City Tavern

4.4
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2688 Reviews
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$30 and under
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American
Chef Staib is well known from his fifteen time Emmy® Award winning program A Taste of History®, where he brings culinary history to your home. It all started over 25 years ago when Staib brought his philosophy to City Tavern with well prepared recipes based on tried and true traditions, not trends, made fresh daily from scratch. City Tavern has boasted the finest celebrations since 1773, the location of the first Independence Day celebration called "the most genteel tavern in America", by John Adams and the first unofficial "White House.” Over 230 years of hospitality, City Tavern has been the centerpiece of affairs immortalized in history. An evening at City Tavern will be remembered. Imagine sampling pepperpot soup, colonial turkey pot pie, roast duckling, Thomas Jefferson's sweet potato biscuits paired with ales which are the ales of the revolution made from Washington & Franklin's recipes -- all served by costumed wait staff.
What 2688 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.3
service
4.6
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Quiet
88% of people would recommend it to a friend
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AA
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We brought our young girls (2 and 5) during a short stay in Philly. It was perfect- the staff was extremely friendly and accomodating, the food was delicious, and the atmosphere was charming without being kitschy. SO glad we picked this spot, highly recommend!

HH
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food4service5ambience5

The historical atmosphere was a wonderful addition to a good meal. Although it was difficult to read the menu because of limited lighting. The food was good. The portions are on the larger size. However, it is overpriced. I had a better experience during lunch time.

SW
Philadelphia
15 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food4service5ambience5

My wife ordered the beef tenderloin tips which she said were really good. I ordered the turkey pot pie. This was very tasty but there was not a lot of turkey in it which was a bit disappointing. My kids ordered chicken tenders. One kid ate but the other wouldn’t because there was no ranch for her tenders. No Ranch dressing at a restaurant???

M
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A wonderful evening in a historic building. Our waiter was perfect- helpful, and friendly. Our meals were delicious- I had the salmon and it was cooked perfectly. Everyone was happy with their selection.

JB
Philadelphia
9 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Love this place, especially when out of town folks are visiting! Every time we go back, we hope that Walter Staib will be wandering around so we can say hi!

OT
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Third time dining there, always walk away delighted.

JB
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Had great character. Food was very good. Will go back and bring friends with me

JW
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We came to celebrate our first Valentine’s Day after getting married. I didn’t want to go on the actual holiday, so we went the day after.
Just as I requested, we had a seat off to the side in a nice cozy section.
Our waiter, Harris was so personable and very accommodating.
As a manager to over 70 employees, I always take notice of great or poor customer service while away from working.
Not only was Harris a delight to us, I noticed him with all of his other guests and he was the same.
You seafood pot pie was delicious and STUFFED with SO much seafood, it’s worth the price.
Harris was stunned that I finished it all and we had a great laugh as he came to the table with a to go container.
I HAD to eat the whole thing because I could see a way to carry it out, since the breading crust spills over the bowl.
The beer sampler is an excellent price and generous size glasses.
Comfort food needed for a snowless winter, great service and drinks.
We will always return.

James and Joy

TM
Philadelphia
4 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall2food2service2ambience2

Sat in the basement by the entrance to the kitchen.
Room was extremely cold and one of our chairs was broken.
Slow drink and food service.
Food was average.
First time at this restaurant and we had higher expectations.

w
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We love the City Tavern. I had the Lobster pie and my wife had the Venison. We had the Basil Shrimp and Mushroom Toast apps. The mushroom toast was amazing with mushrooms in a Bearnaise type sauce over a garlicky toast. Lobster pie full of big pieces of lobster and some shrimp. Love the homemade bread bowl. The one bread is from Jefferson's recipe and is made with Sweet potatoes. I had one of the colonial Yards beers too. Check it out.

D
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Service was excellent. Dinner (seafood over pasta, the special of the night) and New England clam chowder was outstanding. Ambiance was nice except for the loud mouth sitting behind me however City Tavern is not to blame. No need for dessert as the soup and entree filled me.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall4food4service4ambience4

This restaurant was recommended for our family trip to Phili. We really enjoyed it. My picky eater had a bit of trouble finding something to eat but we worked through it. A great destination restaurant as part of the historical tour of Phili.

CB
Washington DC
35 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall2food1service4ambience2

Who are these people leaving positive reviews on this place? It’s really nothing but a tourist trap. The food was supremely under-whelming. Just plain blah. I got the artichoke and roasted chicken salad and clam chowder. The roasted chicken was deli meat and the clam chowder was likely something that canned Progressive Soups made. My husband got the turkey pot pie, which looked like turkey pot soup. My son (Children’s menu), got the fish and chips. The adult food was so bad, we ended up sharing his fish and chips just to feel satiated. :(

Our bill was nearly $70. Definitely not worth that. Trust me - avoid this place.

MT
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food4service5ambience5

The setting was amazing, she loved it! The Lobster Bisque was on the much saltier side than most bisque I’ve had (and we heard our table neighbors saying the same!), but tasted great still. Would absolutely recommend a friend to come here to make a WOW!

JC
Cincinnati
5 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall2food5service2ambience3

Service was slow than expected but the taste of our food made up for it.

ZL
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall1food1service1ambience1

There was a mouse running around (came out at the end of the evening). Mouse was fun and all, but the main course was served cold, the meat was chewy, and the champagne was warm. Manager, after hearing about the mouse, wanted to “help us out a little”. Help us?
One of the course is literally a dish of lettuce.
The musician was great and the staff was really nice. I’ll never step foot in this place again.

BR
Miami
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Next time leave Champagne bottle on table. Waited a long time for drinks.

B
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall4food5service4ambience4

My wife and I enjoyed a 4 course Valentine's Day special here. We sat on the second floor of this beautiful historic restaurant, that had ceilings at least 12 high. All staff were dressed in attire from the 17-1800s and live violin and cello music was provided for over an hour. Most tables on the serving floor were set for either 2 or 4 people, fairly close to each other.

The waiter was courteous and friendly, as well as the support staff. A bottle of rose champagne was included in the price ($99/person). A variety of breads were provided and water kept cold in the pewter goblets. I ordered Duck Sausage as an appetizer, Lobster Bisque Soup, Half Duck in Grand Marnier sauce, and a Cherry Parfette with whipped cream, my wife wife ordered Crap Cake appetizer, same soup, Lobster/Shrimp/Scallops pot pie (about 8 inches round!) and an apple cobbler dessert. Everything was delicious, each of the courses were served spaced apart, none were rushed. Each table had a real lit candle and during the first 1 to 2 hours, a viloinist and cellist were playing. I recommend the Washington Ale, a dark Porter House beer that was great. Five stars for the dinner and our courteous waiter, a four for the slighlty noisy ambiance, due to tables being a bit close, and service drifting from a 5 to 4 after it got crowded.

Did not get a chance to see full menu, but if all entrees offered were as good as the ones we could choose from and not too pricey, would recommend for a nice dinner out.

PH
Philadelphia
16 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was an AMAZING evening and the food was fabulous!!!

JS
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 9, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Definitely worth trying for the costumes and interior. You can really feel the history in this place. You could be sitting in the very spot where one of our forefathers had a drink and a meal and a debate. The staff were so attentive and kind. There was a harpist playing beautiful music that could be heard all throughout the house. The place was so empty that each table had their own private room, more or less, which was unnecessary for us; we would have liked to dine closer to the other patrons, but the sentiment was appreciated.
My one issue was with the lobster pot pie. The lobster was slightly overcooked and rubbery, which, for $56 (market value at time of meal), was a bit unacceptable. I've watched enough Taste of History to know that Chef Staib would not have let that go out of the kitchen were he there. It would have been divine if they took it out of the oven just a few minutes earlier.
We got the corn meal fried oysters, but I couldn't detect any cornmeal; it seemed to be batter fried like you'd see with fish 'n chips. The fish melange was great as was the simple bread basket, and cobbler. The mushroom toast was good, but not exceptional - hearty for sure. Portion sizes are VERY generous. The food is so rich that a little goes a long way. A wonderful way to end a long day of museums.

DA
Philadelphia
4 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food, generous portions. Fine service and the harp was a nice touch

k
1 review
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall4food5service1ambience4

The food was excellent. Our family ordered pork chops with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut and turkey pot pie. We were all very pleased with our lunch. Our waiter was inattentive, gave us the impression he was not interested in our experience, would rather not be waiting tables and did not show any connection to the colonial character the restaurant. This unfortunately made a huge impression on our overall experience.

OT
1 review
Dined on February 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Dinner with my nephew.

CL
1 review
Dined on February 2, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food, great atmosphere, live music. What’s not to love!

JS
1 review
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We arrived early and were warmly greeted and seated immediately. The service was excellent and was only surpassed by the food. It was a wonderful dining experience.

D
Philadelphia
29 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I cannot say enough good things about the food, the environment and the overall experience at City Tavern. My family and I truly love to have a hearty meal here on a cold winter’s evening. My husband and I started with the tavern warmer(hot apple cider with whiskey, rum, brandy); it definitely lived up to it’s name. I usually order the smoked pork chops which are excellent but tonight I went with the turkey pot pie because my 11 year son convinced me how good it was. I am so glad that I did. The pot pie was absolutely perfect. From it’s crispy yet flaky crust to the rich creamy filling loaded with turkey and vegetables, it really was perfect. My husband had the veal medallions. He let me sample a bit of his. I will be ordering that next time. The veal was extremely tender with an excellent sauce and wonderful mashed potatoes. As we’re finishing up our meal chef Staib appears at our table. He could not have been any more friendly and welcoming. He talked with us for a bit and then bought us a round of Madeira wine. I had never tried it before and I thought it was very good. It had a rich smell like brandy but a sweet taste with subtle notes of vanilla to it. Chef Staib was then gracious enough to pose for a few pictures with my son and I. Again, an excellent meal and experience at City Tavern.

M
London
5 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A wonderful experience of being in - let alone eating in - the inn where the Signers and others ate & drank during those historic days in Philadelphia in the late 18th Century. The food was delicious, the wine was excellent, and the ambiance was perfect for the occasion. All staff are in period costume, very attentive and friendly. With harpsichord music wafting through the building, we dined in an elegant room set out with authentic furniture and interior design. Very memorable and something everyone interested in the American Revolution and the associated buildings & halls in Philly's Historic District should do.

d
Chicago
13 reviews
Dined on January 28, 2020
Overall3food2service2ambience4

The food & service was fair. The medallions of beef were overcooked and not tender at all.

OT
Dallas
1 review
Dined on January 25, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My husband and I came here for our anniversary and were so glad we did. It’s a tad pricey but the food was great and the portions were sizeable so I’m not about the price. The tavern itself is so historical and the staff was super friendly. We’ll definately be coming back for our next special occasion.

PN
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on January 25, 2020
Overall3food4service3ambience3

Dinner was very good, however, our pot pies were supposed to have a side of PA Dutch noodles. When I asked our server about it, she said Oh do you want them? We said, Well yes. And she never brought them.
Just a little strange, we thought.

OT
1 review
Dined on January 23, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Had a friend visiting from out of town

E
San Francisco
34 reviews
Dined on January 22, 2020
Overall3food2service4ambience5

The location is worth the experience, servers dressed as in revolutionary times, the decorations are of the same time peroid. The night we were went there was a harp player on the ground floor and you could hear him thoughout the location. Drinks were interesting and peroid appropriate. The wine list was very limited, hard to find a decent mid-value bottle ($50-$80 range). The food was hit and miss. The crab cakes were excellent, the duck sauasage was very average, and my veal dorree entrée had a spongy consistantcy to the breading a very bland sauce which was not very good. The deserts were much better than the entrees (creme brulle and apple-ginger cobbler).

T
Philadelphia
10 reviews
Dined on January 22, 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience4

We Were are there for restaurant week luncheon

Everything was delicious
service was prompt
lovely interior

SS
Philadelphia
31 reviews
Dined on January 21, 2020
Overall5food4service4ambience4

Went for Restaurant Week which was a great value. Food was delicious. Room we were in was very quiet. Would have liked to explore the different areas of the building.

S
Philadelphia
12 reviews
Dined on January 21, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Very much enjoyed our Lunch on Tuesday, during restaurant week. Celebrated our daughter 35th birthday! I thought the courses had variety and was delicious from colonial period cookbooks. One of our party thought the veal sausage was bland. I did not taste. Our server was professional and attentive, Melanie. Thank you

OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on January 20, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I could eat the Pepper pot soup everyday and be happy. It’s part of my taste of Philadelphia tour when I entertain. Thanks again

L
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2020
Overall3food3service3ambience3

We decided to try somewhere new for restaurant week. We really liked the 18th century feel. The decor and outfits were cool. I don't think I've ever eaten at a table by real candle light. That was neat. I had the scallops, shrimp, and crab over linguini. It was tasty and filling. My friends ordered the chicken topped with crab. They didn't expect the chicken to be fried. That was a bit disappointing. Overall food was good and service was decent. Nothing too special. I do wish our server was a little more enthusiastic. If you work at a place like that I feel like you should be able to give us a little history about the place, act the part maybe. Overall it was a decent experience and i would recommend it to someone else to try. Although I feel like it's a one and done type of place. I've been once and there's nothing really making me want to go back anytime soon.

B
Philadelphia
14 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience4

City Tavern is nice if you'd like to experience period dining from Colonial days.
We had lunch here during restaurant week, so it was a good value. I wouldn't pay full price for the same meal here. The food was very heavy, particularly the brown gravy. We had ham and cabbage soup, which was a little greasy and potato soup, which was flavorful but came at near room temperature. Our main dishes were not served hot either. We had the beef noodles, which was heavy and the veal sausage with sauerkraut, which was flavorful but served cold.
The staff was attentive and a bit overwhelmed since it was restaurant week. They did offer to correct our cold soup but the main dishes that followed were still served near room temperature.

AO
Kansas City
2 reviews
Dined on January 18, 2020
Overall5food4service4ambience5

Such a fun dining experience. We loved the pork chop and the turkey pot pie. The chocolate mousse cake was incredible.

l
Oklahoma City
1 review
Dined on January 18, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A just visit for anyone wanting to strike their historical fancies!

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