Monday, August 19, 2013

Restaurant Routine

There are a few restaurants in the area that my wife and I frequent. We don’t go out to eat as often as we used to so when we do we usually go to the same places over and over again. We would much rather go somewhere that we know has good food and reasonable prices than somewhere that we know very little about.

We reserve the adventurous dining experiences for when we are on the road. As a result we have had some amazing meals (the pastrami salmon sandwich at Bar Louis in Milford) and some downright horrendous piles of food-like substances (the fish and chips at the Hilton Hotel in East Brunswick, New Jersey) during our travels this summer. Overall, we have been mostly lucky and even when we weren’t we didn’t get sick.

When we are at home and we are looking for something quick and inexpensive, we usually end up at Hummus Mediterranean Grill in Ardmore. While my wife usually rotates her selection between the chicken kabob and the vegetable platters I am pretty set in my ways and I get the combination platter every time. While this pales in comparison to the many delectable dishes we enjoyed in Jerusalem (particularly around the Mahane Yehuda Market), this may be the best Israeli style Middle Eastern food I have been able to find in the states. I recommend first timers go hungry and order the combination platter to get a little taste of everything. If that still isn’t enough, and I doubt that, get a side order of fried cauliflower to top off your bursting belly.

Hummus Mediterranean Grill
18 Greenfield Avenue, Ardmore, Pennsylvania 19003
Urban Spoon Rating: 100% (2 reviews)
Zagat Food Rating: 19/30

Dining room photo taken from the website.

Fellini Café in Newtown Square is our other usual dining spot which we were first introduced to by my parents a few years ago. What confuses some on the Main Line is the common name that this establishment shares with other restaurants in Ardmore, Berwyn, and Media. Do not be mistaken, these are completely separate eateries and the others can’t hold a candle to the one in Newtown Square which, simply put, has the best authentic Italian food on the Main Line. For this reason, reservations are recommended.

Each and every ingredient can be differentiated in their dishes which do not try to dazzle you with fancy twists or interpretations. This is best exemplified in their Eggplant Parmesan which I frequently order as my entrée (don’t be fooled when you see it listed as an appetizer). It has just the right bite and light breading smothered in a simple red sauce covered in a perfect blanket of creamy fresh mozzarella. So simple but addictively delicious; this is as good as it gets.  

Fellini Café
3541 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania 19073
Urban Spoon Rating: 83% (43 reviews)
Zagat Food Rating: 24/30

Exterior photo taken from internet.

There is only one establishment that I visit on a regular basis which is Aldar Bistro right down the street in Bala Cynwyd. Each week I attend my Rotary meeting at this restaurant and I have never been disappointed even having ordered nearly half of the dishes over the past year. A regular special is the cocoanut crusted honey mustard salmon which is one of the best pieces of fish you can order in the area.

Even though it is described as a Mediterranean restaurant (in more of the Lebanese style) there is a wide variety of other options on the menu that compliment the more traditional food quiet well. However, equally exceptional is the service as Host and general manager Walid Assaf and the rest of the staff treat guest more like family than customers. While the food and service is exceptional no matter what time of day, it is especially nice for a casual business lunch. If so inclined, you can also join us for a Rotary meeting on Wednesdays at 12:15 PM.

Aldar Bistro
281 Montgomery Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania 19004
Urban Spoon Rating: 84% (66 reviews)
Zagat Food Rating: 20/30

Exterior photo taken from website.

So those are my three regular spots where I go out to eat. Hopefully this gives you some additional options of where to eat in the Philadelphia suburbs. Whether you live in the area or you’re just visiting for a few days, set aside a meal or two and indulge yourself with some incredible food without having to sell your first born to afford it.