Triangle Tavern receives two bell review from Craig Laban

Triangle Tavern was reopened under new ownership back in May. Now that the restaurant and bar has been open for a few months, The Inquirer‘s food critic, Craig Laban, paid the spot a visit.


Laban gave Triangle Tavern a two bell review, saying that it is “a smart redo of a South Philly classic.”

In his review, Laban emphasizes the history of the restaurant, which has been a neighborhood staple since 1933. While it was closed for six years prior to this redo, Triangle Tavern is flourishing again under the ownership of Stephen Simons and David Frank, who also own Cantina, Royal Tavern and other bars and restaurants throughout the city.

Here’s more of what Laban had to say:

But when it comes to the more familiar end of the Italian American canon, the Triangle hits enough, though not all, of the more important notes. The linguine with clams “white” is one of the best versions I’ve had in a while, the buttered natural juice thickened with a splash of starchy pasta water and lit with the unexpected spice of sautéed long hots.

The mussels, that most iconic Triangle dish, are also a solid mollusk feast, though I consider the small mussels incidental to the broth treasure, rife with sea and a blast of garlic, which I could eat an entire loaf with.

That mussel broth is easily the highest calling for the Triangle’s red sauce. Without the shellfish to temper and enrich it, or too little steeping time for the added meats in other dishes to let the vegan marinara base acquire its proper “gravy” depth, the San Marzano sauce here was consistently too acidic, as though someone forgot to make a final seasoning adjustment. It’s a serious flaw considering the sauce’s workhorse status, smothering everything from meatballs to thick-cut eggplant parm, and a generous “Sunday Gravy” over rigatoni brimming with sausage, stewed pork chop, and a thick hunk of pepperoni that I so wanted to embrace but just couldn’t quite. It’s the reason I’m still at “like” rather than “love” with the new Triangle Tavern.

While Laban seems to think that there’s still room for improvement to Triangle Tavern, the spot is generally very good. Triangle Tavern is becoming a neighborhood staple once again with a mix of old and new.

You can read Laban’s full review here.

Have you tried Triangle Tavern since it reopened? What do you think?

6 thoughts on “Triangle Tavern receives two bell review from Craig Laban

  • September 28, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    This is wayyyyyy overrated. The place is horrible.

  • September 28, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    I like it. We’ve had a service hiccup or two, but the food is very good. It’s weird there’s no other place to get a roast pork or roast beef sandwich at night on the ave.

    • September 28, 2015 at 11:08 pm

      Um…Stogie Joe’s??

  • September 29, 2015 at 9:21 am

    Like the food but when I went the first month my portion was huge and this last time the portion size of the same dish was much smaller.
    My friend ordered a “special” and didn’t think to ask about the price which was far above what it should have been. I am going to try it again, since third time is a charm. I was hoping this will become a part of my weekly rotation but I don’t see it happening.

  • October 2, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    I’ve been here three times. The calamari has absolutely no seasoning in the breading. The pork sandwich has juice, but no flavor or spices either! Overrated and underachieving.

  • October 2, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Being someone who ate at the old Triangle when I was a kid and through to adulthood, the food is very good. Clams and spaghetti is excellent, as is the mussels and the fettucine Bolognese. The gravy, and yes it is gravy, was very good and flavorful. The only disappointment was that they do not have the calamari in gravy any longer..just the fried calamari. It was great swimming in gravy back in the day.

    I don’t know where the bashers have eaten before, but this isn’t the Olive Garden, so if you are expecting something that you get there…sorry, it’s done hardcore in South Philly!

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