City Tavern

4.4
2008 reviews
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$30 and under
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American
Chef Staib is well known from twelve time Emmy® Award winning program A Taste of History®, where he brings culinary history to your home. Well it all started over 24 years ago, Staib brought his philosophy to City Taverns 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.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
American, Comfort Food, Wild Game
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Hours of operation
Lunch
Daily 11:30 am–2:45 pm
Dinner
Mon–Thu, Sun 3:00 pm–9:00 pm
Fri, Sat 4:00 pm–10:00 pm
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Phone number
(215) 413-1443
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Chef Walter Staib
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
2nd & Walnut Streets
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Parking details
Parking: A city operated parking garage is located on 2nd Street between Chestnut & Walnut, look for the movie theatre marquis. Or less than a block away a community valet is available nearby where Dock & Walnuts intersect (in front of Positano Coast).
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Public transit
The Market-Frankford "El" has a stop at 2nd and Market Streets as well as the 21 & 42 bus lines drops at our door
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Entertainment
City Tavern's service staff is dressed in 18th century fashions. Enjoy period music played by our resident musician Mark Carroll every Tuesday- Sunday night from 5:30pm.
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Special events & promotions
Chef Staib would like to invite you to celebrate your next occasion at City Tavern.
Additional
Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Entertainment, Fireplace, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 2008 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
4.4
service
4.6
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
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AA
Atlantic City
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

A casual dining experience with a colonial home feel. Appetizers, homemade breads and entrees are very good and a good value. Dessert was average. Staff was friendly and attentive but service felt a bit rushed.

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EB
Mobile
3 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

We loved our experience and food was delicious! Very long wait for food, but maybe it’s because it’s made to order. Salads and soups were way overpriced.

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TS
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 3

The experience overall was good, but not great. Our party of five was seated by ourselves in the basement level. The ambiance there was not nearly as cheerful and bright as upstairs. The basement was on the cold side and my mother and sister wore gloves to keep warm. We requested that the temperature be increased, but we did not notice that this happened. If there were a fire in the fireplace that would have solved both problems...the ambiance and the low room temps. We had a candle on our table, but it was not lit, nor were any of the candles in the room. The food was flavorful, hearty, and served in nice size portions. The one exception was my wife's beef burgundy. Some pieces of meat were too fat and/or grizzly and were inedible. I'd be willing to try again, but would not take a table in the basement, and would avoid the beef.

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ND
New York Area
20 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

The restaurant is rebuilt to be of the time era of the constitution. The staff are dress in the time of the same era.
The wine list is amazing.. Fit for a Presidant.. Because it is the wines and beer that they drank, ala Ben Franklin.
The beers are excellent. The bread served is dry and tasteless.
The menu has many choices and the appetizers are diverse.
The fried oysters are amazing. The rabbit was delicious and soft. The veal sausage was also very well repaired and tasty
We were so full we couldn’t partake of the desert, but the choices were wide. A very interesting dining experience.

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r
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Great colonial era food. Had harpist and period actors that added to the experience. Chicken pot pie was amazing.

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S
Baltimore
2 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great Meal!

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OT
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

It was great and loved the very knowledgeable actors. The only issue is how hot it was- literally we were sweating during dinner which is not enjoyable.

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MN
Baltimore
2 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Key to the City Tavern is their attempt to recreate birth-of-the-USA-era cuisine, down to methods of food preservation and preparation, ingredients used, and of course recipes. Our waiter (Jay) made a point of mentioning what types of food were favored by some of the luminaries of the day. For instance, Thomas Jefferson favored the sweet potato biscuits included in the bread sampler brought to us before the meal, and the chocolate cake mousse (which we had for dessert) is based on one of Martha Washington's recipes (it was outstanding; not too sweet due to the dark chocolate used). The pork chop entree my wife and I each had was wonderful. It was a huge chop that, due to it having been preserved by practices of the day (it was salted and smoked instead of being refrigerated), tasted and felt very much like the best ham you ever had. All the wait staff were dressed in period-correct uniforms which added to the fun, and our waiter (Jay) was very knowledgeable about how all the menu items were prepared and, again, which were popular with certain of our more famous national forefathers. I highly recommend City Tavern; well worth the stop. In fact, we live in Maryland but would seriously consider taking a trip to Philadelphia just to eat at City Tavern; it's that good!

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VH
1 review
Dined on October 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were early for our res. No problem. Our server, Jay, was excellent. Food was good and plentiful (had to take some home). Nice to have Ben Franklin drop in.

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TH
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 5

Service was fair
The waiter was not very interested in engaging the customer
Very superficial; was either unwilling or unable to share knowledge of the menu, food or drinks
I selected the “beer flight” which is historically very interesting
The waiter set down the beers and I ask for an explanation and he reported that they were “served in the order”on the accompanying card and walked away
The bus boy was efficient but never said a word or smiled
The attitude of the staff ruined the ambiance
It is a tourist trap

Food was pretty good, but overpriced

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DB
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Very historic setting. Service was very good. Enjoyed the experience.

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OT
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful family dinner.

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MN
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved the atmosphere and food. Will be back soon. Loved the Turkey Pot Pie, the wine and desserts. The service is wonderfully attentive, with lovely harp music in the background!

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DS
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We really enjoyed the experience. Our waiter was very helpful and provided good background and descriptions of our meals. The restaurant and furnishings are wonderful. Look forward to coming back.

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TH
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This tavern looks and feels very authentic because it is! Established in 1773, and rebuilt in 1975 to exacting standards after a fire, the decor, staff, and food embody the essence of revolutionary times in Colonial America. And the interior is lit only by candlelight and electric candle sconces on the walls. Luckily there is air conditioning so that the authenticity is not too uncomfortable. The dinner we ordered was Chicken a la Franklin, after a recipe Benjamin Franklin brought back from France. We’re not big eaters so we asked if it could be split. The answer was a resounding “yes” and it was carefully split and plated by the kitchen - and was absolutely delicious! The breads that came with our meal were wonderful, especially the small sweet biscuits after Thomas Jefferson’s recipe. The ale samplers were very tasty and we recommend it! And the gentle melodies from the harp player drifting up from the first floor were most soothing and delightful. Overall it was a really wonderful evening!

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A
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 5

The historic setting made this meal worth it. The food was decent but relatively expensive. We had very good service.

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LG
Milwaukee
2 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

I was so excited to dine at this historic restaurant. The food was great! The staff was good, but not great. I felt they were a little complacent. The waiter checked in regularly but didn't stay long enough for an answer. No connection. It felt like he was going through the motions. Also, we had a view off the back porch which is apparently the staff smoking area. Ick. Fortunately, the great food, the landmark setting, and our happy, vacation attitude kept this from being a bad experience.

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RW
Philadelphia
31 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Visited this restaurant years ago and enjoyed the history and authentic menu. Brought business associates from out of town for dinner and they really appreciated the history and dinner.

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T
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on October 3, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

City Tavern was too expensive.
The food was ok but nothing to rave about.
The ambiance, ok, so they were in costume. Again, nothing spectacular.
Not impressed.

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DL
Kansas City
2 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Good service, delicious food, wonderful ambience! The City Tavern is a destination restaurant that won’t disappoint.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing experience, service and food were ON POINT!!

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CR
Miami
17 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 3

Another place I’ve walked past literally hundreds of times but never ventured in. Thought we would give a try for lunch. Now the flavors were good and the menu was both different and interesting. The could stand to be colder. A little pricey for lunch.

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SD
1 review
Dined on September 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great atmosphere to head out after lunch for visit to the American Revolutionary Museum.

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JF
Atlantic City
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 4

I was disappointed in the food. I had the braised rabbit and I didn't think there was enough flavor to it. There was not much meat to it either. My wife had a chicken dish and she said it was a little dry. Service was just fine.

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B
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The Tavern was recommended to us, and iut surpassed our expectations. Great place, great food, great service.

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WC
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It is a fun atmosphere and the food was delicious We had a great time We enjoyed the colonial costumes

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ER
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on September 27, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Turkey Pot Pie was excellent. The noodles served on the side had a mediocre gravy sauce which we did not enjoy. Perhaps a salad would be a better accompaniment. Overall a lovely place to have lunch with friends. It is one of my favorite go to places in Philadelphia for visitors.

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A
Seattle
1 review
Dined on September 26, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 5ambience 5

An otherwise outstanding dinner was tainted almost at the moment we were seated . I presented the man serving us with a 2 for 1 coupon and he shrugged and said "that has nothing to do with me". Taken aback, I asked him what he said and he replied as he was walking away, "give it to your waiter". The rude attitude of this employee ruined my evening. We ate our entree and left.

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b
Central Coast
20 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great historical location that presented food with "authentic" receipts from the historical revolutionary people. Very good service and great meal.

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MM
Philadelphia
7 reviews
Dined on September 24, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Beautiful dining spot.
Food was good but service was challenged.
We had a lot of attention when we sat down and then saw nobody for a long time.
I ordered the Turkey pot pie, which was very good, there was a noodle side dish
that came along about 30 minutes later!!

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B
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on September 23, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

Food was delicious.

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SK
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on September 22, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

This is my favorite restaurant anywhere!!! This time, my husband and I were treating our daughter and her boyfriend on the occasion of their birthdays. Everything was awesome as usual. We started in the bar where the apple cider, the raspberry crush, and the sample beers were all so good. Especially for the beer aficionado, the sampler was outstanding. You can truly taste and smell unique notes and flavors in a way I challenge anyone to match. The ONLY problem this time, and this is MINOR, is that my own meal (Chicken Madeira) came out lukewarm, not hot. The other meals in my party were all very hot. Everything was tasty! Including the dessert choices. Love this place!

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ST
1 review
Dined on September 22, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Nice place to eat with very good food, large portions. I liked the authentic period wearing of the clothes and the over all colonial style of decor. The beer choices were few only 4 none of which I cared for. Service was good and our waiter was knowledgeable of the specials and was vital in helping us choose our meal options. I would return to this restaurant.

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OT
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful service. Server was very courteous and helpful. Appetizer was amazing (calling it asparagus & prosciutto really undersells it). Entrees were wonderful.too. We both had tenderloin medallions with asparagus & mashed potatoes. The sauce was delightful. Very much worth the visit.

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n
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Alyssa was our serve and she helped make it so fun for the kids. The environment is great, it feels like Epcot Center (Disneyworld) if there were a 1776 Philadelphia land. The menu is interesting, the food was satisfying and rich. We all enjoyed ourselves.

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EC
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on September 21, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely fantastic! Couldn't have been a better meal! Our waitress, Alyssa was amazing as well.

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DB
Orlando
4 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

City Tavern is our favorite place to take visitors from out of town. They enjoy the colonial atmosphere and the many colonial options on the menu. Service is always prompt and efficient. The harpist provides enjoyable dinner music. The food is appetizing and suitable for even the fussiest of eaters. They deal with food allergies without issue. We will continue to visit City Tavern.

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j
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 4

Great! Brought out of town era and they loved it.

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M
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful restaurant, great ambience, terrific food and impeccable service!!!

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GW
Philadelphia
4 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful food, service and atmosphere!!! Harp played downstairs and made enjoyable music throughout the restaurant. Really enjoyed food!!!!! Looking forward to returning!!

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