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“Lots of ambience”
Review of City Tavern

City Tavern
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Ranked #13 of 4,466 Restaurants in Philadelphia
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $8 - $40
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Families with children, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Large groups
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Late Night, 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.
Reviewed April 25, 2013

My husband and I went to City Tavern for our wedding anniversary. I had seen Chef Staib on A Taste of History on PBS and was enthralled by him cooking on an open hearth as they did in Colonial times. The menus were interesting, so I bought the City Tavern cookbook and was very impressed with the recipes.
We very much enjoyed our evening. The decor and ambience seem very authentic (but how would I know for sure), the service was very good, and the food was delicious. The menu isn't typical of this area but had lots of choices.
My husband had one of his favorites, lamb chops, and he very much enjoyed them. I had a special, linguini with shrimp, clams, and mussels. It had lots of seafood, and I couldn't finish the pasta. The créme brûlée was also delicious. They also have specialty drinks from Colonial times: beers, ales, and others. I enjoyed a raspberry shrub with champagne.
We enjoyed our evening a lot and are happy we chose City a tavern for our special day.

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Thank BetseyBrown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,788 - 2,792 of 3,461 reviews

Reviewed April 24, 2013

This restaurant is an on-site reproduction of the original City Tavern where the members of the Continental Congress met for libation after a hard day of revolutionary activities. Look for a buy one get one free entree coupon in the area map brochure at the visitors center.

Thank CT-traveler137
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 22, 2013

For our trip to Philadelphia, my wife specifically wanted to go to a historic restaurant with people in colonial garb serving period food and drink. During her research, she found that the City Tavern met this criteria. Today's City Tavern is a (mostly) faithful recreation of the historic Tavern which existed on the site from 1772 until 1834. The City Tavern served as a gathering place for many of the nation's founders during the Revolutionary War, and the debates over the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The current version of the City Tavern was commissioned to be part of the Independence National Historic Park in downtown Philadelphia and opened in 1976. Since 1994, it has been operated by Walter Staib under the auspices of the National Park Service.
We got got our tickets to tour Independence Hall and had a few hours to wait in the middle of the day, so we decided to take in a late lunch at the City Tavern. It is a short walk from Independence Hall and easy to find. Once we were seated, our server gave a short talk for on the history of the Tavern, as well as its current incarnation and their efforts to keep it authentic. Our server was very knowledge and did a good job. After the talk, she came over and took our drink orders. My wife went with a raspberry shrub (a popular colonial drink of macerated raspberries and water) with rum. I tried it, and it was quite refreshing, if a bit sweeter than I prefer. They also offer a number of beers based on colonial recipes - I had the George Washington Porter, which was really good (I ordered a second one).
The City Tavern is definitely not a fast-food place, so allow at least an hour and a half for lunch. Our server brought a selection of breads while we waited – the sweet potato bread is excellent. The food is definitely worth the wait. My wife had the Roasted Duckling – a perfectly cooked duck breast, thigh and leg with a clover honey glaze, chutney and asparagus over herbed barley. I had the Braised Rabbit – a marinated and braised rabbit leg in a mushroom-vegetable and red wine sauce with egg noodles. Rabbit can be a bit gamey, but it pairs perfectly with the red wine sauce. It is prepared and served in a cast-iron pan, which is a rustic but effective presentation.
We eat out fairly often (although I usually don't write restaurant reviews), but there aren't a lot of meals which I could describe as truly memorable. This was one of them. The food was amazing and the whole experience was wonderful. Our meal for 2 came to $63.01, plus tip, which is expensive for a lunch. But considering the experience and everything we had, it was well worth it. This is a restaurant that is worth going out of your way for.

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Thank appellatereview
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 21, 2013

We wanted to experience as much of Philadelphias history as possible and took the trolley to this historic spot. Great ambiance,servers in period costume and some period dishes as well. But we found the service slow,food a little lacking and long wait for a check. Beer flight was a nice touch.

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Thank Robert B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 21, 2013

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.

Thank sewardpark_traveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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