Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs 2017 Critics Choice: Towns
La Cabra Brewing in Berwyn
Gourmet Goodness: The Tasting Room
Jennifer McCafferty and husband Joe Petrucci continue to delight customers with from-scratch offerings at their 20-seat café. Seasonal items, organic ingredients and thoughtful recipes drive the menu. Choose from tasting, entrée and family portions.
8 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore, (610) 642-2670, www.thetastingroomardmore.com
Island-Style Eats: PokéOno
Get a taste of Hawaii at surfer Andrew Danieli’s sleek fast-casual Ardmore spot, which serves island-style cubed-then-marinated fish and rice bowls. Build your own with options like brown rice, citrus ponzu, salmon, cucumber, avocado, crispy onions and Hawaiian sea salt.
59 W. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore, (484) 413-2058, www.pokeono.com
Berwyn and Paoli
Electric Brews: La Cabra Brewing
This Berwyn newbie’s creations span a wide spectrum, from the smooth Ken D. IPA to a variety of brews on the ever-changing tap list. Watch for new releases of tried-and-true favorites—IPAs, lagers and saisons—plus newcomers like sours, Kölschs and even an extra-special strong bitter on nitro.
642 Lancaster Ave., Berwyn, (610) 240-7908, www.lacabrabrewing.com
Former Saladworks scion John Scardapane had a vision to create a restaurant that serves three meals a day, all day. His culinary team showcases sustainable local ingredients that arrive daily from area farms. Menus change often to reflect the rich bounty received at this urban farmhouse.
231 W. Lancaster Ave., Paoli, (484) 320-8155, www.eatnic.com
Chef's Table: Sola BYOB
Grab a seat at chef Scott Morozin’s table on Friday nights at this homey Bryn Mawr BYOB, and indulge in an intimate, specially prepared three-course feast. Served family-style for just one party of four, six or eight, the meal features dishes like beef tartare with quail egg and three mustards.
614 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 526-0123, www.solabyob.com
Neighborhood Pizza and Beer: Biga Pizza + Beer
Biga’s graffiti-muraled setting is staffed by a millennial crew sporting black T-shirts, Chuck Taylors and tattoos for ambitiously edgy take on Neapolitan pizza, craft beer and Italian wine. Dough is cold-fermented for 36 hours, producing blistered beauties.
810 Glenbrook Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 525-4800, www.restaurantbiga.com
Chester Springs, Exton and Malvern
Classic Fine Dining: General Warren Inne
Built in 1745, the General Warren exudes elegant, classic charm. Patrons enjoy contemporary continental cuisine, including beef Wellington, snapper turtle soup and steak au poivre. Foodies appreciate the focus on local and seasonal foods and the attentiveness to dietary restrictions.
9 Old Lancaster Road, Malvern, (610) 296-3637, www.generalwarren.com
Al Pastor in Exton
Margarita: Al Pastor
Al Pastor offers a margarita that’s classic enough for purists, but with a twist to ward off monotony. Made with reposado, fresh lime and pineapple juices, and a rim of sugared allspice, the Margarita Al Pastor is the perfect accompaniment to its guacamole, salsa and chips.
560 Wellington Square, Exton, (484) 341-8886, www.eatalpastor.com
Conshohocken and Manayunk
Grab-and-Go Lunch: Binto Market & Cafe
Fans of chef Moon Krapugthong’s critically lauded fare are raving about Binto’s quick-and-casual Asian cuisine. Right next door to her elegant Chabaa Thai Bistro, Binto offers busy lunch-goers freshly prepared quick-serve meals like Bangkok wings and pho. Salads, sushi, soups and sides are also available to grab and go.
4345 Main St., Manayunk, (267) 297-8764, www.bintomarketcafe.com
Cerdo in Conshohocken
Wild Boar and Pork Dishes: Cerdo
Brian and Christina Pieri hit the Conshy trifecta with this rustic, Barcelona-influenced neighborhood gem. “Pork” in Spanish, Cerdo lives up to its name thanks to a menu packed with porcine renderings: zesty cured salami and prosciutto, smoky chorizo and speck, house-cured sopressata, slab bacon, and sliced Ibérico wild boar.
382 E. Elm St., Conshohocken, (610) 234-0561, www.cerdorestaurant.com
Cheese with a Side of Beer: Station Taproom
Station thrives on its solid craft-beer lineup and amazing truffle fries. Sample the carefully curated and crafted cheese plate, and look for rotating menu items that feature local producers like Conebella Farm and Bailys Dairy.
207 W. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown, (484) 593-0560, www.stationtaproom.com
Housemade Pasta: Pomodoro Pizza & Italian Restaurant
Tucked away on a side street, Pomodoro offers Italian specialties that taste just like your Nonna used to make. Not surprisingly, all the pasta is made on premises. Try the pillow-like gnocchi marinara or the decadent spaghetti carbonara.
200 Chestnut St., Downingtown, (610) 873-0405, www.pomodorodowningtown.com
Lunch with Toddlers in Tow: Talula’s Table
For artisan-quality food in a casual setting, look no further. The market has everything from local draft kombucha to handcrafted chocolates, plus a wide selection of house-made treats. The communal and window-side tables offer toddler-friendly seating in a relaxed café atmosphere.
102 W. State St., Kennett Square, (610) 444-8255, www.talulastable.com
If Kennett Square is indeed the Mushroom Capital of the World, there may be no better homage to the famed fungi than this homespun BYOB, which serves a throwback menu of tempting starters, salads and sandwiches—with and without mushrooms. Think crêpes, oysters Rockefeller, stroganoff and orange-scented duck.
115 W. State St., Kennett Square, (610) 925-4984, www.portabellosofkennettsquare.com
King of Prussia
Rum List: Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar
With 85-plus bottles—culled from the balmy shores of Puerto Rico to Pottstown’s Manatawny Still Works—Paladar overflows with options. The festive outside patio is perfect for enjoying a minty mojito and a satisfying bowl of craft-your-own guacamole and homemade chips.
King of Prussia Town Center, 250 Main St., King of Prussia, (484) 965-9779, www.paladarlatinkitchen.com
Small Bites: Mistral
Chef de cuisine Craig Polignano oversees a carefully curated menu of small plates, utilizing the best in local, farm-fresh ingredients. Go with a group and order an array of nibbles. Don’t miss the tamarind-glazed wings, tuna tartare with squid-ink rice cracker, pork riblets with scallion pancakes, and the addictive bacon jam.
160 N. Gulph Road, King of Prussia, (610) 768-1630, www.mistralkop.com
Authentic Mexican Cuisine: Hidalgo
Hidalgo crafts filling Mexican specialties within its comfortable adobe-style digs. The pipian (green) and poblano moles are must-trys, as are locale-specific dishes like Veracruz-style red snapper. Save room for the crêpes in caramel sauce.
30 W. State St., Media, (484) 443-8945, www.facebook.com/HidalgoTasteofMexico
Must-Try Brunch: House
Choose from a menu of comfort foods made with fresh, local ingredients, and settle into the quaint, homelike setting. We love the AM Burrito, with scrambled eggs, home fries, salsa, guacamole and cheddar, all wrapped in a tortilla and smothered in hollandaise and sriracha.
110-114 S. Jackson St., Media, (610) 566-2505, www.eatathouse.com
Noodle Newbie: Pho-ever Yours
Great pho is all about the broth, and we’re smitten with the spicy lemongrass beef variety here. Or opt for the bun—rice vermicelli noodles—packed with shrimp, lettuce, mint, cucumber, sprouts, roasted peanuts and scallions, plus house special sauce.
106 N. Essex Ave., Narberth, (484) 800-1239, www.phoeveryours.com
Firepoint Grill in Newtown Square
Alfresco Dining: Firepoint Grill
George Paxos’ contemporary American dazzler features succulent rotisserie-seared ribs and chicken, along with a 700-degree oven that
produces pliant Neapolitan pizzas. Key selling points for summer are the elaborate 150-seat, covered patio and a quenching assortment of specialty cocktails, 16 draft beers, and a well-curated wine selection.
3739 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, (484) 428-3093, www.firepointgrill.com
Italian-Style Sandwiches: A Cut Above Deli
Hoagies are the focus at this neighborhood fixture, and the menu is heavily influenced by the region’s Italian roots. Sandwiches are served on fresh Sarcone’s rolls from South Philly, chicken cutlets are filleted and breaded in-house, and the meatball recipe is a closely guarded secret.
3523 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, (610) 353-4543, www.acutabovedeli.com
Tofu Curry: Downtown Bangkok Café
Downtown Bangkok Café remains a spicy standout thanks to chef Yaowapa Kowal’s tofu—firm cubes that are crispy-fried on the outside and creamy within. The texture is a perfect match for the pungent, milky curries at this charming, artifact-laden BYOB.
705 Pothouse Road, Phoenixville, (610) 933-4800, www.downtownbangkokcafe.com
Live Tunes with a Latte: Steel City Coffee House
Revitalized last year by Ed Simpson and his wife, Laura Vernola, this popular spot pours Hobo Ed’s organic coffee day and night, and there’s also a revamped locally procured menu. With its thoughtful lineup of local, regional and national talent, the venue is equally fitting for couples and clusters of enthusiastic music lovers.
203 Bridge St., Phoenixville, (484) 924-8425, www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com
Franklin Fountain Ice Cream at Black Powder Tavern
Best-Kept Secret: Franklin Fountain Ice Cream at Black Powder Tavern
At Black Powder Tavern, the Franklin Fountain ice cream comes direct from the legendary Old City parlor. Savor the signature mint chip—white
peppermint ice cream swirled with crème de menthe and studded with bittersweet chocolate chunks—along with luscious adult milkshakes and root-beer floats.
1164 Valley Forge Road, Wayne, (610) 293-9333, www.blackpowdertavern.com
Tasting Menu: At the Table BYOB
This much-hyped BYOB offers a cohesive owner-chef-staff collaboration, a bright dining space, and creative, continually evolving dishes that are downright gorgeous. Standouts like Spanish baby octopus, porcini cavatelli and Hudson Valley foie gras make this a go-to spot for anyone after an above-and-beyond tasting menu.
11 Louella Court, Wayne, (610) 964-9700, www.atthetablebyob.com
Authentic Irish Flare: Kildare’s
The Irish Craic Nachos, colcannon soup, bangers and mash, and corned beef and cabbage are highlights. Next-level options include blackened mahi mahi and a goat cheese, apple and honey toastie.
18 W. Gay St., West Chester, (610) 431-0770, www.kildarespubwc.com
New Restaurant: 39 West American Bistro
Owner Anthony Mastroianni combines simple ingredients with a contemporary flair. The wok-fried cod, maple-glazed pork belly, beet-and-goat-cheese salad, and barbecue bacon-wrapped meatloaf are all standouts on the seasonal menu. Small-town chic, casual and inviting, with just 56 seats.
39 W. Gay St., West Chester (484) 983-3719, www.39westamericanbistro.com