Just ahead of his departure from Travel Channel, Anthony Bourdain finally took the time to pay Philadelphia its due in the form of an episode of The Layover. While here, he and his crew took in the sights with stops at the Barnes Foundation and the Mutter Museum, before checking out some of what our town offers in the way of food and drink. With that episode set to make its debut tonight, Grub decided now was as good a time as any for a quick review of the city and the restaurants that the food media has decided were fit for airing. Check them out straight ahead.
Before Iron Chef America came calling, Jose Garces launched his restaurant empire from his temple of Spanish tapas in Old City. The Best Thing I Ever Ate paid a visit there for the legendary Cochinillo Asad (whole roasted suckling pig), and Unique Eats stopped in for the Gambas al Ajillo (garlic shrimp).
On her last visit to the City of Brotherly Love, Rachel Ray left a lasting impression in the form of the Passyunk Garden (aka the Rachael Ray garden) across the street from Pat’s King of Steaks, but while making the rounds, she also stopped of for a bite at this Mediterranean restaurant from empire builders Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran. And that, off course, made it even more difficult to get a table there.
Though still a newcomer, Anthony Bourdain’s visit to this American small plates gastropub on booming East Passyunk Ave. while here shooting The Layover solidified the restaurant’s and Chef George Sabatino’s already illustrious reputations.
Unique Eats was blown away by Chef Michael Solomonov’s modern Israeli plates at Zahav, paving the way for shows like Chuck Eats the Street and The Layover to follow with their own visits.
Bobby Flay threw it down with Tony Luke Jr. in a cheesesteak battle, which, of course, he lost. The cheesesteak and roast pork offerings at this veritable sandwich paradise have gone on to star in episodes of Man v. Food, and Unique Eats.
George's Sandwich Shop
Surely there’s no shortage of great sandwiches here in Hoagietown, but when it comes to bizarre ones, Andrew Zimmern goes for the time-honored tripe beauty served at George’s in the Italian Market.
Though touted as America's worst Irish bar, and facing a mountain of issues from back taxes to health code violations, this South Street pub still remains in business. And that’s due to a little intervention from Jon Taffer and his Spike TV show Bar Rescue.
Gordon Ramsay transformed this East Passyunk Ave. BYOB from Kitchen Nightmare candidate to thriving success story.
Though neither a diner, drive-in or dive, Guy Fieri and his crew stopped off at this celebrated Fishtown watering hole, and marveled over Chef Jesse Kimball’s “outrageous” bar food and vegan specials.
Andrew Zimmern deserves some credit for passing on Philly’s way overhyped Pat’s and Geno’s, and instead took the time to seek out this Port Richmond gem. There he and his crew discovered old-timey kielbasy made by hand in the same time-honored traditions that have been handed down by several generations.
Old timey is the standard operating procedure for mustachioed brothers Ryan and Eric Berley at their Old City-based soda fountain and ice cream shop. Using only antique equipment and archival recipes from historic sources, it’s no wonder programs like Man v. Food and Best Thing I Ever Ate have featured the handmade ice cream, fizzes, floats and milkshakes served there.
Unique Eats, and Best Thing I Eve Ate were two of the first TV shows to pick up on Marc Vetri and Jeff Michaud’s popular Italian restaurant on North Broad Street. We’re pretty certain that they won’t be the last.
The over-the-top burgers and boozy milkshakes served at Iron Chef Jose Garces’ corner whiskey bar have caught the attention of Unique Eats, and Meat and Potatoes.
Di Bruno Brothers
Anthony Bourdain stopped at the cheese shop’s Ninth Street flagship while touring the Italian Market during his visit here to shoot an episode of The Layover.
We knew Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby’s all veggie, all the time restaurant is pretty unique for meat and Cheez Whiz-obsessed Philly, but apparently Cooking Channel’s Unique Eats says is it’s just simply unique for anywhere.
Chuck Eats the Street stopped off here to hang with Matt Levin while digging the many offerings along Walnut Street.
Like Memphis Taproom, this Center City bar is neither a diner, drive-in, nor a dive. Still Guy Fieri found it off the hook.
The magic that Bar Rescue conjured up to keep Downey’s afloat didn’t quite work out at this now gone Old City bar. Following the Taffer-led makeover, which rechristened the bar Sheer,the owners changed it back to Swanky Bubbles. And then it closed.
While in town working on Chiarella’s Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares crew also took a crack at this West Philly Mexican restaurant, which appears to be hanging on after changes were implemented.
There are a million restaurants in our naked city, and yet TV show after TV show (too many to mention all here) keep turning out year after yera to feature this tired old Philly cheesesteak mill, and its supposed arch rival Pat’s Kind of Steaks. Each time either one appears on TV, we’re reminded of why it’s called idiot box.
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