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“History on your plate”
Review of City Tavern

City Tavern
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Ranked #26 of 5,113 Restaurants in Philadelphia
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$8 - US$50
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Groups, Child-friendly, Special Occasion Dining, Local cuisine
Dining options: Lunch, Breakfast, Dinner, After-hours, Delivery, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighbourhood: City Centre East
Cross street: 2 nd & Walnut Streets
Transit: The Market-Frankford "El" has a stop at 2nd and Market Streets as well as the 21 & 42 bus lines drops at our door
Description: Once called "the most genteel tavern in America" by John Adams and the first unofficial "White House," Chef Walter Staib's City Tavern has boasted the finest celebrations since 1773. With over 230 years of hospitality, City Tavern has been the centerpiece of affairs now immortalized in history. An evening at City Tavern is certain to be remembered. Just imagine sampling specialties, such as pepperpot soup, colonial turkey pot pie, roast duckling, Thomas Jefferson's sweet potato biscuits paired with ales the ales of the revolution made from George Washington & Benjamin Franklin's recipes -- all served by costumed wait staff. Watch an episode of A Taste of History on PBS, our Chef Proprietor Walter Staib will give you glimpse of what we do here at City Tavern.
Reviewed 3 May 2018

First thing, this place is for tourists. The waiters are in period clothes, they sell cookbooks and DVD's from the show that the chef has on PBS, and the menu contains things like Wassail. (Which, of course, I had to try and was very happy with.) But I enjoyed it. The building and furnishings and everything make you feel like nothing has changed since the place was built. (Although it is not the original building.) The water is served in a pewter goblet that seems to keep the water extra cold and they give you an assortment of breads that were all unique and quite tasty. I got shrimp cocktail as an appetizer and the spice rub on them was very good. I got the beef pie turnover. The meat was nice and tender, the red wine sauce was flavorful and rich, and the pastry shell was light and flaky. It was delicious. For dessert I got the blackberry cheesecake. It was smooth and creamy and perfectly delightful. Our waiter, Greg, was wonderful too. He was helpful, friendly and attentive and when he had a moment where everyone had everything they needed he gave us the history of the tavern while we ate. And after lunch he was happy to recommend places I should go and things I should see while I was in Philadelphia. It was a nice afternoon, the food was really good and there were some other items on the menu that I would be interested in trying if I ever make it back to Philadelphia. But if I lived there I don't know how often I would go. I'm afraid the charm of the place could wear off over time. But if you are visiting, especially if you are there for the history, I would definitely recommend that you stop by.

Date of visit: April 2018
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank 76Bucky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 May 2018 via mobile

The food was really great at the City Tavern. My waitress Alyssa was really nice and very knowledgeable about all of the dishes on the menu and their historical significance.

Date of visit: May 2018
Thank Stephen E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 May 2018 via mobile

Alyssa served one hell of a meal. I could taste a whole history in the food. Would definitely come here again.

Date of visit: May 2018
Thank Anh V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 May 2018

As a special treat to my children on our trip to Philly, I took them to City Tavern. The food was comforting and the atmosphere was a step back into the 1700's. But what really made our visit was our waitress Alyssa. She cared for us so well. As a single mom, there is something special about someone, without even knowing it, who makes the day a little sweeter by taking care of my family and myself. She shared the story of the restaurant as well which made history come alive. The lunch was the most expensive lunch I've ever paid for but I have no regrets.

Date of visit: April 2018
    • Value
    • Service
Thank chiltonites2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 May 2018 via mobile

My husband and I had a wonderful time at City Tavern. Such rich history. We definitely recommend this on your site seeing list. Thanks so much for your time Heather...

Date of visit: April 2018
1  Thank Andrea C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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