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Tag Archives | Craig LaBan

What's Happening in:  Passyunk Square 

Lou Boquila receives two bells for ‘rediscover[ing] his roots and redefin[ing] himself dish by dish’ at Perla

In August Perla opened its doors across from the Singing Fountain, bringing some added diversity in dining options to East Passyunk Avenue. Now that the restaurant has been open for a few months, Craig Laban stopped in to review Perla, giving it two bells.


Owner and chef Lou Boquila received praise from Craig Laban for a number of elements of the restaurant, but ultimately Laban thinks that, “Boquila may well need to dive deeper into tradition and master those flavors first, before he can truly move forward.” The restaurant is an ode to Boquila’s late-mother and combines versions of dishes she used to prepare with more modern elements.

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Laurel is now a four bell restaurant

This week The Inquirer‘s food critic, Craig Laban, released his “Ultimate Dining” guide, including his 25 favorite restaurants “from fine dining to great neighborhood gems.”

A photo posted by Laurel Restaurant (@laurelepx) on


A number of South Philly’s best were featured in the pages, but two new reviews elevate South Philly’s dining scene even further. Nick Elmi received the highly-coveted four bell spot for Laurel, along with a newly-minted three-bell review for South Philly Barbacoa.

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Nick Elmi gets another three bell review for the ‘blend of finesse and creative wit’ of ITV

Nick Elmi has done it again.

A photo posted by ITV Philly (@itvphilly) on


The Top Chef winner and owner of the highly-praised Laurel opened a new concept called ITV over the summer. Inquirer food critic, Craig Laban, has now visited the more casual restaurant and wine bar concept, located next door to Laurel at 1615 E. Passyunk Ave. Just as Laurel received a glowing three bell review in 2014, ITV has received the same three bell praise for the “blend of finesse and creative wit [that] elevates virtually every dish” at the restaurant.

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What's Happening in:  Bella Vista 

Craig Laban awards Blue Corn a two-bell review for its ‘eye for quality ingredients and distinctive specialties’

Blue Corn restaurant at 940 S. 9th St. isn’t all that new of an establishment, having opened in the Italian Market over two years ago, but the Inquirer‘s food critic has just now paid the restaurant a visit.

Blue Corn at 940 S. 9th St.

Blue Corn at 940 S. 9th St.

Craig Laban awarded the family-owned Mexican food spot a two bell review for its generally “fine blend of style and authentic substance.”

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What's Happening in:  Pennsport 

Pennsport’s South Helm receives two-bell review

Pennsport’s restaurants are on a roll. Very recently The Dutch received a two-bell review from Craig Laban, now another nearby restaurant has also received a “very good” review from The Inquirer food critic. This is a nice turnaround for these locations, which both were homes to different restaurants last year.

A photo posted by helm byob (@helmphilly) on


South Helm, the restaurant that replaced First Ward Sandwich at Front and Morris, has received a two-bell review.

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

East Passyunk Avenue’s Sate Kampar receives two bells from Craig Laban

Earlier this year a Malaysian restaurant opened on East Passyunk Avenue, adding another unique dining option to the restaurant scene.

A photo posted by HeyMichelle (@heymyc) on


Sate Kampar has now received a two bell review from The Inquirer’s food critic Craig Laban. The review covers all aspects of the restaurant at 1837 E. Passyunk Ave., from the “smokeless delicacy of their coconut shell charcoal” to the tea and coffee offerings that are the “highlight of the meal’s end.”

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What's Happening in:  Newbold 

Snyder Avenue’s Chaat and Chai receives two bell review from Laban

The “joyous riot of exotic color” that is Chaat and Chai Indian restaurant received a visit from The Inquirer’s food critic, Craig Laban. The restaurant opened at 1532 Snyder Ave. in November, serving traditional Indian street foods with a modern twist.

chaat-and-chai-12

According to Laban, this Snyder Avenue restaurant is worthy of two bells. Beyond his positive feedback on the dishes served here, he also ponders the placement of this restaurant, eventually saying that, “this welcome burst of evocative color and bright Indian street-food flavors already feels like it belongs.”

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