Whether you grew up in the suburbs or are a Philly transplant, chances are you’ve heard mixed reviews of the Main Line. The area gets a bad rep for being full of snobs, but it has a lot more to offer than a Starbucks on every corner, a Mercedes on every street, and a fully-functioning cricket club. From locally-brewed beers, to tequila flights, to authentic Irish dishes, here are 10 places that are absolutely worth getting out of town for.
Located (naturally) next door to Teresa’s Cafe, the adjacent option offers an extensive beer list that has brews like Freigeist Köpenickiade and more flavors of Lindemans than you knew existed. The spot’s emphasis on beer from around the world, as well as whiskeys from Tennessee to Japan, will have you thinking you wound up somewhere pretentious Downtown, instead of zone 3 of the Paoli/Thorndale line. The spot is also a refreshing alternative to stuffy suburban spots thanks to late night hours throughout the week (the kitchen stays open until midnight, and doors close at am everyday), as well as an eclectic food menu that serves to complement the drink list perfectly.
Save up your hard-earned dollars for a trip to this tucked-away retreat that masters high-end cuisine without sacrificing portions. It’s always comforting to find a restaurant that offers a “formal” menu full of succulent dishes like scallops, Maine lobster, and foie gras, but also a “casual” menu that offers up blue crab spinach pasta and Margherita pizza.
To the joy of Mainliners and city dwellers alike, Tired Hands has expanded its presence in Ardmore since first starting its brew pub in 2011. The initial outpost offers creatively named brews you’ll surely miss when they tap out (last winter’s Truth Bombs, for example), as well as cheese and assorted charcuterie plates. Now you can get a second Tired Hand’s experience at the airy, angelic beer heaven at Tired Hands Fermentaria, just a few blocks away. Here you’ll find some additional food options (including tacos!), up to 10 rotating beer options, and cold brew coffee on tap.
This tapas joint by the Bryn Mawr Film Institute is a grab bag of Latin-infusion delicacies, with a seemingly endless tequila list (and flights!) to choose from. If you’re merely a tequila novice, Verdad has plenty of ways for you to develop your palate with daily happy hour specials on potent margaritas, including the El Fuego, which is served to you, literally, on fire. The appetizers shouldn’t be passed over either: if you only eat one thing ever in Bryn Mawr, it should be Verdad’s strawberry habanero guacamole, which conveniently happens to taste great with tequila.
The local chain’s Ardmore outpost is further helping to make Ardmore a craft beer-happy town, observing seasonal specials and original Iron Hill brews. Enjoy beers brewed in-house, as well as a hearty menu loaded with pizzas, sandwiches, salads, and burgers. Opt for takeout, and you can grab two pizzas (like the Voodoo Chicken pizza, coated in barbecue sauce and Gouda) and a beer growler for $25.
Tango is located right by the regional rail line, which means you can get there and back with relative ease, plus depending on where you’re seated, the window by your table may fill with the sight of a moving train, which can be pretty neat/pretty terrifying depending on your love/fear of large locomotives. However, one thing that is never scary here is the menu. Opt for brunch and pick up a breakfast burrito or buttermilk pancakes, or go for dinner and choose from dishes such as sautéed scallops, an eight-oz filet, fish tacos, or a rotating lineup of small plate specials.
The seasonal restaurant’s University City outpost has two sibling locations on the Main Line, with the newer Haverford location rounding out the franchise. Every room throughout any of the locations adopts a different aesthetic, and the menu constantly changes from season to season, even offering “Early Fall” options before switching to the “Late Fall” menu. What this means is you’re getting served some of the best locally-made and sourced ingredients for fresh dishes of chicken, lamb, seafood, and more.
McCloskey’s already has a reputation for being the oldest Irish pub on the Main Line, but the food menu denotes anything but a watering hole. The long-running family business boasts a beer menu mixing a focus of local beers with popular seasonal brews from everywhere else, as well as offering bar food staples (try the potato skins) along with pasta, beef, and other dishes you normally wouldn’t trust at any other local Irish pub.
Silverspoon is another great eatery focused on local, seasonal, and sustainable ingredients, making way for plates of slow-roasted salmon, lobster risotto, and rotating bisque specials. The menu’s also outfitted with staples that aren’t going anywhere just because the weather changes, in particular the truffle popcorn that could give the Khyber’s bacon grease popcorn a very artery-clearing run for its money.
Part Japanese sushi experience, part Thai restaurant, Mikado offers both. You can either choose to sit traditionally on the floor, or post up by the bar to check out a game on their TV. Either way, the sushi and Thai food are both among the very best in the Philly area, with creative maki combos -- like the sweet and savory strawberry, honey, and shrimp Godzilla roll -- and the ability to make pretty much anything into a tempura version of its original self. Oh, and this fact isn’t limited to your dessert of choice at Mikado: fried ice cream.
1. Teresa's Cafe & Next Door Bar124 N Wayne Ave, Wayne
2. Savona Restaurant100 Old Gulph Rd, Gulph Mills
3. Tired Hands' Brewpub16 Ardmore Ave, Ardmore
4. Verdad Restaurant & Tequila Bar818 W Lancaster Ave, Bryn Mawr
5. Iron Hill Brewery124 E Kings Hwy, Maple Shade
6. Tango Bistro39 Morris Ave, Bryn Mawr
7. White Dog Cafe3420 Sansom St, Philadelphia
8. McCloskey's Bar17 Cricket Ave, Ardmore
9. The Silverspoon503 W Lancaster Ave, Wayne
10. Mikado Thai Pepper64 E Lancaster Ave, Ardmore
Looking for something new to drink every night? Teresa's Next Door Bar (conveniently located next door to her cafe) hosts Tasty Tuesday, Wine, Wednesday and Whiskey Thursday. The cafe has everything from pizza to calamari.
Savona, housed within the remains of Aaron Burr’s Revolutionary War headquarters, is an upscale Philadelphia eatery serving French-influenced, seasonal Italian food. The restaurant itself resembles a traditional shingle-roofed farmhouse, while the menu takes a more modernized approach to familiar Italian recipes. Veal ricotta meatballs and hand-drawn garganelli pasta with spicy San Marzano shrimp are highlights, while standard charcuterie options and wood-fired pizzas are reliable mainstays. In addition to boasting the largest wine cellar in Pennsylvania, Savona has a full bar, complete with mixologists ready to customize each drink.
The beer-trepreneurs behind Tired Hands just opened an industrial, two-story, weathered brick Ardmore suds-ery with eight house-brewed Belgian & French farmhouse ales on tap like the "contemplative" Guillemot and the Vulpine (w/ "nuances of lemon, cedar, and Juicy Fruit"), plus eats like the 100mi-sourced Bacon, Blue & Chutney sandwich and half-sour Whiskey Dill Pickles -- have too many and you'll likely end up with your own whiskey pickle problems.
Euro-Latin tapas and creative cocktails shine in this stylish eatery in the 'burbs. Get adventurous with a tequila flight to sample their extensive liquor menu or catch one of their two happy hour windows: one in the early evening and one later on in the night.
280-seat space with 15' ceilings and a bar that spans the entire length, opposite a string of banquette window tables offering picturesque views of some of Jersey's finest jughandles. A 10-draft system pours a rotating cast of Iron's seasonal ales, like Black IPA, German Hefeweizen, and Belgian Witbier, along with standards from Vienna Red Lager and Ironbound Ale, to Raspberry Wheat and Pig Iron Porter, which is described as chocolate-y, yet slightly bitter.
Come here for dining car-inspired booths and Mexican-American fare. Opt for brunch and pick up a breakfast burrito or buttermilk pancakes, or go for dinner and choose from dishes such as sautéed scallops, an eight-oz filet, fish tacos, or a rotating lineup of small plate specials.
The first thing you’ll notice upon entering White Dog Café is its pleasant warmth and undeniable homey-ness. The University City restaurant spans a trio of Victorian brownstones, and in a show of true Philadelphia utilitarianism, White Dog maximizes its space by providing a variety of eclectic dining rooms cheek by jowl like rooms in a dollhouse. The den is ostensibly a gallery of canine portraits (the pups all look down with big, sad eyes at the food you're eating), while the porch boasts reclaimed wood and delicate birdhouses. Most importantly, though, White Dog sources its ingredients from nearby farms, and though the food program changes monthly, you can trust that certain staples will endure: artisan cheese boards, a seasonal hummus trio with soft pita, Kennett Square mushroom soup, and, of course, heated French rolls served with honey butter.
It might be the oldest Irish pub around, but McCloskey's also offers an objectively agreeable selection of drink and eats. The space boasts a beer menu mixing local beers with popular seasonal brews from everywhere else, as well as offering bar food staples (try the potato skins) along with pasta, beef, and other dishes you normally wouldn’t trust at any other local Irish pub.
Focused on local, seasonal, and sustainable ingredients, the Silverspoon's menu is outfitted with slow-roasted salmon, lobster risotto, and rotating bisque specials. It also offers staples that aren’t going anywhere just because the weather changes, in particular the truffle popcorn that could give the Khyber’s bacon grease popcorn a very artery-clearing run for its money.
The menu is part-Thai food, part-sushi, and the restaurant is split likewise. Choose between traditional American seating, the side of the restaurant with sports playing on multiple flat-screens, or Japanese floor seating. Fried food aficionados will appreciate the tempura platter and the crunchy deliciousness with the Flamingo Roll. Oh, and there's fried ice cream.