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“Wonderful, not touristy, experience”
Review of City Tavern

City Tavern
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Ranked #15 of 4,370 Restaurants in Philadelphia
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $8 - $30
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Large groups, Families with children, Romantic, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Lunch, Breakfast, Delivery, Reservations
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.
Seattle, WA
Level Contributor
39 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Wonderful, not touristy, experience”
Reviewed April 21, 2013 via mobile

We had dinner the other night at the City Tavern. Yes, we were tourists, but we didn't feel we were in any sort of tourist trap. Yes, the staff was dressed in colonial era attire, but they acted quite normally. Our waiter was as well I formed about the menu as any other waiter in any trendy restaurant. The decor appeared authentic and it felt special to dine in a place where so many historical figures spent time.

The food was good. It did not try to be cutting edge, but was very well prepared. We had crab cakes, pepper pot soup, sausages and venison. I would go back even if it weren't a historic venue. All that being said, it was a bit on the pricy side. Beer for almost $8 and wines up to $5000, with most drinkable ones. Starting well north of $50. The entrees were also priced more like they were in New York or San Francisco. But then Philadelphia isn't Iowa. So all things considered, go for it if you're tourists like us.

Visited April 2013
Thank sewardpark_traveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,162 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Pittsburgh, PA USA
Level Contributor
58 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“Good Ale, fun to pretend you are from colonial times”
Reviewed April 20, 2013 via mobile

Wait staff is dress in colonial garb and act out their part of the time period. Beer is from revolutionary items, ( very tasty sampler) which waiter explained was "Thomas Jeffersons" etc original brew..fun to just play along and get in the spirit of Philadelphia. Portion size was gigantic and good. I was attending a conference in Philadelphai so we had over 10 at our table and service was excellent. We had fun! Waiter even hailed us 3 cabs in the rain.

Visited April 2013
Thank BobbiKolonay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Galveston, Texas
Level Contributor
61 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“History Lite”
Reviewed April 16, 2013

While City Tavern is a faithful recreation of a 1772 pub, it's a little too theme-parky. The servers in period costumes are friendly, but food definitely takes a back seat to atmosphere. I started with a mushroom soup that was way too salty, and had a beef pie that came out burned. A nearby table complained about the same thing, and pointed out that the menu called it "golden brown crust" while hers was black. The servers gave her a dessert to apologize, so at least they're responsive to the kitchen's mistakes. Seems like the chef is coasting on the success of his TV show and not paying close attention to what's coming out of the kitchen.

Visited April 2013
Thank ironista
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Level Contributor
32 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed April 14, 2013

It was so good for dinner, went for lunch the next day. I suggest going for dinner for the full effect. The breads are really interesting and wonderful. Turkey pot pie dinner portion is HUGE and wonderful...I saw a smaller portion at lunch time. Great salads at lunch but again, I suggest going for dinner. Great kids menu. Interesting atmosphere and great menu choices. HIgh quality food. I even purchased the cookbook which is spectacular. Bravo to the Chef!

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Mom016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“A wonderful, tasty "mid-scale" restaurant inthe heart of Philly. Great classic food!!!”
Reviewed April 12, 2013

Wonderful historical location. Kind and attentive staff. Great food!!! The manager is a very nice gentleman. You can tell the professional service comes from the top down. We will definitely be back.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank eubanksoilsc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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