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“Touristy, but very fun” 4 of 5 stars
Review of City Tavern

City Tavern
138 S 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106 (City Center East)
(215) 413-1443
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Ranked #15 of 3,786 Restaurants in Philadelphia
Price range: $21 - $30
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Romance, Large groups, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Delivery, Late Night, Dessert
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: City Center 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.
Savannah, Georgia
Top Contributor
321 reviews 321 reviews
163 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 155 cities Reviews in 155 cities
135 helpful votes 135 helpful votes
“Touristy, but very fun”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2013 via mobile

We visited City Tavern on a recent visit to Philadelphia and Independence National Park. Although there is nothing specifically historic about the building, the site and recipes harken back to the founding fathers. I had Ben Franklin's chicken from Paris and a glass of Thomas Jefferson's favorite beer. As we were told at Christ Church, "it's touristy, but hey, you're tourists". If I go back, I will get the Pot Pie. I especially enjoyed the water in the pewter mugs, what a fun concept. This is well worth a visit, especially if you love history and are visiting Independence National Park.

Visited July 2013
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1,334 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
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English first
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Unfortunately, it is what you think it is”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2013

I was hoping this was not going to be the typical period food restaurant with historic atmosphere but mediocre food, but that is what it is. The setting is historic and we sat on a beautiful veranda. The yard ales are excellent and I would recommend the sampler. The crab cakes and fried oysters were of applebees quality. The pepperpot soup was over salted by 50% . My pork chop was almost inedible as were the mashed potatoes which were cold and lumpy. My daughters tenderloin was above average and the kid's menu is quite good.

Basically, if you are looking for the historic feeling and decent meal for the kids, and willing to put up with mediocre adult meal then you could do worse

  • Visited August 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
delco,pa
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
53 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
73 helpful votes 73 helpful votes
“Great but way overpriced”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2013

I was just here on last week with my gf.

I had the salmon with mashed potatoes. She had the turkey pot pie .The pot pie was excellent. The salmon was good but it appeared a little overcooked and not as fresh as other restaurants.

The food and service was impeccable. Food came out quickly and the waitress was terrific…. I love drinking out of the pewter mugs.

They had a nonalcoholic Shrub drink that had real fruit mixed with seltzer water. ( similar to Italian sodas) It was excellent.



The only problems I have for this restaurant is:

1. Price :For almost $30 the salmon was 2 SMALL and thin pieces overtop some mashed potatoes.
I was just in a restaurant in King of Prussia with over twice as much salmon for a few dollars less. The Shrub drink- for a small, non-alcoholic/ non refillable drink was 5 dollars. It still tasted great.

2. False Advertising.. ON the front and everywhere else it says City Tavern: Established 1773.. This is not true. The first building was built in 1773. It was demolished in the mid 1800s and rebuilt in 1975. It is over 90% accurate but It would have been nice to actually eat in a historical building that is not YOUNGER than myself! It’s a reproduction, nothing more. It was a real letdown learning this.

Still the outfits the servers wear makes you feel like authentic .

I have been here a few times in the last 4 years and never had a truly bad experience. I recommend it but its not perfect for the reasons I listed above. If you can afford to spend $200 on 2 people, go ahead.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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ChefStaib, Owner at City Tavern, responded to this review, August 5, 2013
I am sorry that you feel we falsely advertise City Tavern. As you learned from our signs and pamphlets, we clearly tell people that the National Park Service recreated City Tavern and it was opened in celebration of America's bicentennial in 1976. We make no attempts to misinform our guests that the original CIty Tavern was established in 1173 and played an important role in the Revolutionary era in Philadelphia, which is why the National Park Service chose to recreate it. The building belongs to the Department of Interior of the United States, which is written on our information and on signage in front of the building.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsgrove, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Food and Atmosphere”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2013

The historical aspect of this location was the driving force for our visit, however, the food and service was outstanding. We will visit this resturant again.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charleston, South Carolina, United States
1 review
“fabulous experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

The meal was fabulous as well as the service. It is such an interesting place with lots of history. Paul Revere ended his famous ride here and the First Continental Congress met here. They also have recreated a beer recipe that belonged to George Washington.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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