In And Around Ambler Represented in Craig LaBan’s Best Restaurants in the Suburbs

The Ambler area’s restaurants are well represented in Craig LaBan’s Best of the ’burbs – Montgomery County’s Top Restaurants​” featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer. LaBan’s Top 25 restaurants in Montgomery County included Ambler’s 555 Lagiola, Deterra, Forest and Main and Saffron Indian Kitchen. Spring House’s Po Le Cucina , Arpeggio and Banh Street, and Whitemarsh’s Cantina Feliz and Zake’s Cakes.

You can go through the whole list here, but here are some quotes from each mention:

555 Lagiola – Ambler

“Italian chef-owner Antonio Rondinelli, who learned his craft well while working in San Sebastián, serves-up a traditional array of tapas, from platters of rich jamon Ibérico sliced to order off the bone, to imported Spanish cheeses, stellar octopus, tender garlicky shrimp, and one of the best paellas I’ve eaten in the region, rich with the flavors of house-made chorizo, delicately cooked seafood and tender of chicken on the bone.”

Deterra – Ambler

“This swank bi-level restaurant outfitted with mahogany, a long curving bar, multiple fireplaces, an outdoor patio, and more than 40 wines by the glass (plus 200 bottles) is Ambler’s most sophisticated dining destination. The cocktails also are impressive (try the brandied riff on an Old Fashioned). But it’s the stylish New American menu from talented exec-chef Jeffrey Power that really drew me back…”

Forest and Main – Ambler

“This rambling old house just off Ambler’s main strip is the source for some of the region’s most lyrical barrel-aged saisons, including some made with wild yeast harvested from cherry blossoms in the front yard, as well as outstanding bitters and IPAs. ”

Saffron Indian Kitchen – Ambler

“There are a number of Indian chains vying for the tandoori dollars of the Philly suburbs, and the Saffron group is one that consistently serves a broad menu that hits a nice middle place between authentic Indian flavors and milder American tastes.”

Po Le Cucina – Spring House

“Don’t let chef Po Le’s country of origin fool you. Since coming to America from Vietnam in 1982, he has worked almost exclusively in Italian kitchens, from Il Gallo Nero to La Veranda and then San Marco, where over 14 years he worked his way up to executive chef. So when, at age 53, he finally achieved the lifelong dream of opening his own restaurant four years ago, it was no surprise that this charming little self-named BYOB (just down the street from San Marco) was serving some of the Italian classics he’s been refining for decades.”

Banh Street – Spring House

“This take-out shack with patio tables serving fusion take on classic Vietnamese bánh mi hoagies is perhaps an unlikely concept from TV celeb chef Chad Rosenthal, who’s best known for American barbecue at Ambler’s Lucky Well. But it’s my favorite project from him to date, as each of these crusty baguette sandwiches is made warm to order with fresh ingredients that pop: pickled carrots and daikon, plumes of cilantro, creamy liver pâté (a supplemental add-on, but essential), full-flavored proteins, and punny names (Simon Le Bánh garlic chicken; Al Báhndy spicy rib eye). It is pure coincidence my favorite happens to be the grilled pork meatball hoagie called … the Craig LaBánh. (Really) The Ambler branch has the added draw of Korean fried chicken.”

Arpeggio – Spring House

“There are few spaces in the suburbs as impressive as the new location for Arpeggio, the 22-year-old Italian-Med BYOB that owners Mary Gigliotti Collum and Hamdy Khalil just moved across the parking lot of the Spring House Village Center.”

Cantina Feliz – Fort Washington

“While the food certainly caters to suburban American tastes, Spinner, a Garces alum, creates dishes that are rooted in classic, no-shortcut preparations updated with polished style and great ingredients, from excellent ceviches to the tender steak grilled al carbon with fresh tortillas, awesome fish tacos, and delicate black bass over creamy poblano rice with crab.”

Zake’s Cakes _ Fort Washington

“A devoted lunch crowd fills the rambling dining rooms and sunny porch of this Victorian stone house near the Fort Washington train station, lured by the bountiful salads, deep-dish quiches, and sandwiches, from house-roasted turkey with Brie to an excellent Cubano.”