I have been a regular visitor from Toronto over the last five years with my daughter in graduate school. Alas, that has come to an end.
First, thank you to this board for much good guidance. You have a lively, informed, opinionated discussion going on. That's good.
Second, as someone who lives in a terrific city for food and having spent time in NYC, I tell friends that Philadelphia has an outstanding food scene. I love the number and variety of small, chef-driven restaurants and the unique byob culture makes it all better. Personally, I can do without the super high end restaurants of Toronto and NYC in exchange for the experience of good, thoughtfully presented food in a congenial space. Philadelphia seems to specialize in that.
Finally, some opinions. I certainly have not hit all of the places mentioned regularly on this board, but I thoroughly enjoyed Osteria with a celebratory group in the greenhouse-like side room. The cutting board full of grilled and roasted vegetables was a real highlight.
While I didn't love Alma de Cuba, the cantilevered ceviche dish for a group was memorable.
I regret to say that a highly anticipated at Will was a miss for me. Skilled and ambitious cooking - too ambitious for me. Too many ingredients spread too thin.
On the other hand, I went skeptically to Pumpkin thinking it looked too precious, but thoroughly enjoyed my meal there.
But, probably the main reason for this lengthy posting is a plug for Kanella. If I could move one restaurant to Toronto, it would be Kanella. Such consistent, interesting cooking in a relaxed but nice-enough environment at astonishingly reasonable prices. I have been many times and have never been disappointed. And John, the quirky server, is a hoot.
Thanks and keep supporting your local chefs!