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Restaurant Reviews: A Plateful of 2011

The Malvern area offers true variety of dining options.

Editor's note: This is the Dining Duo's final regular dining review.

After eating our way through many of the dining venues in East Whiteland, Willistown and Malvern over the past year, we wanted to highlight some of our favorites. We can’t help but notice the variety of cuisines represented—Vietnamese, Mexican, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Lebanese, Italian, French and good, old American barbecue. We also have to comment on the friendliness of the servers and owners who welcomed us graciously and were happy to tell us about their food.

On the barbecue front, is the real deal, with a smoker and three types of sauces on the table. The Smoky Wings are a must-try. It’s casual, but a flat-screen television and nice wine glasses elevate the experience.

Two new Mexican places opened to cover both the more authentic and the Tex-Mex style preferences. provided the Coctel de Camaron, Tripe Tacos, Sope and Chicken Tacos of the traditional style, while offered the hard and soft tacos and quesadillas that are more familiar to most Northeasterners. Both were great for an inexpensive meal with a Mexican flair.

Other ethnic restaurants we recommend to friends include for Chinese food with a royal treatment; for a curry; ’s sweet and sour blend of fresh flavors; for sushi; and for traditional Lebanese Chicken Shish Tawook or the sweet Namoura custard.

Locally owned and operated pubs draw a neighborhood clientele. Two of our favorites for both food and drink include and the recently opened . Pizza places can also evoke a strong loyalty among diners. Most offer a variety of menu items that can range from cheese steaks and sandwiches to full pasta entrees. We think the doughy Italian-style crust at topped with slow-cooked sauce and quality toppings was our favorite pizza, although we’d love to do a second round of tasting at all the spots we tried. When pizza alone won't please everyone in the group, the made-to-order dishes like Pasta Mediterranio at should satisfy.

Breakfast or lunch at friendly places like , and could make a morning person out of the latest risers.

People wishing to eat healthy but unwilling to forgo great tasting food don’t have to compromise at with an Avocado Nori Roll that may become a habit.

Fine-dining minus the coat and tie is well represented in the Malvern area. At , we had a meal that would make the high-end steakhouses envious. Veal Porterhouse and Filet Mignon with steak fries or baked potatoes that weren’t loaded with salt and seasonings or breaded allowed us to enjoy the sides as well as the meat. has been a favorite among foodies for years for many reasons, among them the Sauteed Oysters and Trout we sampled. The ’s prix fixe menu made the white tablecloth and candlelight dining experience more affordable. Our Flat Iron Steak and Scottish Salmon entrees were prepared with a modern flair despite the historic surroundings. The wood-burning oven at flavored the Creekstone Farm Hanger Steak and Cape May Tilefish we enjoyed after a refreshing bowl of Gazpacho Soup during the Summer.

No matter the weather, is a great place for freshly prepared Southern comfort food available to take out. The Box Lunch option is a great excuse to try one of their famous Upcakes with a sandwich and side salad.

is another great option for prepared meals and soups made on the premises. Quality meats and a range of frozen game have made it a destination for many loyal customers over the past 47 years.

For a sweet ending, try one of the local places making their treats from scratch. can make the indecisive cupcake lover beg for mercy, but the minis can help to make the decision easier. offers true French pastry and chocolates that will make you question your next purchase at any grocery store’s bakery.

We hope we’ve convinced you to try a new place, possibly even one that we haven’t reviewed. As people who love to eat, we applaud the local restaurant owners who give us the means to experience a new cuisine or just to treat ourselves to having someone else prepare our meal and wait on us.

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