Derek’s Restaurant in Manayunk, PA

Recently a girl friend and I decided to head over to the Manayunk, PA area for a Friday night dinner and glass of wine. I love this section of Philly. The town has a very young, fresh and fun feel with several dining locations to choose from that serve a variety of locally sourced foods. This time we chose to try out Derek’s Restaurant on Main St. The owner, Derek Davis, has been in the restaurant business for over 20 years and supports locally sourced foods and farms. He is also very passionate about wine and has traveled to various wine regions internationally. This is a man after my own heart. As if I couldn’t love him more, though they have a wonderful selection of wines at Derek’s, they have a BYOB option, as well! You are limited to one bottle, as Derek’s maintains your safety a priority, and there are no corking fees.
So, the besty and I arrived at Derek’s with our bottle. Now, I normally only drink a Malbec or Organic wine, but she was insistent that I try Apothic Red Winemaker’s Blend 2010. If you have not sampled this fusion of Syrah, Zinfandel and Merlot California grapes, it is a must! Smooth, silky, semi-sweet with dark fruit flavors and a hint of chocolate…heaven in a bottle. It is named after an Apotheca, a place in Europe where they stored and blended wine back in the 13th century. Highly recommend it.
On to the food…
Since we both were starving we proceeded to sample several different dishes. We started with the enticing pumpkin dumplings as an appetizer. Normally, I love ANYTHING pumpkin. While the dumplings were unique and pleasant, I felt the pumpkin filling was a bit on the bland side. Perhaps the pumpkin was overcooked, or lacking some spice, but they were tasty enough that I would try them again to make a fair comparison. We continued with a “small plate/snack” of the Spanish Arbequina olives, which were delicious, and the Crispy Thin Onion Rings, which for a $5 snack plate was a huge dish of fried bliss. (I had to take some home!) We then opted for a salad instead of one of the “large dishes.” The Baked Lancaster County Goat Cheese Salad was to die for. Derek’s menu has something for everyone. I definitely plan to return so I can sample their pizzas, steak and burger.
Once we polished off the bottle of wine with dinner, we each sampled a wine from Derek’s extensive wine list for dessert. I was ecstatic to find both Organic red and white wines on the list I had not yet tried. I had a glass of Shooting Star Blue Franc 2009 from Washington…a little fruity and a bit tart, but velvety too. I enjoyed it very much. My friend had a California Cabernet Sauvignon, Louis Martini 2009 and was very impressed. They had one of my favorite Malbecs on the list, Ruta 22, and several other high quality wine varieties, but my 3 glass max had been reached….next time!
Besides the great food and wine, what made our time at Derek’s Restaurant enjoyable was the ambience. The warm lighting, contemporary décor with touches of red throughout, the friendly hostess and patient waiter, amongst several other factors, all contributed to us feeling welcomed and very satisfied. It was a fine dining experience without too much fuss and a variety of high quality food/beverage at reasonable prices. If you are looking for a place to spend a romantic dinner, ask for the more private tables in the back, or for a more fun and hip vibe, sit at the Vodka Bar where a DJ is featured on Friday and Sat. evenings. Whatever the occasion, I highly recommend Derek’s. I hear their Sunday brunches are very popular and they have special promotions going on every day: Monday Margarita & Mojito Madness, Full Moon Friday, Saturday and Sunday 1/2 price wine, to name a few. There are plenty of nearby parking lots at half the cost compared to Downtown Philly, a couple are even free!
For more information visit: Derek’s Restaurant

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