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The Critics Face Off on Walnut Street Café

Reviews are in for the new all-day restaurant Is the new Walnut Street Café in University City a game-changer or aggressively dull? It depends which Philly food critic you talk to. Craig LaBan reviewed the all-day eatery, set on the ground floor of the new FMC tower just over the Schuylkill from Center City, and it’s safe to say he’s a fan. Show More Summary

Philly Mag Critic Breaks the Rules at Palizzi Social Club

Plus, Craig LaBan finds his favorite chicken nuggets and Emily Teel is optimistic about Baril — Restaurant reviewers aren't supposed to write about what it's like inside Palizzi Social Club, a members-only restaurant in South Philly originally opened 100 years ago for immigrants from the Italian town of Vasto. Show More Summary

Philly Mag Critic Doesn’t Want Tourists to Know About ‘Scrappy’ Res Ipsa

Plus, Craig LaBan is pleased with the new Friday Saturday Sunday — Philadelphia magazine’s Jason Sheehan paid a visit to Res Ipsa, which opened a few months ago at 2218 Walnut from Mark Corpus and Mark Capriotti of ReAnimator Coffee and Tyler Akin of Stock. Show More Summary

Two Critics Agree: Garces’ 24 is Good, Not Great

And Res Ipsa hits the gnocchi out of the park — It’s a critical party at Jose Garces’ newest restaurant, 24 (full name: 24 Wood Fired Fare), as both the Inquirer’s Craig LaBan and the Courier-Post’s Emily Teele drop by and both offer kind words to the Schuylkill River-adjacent spot, open since last November. Show More Summary

Panorama’s Italian Eats Are at Their Peak, Writes Critic

And a new recommendation for your sushi list — Old City Italian wine venue Panorama might be two-point-five decades old, but Inquirer critic Craig LaBan dubs it better than ever — the credit seems to fall partly on new-ish chef Matthew Gentile (ex-Lacroix at The Rittenhouse) and the restaurant’s recent no-expense-spared makeover. Show More Summary

New Crop of Four-Bell Restaurants Announced

Craig LaBan’s got some new favorites to tell you about A month ago, two weeks went by without a review from Inquirer critic Craig LaBan. His reason? “Been working on a big project”, he said in response to a curious reader on Twitter....Show More Summary

Ritz-Carlton’s Aqimero Hasn’t Been Able to Muster Up Even a Single Star

Plus, Mission Taqueria gets the two-bell treatment Two weeks ago, Inquirer critic Craig LaBan tore the Ritz-Carlton’s new Richard Sandoval restaurant Aqimero to shreds. The “execution is uninspired,” he wrote. “In a town that mastered...Show More Summary

Top-Chef Winner Nick Elmi Brings ‘Wit and Creativity’ to East Passyunk with ITV

Craig LaBan gave the new wine bar-small plater three bells Snagging three bells from Inquirer critic Craig LaBan is a tough task, and doing it twice in a row is a feat. But Nick Elmi, Philly’s most recent Top Chef winner, is no stranger...Show More Summary

No Bells in Sight for Aqimero in the Ritz-Carlton

Plus, Adam Erace thinks Kanella Grill is 2016’s best new Center City restaurant For the first time in a very long time, Inquirer critic Craig LaBan published a zero-bell review. This time, it was of the ever-so-hyped, ritzy and glamorous, coastal Latin restaurant Aqimero inside the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Show More Summary

Restaurant Critic Asked His Wife for One Minor Novel Tweak

Author's hubby is longtime Philadelphia Inquirer staffer Craig LaBan.

Technology Wire: Jose Garces' Volver Serves Guests Cell Phone Chargers on Actual Silver Platters

The prix-fixe tasting menu at chef Jose Garces's Philadelphia restaurant Volvér provides quite a spectacle (read Bill Addison's review here), but a recent review by the Philadelphia Inquirer's Craig LaBan reveals an additional, jarring element — the presentation of...

Week in Reviews: Avance Edition: Inquirer critic Craig LaBan files a...

Inquirer critic Craig LaBan files a tepid two bell review (out of four) of Avance, Justin Bogle's restaurant in the former Le Bec Fin space in Philadelphia. On the restaurant's famed address and high prices: "The steep cost raises expectations...

Week in Reviews: Top Chef Winner Nick Elmi Gets Three Bells from Inquirer

Laurel, Philadelphia. Everything's coming up Nicholas Elmi: After winning Top Chef this week, the Philadelphia chef has just earned an impressive three bells (out of four) from the Inquirer's Craig LaBan for Laurel, which opened in November. LaBan is...

PM Listage: Sietsema's Year in Sandwiches; Airline Food Taking Off?

Jayde Fuzion, Las Vegas. · Robert Sietsema Looks Back at His Year in Sandwiches · Is Airline Food Taking Off? · Michael Bauer on Way Some SF Spots Didn't Make His Top 10 of 2013 · Craig LaBan's Year...

Week in Reviews: Ocean Prime in Philadelphia: Inquirer restaurant critic Craig LaBan reviews...

Inquirer restaurant critic Craig LaBan reviews Ocean Prime in Philadelphia and, finding "stunning mediocrity," he gives it zero bells (bells = stars, don't ask). Lobster bisque was "thick and bland"; steak was "pale gray and char-free"; and Chilean sea bass...

Week in Reviews: Philadelphia Inquirer restaurant critic Craig LaBan...

Philadelphia Inquirer restaurant critic Craig LaBan filed this week on Serpico, the new Philadelphia restaurant from ex-Momofuku Ko chef Peter Serpico. And he liked it a lot: "Serpico is already evolving into one of the city's most compelling restaurants. The...

The Critics: It seems like Philadelphia Inquirer critic...

It seems like Philadelphia Inquirer critic Craig LaBan's gripes with Le Bec-Fin 2.0 haven't fallen on deaf ears. In his review, LaBan called the decor of the restaurant "funereal" and suggested that the new owners of the famed Philly restaurant...

Dock Street Truffled Old Ale

Getting caught up on my blogging after a loooong ten days or so of action-packed stuff. First up was the Dock Street Truffled Old Ale release; we got an advance tasting at the Four Seasons on January 23rd (Craig LaBan got an even advanceder tasting, and wrote this). Show More Summary

Critic: ‘You can’t underestimate how the change in technology has changed food writing’

Poynter.org “We got these new iPhones and I feel the power,” writes longtime Philadelphia Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan. “I’m at a table I can snap pix and write a few funny words and post it and there you are.… Read more

Craig LaBan Gets It (and Kraftwork does too)

I'm back from vacation (more on that later), back from an absolute crapstorm of work that piled up while I was burying my father and recovering from that, back from Tales of the Cocktail (more on that, too), and I've been going through all the stuff that happened while I was away: the whole BrewDog super-beer thing (Eh. Show More Summary

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