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Tria Cafe - Rittenhouse Square

Not Rated.
Tria Cafe - Rittenhouse SquareTria Cafe - Rittenhouse Square
BA SCORE
95
world-class

82 Ratings
Ratings: 82
Reviews: 67
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.82%
Taps: 8
Bottles: 19
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

123 S 18th St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103-5126
United States
phone: (215) 972-8742

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @triaphilly

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: nomad)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 82 | Reviews: 67 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of slander
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%

We're working our way... I don't know in which direction, but I know we're on a jagged path towards the hotel. Just kind of stumbled across it, or maybe there was some effort there, I'd be lying if I said I could recall. Hey, isn't that?? Yeah, I know that dude. We unexpectedly came upon a posse of BA's here, seemingly beyond the parameters of their itinerary for the evening...
It's a long narrow place with a slight "L" shaped bar seating a dozen with a half dozen adjacent bar tables. Mostly spot and dim lantern lighting throughout, except to the front of the bar which is lit by pairs of mismatched differently sized candles on each of 5 shelves above the half a dozen tables located here.
8 very nice taps. DogFishHead 90 Minute IPA (yay!! not the 60), Ramstein Maibock (nice to see out of Jersey), Victory Dark Lager, Yards ESA, Troegs Nut Brown, Allagash White (a good ways from home), Heavyweight Lunacy (my good friend), and Hennepin (the first time I've ever seen it on tap). Had the Lunacy of course, which was just so nice. Also about a dozen and a half bottles. I'm like, "Hey, is that the De Dolle Oerbier?" (We're in love, you know). Like anything else matters after that, they also had imports Triple Karmeliet, Rochefort 8, Saison Dupont, Flemish Primitive, Schneider Aventinus, Weihenstephaner Hefe, Hacker Pschorr Lager, J.W. Lee's Harverst Ale '99, and domestics Stone IPA, DogFishHead Aprihop, Rogue Brutal Bitter, Stoudts Pils. the beer menu breaks out the beers into 4 groupings with headings, "Invigorating", "Friendly", "Profound", and "Extreme".
There's also a 2 page wine list and at least a dozen cheeses to choose from. Very nice. Bartender knows his beers and could speak intelligently here. Was happy enough to stick around for a second beer.
It's been a good day. Quality Dali, great Frites, the unexpected Oerbier. I was in that place, you know, and then overhead the perfect REM tune.
"Nightswimming, deserves a quiet night, I'm not sure all these people understand...."

slander, May 01, 2005
Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

Corner location in the hoity toity Center city "neighborhood" of Philly. This is an upscale, good for foodies and couples type place. Tasty light fare, menu of eclectic food, wine, cheese and, blessed is the day, beer. Romantic, euro style place. Food was excellent, beer was tasty, the wife was impressed with this "beer joint". You gotta give props to a place that has Three Philosophers on tap. Go with a date, dont go with a crew of guys looking to watch the game, good, mellow place to start a down town Philly crawl.

Billolick, Jan 19, 2006
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%

When Tria first opened it was such a charm. It reminded me of some of the funky, semi-"upscale", small places in Brooklyn or Manahattan. Unfortunately some of that "Manhattan" has gotten into it, and although it's not their fault, success has in a way been a stumbling block as they're just so popular now, than not unlike Monk's, you have to be sure to go early or on a weeknight to avoid waiting and crowding.

That said, I still love it and take my better dates there. It can be very romantic when someones not jabbing you in the back with their elbow!

But let's forget about that and talk about the food and drink. They offer 26 beers, 27 wines, 7 dessert wines, and 12 cheeses.

SNACKS fall in the $3 to 4 range and include Roasted Beets with Bulgarian Feta cheese... 3 1/2
BRUSCHETTA run roughly the same and I really enjoy the Gorgonzola with Fig Jam... 3 1/2
SALADS & ANTIPASTI are roughly $8 to 10 and include Mixed Greens with Figs, Gorgonzola, Pignola Nuts... 8 (Where has my favorite Tusscan White Bean gone? :(
SANDWICHES are actually slightly less than salads and include my favorite Three Cheese and Tomato grilled Panini for just 7
CHEESES vary depending on what exactly they are (there are usually around 16 available), but usually fall in the 6 to 8 range. They're helpfully divided into CLEAN, LUSCIOUS, STINKY, and APPROACHABLE. They've had what I'd consider to be some fairly hard to find cheeses, and the selection is impeccable (as in not liable to sin... the cheeses are certainly "peckable")!
SWEETS channge more often than the regular items and are roughly 6
Other BEVERAGES include San Pellegrino for 4, Virgil's Root Beer for 3 1/2, and Espresso/Cappuchino/Latte for 2, 2 1/2, and 3 respectively

Now that Heavyweight's gone I'm not sure what will replace the great selling Lunacy, but you can always get Yards ESA (5), and they always have something from Victory (5 1/2) and Troegs (5). There are usually a few other locals and a Dogfish as well as something from the left coast. Belgians are occasionally seen on tap, but they're usually the more mainstream stuff. The bottle selection is pretty good though and I've enjoyed Oud Beersel Oud Kriek for 9 1/2.

I won't go into the wine because there's too much to talk about, but with one exception (Abbaye de Tholomies Minervois '99 - don't worry, you'll never find it again) I can say that you can always trust them to deliver. And ask your server to pair some cheese for you; they all seem very knowledgeable and I've never been given a bad recommendation. And maybe that says it best, I have to give great credit to a place that's so well run I can trust them to make suggestions, and even decisions, for me.

NeroFiddled, Dec 01, 2006
Photo of Gavage
3.73/5  rDev -13.5%

After reading all the hype about this place, I had a chance to check it out after a business meeting. Its a small stylish bar that serves beer, cheese, wine, salads, and sandwiches. The place is long and narrow, with a 10 seat bar overlooking the cheese section and cook's area, and several high tops and wall seats were available. Some tables were at the front. Trendy interior staffed by young 20 somethings. Funky and hip music playing at reasonable levels.

There were 8 beers on tap from Allagash, Rogue, Sly Fox, Yards, DFH, Victory, and Ramstein. Nice variety on tap, then add about 20 belgian and other bottles available too. The beers I had were fresh.

I did not eat but looking at the menu this place is expensive. My pints cost me $6.50 and $5.50 which is rediculously expensive IMHO. Cheese platters looked interesting. Servers looked a little up tight and weren't too friendly.

Why this gets all the rave reviews is beyond me, when I can spend this money for some unique belgian beers at Monks. Don't get me wrong, its a nice place thats trendy, and if you want some cheese with your beer this would be a great place. But I didn't want cheese - just a pint or two - so I would've been better off hitting any number of other bars in the area. Most of the beers on tap are easily found elsewhere in town.

Gavage, Apr 22, 2006
Photo of GJ40
4.46/5  rDev +3.5%

A friend took me here and at first it struck me as too much of a wine bar. But after a second trip, I realized that while wine and cheese might be their specialties, they do beer very well.

On my last visit, I had a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA on draft and a Schneider Aventinus in the bottle. Both were outstanding. They had a unique pour for the Aventinus which caught our attention and delivered a very nice head. I've been caught up in hops for several years but I'm now catching up with some styles I'd put aside. The Aventinus, a wheat dopplebock, really helped me to remember what I've been missing.

Don't let the wine and cheese fool you. Tria knows beer too.

GJ40, Jan 16, 2008
Photo of sholland119
4.28/5  rDev -0.7%

I like both Tria locations but the original location on Sansom is my favorite. Small and kind of loud in prime time, this is still a comfortable spot at the busiest of times. In mid-afternoon, it's a great place to hang out.

With a long bar holds about a dozen seats, some up tables, some banquettes inside and a few outdoor tables, Tria is a cozy place. Service at this location is always a highlight. Bartenders are quite knowledgeable in both beer and wine, and quite good at making an appropriate recommendation for an uncertain guest.

Tap list is small but well chosen, all or nearly all craft, with a nice variety of American and Belgian styles. I can always find a good option.

The food menu consists of great artisan cheeses and charcuterie, paninis and small plates. All very well done.

HV

sholland119, Aug 22, 2011
Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev -7.2%

A nice little place. Very nice atmosphere here. Clean, a bit classy, intimate, maybe a bit on the hipster side; a small bar seats about 10 or 12 people, slightly cramped, with several tables inside and outside. No TVs here, which is a plus, considering it's not going to be plagued with annoying Philly sports fans, therefore making this a good place to hang on game nights.

Menu is small but very good, with the catch here being specialty bruschettas that are small, but amazing, and very reasonably priced. Lots of truffle oil used in the food, which is always a good thing. Beer selection is decent, considering I think Tria is primarily a wine bar. But there are about 8 craft beers on tap, and maybe 20 in bottles, and when I went there were two exceptionally good and [moderately] uncommon beers on tap, namely Pliny the Elder and Lost Abbey Angel's Share. They're not exactly rare in Philly these days, but $6 for a glass of Pliny ain't bad at all. They also have a specialty cheese menu, but that didn't really interest me. That part did seem pricey, but then what do I know about cheese? Other than kinds that I like.

Service is very good. Our bartender was friendly, and extremely polite, not to mention knowledgeable about drinks.

Definitely a nice bar, and a good destination for multiple visits. Hard to go here with Monk's not to far away, but this is still a nice place. Can come off a bit hipster, but oh well.

Rifugium, May 21, 2011
Photo of francisweizen
4.58/5  rDev +6.3%

Tria is a lovely newish bar in the rittenhouse square area of philly. The atmosphere is cool with a large black curtain that you must enter through, dim lighting, nice candles, chilled music, and a nice mix of people. Quality of the beers is phenomenal with 8 excellent draught selections and 12 or so bottled brews which are all world-class examples of different styles. The service here was also wonderful with our waitress being very cute, friendly, and knowledgable. A winning trio in my book. Selection was also great, as noted they have 8 draughts going, which on my last visit were: Heavyweight lunacy, Brooklyn lager, Dupont avec les bon vouex, Allagash white, Yards Esa, Troegs oatmeal stout, and Maredsous 8. The bottled beer list includes such world-class favorites as Deus and Aventinus. An excellent experience. highly recommended to other BA's.

francisweizen, Jan 17, 2005
Photo of corby112
4.6/5  rDev +6.7%

This review pertains to the original location on 18th and Sansom.

Although Tria is very small and often hard to get a table, they have an excellent selection of bottles and drafts, the food is excellent and the service is very good. This place is all about fermentation with a nice selection of artisan cheeses, wine and beer. Their ber list is not very extensive but everything on it is of very high quality and they often get very rare selections. The last time I was there they had Pliny the Elder and Stone Double Bastard Brady Barrel Aged on tap and the time before that bottles of Russian River Temptation. Their prices are a bit high but I still highly recommend this place.

corby112, Nov 26, 2008
Photo of blitheringidiot
4.36/5  rDev +1.2%

So I walk down 18th st and look and look and look for TRIA. It's on the corner of 18th and whatever two blocks down from Market where the train dumps me off. (Sentence ending on a preposition.) Two entrances can confuse. Alas, I choose the one on the right that gets me wrapped up in a big brown curtain. Anyway, so the CLEAN floors and CLEAN bar to the left are CLEAN. The atmosphere is CLEAN and laid back!!! Relax! Have a brew! (Papazzian) The candles get busted out when the sunset hits. (au romaunt.)

My 'tender named Ben was a super cool beer geek employed here since TRIA's opening night. KOOL. He even inspects each glass prior to filling like a y'know, real wine bar except TRIA serves (brace yourself) good beer too. Oh, this joint is a bar and restaurant. I was hesitant to hit it because I thought that unless you were ordering a boatload of wine and cheese, hoof it! Which leads me to the rest of my review. Super CLEAN, padded stools fitting the bar well.

*** NO SMOKING *** NO SMOKING *** NO SMOKING **** Good or bad.

Jazzy tunes comforted the ambiance. The tender could not have been better!

The selection is tight but nice. Taps: Allagash White, DFH 90, Monk's Sour/ Vic'ry Dark Lager, Three Philosophers, Heavyweight Lunacy, Troeganator, Yards ESA. The bottle selection is varied with: All sorts from Vic'ry Storm King, J.W. Lees '99, Rochefort 8, De Dolle, Oude Gueze...yeah!

Food review? Read another website for that...Heer 4 beer...

Last call: Could ya take Mom here? Sheesh...Mom, G'ma & Great G'ma would be comfy here. This is the joint to take a date to be impressed. By the way, this joint is NOT overpriced. Well worth the cost! Otherwise, get your shoes wet with piss at some scrod joint. Rated under Monks for beer...but above Monks for a date.

blitheringidiot, Mar 16, 2005
Photo of mltobin
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

mltobin, Aug 03, 2014
Photo of Loki
4.78/5  rDev +10.9%

Quite possibly the best and coolest tapas bar/restaurant I've ever been to, certainly the best beer selection.

Atmosphere: Lively, hip, vibrant, and cool without the slightest bit of pretension. The place was packed for the relatively small space, but there was a seat or two at the bar. The crowd was mostly younger, and definitely leaned more towards the trendy crowd. Everybody was more than friendly from employees to the patrons.

Quality: The most mass produced beer they have on the constantly changing list was either Paulaner Hefe or Fuller's ESB for their bottle selection. Draft wise, maybe Brooklyn. Had to say as they were all micros. All kept fresh, stored properly, and rotated often.

Service: Not only fast and friendly, but knowledgable as well. Had excellent pairing suggestions for beers with their menu selections. And let me tell you I have found a new wonderful pairing. Hanssens' Olde Gueuze paired with Tomme Chevra Aydual cheese and a drizzle of Clover honey. The tart, barn yard funk of the Gueuze and cheese dance beautifully together and the honey provides a sweetness. But I digress. They served the Gueuze in glass something between a flute and a chardonay glass, a slightly bullbous flute. They served both the Victory Braumeister Harvet Pils and the Troegs Hopback Amber in a pint glass from the tap, and then the Victory Storm King in a smaller snifter/tulip glass. Also freshly put on tap.

Selection: All micros or quality imports. Can't complain if the most commercial beers are Paulaner and Fuller's. Had styles from Pilsners to Imperial Stouts. From Old Dominion to Hanssens. Supported the locals and regionals as well with Troegs, Victory, Smuttynose, Brooklyn, Dogfish Head, and Yards. Fantastic list. Not nearly as extensive as Monk's (but not many are), but I would wager that it is nearly as diverse, maybe more so.

Food: What I had was fantastic and it focused on quality of all the ingredients and items. While many may want to go to a more complete menu, for drinks and a wide variety with the ability to sample so many items, this would be very hard to beat.

Value: For the quality of all the items on the menu the value was fantastic. I would say their prices are right along with Monk's.

Side note: Their wine list is great as well and focuses on small production items as well. So if you have wine lovers in the group they will be just as happy. I think they have liquor as well, but why would you get that when you've got so many other great choices.

Just one more fantastic reason to fall in love with Philly.

Loki, Nov 18, 2005
Photo of Seanibus
4.18/5  rDev -3%

The food is merely OK, but the real reason to go is the fascinating selection of beers, wines, and cheeses. Each is laid out in a well-thought out and well described menu. The selections change constantly, but you will always find something on the list to tempt you or to educate your palate. The beers are adventurous (where else will ever you see Victory's Rauschbeir on tap, for example) and the selection shows the owners have a deep knowledge and appreciation of really fine beer. The downside is that the restaurant is small and cramped, so it can be a challenge to find a seat sometimes.

Seanibus, Aug 13, 2008
Photo of flexabull
3.94/5  rDev -8.6%

Another place that I got to check out on my East Coast trip while my wife shopped. It works out great, she likes to shop for clothes, I don't, and she doesn't like it when I'm hanging around her while she shops, so once again her suggestion was, "why don't you find a place to have a beer while I check out these two stores?" Sounds good to me!

Small long place, pretty airy, light, kind of stuffy in a wine and cheese type of way, but not bad. But not really my style either...

Quality was good. The beer list had good choices from Germany, Belgium, CA, and quite a few local crafts as well.

Service was fine, I was greeted as I walked in, and quickly served.

Above average selection, they had quite a few good choices, but the bummer to me was that not many were on draft. In fact, the Troegs beer I ordered was from a bottle. Either it wasn't marked that way on the menu, or I wasn't paying attention when I ordered it.

Didn't have any food, it looked good though.

Prices were standard for what I ran into in Philly.

Overall, worth a stop if you are in the area. But I wouldn't go out of my way to come here... might be a nice spot to take your significant other, especially if they like wine.

flexabull, Oct 02, 2012
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%

This bar is located just north of the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood of Center City Philadelphia, about three blocks from the Suburban Station on the regional rail line.

I stopped by with the girlfriend for dinner and a few pints (blessed be all women who appreciate good drink!) When you enter the narrow bar, you have to navigate your way through a big dark brown curtain, whose purpose is entirely unknown to me. It’s just something that you have to do. Once you have successfully navigated the curtain obstacle, to the left tucked into the corner are some tables along a bench in the wall with opposing chairs. The people sitting there were spaced out so they sat every other table. They had plenty of room, but I can imagine seating up front being very cumbersome after you pack a few more people in (kinda like the tables in the back bar at Monk’s). We were fortunate enough to sit at one of the tall tables along the right wall a bit further in, right in front of a window (with bars on it?) and by the bathrooms. This turned out to be exceptionally comical as the two bathrooms didn’t have any signs displayed denoting them as such, so all night I watched confused patrons trying to guess which of the three doors wasn’t the one to the kitchen. Any way, we also sat across from where the cook was fixin’ up sandwiches behind a tall spot in the bar that ran the length of the building up into the tables that we saw first upon entering. Over all, with the colors and trendy modern decorations, I must say that Tria seems like it’s right out of a display section of Ikea, if Ikea carried barware. The walls were painted with well matched colors and there was some attractive paper lighting above the bar, and more decorative lighting illuminating the glasses and such behind the bar. They’re going for a very modern and hip look here. Unfortunately, at times the (modern and hip) music seemed to crawl up a few notches for no apparent reason, in turn escalating every voice in the bar, thus making dinner time conversation quite prohibitive.

Service was right on and our server knew a good deal about the beers on tap. Gotta love knowledgeable servers. He was quick, our beers came up fast and our food was out in a flash. And if we ever needed him, it was really easy to get his attention as the building was so narrow, forcing him to pass by regularly.

The beer selection was fantastic. I actually did a double take when I saw Russian River’s Deification on the menu. I had to double check with the server, just to be sure. In addition to Deification, between my girlfriend and I, we had pints of Yard’s Spruce Ale, Lunacy, DFH 90mn, Allagash White and Sly Fox’s French Creek Helles. I was quite pleased. Their rotation moves a bit, but is updated on their website, but not too regularly. I checked before we left, and I didn’t see the RR. Also on tap, that I didn’t get to, was 3 Philosophers. They also had a nice selection of bottles. Two that stood out in my mind were in 750ml bottles; Abbey Des Rocs Grand Cru ($20ish) and Peche Mortal (for $36!!!).

The food here was just a little short of amazing and it came in reasonable portions. I had the Grilled Artichoke, Spicy Tuscan Pepper, White Bean and Bulgarian Feta Grilled Panino, and my girlfriend had the Alaskan Smoked Salmon, Tomato, Mushroom, Caramelized Onion and Chive Vinaigrette Sandwich. Both were fresh and delicious and conveniently cut in half so we could each have half of both sandwiches.

This is really an attractive, low speed and relaxing bar with a marvelous selection of beers. Concerning the price, it wasn’t reasonable, nor was it expensive. It was reasonably expensive. You really get what you pay for here. I’ll be back for sure, probably the next time a friend stops into Philly looking for a place to get some lunch.

DarkerTheBetter, Feb 06, 2006
Photo of ColForbinBC
4/5  rDev -7.2%

ColForbinBC, Jan 22, 2014
Photo of rfgetz
4.05/5  rDev -6%

Tria presents itself mostly as a Wine/Cheese bar, but they definitely do enough on the beer end to warrant consideration.

Tria is located in a small corner rowhome. Atmosphere is very minimalist metro, little decor but letting all the wood speak for itself. Enought tables for maybe 30 and bar seating for 10.

They typically stock about 8 draft beers and have a bottle selection of about 20-30. The menu seperates the beers into loose styles from light, to fruity, to heavy, to dark etc. etc. The drafts are usually above average to good with the frequent standout from Russian River (Consecration) or The Lost Abbey (Angels Share). The bottles range from average local craft to a handful of domestic craft and export. My one gripe is the price... charging $8 for a 12oz bottle of something that normnally costs $5-$6 for a 16oz draft and charging $8 for 8oz pours of limited brews.

The food is focused on small plates, where for $5-$7 each you get a few slices of cheese, peices of bruchetta, mini sandwich etc. The food is excellent and you will find yourself ordering a nice amount.

The wine menu is a stand out for the wine enthusiast, although once agaian pricey. Service is typically very good although not always 100% knowledgeable. Great spot for a date or quick bite for lunch, but expect waits at dinner time.

rfgetz, Nov 25, 2009
Photo of markgugs
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

markgugs, Jun 10, 2014
Photo of sulldaddy
4.46/5  rDev +3.5%

This was one of the stops during my recent bachelor party adventure in Philly. The bar is located right on the corner of the road and easy to find.
Walking in up some stairs into the small bar, there is a few larger tables to the left, some standing space to the right, a long rectangular bar with about 15-20 stools. ALso a handful of smaller tables and chair set ups. The decor is rather minimal but classy. Seemed like a bit of an upscale place, but I didnt feel like I shouldnt be there with my rowdy buddies drinking beers.
The food looked like tapas and eurpoean style food with mostly small portions, we had already eaten dinner and were on the liquid component of the nites I didnt grub anything.
There is an extensive wine list and cheeses as well. The beer list is not huge but there is,. "No Crap on Tap" or in bottles for that matter. I think there were about 8 draft lines and about 20 bottles.
Some quality european imports including Berliner Kindl Weiss and several Belgians such as Saison Dupont. Also a nice range of American micros including some Victory and Dominion Oak Barrel Stout. I have to say the high light was Rodenbach on tap! First beer selection was an easy one!
The place is a little small so a large group could be difficult to accomodate, but the staff was very friendly and seemed happy to help us with beer selections and just general banter.
A very nice place that obviously cares about the beer they offer.
Worth a stop in Philly. I will return when in the city again!

sulldaddy, Aug 29, 2005
Photo of hoppymcgee
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

hoppymcgee, Jan 06, 2014
Photo of tkdchampxi
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

tkdchampxi, Oct 06, 2014
Photo of ggaughan
4.28/5  rDev -0.7%

What a great idea....beer, cheese and wine. Three of my favorite things in life. I had been here about a year ago to actually try some cheese and food and I enjoyed the food as the selection of bruschetta, cheeses, pannini's, salads and other items are very detailed and very tasty. Although some items are a bit pricey, I really like the idea of small plates with a good glass of wine or beer.

I just visited Tria the other night with my wife and we just came for drinks before dinner somewhere else, although seeing all the food brought out to others made me want to stay there for din din. I had a few beers while my wife had a few glasses of wine. I started off with a Sly Fox Helles pint which was very tasty. Their beers on tap seem to be fresh and served at a good temp and reasonably priced, depending on what you order. My pint was only about $5 or $5.50 which is not bad. The treat for me this night was a bottle of Victory 10 Year Alt which was a great suprise to see on the menu and boy was it tasty. This was my first bottle of it and I plan on getting more.

Overall Tria is a great idea and refreshing for Philly. I wish their space was larger but it has a charming feel to it since it is smaller and the tables are meant for small groups with small plates of food. Worth a try for wine, cheese and importantly beer.

ggaughan, Feb 25, 2006
Photo of Phatz
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%

This is a very classy upscale bistro with a short but eclectic menu and and a decent selection of beers. Allagash Musette was my selection. There was about 10 beers to choose from and long list of gourmet cheeses. the cheese is a quite pricey but it is an experience. I paid about $10 for a small slice of Stinky cheese that was terribly stinky. It was an experience no doubt. :/ I have not developed a taste for that stinky of cheese yet. It was definitely worth the visit.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

Phatz, Feb 05, 2007
Photo of nomad
4.83/5  rDev +12.1%

The image of the triangle is one of balance and structure, as well as mystical overtones from religious history. The mystery continues in the workings of yeast as Tria is founded, and this is their words, on the trinity of great fermented foods: wine, beer, and cheese, and their magical pairings. This is not a wine bar with some beer; unlike any place I have encountered they respect each equally. This, if not a first, will soon be the scion to be copied, mark my words. What Standard Tap did for grub and local beer, Tria will do for the cosmopolitan, foodie set in a sleek interior that would fit in Paris, London, or Tokyo in its impeccable design. It is the only bar in Philly that actually looks like New York instead of trying to look like New York.

Since BA is a beer site, I’ll leave the wine comments aside, but I will say their wine selection is great. In fact, its so good that I have yet to drink any beer at Tria because the wines are screaming for food pairing (luckily the clientele is not as unbalanced as I currently am). As for beer, while the inveterate beergeek will pass over the selection as fair enough, it is finely tuned to pair with the food. Furthermore, if you step back you’ll see that each and every bottled beer is arguably the best or near-best of the style it represents.

Draught:
Allagash White
Cipper City Red Sky at Night
Troegs Nut Brown
Heavyweight lunacy
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
Brooklyn Lager
(plus 2 more stellar micros I can’t remember)

Bottles:
Weihenstephaner Hefe-weisse
Hitachino Nest White
Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus
JW Lees Harvest ‘99
Fuller’s ESB
Aventinus
Bell's Kalamazoo Stout
Triple Karmeliet
Saison Dupont
Ephemere (apple)
Lancaster Four Star Pilsner
Victory Hopdevil
Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

The menu comes on a clipboard and it is thick and stylish, full of detailed descriptions augmented by carefully chosen paper stock and font. Can you name a bar that does that? The Beers, wines, and cheeses are listed not under headings by color, region, or some other common demoninator, but instead by creative descriptors. For instance, wines have areas like “Sociable Reds”, “Bold and Brash”, “Classy White”, while beers fit into niches like “Luscious”, “Powerful”, “Subtle”, and so on. As to which fits into which, you’ll have to come and see, as half the delight of the place is following the line of thought quietly etched into the details of the establishment. For cheese, this is the sort to serve Grafton Village, Humboldt Fog, and Maytag Blue at all times- an incredible cheese selection.

The food tapas-styled portion and presentation though the recipes roam over the array of European epicure finger foods: 8 types of bruschetta with sumptuous and creative toppings, snacks like marinated olives, prosciutta-wrapped fig chutney, and sandwiches made with the best combination of gourmet salami and the like.

The service is stellar - quick, quiet, attentive, and correctly aimed. They get to what you need without interrupting conversation or pushing things you never asked for (waiters, can you quit the “coffee and dessert” query?). They move fast and know what they’re talking about. The bartends are especially adept. But what would you expect? This establishment is founded on the art of pairing drink with food, and they follow suit unlike any bar. Most great beer bars don’t even do what Tria does.

Though, like Monk’s, this place will be hated by many because of its popularity, especially with the hip, yuppie, and monied crowd, sometimes restaurants succeed because of substance and style. As they respect barley, grapes, and milk, so do they respect their customer with impeccable presentation and service. Tasteful in every connotation of the word. Though a step from Rittenhouse, this is far from a snooty, over-priced Rittenhouse bar. This is far from any bar in the entire U.S.

nomad, Jul 04, 2004
Photo of jim102864
3.98/5  rDev -7.7%

A small cafe that I'd read about on BA. Very clean, contemporary feel. Not at all what you'll get in the two other Belgian bars in town. Narrow space with a short bar seating maybe six. Roughly a dozen or so Belgian bottles and a mix of about six Belgian and micro taps. Their focus is clearly on minimal stocks of quality beer and cheese. No other food to be had here. Very much a niche bar that could only survive in an upscale area in a big city like Philly. Go there with deep pockets. Nice spot if you've got the time before dinner for a few drinks. Very efficient and friendly service. Nice Itlain meat/cheese combo. Can't precisely recall what type of meat and cheese I tried, but both tasted great. A tad too trendy and 20-something-yuppie for my taste, but still worth a visit and perhaps a repeat visit for me.

jim102864, May 14, 2008
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Tria Cafe - Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, PA
95 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.