Coming Often to a TV Screen Near You: Philly's Best Restaurants, Chefs & Dishes

City's Food Scene Tempts The Taste Buds On National TV Shows

Aug 09, 2012, 13:19 ET from Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Philadelphia is full of edible treasures, and national food shows are recognizing the region's arrival as a delicious dining town by filming segments and entire programs that show off top restaurants, stellar dishes and expert chefs. Whether it's the Throwdown with Bobby Flay episode showcasing Tony Luke's classic cheesesteak, the Man v. Food segment featuring the enormous Mt. Vesuvius sundae at The Franklin Fountain or any number of The Best Thing I Ever Ate highlights, there's real flavor behind the hype. Here's a look at a few of the great local eats that have been given the television treatment:

Chef Competitors:

  • Bringing a taste of Philly to Las Vegas, Jennifer Carroll once represented 10 Arts, the restaurant she helmed in The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia, when she competed on the sixth season of Top Chef. She became a favorite, coming close to capturing the title, and the feisty protege of Eric Ripert followed it up with a turn on Top Chef All-Stars. Carroll recently finished taping a new Bravo show called Life After Top Chef, and she plans to open her own Philadelphia restaurant, aptly named Concrete Blonde. 10 Avenue of the Arts, (215) 523-8273,
  • With a gaggle of successful restaurants in Philadelphia (Amada, Tinto, J.G. Domestic, Chifa, Village Whiskey, Garces Trading Company and Distrito) Jose Garces made a fierce rival on Iron Chef, defeating Bobby Flay in a 2008 episode in which melon was the featured ingredient. He became the sixth Iron Chef in 2009 after beating Jehangir Mehta. More recently, he's wielded his knife on Chopped All-Stars.
  • It was Philly versus Philly when Michael Solomonov faced Jose Garces on Iron Chef in 2011. Solomonov made a Zahav-style creation, a fresh chickpea falafel with passion fruit and amba, and while he didn't win, he garnered a whole new audience of fans. 237 St. James Place, (215) 625-8800,
  • Kevin Sbraga certainly made a stir on Top Chef season seven, winning the whole contest and going on to open his own Broad Street restaurant, the eponymously named Sbraga. 440 S. Broad Street, (215) 735-1913,
  • Pastry chef and Philly native Lasheeda Perry brought her magic to the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia's Fountain Restaurant before sugarcoating the judges on Sweet Genius this past spring. 1 Logan Square, (215) 963-1500,
  • Paesano's owner Peter McAndrews pit his namesake sandwich (brisket, fried egg, horseradish mayo, peperoncino, sharp provolone, roasted tomato) against Bobby Flay's brisket grinder on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Naturally, the Paesano creation won. 152 W. Girard Avenue, (267) 886-9556; 1017 S. 9th Street, (215) 440-0371,
  • Tony Luke also battled on Throwdown with Bobby Flay, pitting his South Philly namesake restaurant's famed aged rib eye cheesesteak against the host's sirloin version. 39 E. Oregon Avenue, (215) 551-5725,
  • Settling a longtime local score, Tony Luke's faced Pat's King of Steaks in an epic Food Wars cheesesteak competition. In the end, the King retained its crown. Tony Luke's, 39 E. Oregon Avenue, (215) 551-5725,; Pat's King of Steaks, 1237 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 468-1546,
  • As three-time contestants on Cupcake Wars, the team from A Cupcake Wonderland has proven a formidable opponent, winning the day with creations like mango-coriander pound cake cupcakes with mango chutney filling and sweetened condensed milk whipped cream. (267) 324-5579,

Delicious Detours:

  • When the crew of her budget travel show $40 a Day rolled into Philly, Rachael Ray found plenty of delicious bargains at Villa di Roma, Jim's Steaks, Down Home Diner and Shane Candies. Villa di Roma, 936 S 9th Street, (215) 592-1295,; Jim's, 400 South Street, (215) 928-1911,; Down Home, 12th & Arch Streets, (215) 627-1955; Shane, 110 Market Street, (215) 922-1048,
  • Although it's technically only a diner in neon name only, Silk City's duck-confit spring rolls, pulled-pork empanadas and shrimp-and-crab pot stickers made for crispy golden highlights in a 2008 episode of Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives. 435 Spring Garden Street, (215) 592-8838,
  • Always worth a special visit are Philly's extraordinary gastropubs: The Memphis Taproom episode of Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives showcased the excellent kielbasa plate, fried chicken and pork belly watermelon salad. Meanwhile, a stop at Good Dog had host Guy Fieri praising the truffled cheesesteak empanadas. Memphis Taproom, 2331 E. Cumberland Street, (215) 425-4460,; Good Dog, 224 S. 15th Street, (215) 985-9600,
  • Homey eats take a star turn on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, and Northeast Philly's The Dining Car & Market's chicken croquettes stole the spotlight for one segment. Fieri also showed lots of love for Honey's Sit 'N' Eat, a Jewish/Southern eatery with style and latkes to spare. Dining Car, 8826 Frankford Avenue, (215) 338-5113,; Honey's, 800 N. 4th Street, (215) 925-1150,

Local Oddities:

  • Where else can diners get West Indies Pepperpot soup with beef, taro root and greens? Adam Gertler of The Best Thing I Ever Ate raved about this specialty at Philly's historical eatery City Tavern. 138 S. 2nd Street, (215) 413-1443,
  • Robert Irvine was enamored with the singular falafel omelet at West Philly's A&M Halal lunch truck, and thanks to him, the Middle Eastern taste sensation got its 15 minutes on The Best Thing I Ever Ate. 31st & Ludlow Streets
  • Every city has its own frankfurter topping. The Hungry Detective tracked down the inimitable Philly-style fishcake hot dog at Johnny's Hots and enjoyed every bite. 1234 N. Delaware Avenue, (215) 423-2280

Decadent Delights:

  • Brothers Eric and Ryan Berley of The Franklin Fountain served up one of their gigantic Mt. Vesuvius sundaes (vanilla and chocolate ice cream, brownie pieces, hot fudge, malt powder and whipped cream) to Adam Richman in a memorable Man v. Food showdown. 116 Market Street, (215) 627-1899,
  • The 5 Lb. Philly Challenge—a two-foot steak, brisket or pork sandwich, four soft pretzels, an entire box of Tastykakes, two dozen peanut chews and a Champ Cherry soda consumed in 45 minutes or less—is the subject of Jake's Sandwich Board's recent appearance on the Food Network's Outrageous Foods. 122 S. 12th Street, (215) 922-0102,
  • Outrageous Foods also visited Flying Monkey Bakery in the Reading Terminal Market to sample the larger-than-life Pumpple Cake, a pumpkin pie and an apple pie baked into a chocolate-and-vanilla layer cake with a thick coating of buttercream. 12th & Arch Streets, (215) 928-0340,

Best In Show:

  • With a worldwide reputation for excellent Italian cooking, Marc Vetri's restaurants have made especially photogenic and delicious candidates for The Best Thing I Ever Ate, including the margherita pizza at Osteria and the chef's pasta tasting menu at Vetri. Osteria, 640 N. Broad Street, (215) 763-0920,; Vetri, 1312 Spruce Street, (215) 732-3478,
  • Stephen Starr's restaurants have been prominently featured on television time and again, from Continental Restaurant + Martini Bar Old City's crispy calamari salad, Parc's mashed potatoes and The Dandelion's fish and chips (The Best Thing I Ever Ate). Continental, 1801 Chestnut Street, (215) 567-1800,; Parc, 227 S. 18th Street, (215) 545-2262,; Dandelion, 124 S. 18th Street, (215) 558-2500,
  • The Best Thing I Ever Ate homed in on Chef Marcie Turney's Mexican-style tiramisu at Lolita, a Mexican BYOT (tequila) spot on the always-packed 13th Street in Midtown Village. 106 S. 13th Street, (215) 546-7100,
  • Nobody does fried chicken like Ms. Tootsie's, so no surprise, then, that The Best Thing I Ever Ate featured the South Street soul-food hotspot on one of its episodes. 1312 South Street, (215) 731-9045,
  • A Philly institution, Sarcone's Deli serves up some of the city's best hoagies, including the Junk Yard Special (turkey, prosciutto, sauteed spinach, roasted peppers, sharp provolone mozzarella, vinegar and oil), which had a turn on The Best Thing I Ever Ate. 734 S. 9th Street, (215) 922-1717; 2100 S. Eagle Road, Newtown, (215) 860-9500; 230 W. Market Street, West Chester, (610) 430-2023,

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SOURCE Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation