Dos Gringos MEXICAN KITCHEN: Chicken mole
Buho’s Mexican Restaurant: Buho’s may have one of the most genuine Mexican menus in Chester County. Munch on free house-made chips with three varieties of salsa while you take in the bright, owl-themed décor. The friendly waitstaff will guide you through the many menu options. The empanadas (chicken, beef, vegetarian), enchiladas and flautas de pollo are standouts. Visit from 2 to 5 p.m. on weekdays, and get three tacos for $5. Don’t forget the margarita ingredients.
115 E. Swedesford Road, Exton, (484) 872-8840.
Bunha Faun: Serving Main Liners for over two decades, this local institution marries the elegance of white-tablecloth French cuisine with the inventiveness of Asian fare. Trends won’t matter after you try the flawless escargot in garlic butter, sesame-dressed snow peas, and racks of lamb in a zesty mustard sauce. Save room for dessert—the crème brûlée is divine.
152 Lancaster Ave., Malvern, (610) 651-2836.
Byrsa Bistro: Ahmed Chraga always takes his business personally. Since opening Byrsa Bistro in 2011, he’s been offering some of the most interesting Mediterranean-fusion fare in the region. His aim is to get to know every customer while promising an authentic experience. Try the grilled calamari, chicken tagine, and braised lamb shank.
102 E. State St., Kennett Square, (610) 444-3277.
Catherine’s Restaurant: Marybeth Brown and Kevin McMunn’s charming 80-seat BYOB is nestled along a country road in Unionville. McMunn’s wild-mushroom soup with lump crabmeat is worthy of its rabid following, and his seafood dishes (blackened tuna steak with smoky paprika cream, salmon mandarin) are executed with exceptional elegance. Romance is a major draw at Catherine’s, where the dining room is lit entirely by candles—125, to be exact.
1701 W. Doe Run Road, Unionville, (610) 347-2227.
The Classic Diner: Think hearty standards with a trendy twist—all of them made with fresh ingredients and generous add-ons like avocado, feta, portobellos, fried jalapeños, goat cheese and asparagus. Go-to items: the eggs Benedict with ahi tuna steak, the Absolute Angus burger in a red-wine demi-glace, and the Boston barbecue pulled-pork sandwich with Napa slaw.
352 Lancaster Ave., Malvern, (610) 725-0515; 16 E. Gay St., West Chester, (484) 947-0809.
Carmine’s Creole Cafe Act 2: Bayou cuisine is now more approachable for us Yanks thanks to New Orleans native John Mims. Exuding Southern hospitality, his homey bistro specializes in expertly prepared, spice-laden dishes like she-crab bisque, shrimp-and-crawfish étouffée and seafood
court bouillon. Score one of the four seats at the kitchen bar (if you’re lucky).
232 Woodbine Ave., Narberth, (610) 660-0160.
Country Butcher owner Dan Boxler
Country Butcher: With its palpable Parisian slant, Country Butcher is a prime purveyor of both authentic atmosphere and fine foods. At its petite bistro, you can nibble your way through high-quality meats, gourmet cheeses and charcuteries, and delectable prepared items.
145 S. Walnut St., Kennett Square, (610) 444-5980.
Desert Rose: Full-flavored Middle Eastern and Mediterranean street foods come together at this casual mom-and- pop BYOB. Enjoy an authentic, eclectic range of Moroccan, Israeli and Iraqi cuisine in an intimate setting. The shawarma is the “it” sandwich—made on delicious pita bread sourced from a Jerusalem bakery.
305 W. State St., Media, (484) 442-8012.
Dos Gringos Mexican Kitchen: Bring a bottle of your favorite tequila, order a pitcher of margaritas, and keep your fiesta in full swing with jumbo-lump-crab-and-jalapeño guacamole and handcrafted empanadas. Greg Quintiliano craft time-honored renditions of cherry-walnut mole, beer-battered tilapia tacos and guajillo-marinated jumbo shrimp.
113 S. Olive St., Media, (610) 565-7794.
Edgewood Cafe and BYOB: Philip and Kristen Ferro’s fire-engine-red, 54-seat corner café pumps out well-executed American cuisine laced with Italian influences. More indulgent choices include panko-topped mac-and-cheese with truffle oil, and Parmesan-crusted chicken paired with a South Philly gravy that’s a family recipe.
1304 Edgewood Road, Havertown, (484) 453-8851.
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