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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Soak Up the Art Scene in Philadelphia

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2. Where to Eat


Melograno (left) serves Roman cuisine in a cozy setting; the dramatic dining room at Zahav (right).  

Watch James Beard Award–winning chef Michael Solomonov cook your ten-course tasting menu ($90) from a seat at Zahav’s new Kitchen Counter, where you’ll try innovative Israeli dishes like a salad of heirloom tomatoes, pistachio ice cream, and purslane; or veal tongue with plums and cabbage. Only eight spots are available per weekend (book on the first of the previous month), but the family-style Mesibah menu ($48 per person), featuring whole roasted lamb shoulder, is an equally worthwhile undertaking.

Arrive before 8 p.m. for a seat at refined pub Stateside, which doesn’t take reservations on Friday or Saturday. Its experimental small plates and list of more than 50 American whiskeys have attracted a growing clientele since opening last November, especially after the chef won a Best of Philly award from Philadelphia Magazine. The seasonal menu features lots of pickled vegetables, rich meats, and house-made cheese; think duck terrine with melon-rind pickle ($10) or golden-beet soup with smoked trout ($9).

Pick up a bottle of wine at the local state store (the only place wine is sold in Pennsylvania) before dinner at longtime neighborhood favorite Melograno, a welcoming Italian BYOB near Rittenhouse Square. Roman chef Gianluca Demontis cooks trattoria classics in the open kitchen, like light sautéed lemon calamari ($12) or earthy paparadelle with wild boar ragout ($18) while his wife greets guests and maintains the convivial atmosphere.


Published on Aug 31, 2012 as a web exclusive.

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