ZAGAT: 8 Sexiest New Restaurants in Philly
By Danya Henninger
Visual appeal makes food taste better. The well-studied phenomenon isn’t restricted to how ingredients are arranged on a plate; surroundings can have a considerable impact on perception. While it’s certainly possible to find great bites in unassuming shacks or gritty hideaways, a gorgeous interior is a pleasant bonus. Here are eight new Philadelphia restaurants where stunning design provides a welcome backdrop for a delicious meal.
Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook enlisted Boxwood Architects to create an intimate yet fashionable enclave that whisks you out of Center City and into a mod-retro room reminiscent of a train station — thinkBlade Runner without the gloom. The atmosphere is enhanced by the fact that there are no exposed lighting fixtures; instead, the rethought Jewish food and interesting cocktails are served beneath a cozy glow.
Best Seat to Take in the View: If you’re with a group, try to score the mirror-ensconced, free-standing booth across from the door, where you have a vantage point of the bar and are right next to the windowed kitchen.
1623 Sansom St.; 215-867-0088
Boxwood Architects took the compact warmth of the original Midtown Village outpost of Greg Dodge’s Neapolitan pizzeria and stretched it to nearly twice the size for the University City sibling, keeping the swoop of the marble bar and close tables while weaving them through industrial-chic lattices of stainless steel and dark wood.
Best Seat to Take in the View: Step up onto the elevated booths nestled between dividers of white tile and steel mesh at the back of the space and you can glance out the window at the sidewalk seating while also taking in the scents and sounds of the semi-open kitchen and roaring wood-fired oven.
3200 Chestnut St.; 215-893-3195
Though it’s across the river in New Jersey, the design of the Jose Garces cantina is enough to make it worth a visit (fun Mexican food and drinks are just a bonus). Local star Boxwood Architects worked with NYC-based Dash Design to implement a fiesta theme throughout multiple dining rooms, complete with luchador mask wall and umbrella-splashed patio.
Best Seat to Take in the View: One of the booths at the far end of the restaurant offers a vista that includes the floating modern fireplace, the pink-beamed bar and the tree-covered outdoor terrace.
400 W. Rte. 38, Moorestown, NJ; 856-252-0300
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