Le Saigon pho with eye-round steak
Fraschetta: Gianluca Demontis and Rosemarie Tran’s offshoot of their Center City staple has been a perfect fit for the suburbs. Genuine, uncomplicated dishes alla Romana (al dente bucatini all’amatriciana with house-cured pancetta, balsamic-brushed swordfish) encourage return visits to this rustic space.
816 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 525-1007.
Han Dynasty: Han Chiang’s dan dan noodles in chili oil are downright addictive, as is the sizzling-hot dry pot, sprinkled with copious Szechuan peppercorns. IPAs and spunky, dry whites help combat the burn.
260 N. Pottstown Pike, Exton, (610) 524-4002; 4356 Main St., Manayunk, (215) 508-2066.
Heirloom: Albert Paris was ahead of the farm-to-table trend, and he stays loyal to sustainability with his latest provocative dishes. Dinner starts with warm pocket buns, and items like Berkshire pork belly crowned with a fried farm egg and red chili glaze highlight the kitchen’s inventiveness. For brunch, try the Boston-cream-stuffed French toast.
8705 Germantown Ave., Chestnut Hill, (215) 242-2700.
House: Around these parts, Mike Hackett qualifies as a king of progressive comfort food. His stylish café is driven by the seasons and inspired by the local-food movement. In winter, cider vinaigrette adds pizzazz to the salad roster, while butternut squash is the backbone of soups and risottos. Conquer the small yet inventive entrée list—and never skip the savory bread puddings.
110-114 S. Jackson St., Media, (610) 566-2505.
i-Pasta: Northern Italy native Pietro Belfiore crafts fresh semolina pastas in the heart of downtown West Chester. Go for dinner, take a gander at the
day’s preparations (gemelli, tonnarelli, linguine, maccheroni and more) and place your order. Add a high-quality meat, some seafood, an artisan cheese, and one of the house sauces to the mix. Don’t skip the antipasti, salads and imported desserts. Seating is limited.
134 E. Gay St., West Chester, (484) 887-0760.
il Granaio: Located in a former granary, this handsome BYOB marries rustic Italian cuisine with farm-to-table sensibilities. Expect tender pastas and light, vibrant sauces. Even familiar dishes like fried calamari, marinated baby octopus and caprese salad undergo elevated interpretations. Don’t miss
the crispy grilled polenta with creamy white Gorgonzola sauce.
711 Concord Road, Glen Mills, (610) 459-8469.
Jimmy’s BBQ: Jimmy’s specializes in Memphis-style barbecue, with an abundance of hearty home-style sides. Slow-cooked highlights include ribs, pulled pork, pulled chicken, brisket and more. Don’t miss pit master Jim Mog’s accompaniments: creamy mac-and-cheese, smoked beans, sweet cornbread, and collard greens.
309 Lancaster Ave., Malvern, (610) 879-8805.
Junto: Junto has livened up the BYOB scene with its modern-farmhouse take on MacGregor Mann’s Pennsylvania roots. Start with a local charcuterie board, featuring items like thinly sliced Lebanon bologna and country ham. Or opt for the Pa.-Dutch decadence of the apple snitz choucroute, made with house-made sauer-kraut, summer sausage and dried local apples. Featuring a casual, burger-focused menu, the Session Room is Junto’s take on an earthy bar.
100 Ridge Road, Chadds Ford, (484) 574-8041.
Le Saigon: You can always trust Saigon-born Steven Wutram to deliver South Vietnamese authenticity at his unassuming 15-year-old BYOB. The menu features fragrant bowls of pho, crispy tangerine duck, and nine varieties of bánh mì.
Paoli Shopping Center, 82 E. Lancaster Ave., Paoli, (610) 889-4870.
Majolica: An acclaimed seasonal menu highlights locally sourced ingredients transformed by Andrew Deery with creativity and careful thought. Try the
rich white-corn soup topped with poached lobster, the short ribs with caramelized onion and Gruyère cheese, and the tender pork-belly-and-scallop appetizer. Nutella crêpes with banana and tarragon are the perfect sweet ending.
258 Bridge St., Phoenixville, (610) 917-0962.
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