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How to Eat Like a Rising Star Chef in Philadelphia

2018 Winner Camille Cogswell's Favorite Local Spots

Maggie Borden

April 13, 2018

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James Beard Rising Star Chef Award Nominee Camille Cogswell
Photo: Alexandra Hawkins

You know that cool friend who's always brimming with great restaurant recs and insider tips? We've got 'em beat: enter the 2018 James Beard Award nominees for Rising Star Chef of the Year, the best of the country's up-and-coming toques. These young innovators are changing the national dining landscape, and also happen to have a lot to say about the best places to chow down. Camille Cogswell, of Philadelphia luminary Zahav (and our newly minted 2018 winner in this category!), who first shared her go-to bars and eateries when she was nominated for Rising Star in 2017, has kept up her dining tour of the City of Brotherly Love. Read on for the latest additions to her must-try list, which include ice cream, escargot, and killer izakaya.  

Date Night

One of my new favorite places is​ Nick Elmi's​ Royal Boucherie. The tavern has a sexy, classy atmosphere and incredible French brasserie food. Don't miss their raw bar, housemade charcuterie, escargot, and the steak au poivre​. The cocktails and wine list are no slouch either.  

Ice Cream

Franklin Fountain is a recreation of an old-school soda fountain, with the outfits and antique machinery all playing their part.​ ​It seems expensive at first, but the portions are huge and the ice cream is insanely good. Weckerly's is another locally owned, small batch–style shop in town that is totally delicious. Don't miss their delectable ice cream sandwiches.

Cheap Eats

There are a ton of great casual, affordable, fast-service spots in Philly. Some of my favorites are Pho 75 for pho, Stargazy for British meat pies, El Compadre for tacos and lamb consomme, Goldie for falafel and tehina milkshakes, and Lorenzo & Sons for a pizza slice so big they give it to you on two paper plates side by side.

Late Night Drinks and Food

Royal Izakaya is one of my favorite and most frequented spots. ​The masterful ​Jesse Ito ​serves ​expert Japanese bar food until 1:00 A.M.​ From 11:00 P.M. to  1:00 A.M., he also serves a special chirashi bowl that has ​a good amount of super high-quality fish trim from the omakase sushi counter in the back of the restaurant. They also have an extensive sake​ and beverage menu, as well as frozen chūhai cocktails that are ​tons of fun. 

Favorite U.S. City to Visit

I don't have much time to travel, so the food scene I'm most familiar with outside of Philly is New York City, the last city I lived in. I would start at Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop (in Greenpoint) for breakfast, Superiority Burger (in the East Village) for lunch, Ippudo Ramen (in NoHo) for dinner, and end at The Grill/The Pool/The Lobster Room (in Midtown East) for Stephanie Prida's desserts.​

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Maggie Borden is associate editor at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.