Review: Monk’s Cafe, Philadelphia

18 03 2009

Monk’s Cafe is a Philadelphia stomping ground. Known for its burgers, fries, mussels, and Beer Bible, this corner bar hasn’t changed much over the years–in a good way. The burgers are still $8.50. The fries still come separate. The Bible is still holy. And the only night of the year it’s empty is on St. Patrick’s Day.

I got there early and took a few experimental shots:





This Flemish Sour Ale was not sour at all–it was rich and sweet and nutty.

We started our meal with the country terrine, which I don’t usually like, but I practically inhaled this and didn’t even need the toast.


I chose a new burger on their menu: the Antwerp with sottocenerre truffle cheese and shiitake mushrooms. Matt chose an old favorite, the Brussels (bacon and cheddar).



This is the burger cooked medium:


The basket of fries can easily be shared. These are my favorite fries of all time–and I consider myself to be a very picky fry-eater. These are perfectly cooked–not too mushy and not too crunchy–served with a mayonnaise sauce.


We never needed to use this:


The menus are so comfortable. I really don’t think anything has changed in at least six years–maybe a couple of additions here and there. Of course, the beers on tap are always in rotation.


Besides the sour ale, we also had these delicious beers…



…from the Beer Bible:


Total bill (terraine, two burgers, fries, 28 oz. bottle of beer, one glass Chimay, and one bar draft) not including tip: $66. Not bad.

Visit Monk’s in Philly. They don’t take reservations and you won’t get seated until the whole party is there. The bar is small and the decor is tired. But it’s worth the wait and the food never disappoints. Neither does the beer.


Check out these blogs for more reviews on Monk’s Cafe:

Days That End in Y
McDuff’s Food & Wine Trail




4 responses

19 03 2009
Adina Katz

It’s not worth the wait when you’ve waited over two hours and the hostess has been unbelievably rude to you! I really want to go, but I just don’t think I can get over that last horrible experience.

20 03 2009

I’m sorry you are so scarred! The key is getting there between 5-6 on a week night. Or on St. Patrick’s Day.

23 03 2009
David McDuff

Stopping by in the afternoon is always a good bet. Even later in the evening on weeknights doesn’t tend to be too bad. The main key is to avoid Friday and Saturday nights, which I’m guessing, based on the two-hour wait, is when Adina tried to go.

9 05 2009
Johnny Brenda’s « Explore and Eat

[…] always get the fries. Because they are almost the best fries in Philadelphia. I’d say that Monk’s fries beat JB’s fries but not by […]

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