Jamonera Tapas

Jay Lloyd / KYW Newsradio

Getaway Guide: Sampling global eats for American tastes - near home

June 20, 2018 - 1:11 pm

By Jay Lloyd

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- I'm not fond of the word "Fusion" on a restaurant menu. It suggests a hodge-podge and says, "We're conflicted." What it means is that we want to capture all the business for a variety of foreign foods so we're blending everything that falls within a broad category - most often, Asian. I prefer one country, done well, at reasonable prices and for American tastes. So, here's a sampling of where I go in and around Philadelphia for......

ITALIAN - SPASSO 

Counting Italian restaurants in Philadelphia would take enough time to span a career. But when choosing one, I gravitate to Spasso in Media. They also have an Old City location. The attraction is Old World atmosphere and a bacon infused red sauce that launches cravings at the thought. The Spasso menu balances between Mediterranean Bronzino, tender veal, Italian takes on chicken and handmade pastas. Moderate pricing lives here along with a friendly suburban bar.

Spasso
Jay Lloyd / KYW Newsradio

SPANISH - JAMONERA 

Come for the Happy Hour Tapas, Estrella beer and Sangria. But save room for the Paella. Sometimes that's hard to do since Happy Hour extends to 7 p.m. and the Tapas are just too tempting. Spanish hams, the Jamon in the name, along with imported Manchego laced cheese boards for sharing add to the bar crowd attraction. While the menu is varied, don't miss the Paella with its flavor bursting crust. Moderate pricing and a Center City location that's ideal for Jefferson Station commuters.

Jamonera Tapas
Jay Lloyd / KYW Newsradio

GERMAN - SCHULTHEIS CARRIAGE HOUSE 

What do you get when a German restaurant owner marries a culinary talented Italian? It's not a gag. You get Schnitzel and Schnitten paired with Caesar salad and Saltimbocca. Then, of course, the smoked salmon Latkes. Head for this more rural than suburban setting at lunch or evening for sipping and supping at their popular Biergarten.

schultheis carriage house
Jay Lloyd / KYW Newsradio

IRISH - PLOUGH AND STARS 

Old City has become a restaurant hub that the KYW crew discovered when the studios lived in the neighborhood. Plough and Stars was a favorite whenever the pub mood struck. A good selection of Irish and local craft beers are on tap, including the slowly drawn Guinness. For lunch or dinner, I can't steer away from the rich Guinness stew. But my tablemates clean the plates of Shepherd's Pie or Fish and Chips. Reasonable pricing prevails.

CHINESE - ABACUS 

Abacus has been around as long as I can remember. It's parked in a busy shopping center at 363 and Sumneytown Pike near Lansdale and it does not have a web page. But if you really, really enjoy Cantonese food for American tastes, this could be your spot. All the popular dishes populate the menu along with unique takes on more complex plates. For a warm weather treat, try the sesame noodle and chicken salad. Peking Duck is an attraction. Pricing is on the low end of moderate.

Abacus
Jay Lloyd / KYW Newsradio

THAILAND - THAI L' ELEPHANT 

So, how hot is hot? Thai restaurant spices can often be quite bold. If a dish looks interesting, talk to staff. They'll match you with some pallet pleasure whether you want the burn or to cool it. But the basic flavors at this comfy eatery in the heart of Phoenixville's restaurant revolution leave a lingering and satisfying tang. The broad variety of Thai inspired cooking here comes in at very moderate pricing.

Thai L' Elephant
Jay Lloyd / KYW Newsradio

Thanks to both our new and multi generational immigrant families, American food options in the Philadelphia area are still growing with more ethnic flavors being added to mix. This is just a small sampling. There's more to come as our tastes continue to evolve.

Bon Appetite!