend before browsing the nearby artisan wares. Gluten-free options available.
1609 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford.
Suburban Restaurant and Beer Garden
It’s Oktoberfest all summer long at Eric Yost’s popular dining destination. His farmhouse burger, spicy lamb Bolognese, pork schnitzel and pierogi specials all hinge on ingredients from the local farming community.
570 Wellington Square, Exton, (610) 458-2337.
Regulars know to arrive early to Sunday brunch for this Southern-style favorite. Executive chef Alexus Boyne’s twist on tradition includes a fried cheddar grit cake topped with shrimp and house-cured tasso ham in garlic cream sauce. 207 W. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown, (484) 593-0560.
Philter’s bold small-batch espresso options boast an amazing diversity of flavors and profiles from Rwanda, Sulawesi and Ecuador.
111 W. State St., Kennett Square, (610) 444-7687.
Steps from West Chester University, the fittingly named Meatball U’s satisfying skillet dishes include baked ziti and meatballs, a mozzarella melt, and meatball mac and cheese. It’s a little taste of home—somebody’s home, at least.
30 S. High St., West Chester, (484) 394-8400.
West Chester’s Bar Avalon now has an upscale French-American counterpart right next door to Bryn Mawr Film Institute. A post-flick must for old-school cocktail fans is the hickory-smoked Manhattan, made with Cynar liqueur, Carpano Antica Formula vermouth and George Dickel Rye Whisky.
818 Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 520-9700.
The Porch at the Lamb
The Porch’s lobster bisque, French onion and beef barley soups are all rich interpretations of classics. But we’re partial to the cream of mushroom with crab—a combination we’d like to see more often.
865 W. Springfield Road, Springfield, (610) 544-3300.
Well before barbecue became trendy in our region, this no-frills eatery was dishing up signature Southern cuisine from its humble strip-mall location, relying on satisfied customers to spread the word. Regulars love the fried catfish, ribs, brisket and chicken wings—and they almost always finish with a slice of the lemon 7 Up cake.
607 E. Market St., West Chester, (610) 701-0288.
Black Powder Tavern
Black Powder’s Cajun mac and cheese keeps the heat on with tender chicken chunks, andouille sausage and applewood smoked bacon. Decadence worthy of the Big Easy.
1164 Valley Forge Road, Wayne, (610) 293-9333.
Full Spirited Flavours
Full Spirited’s rich amaretto, mango coconut rum, chocolate raspberry and limoncello cakes are infused with rum and other liqueurs. The buzz has found its way to caterers and restaurateurs around the region—and you don’t have to be 21 to enjoy them.
481 Schuylkill Road, Phoenixville, (610) 933-6411.
A 10-ounce New York strip served with red wine butter over seasoned truffle fries, Autograph’s steak frites are spot-on. The center-cut filet mignon, Delmonico and bone-in strip entrees come with a choice of green peppercorn, red wine demi-glace, horseradish cream, Béarnaise or chimichurri sauce.
503 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, (610) 964-2588.
Bluefin Restaurant & Sushi Bar
This unassuming strip-mall location is where it all began more than 20 years ago for head chef Yong Kim, who’s been busy building his mini sushi empire ever since. Not to be outdone by its newer cousins in Bala Cynwyd and Eagleview, the original has retained its exceptional reputation. Menu highlights include white tuna habanero, fluke usuzukuri, wasabi tobiko and an extensive selection of maki.
2820 Dekalb Pike, East Norriton, (610) 277-3917.
Matador (permanently closed)
Paoli-bred chef Matthew Pressler has kept Matador vital with his ever-evolving tapas-style take on Spanish and Mexican cuisines. Representative options include the Spanish cheese, charcuterie plates, fresh guacamole (prepared tableside), chorizo quesadillas, crab enchiladas and street tacos.
110 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne, (610) 688-6282.
Sugar and Spice Thai Food and More
Sugar and Spice has a solid grasp on classics like chicken satay, curries, noodles and fried rice. And where else can you top off an excellent Asian meal with a Momma’s macaron?
500 West Chester Pike, Havertown, (484) 454-5740.
Ludwig’s Grill and Oyster Bar
Ludwig’s Philadelphia-style snapper soup is about as authentic as it gets, its hearty spiced broth loaded with veggies and tender meat.
2904 Conestoga Road, Glenmoore, (610) 458-5336.
Extra-wide padded bar stools make happy hour oh-so-comfy at this busy Mediterranean wine bar in Bryn Mawr Village. Stylish design and clever architectural elements give the 5,000-square-foot space a vast yet intimate feel.
915 Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, (484) 381-0268.
Main and Vine Bistro
Northern California sophistication provides the backdrop for gorgeous kitchen execution at Main and Vine. Our recent favorites include the Chilean sea bass and linguine alla carbonara with mushrooms. A great wine list, creative cocktails and an efficient staff add to the upscale Left Coast vibe.
789 E. Lancaster Ave., Villanova, (484) 380-3688.
Related Article: Main & Vine Brings Northern California Flavor to the Main Line
It’s easy to see why owners Vincenzo and Julianne Tettamanti have won over West Chester’s diverse demographic. They listen to their customers, offering plenty of organic vegan gelato options, including lemon, mango and blood orange.
12 Market St., West Chester, (484) 557-8482.
Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar
This popular farm-to-table enterprise continues to be innovative with a calorie-conscious seasonal menu that’s also vegetarian-friendly. Its plant-based Impossible Barbecue Burger is a two-fisted feast, topped with sweet and tangy hibiscus sauce and served on a vegan bun.
We’re going on the record: This is quite possibly the best pho in Chester County. For those who appreciate choice, Pho Now has up to 15 add-in options for a broth already loaded with veggies, eye round roast, brisket, seafood, grilled chicken, pork or tofu.
3911 Lincoln Hwy., Downingtown, (484) 237-8010.
The Classic Diner
Classic’s thick, crisp Belgian waffle is a go-to for regulars—especially with toppings like crumbled bacon, chocolate chips, whipped cream, strawberries and bananas.
352 Lancaster Ave., Malvern, (610) 725-0515; 16 E. Gay St., West Chester, (484) 947-0809.
Celebrating an astonishing 275 years, this historic inn pairs fine dining with a warm, friendly pub-like atmosphere. Executive chef Joshua Smith’s classic beef Wellington pot pie doesn’t skimp on its cuts of tender filet mignon, combining the headliner with potatoes, roasted mushrooms, broccoli and a mousse pâté inside a light flaky crust baked to perfection.
9 Old Lancaster Road, Malvern, (610) 296-3637.
At their award-winning vineyard, Nick and Athena Karabots produce world-class wines on vast property less than 10 miles from the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Among the best sips: the meritage, cabernet franc, viognier, pinot gris and sauvignon blanc.
40 E. Skippack Pike, Fort Washington, (215) 643-5800.
Brick & Brew
Brick & Brew loves to gets creative with its wings, whether its braising them in duck fat and rubbing them down with a Baltimore dry seasoning or tossing them in brown-butter hot sauce. Mixing blood orange and jalapeño is another inspired take.
Teresa’s Next Door
Size matters at Teresa’s. Their oven-roasted jumbo whole wings are a serious mouthful. Varieties include cinnamon, rosemary roasted garlic, Thai ginger, and barbecue.
126 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne, (610) 293-9909.
This early-20th-century dairy, which was resurrected in 2016 as seasonal family- and pet-friendly beer garden, is now open year round. Rotating food trucks arrive in the warmer months, and the kitchen serves pizza, bison chili, hot chicken sliders and more. Naturally, the beer selection is diverse and plentiful, and there’s live music on weekends.
401 Birch St., Kennett Square, (484) 732-7040.