There’s just something about your favorite movie. It may not be Oscar-worthy, but you quote it at every party and first date, and it never fails to get a laugh. Bella Vistas’s Good King Tavern is like that. The food isn’t award-worthy, but it’s a universal and dependable crowd-pleaser that works for almost every casual night out.
This elevated French pub is dark and cozy, but not outright romantic—it almost feels like hanging out in a friend’s living room. There’s a long wood bar up front where couples split everything from a bowl of escargot and a bottle of chenin blanc to a single stool (depending on how much they’ve had to drink). When you sit at a cushiony leather booth or wood table in the back, you’ll see old maps of France, plants near the stained-glass windows, and groups of friends deciding between specials on the chalkboard menu while The Cure and Édith Piaf plays.
That chalkboard shouldn’t be ignored—the specials are almost always a hit, like the crispy fried oyster on a creamy bed of Pernod aioli. But the main menu, which includes a rotation of seasonal cocktails, is just as satisfying and consistent. That’s not to say that anything here is boring (it’s not). But only a handful of dishes will give you that F*ck Yes Feeling. One is the mussels a la Normandie, bathing in a smoked mushroom cider (it’s one of our favorite seafood dishes in the city). The menu works just as well for sharing crispy duck breast and sides with a large group of friends as a quick meal of Nice street food while making a cactus custody agreement with your ex.
Maybe the biggest appeal of The Good King—outside of the impressive French bottle list—is that it’s always open, even on Mondays. While a meal here won’t make you feel like the PPA handed you a lifetime parking pass, it’s a spot that’s always both useful and comfortable. It serves enjoyable food and great cocktails in a cozy space that, like your favorite movie quote, always makes you feel cooler than you actually are.
The menu here changes often. These are a few examples of things you might see.
This buttery, pancake-like flatbread made out of chickpeas is peppery, but not to a point where you have to chug your glass of water. It comes with a piperade of onion, green peppers, and stewed tomatoes, giving each bite a sweet tanginess. Order it.
Swimming in a broth of garlicky, lemony ramp butter, the escargot here are flawless. Unlike most places, they crank the spice level up to a nice peppery sizzle that we didn’t know we were missing. It’s delicious.
Mussels A La Normandie
One of the best things on the menu, we’d think about creating a new national anthem just for them. The mussels are nicely sized and come with a creamy smoked mushroom cider. It’s large enough to work as an entree or as a shareable starter.
It’s a simple burger with a thick patty, lettuce, pungent raclette cheese, and a tangy house aioli. It can go toe-to-toe against any great bar burger in the city.
Duck Of The Day
They don’t make duck every way Bubba mentioned you can make shrimp, but they definitely get creative. The duck of the day here can range from wings or braised thighs to duck l’orange. And since they are as familiar with a duck as Phillies fans are with Bryce Harper, it almost always works.
The sauce au poivre in this steak frites dish covers almost half of the plate. This means every inch of the thinly-cut beef is covered and you’ll have plenty left over to dip your fries into. It’s nicely cooked but ultimately forgettable.
The cocktails here can be hit-or-miss, but when it’s a hit, you won’t want to drink anything else (but you should so you can be functional). One of our favorites is the Penicillin 75. It mixes scotch, ginger, lemon, and sparkling wine in a light, perfectly blended, refreshing way.