Our editors and critics pick the 47 they can’t live without.
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When it comes to Asian cuisine, Margaret Kuo’s sophisticated Wayne outpost offers the best of both worlds. Some of the freshest sushi on the Main Line can be had upstairs in the hip Akari Room. Or play it more traditional downstairs in the Dragon’s Lair room, where you can indulge in Chinese specialties like Kuo’s to-die-for Peking duck. Last year, the impressive wine list was honored with Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. 175 E. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; (610) 688-7200, margaretkuos.com.
No other Main Line restaurant can match Nectar’s chic vibe. Thankfully, the French-Asian fusion menu doesn’t disappoint, either. Arrive early to sample a Buddha Berry martini or lychee mojito. Dinner options include shrimp pad thai and beef tenderloin paired with succulent Nova Scotia lobster. The sushi is also stellar—particularly Nectar’s special rolls. We love the no-rice roll with yellowfin tuna, Alaskan wild salmon and striped bass. 1091 Lancaster Ave., Berwyn; (610) 725-9000, tastenectar.com.
Restaurant Alba’s stock rose even higher last year, when it added a full liquor license (though a BYO policy is still in effect). Chef/owner Sean Weinberg has been hailed for his championing of local, seasonal ingredients. His state-of-the-art wood-burning grill enhances the flavor of many of the dishes, including the slow-roasted suckling pig and the organic veal. Other highlights include the pumpkin ravioli and several homemade pasta dishes. 7 W. King St., Malvern; (610) 644-4009, restaurantalba.com.
Simon Pearce on the Brandywine
The powers-that-be at Simon Pearce made a major score when they hired chef Karen Nicolas, who’s occupied the kitchens at such acclaimed restaurants as New York’s Gramercy Tavern and Chicago’s Soul. Nicolas has made some welcome tweaks to the menu, without compromising the restaurant’s commitment to local farms and suppliers. Standouts include grass-fed beef loin, Lancaster pork belly, braised red grouper, and Pennsylvania duck. And the chocolate-peanut-fudge cake with butterscotch foam makes a delicious final impression. 1333 Lenape Road, West Chester; (610) 793-0949, simonpearce.com.
Chef/owner Nick Farrell offers an inspired take on the farm-to-table experience at Sovana Bistro, getting most of his ingredients from Chester County suppliers. Taking it a step further, his “100 mile” selections contain elements sourced from farms within that proximity to the restaurant. Kudos also to Farrell for his “Junior Foodies Menu”—with options like petite New York strip and house-made rigatoni—which recognizes that today’s kids want more than just chicken fingers and hot dogs. 696 Unionville Road, Kennett Square; (610) 444-5600, sovanabistro.com.
Stella Blu is known far and wide for its signature lobster mac-and-cheese, with generous hunks of Maine’s finest crustacean and an ultra-creamy blend of Asiago, Parmesan and goat cheeses. But there’s plenty more to keep us coming back to this popular bistro. Ample small-plate options—featuring mushroom ravioli, fried artichoke hearts, and lump crabmeat risotto—encourage sharing. And the entrée selection will satisfy any craving. Our favorites include the penne vodka and the pork tenderloin with applewood-smoked bacon. 101 Ford St., West Conshohocken; (610) 825-7060, stellablurestaurant.com.
Is it still worth waiting a year to eat at this internationally acclaimed spot? Judge for yourself. Gather seven to 11 of your favorite pals, pick a date, and make a reservation for one of Talula’s farm-table dinners. The culinary delights begin at 7 p.m., when you start to make your way through a four-hour, eight-course tasting menu of impossibly fresh, artfully prepared culinary bliss. 102 W. State St., Kennett Square; (610) 444-8255, talulastable.com.
Teikoku could be the forgotten middle child in the Win Signature family, which is perhaps more well known for its other restaurants, including Thai Pepper, Mikado, Azie, Parker’s Prime Steakhouse and Azie on Main. Teikoku’s more out-of-the-way location doesn’t help—but don’t let that deter you. Asian fusion standouts include the Thai seafood paella and sesame-crusted tuna—served Asian family style, so the whole table can share. And Teikoku’s sushi bar turns out unforgettable specialty rolls like the Godzilla, with shrimp tempura, eel, strawberries, avocado and crushed macadamia nuts. 5492 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square; (610) 644-8270, teikokurestaurant.com.
Verdad Restaurant and Tequila Bar
Your perception of Latin cuisine will never be the same after a meal at Verdad. Pomegranate guacamole with kiwi, strawberries and habañero, Kobe beef tacos and grilled octopus salad are just a few of the eclectic offerings from chef Nick Farina and company. Just don’t bypass the bar on your way in, with its more than 30 brands of tequila and a tempting selection of cocktails and sangria. 818 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr; (610) 520-9100, verdadrestaurant.com.