Food For Thought: Blue Ox Bistro

View Larger Map By Donna Ward

This very casual and informal bistro, located at 7980 Oxford Ave., serves both American and German cuisine. The Blue Ox is a wonderful restaurant and bar, which has been changed and revamped over the past century to provide good quality service with excellent food. Established back before the turn of the twentieth century, the Blue Ox has become a landmark that attracts visitors from all over Philadelphia.

There is plenty of free parking located behind the rear of this old fashioned brauhaus, which is needed, since the Blue Ox is usually very crowded for lunch and dinner. Best known for its excellent selection of German and Belgian imported beers, the Blue Ox readily serves various kinds on draft or in bottles.

The restaurant is very old fashioned and quaint, even though the crowd is lively and casual. The servers are polite and friendly, ensuring that you will feel comfortable. There are three separate dinning areas and a bar, in which you are welcome to dine. The tables are kept clean and neat, as is the silverware and flatware. The music is loud and entertaining at dinnertime to add to the sociable atmosphere.

I began my meal with a very large caesar salad and couldn’t have been happier with my choice. The lettuce was fresh and crisp, the vegetables were washed and the dressing offered delightful seasonings, which kept my mouth wanting more. For my main course, I tried the juicy bratwurst sandwich, which contains bratwurst marinated in a rich German lager with grilled onions. The bratwurst was warm with its sizzling onions and the roll was fresh. This dish also comes with warm sauerkraut and fries. The sauerkraut was especially good when placed on the sandwich, as the flavors complemented each other nicely. The fries were a little greasy, as can sometimes happen when let cooked for too long, but they were still crispy and not soggy. The dish was served in a timely fashion, which was refreshing, since the rooms were very crowded.

While enjoying my meal, I decided to sample one of the imported beers. Pilsener, a German beer, offers a floral scent with a rich, spicy herbal flavor. The beer was served cold and added a first-rate accent to the meal.

The prices were very reasonable for the large quantity of food that is given. Come hungry, because the portions are large and the flavors will always leave you wanting more. The Blue Ox was a wonderful casual dining experience that offered good food, friendly service, great beer and a bit of old Philadelphia charm with its long-standing history. Those who remember the Blue Ox from years past may disagree, but I still recommend you venture there for some merriment.

Food For Thought is a NEast restaurant review column written by Donna Ward that runs every other Thursday on See all of Donna’s reviews here. Read other NEastPhilly columns here.

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