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Philadelphia Restaurants

City Tavern

  • 138 S. 2nd St. Map It
  • American

Updated 05/19/2011

Fodor's Review

You can time-travel to the 18th century at this authentic re-creation of historic City Tavern, where the atmosphere suggests that Founding Fathers such as John Adams, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and the rest of the gang might have dined here (they didn't; the restaurant was built under the supervision of the National Park Service in 1994, to the specifications of the original 1773 tavern). The food is heavy and rich—West Indies pepper-pot soup, Martha

Washington's turkey potpie, and braised rabbit are prepared from enhanced period recipes and served on handsome Colonial-patterned china or pewter. Happily all is not authentic—the restaurant makes good use of refrigeration and electricity. Reservations are recommended.

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Restaurant Information

Address:

138 S. 2nd St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19106, United States

Map It

Phone:

215-413–1443

Restaurant Details:

  • Credit cards accepted

Updated 05/19/2011

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Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating

By Kingo

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Oct 19, 2008

An historic evening

While visiting Philly, we decided to eat as our ancestors did and tried City Tavern. The old world entrees were declious and the Sweet Potato Biscuits are to die for! The atmosphere was just right;I recomend taking a step back in time for an enjoyable evening.

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Feb 5, 2008

A Philadelphia Story

I met some colleagues here for dinner a week or so ago. I work in Philadelphia, but had never been to the restaurant before. I had heard about it from friends and coworkers. I've also seen the chef on TV from time to time. I thought it was time to give the place a shot and made dinner reservations for my friends and I. While I was a bit apprehensive after walking in the door and seeing servers in period costumes, eventually there was no denying

that we were all eager to eat and drink like a true patriot. We started off in the small tavern area with a few beers - a few strong beers brewed from the original recipes of our founders. Later during dinner we were treated to some history and delicious food like the duck and pot pie. I would recommend that everyone try this place at least once. It may not be an ideal dining location for all, but it will definitely be a historical experience.

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Feb 25, 2007

Perfect for Colonial Times

The atmosphere, the wait staff, the menu, even the spirits were a perfect throwback to Colonial times. The pot pies were supurb (my wife had turkey, I had a lobster and shrimp special). Looking forward to our return to the City of brotherly love.

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Feb 19, 2007

Philadelphia Visit

I visited Philadelphia and the City Tavern recently. My family and I had reservations for around 6:30PM. We arrived a bit early as we walked from our hotel that was right up the street. I had heard about this restaurant from a friend of mine that visited the city early last year. He said we should try to take the kids there for at least a walk through, but the food was definitely worth the trip all by itself. The kids menu was a perfect fit for

my picky family. They loved the colonial pot pie and chicken fingers. While they were overjoyed with their choices my wife and I were in awe of the 'grown-ups' dinner menu. We loved our roasted duckling and the rack of lamb. Our server was quite friendly and helpful. He knew about the history of the restaurant and he was helpful in pointing us in the right direction when it came time to decide what other landmarks to visit in Philadelphia. I would recommend this restaurant to families and those without children as well. It would make a great place for a family dinner or a business luncheon.

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By lewisb

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Feb 7, 2007

Colonial Cuisine?

A few friends and myself opted for City Tavern after wandering around Old City on a Saturday afternoon. There are plenty of dining options in this area of the city, but this restaurant was truly unique in every way. Although it is a reproduction of the original City Tavern which was destroyed by fire, this historically accurate restaurant/museum provides an unmatched dining experience. The food is worthy of more words than can be used in this forum.

This place could get away with serving half-hearted dishes and ushering tourists in the front door and out the back, but it DOES NOT. The food is researched and inspired by authentic colonial recipes, and you can actually taste history. Whether it be a beer brewed from Thomas Jefferson's original recipe or a heavenly slice of Chocolate Mousse Cake (which is also derived from an original colonia recipe), City Tavern is really in a dining class all by itself.

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By Rudy

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Apr 30, 2006

Roast Duck Colonial Style

There was a party of eight of us. We had reservations and were seated immediately at 5PM on a Sunday. The atmosphere and menu is truly Colonial! We tried 6-7 different main courses and all were very good. I had the Roast Duck and it was excellent with it being cooked just right. If you're visiting Philadelphia and want to experience Colonial times, I recommend the City Tavern.

By David

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Dec 6, 2005

City Tavern - Where the food and service almost caused a revolution

My visit was a thorough disappointment. Here are the facts and you be the judge: Our table was not ready until 20 minutes after our reservation time. (Not a problem.) Our server took the order of a group seated after us and brought two groups' checks while we sat at our table. She did not come to our table until we had been seated 20 minutes. (Okay, so she's busy.) We were not offered a wine list and water and tea went unfilled.(That's okay. we we

did not need wine anyway.) There was a table of 14 people near us who were seated after, and served before, our group of 6. (What else can go wrong?) Our turkey pot pie, crab cakes, and bread arrived over cooked (nice way of saying burned) and my chicken with seasonal vegetables was cool. To their credit however, the salad and mushroom soup were well prepared. I went to this restaurant expecting the best, and unfortunately, experienced the worst. The manager's offer of a free dessert was too little, too late, so I declined. He had multiple opportunities to supervise the situation and make it right by providing good food/service up front rather than a token "freebie" after the fact, but he did not choose to do so. The $50.00 bill for food I did not eat included an 18% gratuity for service I did not receive. What the server did not know is that I routinely tip 25-30% for reasonable service. My family eats out 5 nights a week and I have never not eaten a meal in 20 years - no matter how bad the experience ...until City Tavern. Had the service been good and the food arrived on time and hot, it would have been a wonderful meal. Ly Michael's, Jim's, Gnocci, Maggiano's, Portofino's and Chili's (in Philadelphia)know how to do it right. I guess we expected too much from the City Tavern.

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By mark

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Aug 21, 2005

atomosphere is the only draw

service was questionable at best, food was average, and of course the actual building is not what you may think, but the atosphere is a positive.

By Emily

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May 20, 2005

Just like down home cookin'!

I, like another reviewer, was disappointed to discover that I wasn't really in the same dining room as George Washington, et. al., but the food was incredible. The wait staff was friendly and helpful, never overbearing. The pot pie was to die for. I think our forefathers would be pleased with this reproduction!

By James

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May 19, 2004

Venizon Sausage

I ordered the venizon sausage, not what I expected, more like an expensive frankfurter..

By Marc

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May 11, 2004

The waiters add an excellent atmosphere

This restaurant is one of my best picks for Philadelphia. I love the food, and great value! Worth the price.

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Dec 1, 2003

Very Enjoyable!

The atmosphere here is what's important! We had a fantastic waiter (wish I could remember his name) who was very helpful in guiding us to the right dishes and drinks. Skip the turkey pie, the beef pie is much tastier, the duck is good, and enjoy the libations! The Wassail is delicious, as is the Porter and the Hot Apple Cider. Very much worth a trip!

By Brad

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Jul 3, 2003

Good root beer too!

It isn't the greatest restaurant around, but you really aren't there for the food. Can't even remember what I ate there, to be honest. Very nice in summertime.

By anna

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Apr 30, 2003

Very Authentic!

Good colonial food. A little to tourist. Do sit in basement it is cold in winter!

By Rachel

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Apr 1, 2002

Lumps of Lobster to choke on ...

The ambience may be nice, but the food was atrocious - the $38 lobster pie had hunks of lobster that tasted like rubber, the mushroom bisque was watery and the service nothing to write home about. Cold vegetables and no seasoning - must be that authentic 1700s taste they're recreating.

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