There are so many choices where to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Philadelphia. We weren’t quite sure what we would be doing until Ardiente came to the rescue. If you haven’t read by now, Ardiente is one of our favorite restaurants. Located in the charming old city section of Philadelphia, the food, drinks and service are second to none. We have come to know just about everybody on staff, and they treat us like family whenever we come here. They are an amazing group of people that work here, and we are so lucky to have this restaurant in our city.
So, back to New Year’s Eve. Ardiente put together a celebration that no other restaurant could compare. The party started at 9:30 pm and went to 2 am. There were dancers and a deejay cranking out party music all night. There was an open bar for two hours, and a complementary champagne toast at midnight. The staff went around with horns, beads and hats, basically everything you needed to ring in the new year. Hungry? Not a problem. How does a 13 course chef’s tasting menu sound? Yes, I said 13 courses and everything was delicious. Settle in and get ready to go on a culinary journey like never before. I love this restaurant.
We began the night with one of our favorite cocktails, the Pisco Sour. These are to die for! The aroma, presentation and taste are just stunning. We could drink these all night except for one thing, all of their cocktails are amazing so you can’t just stop at one! We next ordered the Contessa and Cafe Sazerac. Both cocktails came with flamed orange oil and our hostess lit the place up, literally. It was quite a site.
It was time for the food to make an appearance. We started off with the pickled jicama and house made kimchi. Next up was a wonderful house salad with a light dressing. After that, one of our favorites, their traditional ceviche, which is the fish of the day, leche de tigre and tostones was served. This dish is delicious. Eric always says that the tostones are the best he’s tasted outside of Puerto Rico. He should know since he was born there. Next up was a simply amazing chilled octopus salad. The char flavor you tasted on the octopus was simply divine. It came with fennel, hearts of palm, cilantro and red onion. In one word, it was simply stunning. It’s the best octopus salad in the city in my opinion.
After a short break, the food just kept coming, although they did make sure to pace the arrival of the dishes so you didn’t feel like you were being bombarded all at once. Next up was a simply heavenly pork adobo bun. Words can’t do justice to describe how amazing this was. The bun was a soft, light wrap that just caressed the pork, and absorbed the wonderful juices and spices. It was fantastic. After that, we were served a shrimp and calamari tempura. They used just enough batter so it wasn’t heavy. The next dish was a wonderful short rib lo mein. It was covered beautifully in sauce, and the short rib just melted in your mouth. This was more than enough food to satisfy anyone, but we we were only half way into our courses.
Let’s now take a break from the food for a moment and get back to some cocktails. I ordered their wonderful Szechuan Sangria, and Eric ordered an Old Fashioned. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is the best sangria I’ve ever tasted in the city. It’s made with blended red wine, Grand Mariner, brandy, Chinese five spice Szechuan peppercorn syrup, fresh apples, oranges and Asian pears. See why I think it’s the best? Alright, time for more food!
Next up, we were served a delicious cornish hen leg and thigh that was moist and juicy on the inside yet the skin was crisp and cooked perfectly. The next dish was cauliflower served with chilis and pecans. It was so good that it just melted in our mouths. We’re not even close to being done yet. The next dish served was a wonderful seared scallop paired with quinoa and cranberries. It was light but balanced perfectly with the char of the scallop. Alright, time for another break and more drinks!
I finally got around to ordering one of my favorites cocktails, an espresso martini. It’s so good that it actually makes me tear up. It’s made with fresh espresso, so fresh, that you can smell the coffee flavor before you drink one drop. Eric ordered the Hotel Nacional which is made with his favorite rum, Don Q Anejo. It was finally getting close to midnight, so it was time for the champagne toast and celebrating the new year.
Some of the final dishes that were served to us was an incredible filet mignon cooked to perfection. It just melted in your mouth, and you didn’t need a steak knife to cut it because it was so tender and juicy. They also brought out charred Brussel sprouts and dessert. By this point, we were so full that we couldn’t eat anymore. Actually, we pretty much stopped eating awhile back. Our servers were so nice that they boxed everything up for us to take home.
We had some more cocktails, celebrated the new year, and had more cocktails. To summarize the evening, it was the best New Year’s Eve celebration we’ve ever experienced. Everything was planned out and done to perfection by the entire restaurant staff at Ardiente. Before we left, we both went back to the kitchen and had to thank everyone for a wonderful meal. The food, drinks and service at Ardiente are always perfect. We really hope that they have another New Year’s Eve celebration for 2020. We’ll definitely be back and I hope you all will join us! Thank you again to everyone at Ardiente for making New Year’s Eve so special.