Food & Wine Best New Chef 1999 Marc Vetri gives an insider guide to Philadelphia, from the best brunch spots to the top bars.

On Philadelphia

Over the last year or two, there’s been a big boom in the Philly food scene. Years ago, there were a bunch of chains and mediocre BYO restaurants, but now there are all kinds of new cool, eclectic restaurants. My restaurant, Vetri, serves exquisite Italian dishes. There are just ten seats, so it’s like coming over to my house for dinner (1312 Spruce St.; 215-732-3478 or

Favorite Cultural Activity

My wife and I like to go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy.; 215-763-8100 or I asked her to marry me in their little canopy overlooking the Schuylkill River after seeing the Salvador Dalí exhibit. We also like to stop at Longwood Gardens to see all different kinds of flowers and plants for a relaxing afternoon (1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square 610-388-1000).

Favorite Brunch Spot

Morning Glory, a breakfast spot in South Philly, does old-school dishes well, like omelettes (735 S. 10th St.; 215-413-3999). We also go to Hank’s Place in Chadds Ford, a little diner with awesome corned beef hash and biscuits (Rt. 1 and Rt. 100 Intersection, Creek Rd.; 610-388-7061 or

Favorite Nightlife Spot

Late at night, I usually go to Monk’s Café, the best place in town for beer, and get boudin blanc and a Rochefort ale, which is Belgian and really rich and chocolate-y (16th and Spruce St.; 215-545-7005 or

Restaurant Recommendations

Amada, for octopus, loaded with paprika (217-219 Chestnut St.; 215-625-2450 or

Geno’s Steaks for cheesesteak sandwiches. When you order, you have to say “Whiz wit”. “Whiz” means with Cheese Whiz. “Wit” means with onions. Don’t pronounce the “h” (1219 S. Ninth St.; 215-389-0659 or

Melograno is a great, simple Italian restaurant. I like their papardalle with wild mushrooms (2201 Spruce St.; 215-875-8116).

Morimoto. I don’t order off the menu. I sit at the sushi bar and get whatever sashimi is freshest. They get their fish from the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo (723 Chestnut St.; 215-413-9070 or

Xochitl. I always get the squid hot pot (408 S. Second St.; 215-238-7280 or