Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs 2012: Food & Drink

Main Line Today’s readers and critics pick their favorites.

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Margarita ➙ Xilantro
With a tequila list surpassing 100 choices, you better believe the bartenders at Xilantro know what to do with the hard stuff. Margaritas are the drink of choice for most diners at this high-end Mexican eatery—just don’t order too many if you’re monitoring your sobriety (or your wallet). Several variations come highly recommended, and the Skinny variety is quite popular. We like ours minus the fuss—with fresh lime juice and salt.
103 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne; (484) 580-8415,

Menu for Kids ➙ Meltdown
How genius is it to open a shop devoted to the simplest of sandwiches? Really, who doesn’t love grilled cheese? For more refined palates, there’s lump crab meat with Monterey Jack, and honey apple is favorite. Little diners can top it off with a hand-dipped “melt” shake or ice cream sandwiched between buttery grilled poundcake. And, please, don’t judge if you see us big kids, too.
522 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; (610) 293-6988,

Menu Makeover ➙ The Hunt Room at the Desmond Hotel
Chris Calhoun has certainly made his presence known. His wine-poached halibut with braised kale and saffron aioli recently won best dish at the Philly Cooks competition. And it speaks well for the rest the Hunt Room’s updated menu, which impresses with its simplicity and seasonality, allowing the meticulous execution and fresh ingredients to stand on their own merits.
One Liberty Blvd., Malvern; (610) 296-9800,

Mussels ➙ La Belle Epoque Wine Bistro
A good bowl of mussels shouldn’t require that much work, but it’s surprising how many restaurants can’t get it right. Suffice to say, the steaming moules marinières from this elegant yet comfy bistro don’t fall into that category. Classically prepared with white wine, tomatoes, garlic and parsley, they’re best enjoyed with a glass from La Belle Epoque’s impressive wine list.
38 W. State St., Media; (610) 566-6808,

Neighborhood Bar ➙ Gypsy Saloon
Even if they don’t know your name (yet), they sure make you feel welcome at this popular West Conshy mainstay. Gypsy Saloon’s unforced, intimate vibe is like showing up at a party you’re always invited to. Nightly specials like all-you-can-eat mussels over linguine (Sundays and Mondays) and Mexican Night (Thursdays; $2 tacos at the bar, $5 margaritas and sangrias) make it easy to become a regular—even if you don’t live nearby.
128 Ford St., West Conshohocken; (610) 828-8494,

New Main Line Restaurant ➙ Aperto
Aperto had some pretty big shoes to fill after the space’s former tenant, Clark Gilbert, moved his much-loved Gemelli across the river to Manayunk. From the start, chef/owner John Wolferth settled in seamlessly, bringing out the best in every ingredient while taking seemingly simple items to soul-satisfying levels. With excellent service and a killer kitchen staff to boot, this is one neighborhood eatery that transcends the term.
232 Woodbine Ave., Narberth; (610) 660-0160,

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