There are, we think, at least two good reasons to dawdle around Cira Centre South, Philadelphia’s first urban experimentation with vertical neighbourhoods. One is to admire Pelli Clarke Pelli’s crystalline FMC Tower just south of 30th Street station, and the other is Walnut Street Café on its ground floor. 

Designed by local architects BLT and New York-based Parts and Labor Design, the lofty 21-foot ceilinged space features a café lined in penny tiles and green terrazzo. 

Here, flanked by a walnut and brass staircase, and a towering travertine bar, Melissa Weller (ex-Per Se) stocks the pastry counter with pistachio cherry croissant, and spinach and feta bureka, to go with Rival Bros. coffee. 

For more serious gastronomic pursuits, a dining room framed by a hand-blown brass and glass chandelier and an open kitchen sets the stage for chef Daniel Eddy’s American menu of Porterhouse steak with Bordelaise sauce and roasted shallots, and ravioli draped with Brown Butter, ricotta, and mint.