A multi-million-dollar restoration softened the nineteenth-century industrial feel at the Water Works Restaurant, inside the former engine house of one of the nation's first drinking-water pumping stations. From the terrace, eat mezes and watch the scullers on the Schuylkill. Inside, under a vaulted ceiling or in the glass solarium, order the vanilla-butter-poached lobster.
If you like a little flamenco with your chorizo a la plancha, rising Latin chef Jose Garces's first tapas bar and restaurant, Amada, won "best new restaurant" accolades this year.
Philadelphia restaurateur Stephen Starr brought innovative dining to Philadelphia with the Continental; he hired Shawn Hausman (who did the Standard in L.A.) to design the Continental Mid-Town. On the second floor, swing from a wicker chair hanging from the ceiling, or have a drink and a smoke (still legal!) by the fireplace on the rooftop bar.
Formerly the sous-chef at Philadelphia favorite the Striped Bass, Jon Myerow recently opened his own place, Tria. The tiny café honors cheese, wine, and beer. Let the knowledgeable staff pair a hard-to-score Russian River golden ale with an aged Le Sarlet goat cheese.
Georges Perrier's Le Bec-Fin is where Philadelphian's go to celebrate very special occasions. The townhouse recalls the city's high-society past, all crystal chandeliers and gilt chairs. The menu is classic French at its best.