Jose Garces' Rosa Blanca is now open in the old Chifa space.
The Philly food scene just keeps getting better. This year our taste buds have plenty to be excited for.
Garces gone wild Rosa Blanca Iron Chef and restaurateur Jose Garces seems to be taking the idea of “new year, new you” to, well, a new level. Garces closed Chifa, his Peruvian and Cantonese fusion restaurant, completely redesigned the interior, and opened up a Cuban diner/traditional restaurant hybrid offering offering breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night options. The diner has a case of Cuban pastries and empanadas ready for take out. Plus, where else are you going to find a place that opens at 7 a.m. and has pork belly on the breakfast menu? That’s worth getting up early for, even if the service errs on the too-slow side. 707 Chestnut St., 215-925-5555, www.rosablancadiner.com
Volver On the other side of the dining spectrum Garces is opening Volver inside the Kimmel Center. It was originally set to be up and running in the fall, but development delays have pushed the high-end, champagne-heavy, perfect-for-a-Kimmel crowd restaurant’s opening back to, tentatively, spring 2014. Perhaps the most talked about aspect of Volver is not so much what’s on the menu, but who’s in the kitchen. Garces plans to be behind the line at his latest endeavor. 1500 Walnut St.
Pho real Stock If you were lucky enough to attend Zahav’s Jewish Christmas a few weeks ago, you’ve already had a taste of what’s to come. The dinner featured a preview of the upcoming Stock menu, a new Fishtown Vietnamese restaurant that Zahav sous chef Tyler Akin is working on. If you weren’t at Jewish Christmas you’ll just have to wait a little longer before you can get yourself a hot bowl of pho. The restaurant is currently set to open later this month on East Girard in what used to be an ice cream shop. 308 E. Girard Ave.
Brotherly love Petruce et al. Brothers Jonathan and Justin Petruce have plenty of restaurant experience behind them. Collectively they have a resume that includes Fish, Little Fish and Restaurant M. They both worked at Mémé, too. Now they’re teaming up again, only this time the sibling are opening their own place embracing two of-the-moment concepts. “We have a wood fire oven and wood fire grill, so everything food wise will be related to that,” Jonathan says. Pair your rustic dinner with one of the all natural wines that will be on the beverage list: “We’re getting unaltered wine in their most natural state. Just fermented grapes, how they’re supposed to be.” The brothers are looking to open early next month. 1121 Walnut St., 267-225-8232, www.petrucephilly.com
Further down the road This spring Philly will be getting a restaurant, bar, butcher shop and classroom all in the form of Kensington Quarters. Michael Pasquarello of Cafe Lift, Prohibition Taproom and Bufad is currently working with friend and fellow meat enthusiast (read: butcher) Bryan Mayer. “I bought the space with the intention of opening a restaurant specializing in using whole animals,” says Pasquarello. It didn’t take long, though, for him and Mayer to realize they could also pull off a retail shop and classroom. Pasquarello says that classes will be taught by “all different people from all over,” meaning there will be options to entice the non-carnivores, too. They’re shooting for an April opening.