LaBan’s top 25 Passyunk places highlights our embarrassment of riches

By now, we all know just how great our restaurant scene is on East Passyunk Avenue. This new guide from The Inquirer highlights food critic Craig LaBan’s favorite spot on the avenue.

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The list of 25 restaurants, bars and even a grocer (Green Aisle, of course) includes some of LaBan’s three bell rated restaurants like Palladino’s, Laurel and Noord, some two bell restaurants like Paradiso, and also some yet-to-be-rated establishments like Bing Bing Dim Sum and Ramayana.

More from The Inquirer article:

As The Inquirer launches the first in an occasional series showcasing Philly’s hot restaurant neighborhoods, there was no question where to start. East Passyunk – the locals say “Pash-yunk” – is serving up a rare combination of new restaurant energy and serious quality.

Eight three-bell restaurants dot a 10-block stretch of the Avenue, a former Lenni Lenape trail that slices diagonally northeast across the city’s grid. And though its success is a happy confluence of many factors, the timing makes sense.

As fine dining struggled over the last decade in the high-rent districts of Center City, rising stars like Top Chef champ (and Le Bec-Fin alum) Nicholas Elmi headed straight to this South Philly strip, where he opened his 20-seat hit, Laurel. The affordable rents, intimate spaces, proactive neighborhood groups, and restaurant-friendly landlords had already lured a tight-knit group of ambitious young cooks like Lee Styer (Fond), Christopher Kearse (Will BYOB), Joe Cicala (Le Virtù), Rinaldi Baver and her husband, Corey Baver (Izumi.) 

With rare exceptions, you’ll see them cooking every night. And the shared success has become magnetic and has only made them tighter.

The list from LaBan includes Bing Bing Dim Sum, Brigantessa, Cantina Los Caballitos, Chhaya Cafe, Fond, Fountain Porter, Green Aisle Grocery, Green Olives Cafe, Izumi, Laurel, Le Virtu, Lucio J. Mancuso & Son, Lucky 13 Pub, Noord Eetcafe, Palladino’s, Paradiso, Plenty, P.O.P.E., Ramayana, Stogie Joe’s Tavern, Townsend, Tre Scalini, Vegan Commissary and Will BYOB.

You can see LaBan’s thoughts on each of these restaurants here. You can also check out this interactive map of all the restaurants along East Passyunk Avenue.

What do you think of LaBan’s list? What are your favorite East Passyunk Avenue restaurants?

2 thoughts on “LaBan’s top 25 Passyunk places highlights our embarrassment of riches

  • April 24, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    I bought a house nearby in 2004 and have eaten in most of those places — going to Palladino’s first time for my birthday and can’t wait. Agree with LaBan, especially on Stateside which I used to love and now they even do a lousy job with the cocktails. What happened to their ginger ale, even the ice cubes have withered. I would add the service at LeVirtu sucks, esp if you eat outside. Noord is by far my favorite place, the brunch is ne plus ultra. LaBan doesn’t mention Birra which is really OK for consistently prepared and affordable comfort meals when that’s what you need.

    • April 24, 2015 at 9:43 pm

      I’d say Birra deserves a mention if only for their cheese and charcuterie plate which is always great.

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