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Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Oldest Restaurant in Philly

On our trip to Philadelphia, we planned several visits to specific restaurants. One of the places I wanted to eat at was Philly's oldest restaurant, City Tavern. Opened in 1773, it has been a tavern, a restaurant, a meeting house, a place to house prisoners of war, a Army headquarters and celebration venue. 

City Tavern Philadelphia

Now you can relive the Colonial times in an authentic tavern, with 3 floors, metal goblets, wait staff in period costume and traditional dishes. If you're looking about the city where everything is located, you can easily walk to City Tavern. You'll be welcomed warmly and be served huge portions. In fact, you may balk at the prices, but each dish can easily serve two people.  

We had a buy one get one free coupon that I picked up at the Visitor Center, so we saved over $20 on our meal. Dinner is at least $10 more per plate, so if you're trying to save money, opt for lunch.

This was our splurge meal. We also have breakfast before we left for the day, so that wasn't an extra cost factor. 

The bar area is also really beautiful and quaint, with top shelf alcohol and cozy, high-backed booths. It seems a bit like a home bar, but better. They even have a board with drinks on special for the day.

You start your meal off with a drink (they have iced tea and sodas available) and a bread plate. You get two different kinds of bread and Thomas Jefferson's favorite sweet potato biscuits, which were quite good and nutty. Definitely try those if you don't have a nut allergy. 

I was starving, so I also wanted an appetizer. I knew the mushroom toast was for me as soon as I saw it on the menu. If you love mushrooms, you have to try it. The mushrooms are sauteed, put on toast and covered in Bernaise sauce. Heaven! 

I chose the rabbit for my entree and it was enough to feed two or three people. It's basically a leg of braised rabbit and a ton of veggies put over a huge bed of egg noodles. It was delicious, but also way too much for one person to eat, so you'll be taking part of it home in a box. The table next to us also ordered this and the fried tofu (made to the specifications of a letter from Benjamin Franklin) and both said their food was fantastic. I didn't even know they had tofu then, but apparently it was such a hit that they kept this on the menu.

Eric, who really doesn't love pork, ordered the applewood-smoked pork chop. The meat took up half the (not small) plate and the other half was heaped with sauerkraut. He said both were great, but his was also too much to finish, especially since we wanted to save room for dessert. My title picture shows the large selection of desserts. Some are year-round options and some are seasonal.

Eric got all excited about Martha Washington's chocolate mousse cake, as it is made with the original recipe. I've had a lot of meh chocolate cakes in general, but this was light and fluffy and the perfect amount of chocolate and I would have eaten a whole second piece if it was on the table. I'm glad we didn't get tart that I originally wanted. I loved Martha Washington more in that moment.

The wait staff were all super friendly and I loved the outfits. This is exactly my kind of place, even though you have to go downstairs into a whole separate dining area to use the restroom and the stairs squeak a bit and make it sound like someone's walking behind you. That seems to be something you'd expect from a place this old though, so if that freaks you out and the restaurant isn't busy enough for other diners to be downstairs, ask a dining companion to come with you.

So, if you're in Philadelphia and want an excellent meal that's a bit of a splurge, this is the place to do it. Hit up the Visitor Center for a coupon (it's on a postcard for the restaurant) to get your free entree. Then you can save that money for one of their cookbooks or a souvenir to take home from Philly. 

Check them out online: website | Facebook | Twitter

Do you have a favorite historical restaurant from your hometown or your travels?

Disclaimer: I did not get paid to write this review or get a free meal (except through that coupon). I just genuinely enjoyed my experience there.

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