Creme brulée is a classic French dessert. With a name meaning “burnt cream,” it gets its distinctive texture from the contrast between the rich, creamy custard base and the crispy caramelized sugar topping. It’s a favorite in many French restaurants, but it can also be found in other restaurants and bakeries. This list of Philadelphia spots celebrates the best the city has to offer – ranging from the traditional recipe to a few flavorful twists on the classic.

Credit, Michelle Hein

Paris Bistro & Jazz Café
8229 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19118
(215) 242-6200

Paris Bistro is a collaboration between Chef Al Paris and restaurateur brothers Robert and Benjamin Bynum. The atmosphere is that of a 1930s French bistro with the menu to match. Think classics such as oysters, Lyonnaise salad, coq au vin, beef bourgignon and crepes. The $7 crème brulée is the perfect way to end any meal. The secret to the incredibly smooth and velvety texture is that the cream is tempered almost to the point of boiling without actually allowing it to boil. It’s also essential to use fresh-scraped Madagascar beans and turbinado sugar for the burnt sugar crust. As a bonus, there’s a jazz café downstairs featuring live music Thursday through Sunday, and the full dining room menu is available.

Related: Top Hot Desserts In Philadelphia

Tartes Fine Tarts And Pastries
212 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 625-2510

Tartes is a tiny pink bakery hidden in Old City across from the Betsy Ross house offering Death Wish Coffee and artisanal baked goods with a focus on tarts, cookies, brownies, small pies and lemon bars. The chocolate crème brulée tart is a delicious spin on the classic dessert. It features a chocolate pastry shell with a vanilla crème brulée custard baked inside. It’s topped with a chocolate espresso ganache glaze and sells for $6.75. Please note that Tartes is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Vintage Wine Bar & Bistro
129 S. 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 922-3095

As the name suggests, wine is the main focus at this Midtown Village spot. But in addition to approximately 20 wines available by the bottle and more than 60 by the glass, you’ll also find a menu of seasonal dishes that range from light snacks to hearty entrees and sweet desserts. Like most of the menu, the dessert list is constantly changing. But the one item that is always available is the $7 crème brulée. When it’s a classic done right, there are no bells or whistles necessary. Just a sweet, crunchy top over a creamy vanilla custard. It’s served with a couple of berries for a tart contrast with every few bites.

The Little Lion
243 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(267) 273-0688

The Little Lion is new to the Philadelphia food scene after just opening in January of 2016. The Old City spot is located in the space formerly occupied by Haru and has been renovated to preserve the charm and history of this building that dates back to the mid-1800s. The atmosphere is upscale casual and the menu consists of American comfort food with Southern influences. While crème brulée might not seem like a natural fit after a meal of fried green tomatoes with shrimp and grits, The Little Lion’s $8 version of the dessert is worth a visit. Putting a twist on the classic recipe, this espresso crème brulée is made with steeped Peddler’s Coffee’s roasted espresso beans in the custard before baking to give it a subtle coffee flavor.

Credit, Michelle Hein

227 S. 18th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 545-2262

This bistro-style French restaurant from Stephen Starr offers dishes such as onion soup, escargot, beef bourguignon, roasted chicken and trout amandine. After a meal of the classics, you’ll want to end with a traditional dessert. The crème brulée is priced at $10 and has an incredible creamy, custard texture. According to Pastry Chef Abigail Dahan, this is achieved through their tried and true method when it comes to the proportion of whole eggs to egg yolks. In addition, Parc only uses freshly scraped bourbon vanilla beans that are caramelized with raw sugar instead of granulated, which forms a slightly crunchier caramel-like crust. The crème brulée is baked low and slow for an hour and then sets in the refrigerator for at least six hours after that.

Related: Top French Restaurants In Philadelphia

Michelle Hein is the social media 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.
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