24 August 2001

city tavern

Restaurant Review: As part of freshman orientation, we took a bunch of kids to the City Tavern and on a "ghost tour" of Old City and Society Hill. So a few words about the Tavern.

In 1774 John Quincy Adams said the City Tavern was "the most genteel tavern in America." And it was at the Tavern that the US Constitution was really written over tankards of beer around its wooden tables. Today the City Tavern recreates the colonial atmosphere with a menu of items that would be easily recognized by our American forefathers, a wait-staff in 18th century costume, and original and reproduction furnishings.

Our meal included iced tea, turkey pot pie, Jefferson's biscuits, and noodles. The pot pie was the best, served piping hot - a creamy broth full of large pieces of turkey, vegetables, and a light, buttery puff-pastry crust. Jefferson's biscuits - a quick bread with molasses, ginger, and pecans - received mixed reviews, though personally I thought they were rather good. The noodles, however, were room temperature and a bit sticky, though perhaps that was the colonial custom. The rest of menu includes various authentic dishes from venison to relishes to a good selection of ales.

While colonial cuisine is perhaps not to everyone's liking, as part of understanding colonial Philadelphia, the City Tavern is an enjoyable dining experience.

Rating: ××× (out of ××××)
Location: Corner of 2nd and Walnut (across from Bookbinders)
Price: Moderate-Expensive
Serving: Lunch and Dinner; banquets; receptions
Other: Outdoor seating; costumed staff; haunted bar-room