Photo Credit: @chrisjazzcafe
Guest-written by Rushil Vishwanathan
My name is Rushil Vishwanathan and I’m a rising senior at Temple University. I’m majoring in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management and using my degree to fuel my career as a musical artist. I’ve always had a love for writing, be it through songwriting, poetry, or other avenues of creative writing. And ever since childhood, I’ve been a huge food lover. I thought, why not combine the two? So here are some of my favorite restaurants in Philly, maybe they’ll soon be your favorites too!
Rating: 4 out of 5
Description: Charlie was a sinner is a classy, vegan restaurant located on south 13th street between Walnut and Sansom street. It specializes in small plates and unique alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. With a dark ambience and cozy seating, Charlie was a sinner is the perfect spot for an intimate date night.
Photo Credit: @charlie_was
If I put pictures of all the food we ordered in this post, it would be 3 pages long, so instead here are a few of my favorites. On the left is their “Witch’s Rave” cocktail, a cool and refreshing drink with notes of cucumber, mint, and lemon. In the middle is their signature “Mediterranean Board”, with fresh grapes and olives, marinated mushrooms, toasted crostini, and spiced peanuts. And on the right are the “Charlie Sliders” and the “Korean Style Fried Tofu”, both of which brought a unique set of flavors and textures to the palette.
The service was great, and I personally loved the darker, dimmer ambience. One thing I really liked about their service style was that because their business model is focused on small plates, there’s a constant flow of food coming to you. The moment we finished the cheese board, the next appetizers were ready. The only criticism I have is that because it’s a very cozy, intimate spot, the entire restaurant is fairly small, and since the smaller tables are positioned close together, it can get a bit noisy. But other than that, Charlie was a sinner was a fantastic dining experience overall and is definitely a place I will be revisiting soon.
2. Double Knot
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Description: Double Knot is located right off of Sansom and 13th street, and is esteemed for their top notch Pan-Asian cuisine. The restaurant has 2 floors, with a cocktail lounge on top floor, and the “izakaya” (a Japanese word that roughly translates, in order, to “stay-drink-place”) section on the lower level. Committed to maintaining the “izakaya” brand they’ve created, the whole aesthetic of the restaurant is very laid back and filled with mood lighting to create a unique experience for their guests.
Photo Credit: @doubleknot_phl
Double Knot has some of the best Asian dishes I have ever had. Like Charlie was a sinner, Double Knot’s model is also centered around small plates, specializing in a wide array of sushi & sashimi, and grilled meats and vegetables cooked in the “robatayaki” style (a barbeque-esque charcoal grilling). The picture on the left captured my favorite two dishes on the menu: the Japanese fried chicken and the crispy Brussel Sprouts. Both had a great balance of acidity, salt, spice, and freshness, all of which really distinguished the food from that of other Asian restaurants that I’ve eaten at. They also had an eclectic selection of wines and cocktails. Pictured on the right is a wine I tried for the first time called “Les Dauphins Cotes du Rhone”. It was smooth with hints of black currant and complimented the whole meal really well.
Dining at Double Knot was a very pleasant experience. The servers were really kind and took the time to explain the different items on different sections of the menu, gave their personal recommendations, and brought the food out relatively quickly. The reason I gave it a rating 4.5 instead of a 5 is that the “izayaka” lower level is a smaller space with smaller tables, so making room for several small plates was tough at times. Overall, it’s a great spot for almost any occasion, be it a celebratory dinner, date night, or just a chill night out with friends. Be prepared to be amazed with the quality of food and the undying urge to order seconds…or maybe even thirds.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Description: Chris’ Jazz Cafe is a close-knit spot committed to providing an immersive culinary and musical experience for its guests. Located right off of Sansom and 15th street, the jazz cafe has been graced with world-renowned jazz musicians over the years. While you’re listening to amazing talent, you can enjoy a drink from their signature cocktail and wine menus, as well as classic southern dishes and bar food.
Chris’ Jazz Cafe’s menu is constantly changing, offering guests new seasonal flavors and drinks every so often. I went with some friends in April, and the truffle mac and cheese (pictured below) were really popular at the time. It was the perfect balance of the truffle and cheese flavors with a bit of a southern twist. Their quality is top notch, but their quantities are small and their prices high, so just make sure that if you go on an empty stomach, that you also have a full wallet 😉
Photo Credit: @ChrisJazzPhilly
I really loved the atmosphere inside the cafe. It’s cozy and intimate, just what the proper jazz experience requires, in my opinion. From the lighting to the decor to even the bathroom interior, I can really tell they were very intentional with the vision they had for the place and executed it perfectly. As you can guess, it’s a pretty loud environment, so make sure you’re not going there for a business meeting, but rather for a chill night with great food and even better music.
Photo Credit: @ChrisJazzPhilly