Philadelphia has a reputation for being one of the most progressive cities in the United States of America, being a historic city with thriving industry, commerce and culture. This includes its culinary scene, which is going to be detailed in this article.
History and iconic Philadelphia foods
Philadelphia food has been (and is being) largely shaped by its rich history, particularly the variety of ethnicities that have influenced the city and do this till date. Due to Philadelphia, being a very popular meeting place for businessman and politicians in the 18th century, city taverns prospered and were able to experiment with different foods. The 19th century saw the emergence of two Philadelphia culinary landmarks-Reading Terminal Market and Italian Market.
Both of these to this day encourage the growth of the local food industry as they comprise of many different independent grocery shops, butchers, bakeries, cheese shops and many others.
Iconic Philadelphia foods
In the Philadelphia of the 1930s, the ‘cheese steak’ was invented and it is now the most well-known gastronomic icon of the bustling city. The cheese steak is a long baguette, filled with a steak onto which melted cheese is placed. Philadelphia is also known for the soft pretzel. This is a doughier, softer variant of the pretzel-a knot-shaped savoury or (more commonly) sweet snack made from dough and often, particular seasoning and decoration.
Restaurants in Philadelphia
Restaurant scene revival
However, in the two or three decades following the Second World War, Philadelphia restaurants were in sharp decline (largely, because the widespread migration to the suburbs was increasingly leaving fine dining to only be enjoyed in private clubs and dinner parties). The city saw a general renaissance of sorts from the 1970s onwards, and nowhere was this more keenly felt than in the restaurant scene. Restaurants today Haute cuisine French restaurants, the Panetiere and Le Bec Fin (‘fine palate’) opened in the early 1970s (after an initial split from by the respective owners from a joint venture). The latter is still in operation and doing very well indeed, posting impressive profits and being frequently rated as five stars in the Mobil Travel Guide, even ‘America’s finest French restaurant’. The restaurants of Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton Philadelphia hotels are also very well regarded, the latter boasting ‘creations that will inspire even the most discerning palates’.