There is truly no place like Fabrika and no better way I could have fulfilled my 23rd birthday fantasies this past March. I had always loved celebrating any special occasion with an indulgent meal. This year, I was dreaming of something more than dinner. Perhaps a dining and entertainment experience that was a bit more out-of-the-ordinary...I sought something local, affordable, unique, and memorable. I recalled my birthdays as a child when my mom would often treat me with a Broadway show in New York since I loved musicals. The local Philadelphia entertainment options were plentiful, but very few appealed to me as I skimmed through the same names of places and activities over and over. 

Suddenly, a name caught my attention. Fabrika. I had heard the name once before but the details of the place remained a mystery. I immediately began my research and learned that it was a dining and entertainment space with a variety of performances. That seemed too good to be true. Could such a place exist in Philadelphia?

Yes, it sure did. Perhaps the best part was realizing upon my internet searching that Fabrika's food was a mix of Eastern Mediterranean and Levantine cuisine, and the menu contained some of my most favorite ingredients. Executive Chef Konstantinos Pitsillides, the Chef-Owner of Kanella, has crafted a stellar menu that I nearly salivated looking over.

Breanne Mastromarino

The Venue

When I first arrived at Fabrika, I was fascinated by the majestic presence of the venue itself. It was enormous. It can fit up to 550 guests which blew my mind. It was also very open, dark, and mysterious, and I had never seen a place like it before. There were two floors, three bars, the main stage in a central area, and a separate viewing area on the mezzanine. There were multiple seating areas with tables, chairs, and couches scattered throughout. The decorations were elaborate and really made me feel as if I was in a foreign land far from Philadelphia.

Breanne Mastromarino

The Food

Upon receiving and reading the menu, I found it difficult to choose what to eat because I would have tried to order nearly every item on the menu. The server happily answered my questions about unfamiliar ingredients and provided recommendations. The small plates section of the menu was most appealing to me as I love to share items and try as many foods as possible. My boyfriend and I ended up choosing the Grilled Octopus, Warm Hummus, Bourek of Feta and Thyme, and Grilled Lamb Short Ribs from the small plates menu. From the large and varied selection, we were able to successfully narrow it down to these outrageous items. We knew we wouldn't be satisfied without ordering at least one large plate from the menu, so we chose the Goat Stew after our server recommended it. 

Breanne Mastromarino

All of the dishes were so wonderful that I could not choose a favorite. I was overjoyed to see that the Grilled Octopus also included giant beans, sometimes known as Gigantes, which I became obsessed with after trying during my Greek restaurant waitressing days. I enjoyed mushrooms in my hummus for the first time, which I thought tasted wonderful. As someone who craves sweet-tasting foods after eating savory foods, the sweet dates included in the already flavorful Grilled Lamb Short Ribs made the dish even better. 

Breanne Mastromarino

One thing I love about ethnic dining is learning about and eating, of course, foods that are new to me. Adding to my food vocabulary by associating the new word with a unique taste is the best way to retain this information. I didn't know what Bourek was, but after some quick under-the-table Googling and insight from the server, I learned that it would be a food I would regret if I didn't order. The Bourek of Fig and Thyme was a thin, crispy, flaky pastry served with a salad and seasoned yoghurt. I am such a fan of texture when it comes to food, and the texture of this pastry made this dish even more outstanding.

Breanne Mastromarino

The Bathroom

Shortly after sitting at the restaurant, I had already scoped out where the bathroom was since I knew I wished to spend as much time as possible at Fabrika. I quickly found a magnificent foyer which I entered between courses to find a wonderful arrangement of photo ops on the way to the bathroom itself. There was a black bathtub full of roses, a giant lounge sofa, a wine bottle, exquisite art, and more. Who knew that I'd have a blast taking photos each time I went to use the bathroom between courses, dining, and entertainment.

The Show

The entertainment at Fabrika was truly the highlight of this experience. Throughout the night, I enjoyed an outstanding lineup of talented performers who captured the attention of every person in the audience. The variety show consisted of a saxophone player, singers, dancers, drag queens, and even contortionists. These acts were all so intriguing and made the dining and entertainment experience phenomenal overall. Fabrika has entertainment on almost every night of the week, with live music on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. The variety-show cabaret performances, which is what I had the pleasure of seeing, take place on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

Located in Fishtown along Frankford Avenue, Fabrika is a marvelous restaurant, entertainment venue, and private dining space. My birthday celebration at Fabrika was nothing short of a dream. A four-hour sweet escape to a magical excursion filled with plenty of surprises and delicious food was all I truly needed to make this birthday one I would never forget.