Eastern Main Line- St David’s to Ardmore

We love the Main Line (route 30) because there are so many independent, family-run restaurants. So many, in fact, that we have to break down our reviews into geographical sections.

Prior to any food trip, our catering culinary team does internet foodie research and makes a “wish list” of interesting restaurants and bars in the area. Upon arrival, we ask the locals where they recommend and edit our “wish list” further. Then we plot our “wish list” on a map so we can more efficiently visit lots of spots for menu ideas and to write our food and travel blog.

Here are some of the highlights (restaurants are listed west to east).

  1. Estia (Radnor)- Situated in a little strip mall just off of route 30. Inside is casual, comfortable elegance. Estia speicializes in Greek standards (moussaka, saganaki, spanakopita) and fresh seafood. The seafood is displayed on ice which is a nice touch. It is fairly expensive! The Greek wines are well chosen and definitely worth a try. They have a happy hour from 5 to 7 weekdays which helps mitigate the high prices.
  2. The Refectory (Villanova)- Located right in the center of campus so you will find well-heeled alumni dining with their student/children. The menu is quite well written. with many of the American standards each with a little, unexpected “twist.” For example the “green salad” has Boston lettuce, avocado, cucumber, scallion, minced chive and a homemade green goddess dressing. We also sampled the seafood tower, the salad Lyonnaise and enjoyed a mysterious cup of lapsang souchong tea flavored with lemon, honey and ginger. We look forward to trying the whole roast duck and the octopus next time. The devil is in the details, oysters lacked the briny salinity we prize, the potatoes were salty in the salad lyonnaise. But worth a trip for the warm atmosphere and extensive cocktail list.
  3. White House Tagine (Bryn Mawr) This cozy little Moroccan/ Greek BYOB is owned by a chef who used to work here at the Crocodile Cafe a few years ago by the name of Mo. Mo works the dining room, his wife is in the kitchen and his son works between the two. Here they cook all the Morrocan standards form scratch. We especially enjoyed the baba ghanouj, the lamb kebabs, the harira (Moroccan vegetable soup) and Moroccan mint tea. Alas, we were too early on a Saturday lunch visit to sample the lamb shank tajine- maybe next  time! Other interesting menu choices include: several cous cous options, many goat options, gyros and more. There are even a couple of American options for the less adventurous.
  4. Sontuosa BYOB (Bryn Mawr) First off, cash only, dinner only. The menu caught our eye- escargot, red curry lentils, braciole, truffle mushroom gnocchi.
  5. Jin Ding (Bryn Mawr) This used to be Yang Ming.
  6. The Choice (Bryn Mawr) BYOB. Interesting menu- lobster ceviche, beef tartare, chicken pate, foie gras, duck confit, wagyu beef. Bring on the wine and lets get down to business!
  7. Bam Bam Kitchen (Ardmore). BYOB, Dinner only. This Korean restaurant features- dumplings, katsu, Korean fried chicken, beef short ribs and more. The atmosphere is not very intimate and feels a little fast-foody. And it lacks the in-table grills that they have in the Korean hot bed in Northwest Philly.
  8. Ripplewood (Ardmore) Upscale pub grub with a happy hour from 3 to 5pm. Extensive whiskey list.