The days are getting shorter and the air is getting cooler – sure signs that fall is here. With the change in seasons comes a shift in the kinds of fresh produce available to local restaurants. Apples, pumpkin, potatoes and squash are always popular this time of year, and squash just might be the most versatile. Summer varieties such as zucchini and yellow squash are still lingering, and winter squash including butternut and acorn enter the scene. It’s the perfect time to celebrate the season with dishes incorporating this nutritious and subtly sweet crop.
The Twisted Tail
509-511 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Despite only recently celebrating two years in business, The Twisted Tail has already become a popular spot in historic Headhouse Square. Executive Chef Leo Forneas offers Southern-inspired food with a focus on charcoal-grilled items. Promising the flavors of your summer grill all year long, The Twisted Tail uses fresh products from local farmers as much as possible. The Harvest Burger is the prime place to show off the quality of the ingredients. This $11 veggie burger features diced yellow squash and sweet caramelized onions that are wrapped in layers of eggplant and topped with gingered goat cheese.
2025 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
With décor that’s reminiscent of a villa in the countryside, Il Pittore brings the charm of Italy to Rittenhouse Square. At this Stephen Starr restaurant, Chef Chris Painter enhances his culinary skills with the freshest ingredients available (including herbs from the rooftop garden) to create modern versions of Italian classics. With a menu including homemade pastas, roasted lamb and impressive seafood items, it’s rare that a simple $7 side dish can steal the show, but the butternut squash argodolce is just that good. Its velvety smooth texture and rich, savory-yet-sweet flavor make the argodolce a must-order dish.
50 S. 16th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
You’ll want to make a reservation at a table by a window when dining at R2L. Located on the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place, this place offers one of the best views of the city skyline. The sophisticated art deco décor provides the perfect atmosphere for Chef Daniel Stern’s modern versions of American cuisine. This fall, the menu will feature a roast pork dish with creamy polenta and a hearty pork shank stew with squash.
Related: Best Corn Dishes In Philadelphia
The Farm and Fisherman
1120 Pine St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
This cozy 30-table BYOB was named “Best Farm-to-Table Restaurant” by Philadelphia Magazine in the 2012 “Best of Philly” issue – pretty high praise for a restaurant that has only been open a little over two years. Chefs Josh and Colleen Lawler, the husband-and-wife duo behind The Farm and Fisherman, are skilled in nose-to-tail and root-to-leaf cooking, placing a strong emphasis on using fresh seasonal produce. This fall, the restaurant will feature several dishes using banana squash grown by the urban farm Hood Rich Farms in North Philadelphia.
Morris House Hotel
231 S. 8th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
The owners of the M Restaurant, the Lefevre family, go beyond traditional farm-to-table dining, growing many of the peppers and herbs used in the dishes in the restaurant’s own garden. And the majority of the produce that isn’t grown in the outdoor garden is actually grown on the family farm in Frenchtown, New Jersey. As a result, the menu focuses on seasonally-relevant items such as squash and pumpkin dishes in the fall. This fall, M Restaurant will feature butter-roasted zucchini and patty pan squash with an asiago cream.
Michelle Hein is a copy editor for a women’s fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. If the writing gig doesn’t pan out, she constantly dreams of owning her own bakery…perhaps connected to the restaurant/bar that her lawyer boyfriend would love to open.