Posted in Food, North America, Travels, United States

Old Timey Food at City Tavern

I know I don’t normally do food on this blog, but I really was intrigued by this restaurant.

It’s called City Tavern, and I first saw it on PBS.

City Tavern is located on 2nd Street in Philadelphia, and is further west of most of the historical sites. It was touted on PBS as a restaurant that made and served food based on recipes from the 18th century. I’m always curious about what people ate before Panera Bread and Wingstop were established, so I made a note to myself to visit this place in Philadelphia.

A little bit of history about this restaurant (which you can also find on the City Tavern website, linked here):

  • This restaurant isn’t the original. It’s built on the site of the original Tavern, but the original building was damaged in a fire in 1834, and then the remainder demolished in 1854.
  • Some of the delegates of the First Continental Congress met at the Tavern in 1774.
  • POW and military courts were held in the building between 1776 and 1777.

Apparently, they also have a gift shop on site, which I am slightly upset that I missed.

First impression — it’s dark. We went for dinner. If you haven’t noticed already, I have issues with dark, unfamiliar places. Maybe it’s because I watch too much TV, but I get uneasy if I don’t know were the exits are and if I can’t see clearly. On the other hand, I think it adds to the theme of the restaurant. I got a small sense of what it was like to live by candlelight.

The Sibling and I shared the crab cakes, which I believe were good. I definitely would have remembered if they were not. I had the Colonial Turkey Pot Pie, only because I really like chicken pot pies and I thought this would be similar. It’s not really. The sauce inside the pie was much more runny than I’m used to, and I didn’t really like all of the mushrooms in it (which I take full responsibility for because I didn’t read the ingredients). I did like the crust of the pie — it was quite flaky and made the sauce more bearable for me. I could have used some hot sauce, but I didn’t find any on the table, and I wasn’t sure if there was Tabasco back in the 18th century.

I’m not much of a drinker, but I HIGHLY recommend trying the Ales of the Revolution sampler. Don’t worry, they taste just like cider. They’re brewed based on recipes of the times, and it comes with a little postcard describing each drink. If you want to keep them straight, keep each glass in its respected place. I mixed up the two middle tones several times. I don’t know anything about beer tasting, but I thought it was a great novelty.

Overall, I really liked my experience at City Tavern. I would recommend to just try it out simply for the novelty of an 18th century meal. For more information, check out the website that I linked above, or look for A Taste of History on PBS (which is the show I watched).

Have you been to City Tavern? What are your thoughts?


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