As per tradition, Eater asked a group of restaurant journalists, bloggers, and friends of the site to weigh in on the year in food. First up, dining experts share their favorite restaurant standbys of 2018 — the restaurants they went to again and again.
The question: What were your top restaurant standbys of 2018?
Alex Tewfik, food editor at Philadelphia magazine: My favorite food on the planet is cured meat and raw fish. So, naturally, Royal Boucherie.
Adam Erace, freelance writer and co-author of the upcoming Laurel cookbook: Where I go the most? Honeygrow is the honest and unsexy answer. When we can’t figure out what we want to eat, it’s so easy to order from their iPhone app, throw the car into the loading zone outside the 16th Street location, and be back home eating a delicious, packed-with-stuff salad in 10 minutes. Sometimes we’re obscenely lazy and Caviar it. I live a couple blocks from Essen and go frequently for what I tell myself will be one pastry OR one bagel (Tova’s bagels are my favorite in town) and usually becomes one pastry AND one bagel.
Joy Manning, editor of Edible Philly: I really made an effort to cook at home more in 2018, but I still had a few standbys: Noord (practically on my doorstep), V Street (always a vegan treat), Hardena (standby status for life), and Lolita, which I found myself going to more often this year. It’s one of those places that’s easy to overlook but it is super consistent.
Drew Lazor, Philadelphia-based freelance writer and author of Session Cocktails (Ten Speed Press, May 2018): Al Zaytouna, American Sardine Bar, Dana Mandi, Palizzi Social Club, Res Ipsa Cafe, Shiao Lan Kung, Square Pie, and Tai Lake.
Sarah Maiellano, food and travel freelance writer for local and national outlets, including Eater: I loved getting lunch at Middle Child and J’aime French Bakery in my neighborhood this year. Just like last year, I still order Goldie (and those shakes!) with my vegan sister pretty often and pop into Alice for $2 worth of pizza on my way home from work.
Regan Stephens, Philadelphia magazine managing editor and Food & Wine contributor: We have three young daughters, so for now, most standbys are spots with (ahem) a livelier vibe. The girls love Honey’s on South, and Spice Finch has a great kid-friendly brunch, with a smoothie bowl and pancakes with orange blossom maple syrup that are a hit with everyone. My husband and I end up at the bar at Vernick for cocktails and crab toast a lot. It’s one of our all-time favorite spots in the city.