Is there anything chow-worthy in this area? Upscale, downscale, Italian, Thai, open to almost anything really. I'm dying to try Abners BBQ but my friend is not a big meat eater and we don't feel like driving downtown tonight.
A couple of thoughts....
Tierra Columbiana on N. 5th Street is a great place for Cuban/Columbian food. The portions are generous, the atmosphere is warm and bustling, and it is just below where the Blvd. crosses N. 5th.
There are a lot of good Korean restaurants in Cheltenham and N. Philly area. I went to a place I really liked, but I don't remember too many details...I think it has a sign that says Soft Tofu Restaurant, and it is on the corner of 67th and 5th? 67th crosses Broad Street right at the Oak Lane Diner, which is a good diner to check out. Here is an excerpt from a college guide to eating that has some specific information (although I'm not sure if it is up to date) about Korean restaurants.
Also, I've heard good things about Marco Polo in Elkins Park.
North Philly: We don't normally visit this area, because of the distance and safety (!), but when we want to eat better prepared food, we can visit this area when it is not too dark. They are divided into two big regions, one along the 5th street, and the other along the Castor avenue. The former region is packed with Korean stores, but it is not very safe at night. There are so many restaurants and grocery stores here, so we will just mention the most characteristic ones. Kim's restaurant, alias Go-Ryeo-Jeong (5955 N. 5th, 927-4550), is the best place to eat charcoaled bul-go-gi in Philadelphia. Go-Ba-Woo (1925 W. Cheltenham Ave, 572-1616) is the biggest Korean grocery store in Philadelphia. Ah-Sa-Won (5132 N. 5th, 455-3355) and Lai-Lai (5201 N. 5th, 456-1088) are Chinese/Korean restaurants which serve especially delicious Jja-Jang-Myun, or noodle with black-bean-paste. The latter region is more relaxed. It has bigger restaurants, such as Shilla (7030 Castor Ave, 722-3355) and Sam-Won-Garden (6600 Castor Ave, 744-2825). We only wish they are a bit closer.
tortilla's in willow grove is pretty good for your basic mexican grub (burritos, etc.., it's better than chi chis and it's byob)
la pergola in jenkintown is decent middle eastern and it is also byob. my folks had a good meal at mirna's in jenkintown, but i've never been so i can't vouch for it.
the drake tavern in jenkintown is good if you just want apps and drinks
Great Korean restaurant at 5501 N. Front Street, no English name, telephone 215 276 7942, and connects to a terrific karaoke place for fun after you eat. Try their barbecued stuff.