If you love happy hour, you have to love all the choices we have in our beloved city. We’ve sampled quite a few happy hours and one of the best we have had so far was at Ardiente. Yes, Ardiente is one of our favorite restaurants. The decor, service and food are top notch. The menu is a Latin-Asian fusion cuisine which is to die for. There are only a handful of restaurants in the city that I can say we have never had a bad meal ever. Ardiente is on that list.
We’ve been here for dinner and brunch but never for happy hour. It was time. It was long overdue. It was so worth the wait. I implore you, my followers, if you live in the Philadelphia area, you really need to try this restaurant. When you walk in, you are mesmerized by the decor. It’s so cozy, yet inviting. There’s an edge to it that is subtle but intriguing. The bar area is amazing with two beautifully lit windows that are the centerpiece of the restaurant floor area. What some may not know is that downstairs there is a fantastic French style speak-easy that is simply stunning. There seems to be a surprise at every twist and turn here.
Time to get back to happy hour! We started our visit with their amazing Pisco Sour cocktail. It is so delicious that you may find yourself ordering this over and over. Ardiente’s menu is a Dim Sum happy hour which is amazing. We ordered the adobo pork pot stickers that consisted of achiote, roasted garlic and chive, and the rock shrimp siu mai, made with sour orange ponzu and wasabi tobiko. Both were simply delicious! The pot stickers were cooked perfectly. They weren’t overly doughy or chewy. Quite the contrary. They were light, flavorful and crunchy. If you have never heard of some of these ingredients, don’t worry. Just try it and you will love it! I guarantee it.
From there, we moved on to their crispy squid which was served with sansho peppers, cilantro and lime, and the chilled soba noodles, which is served with huacatay sesame dressing, edamame, chillies and shaved cucumber. If it sounds exotic and delicious, that’s because it is! I’ve said over and over how different yet flavorful and wonderful the menu and food are here. You have to come and sample it for yourselves. Trust me when I say that you will be blown away by how amazing the food is here.
For our main course, we ordered the short ribs which are slow cooked and served with a tamarind glaze and side of chow fun. Fun indeed! It was absolutely amazing. The short rib just melted in you mouth when you ate it and the side of chow fun just complemented the wonderful palette of flavors. It was stunning to say the least.
We had a bit of fun with our cocktails. There were still several that we haven’t tried, believe it or not, but we tried to make up for it this night. Besides the fantastic Pisco Sour, we ordered the Old Fashioned, which was amazing, the Caipirina, which is made with leblon cachaca, limes, raw sugar, and flavored with mango, guava or passionfruit, and the Contessa. Oh, the Contessa. Eric ordered this and said this may be his new favorite cocktail. I tried it and was speechless. It was so good! It’s made with Bluecoat barrel finished gin, cappelletti aperitivo, tehi americano bianco, flamed orange oil and orange zest. Don’t worry if you have never heard of some of these ingredients. We hadn’t either but it was amazing. And when they say flamed orange oil, they are not kidding. Check out the photo below! It was simply beautiful. Our bartender this evening, Shanell, was fantastic. She knows how to make great cocktails and was so delightful to talk to the entire evening.
For dessert, I had to order an espresso martini that was made with freshly brewed espresso. It made me cry. It is so delicious, full of flavor and richness. It’s one of my favorite martini’s. Anytime we are at Ardiente, I have to order this drink. It’s that’s good.
We can finally say that we’ve been to Ardiente for brunch, happy hour and dinner. Tonight, we will be attending their new year’s eve celebration and we can’t wait. They are planning a 13 course tasting menu, yes, 13 courses. Don’t worry. You will be reading about it once we have recovered! Thank you all for reading our food exploits and for following my blog. I wish all of you a happy and wonderful new year! Cheers!