HOME > Chowhound > Pennsylvania >



  • t

does anyone out their have any recommendations for the mt. airy/germantown/chestnut hill area. i'm talking about your sure bets, things you have a regular craving for, food you'll go out of your way for, food you think about when your full, thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Anything from----The Night Kitchen, Rollers, Mc'Nally's
    Cake, The Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop, Women's Exchange,
    Top of the Hill Market,and nothing else!

    1. Cafette! Especially as it gets warm and you can sit outside.

      1. On chilly fall and winter days, croissant sandwiches and soups at the French Bakery.

        1. Go to McNally's, have a Schmitter and a beer, and you'll die happy.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Ron

            I second that! Eating Schmitters for thirty years and still kicking.

          2. I'm new to the Chestnut Hill area and desperate for good food. Where is this McNally's you speak of? :) Thanks.

            1 Reply
            1. re: lagreen

              It's on Germantown Ave across the street from Borders. Look for a green door b/c there is no signage to speak of (I think there is a tiny sign on the door).

              As for additional food options in the area; McMenemin's (Mt Airy). I ate there for the first time on Sat. night and had an excellent plate of fish and chips. Rollers (Chestnut Hill), Cafette (CH - great outdoor dining area BTW).

            2. I second (or third, whatever) McNally's and Cafette. Cafette has a new chef who has taken the already wonderful menu up another notch. (McNally is right next to the optician's, and there is, indeed, a small brass name plaque on the green door.)

              As for Rollers, after having enjoyed the top-of-the-hill location for years, we were sorely disappointed in Rollers at Flying Fish -- same menu, but horrible execution, bad service, and garish lighting. The old place wasn't fancy, but the noisy, bustling atmosphere (with open kitchen) was fun. The new place is just sterile.

              2 Replies
              1. re: kagoo

                While I agree with the assessment of Roller's atmosphere (it's like eating in an 1980's era dining room) I don't share the same opinion about the food. Every meal I've eaten there has been hearty and delicious especially the smoked pork chop special on my last visit.

                1. re: kagoo

                  Rollers is overpriced and mediocre. Have given it a few chances...

                2. Geechee Girl Rice Cafe has just moved to 6825 Germantown Ave in Mt. Airy. More interesting menu than most restaurants around this area and the food is good. Great folks too. http://www.geecheegirlricecafe.com/

                  1. I would definitely AVOID Rollers at Flying Fish -way below average for brunch, lunch and dinner. Yeechh!
                    Citrus (BYOB) is excellent for dinner! You must try the chocolate cake/cupcakes with buttercream icing at Night Kitchen Bakery.
                    Shundeez is great for middle eastern food. The rice/kabob is excellent. YUM!

                    1. I heartily second the recommendation for Geechee Girl -- it is one of my favorite restaurants in all of Philadelphia. The food is freshly made, flavorful and healthful. Hands down the best restaurant in the area. Hope they have crab cakes on special the night you're there. Don't miss the slow cooked greens or spring rolls. The asian slaw is awesome as well.

                      1. I've been a resident of Mt Airy since '01. I enjoy dining out regularly. I have yet to come acrossed a "destination" restaurant in the area but here are some suggestions:

                        McMenamin's (beer) - Has standard pub fare but fun people and an excellent beer selection that's always in rotation. We are really blessed to have the number of American craft brews in particular that they offer to us. (Germantown Ave, Mt Airy)

                        Hi Point Cafe (food) - Very good breakfast quiches, pastries, etc. It's amazing how good these simple things can be when made fresh and with (apparently) no preservatives. I've only been on Sunday morning so not sure about hours. (West Mt Airy)

                        Kim's Korean BBQ (food) - I go here at least twice a month. The BBQ is standard but the condiments or sides that come with it make the meal. The little fish cakes, slaws, tiny little dried fish, things that I'm not quite sure what they are but taste good, etc. This is a sure bet. They serve liquor but you can bring your own. (5th Street, North Philly)

                        Osaka (food) - Sure bet sushi with fun and friendly staff. The sushi chef will make up special sushi upon request. Made one for me which included white truffle oil. Once finished I retained the dish and proceeded to dip everything else that I ordered in the remaining wonderful truffle oil. Other cool apps as well. (Chestnut Hill)

                        But honestly the area could use more modern serious foodie destinations like an Ansill as an alternative to the homey Caffette type places.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: Chinon00

                          AND, some GOOD Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, Mexican ( existing new Mexican place not so great), vegetarian, Italian etc. I've lived here for 25 years and have been whining about the lack of interesting, affordable, family friendly restaurants since day one.

                          Check out Hamlet Bistro On Emlen ST. in Mt Airy.I hear good things.

                          1. re: Chinon00

                            Do you happen to have the street address for the Hi Point Cafe? I didn't see it listed online under menu pages, and have found an approximate location for it, but no real street address. Even an intersection would be great...thanks!

                            1. re: Laura D.

                              Green and Carpenter, right near Weaver's Way.

                            2. re: Chinon00

                              I went to Osaka a few months ago and it was horrible. I had their age tofu and a few rolls and both were very disappointing. The fish's texture was all wrong, but the mushy rice on the rolls was even worse. I've heard they used to be good, but I think those days are in the past! Has anyone tried the new sushi place next to CinCin?

                              1. re: lagreen

                                Did you go for lunch? I went for lunch one time and it was truly terrible. In the evening however it (for me) has been remarkable. Will I never go to Sagami (Pennsauken, NJ) again? No, but for me their sushi is solid (if only in the evening).

                                1. re: lagreen

                                  We had a great dinner at Hokka Hokka (next to Cin Cin) this past Fri nite. We got a reservation for 8 without difficulty. Food was lovely, but we had to wait and wait to get our water refilled. They were out of some of the more exotic sushi offerings (e.g., live scallop) but the quality of the maki and sashimi was top notch. Nice decor, a bit on the noisy side since it's wide open, but that was good for our crowd. It WAS byo but they have just gotten their liquor license, so you might want to call ahead and find out what the liquor policy will be.

                              2. I really enjoy Angie Brown's in Mt. Airy. Is that still around? Great cajun inspired food.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: AmblerGirl

                                  I haven't been to Angie Brown's in a while but I liked their food and their beer and whisky selection were very good.

                                  The OP asked for "sure bets, things you have a regular craving for, food you'll go out of your way for, food you think about when your full". I personally wouldn't place Angie Brown's in that number. I couple more that I would are:

                                  Iron Hill Brew Pub (beer) - Fresh, fresh and amazing beer. I wish that I were there right now with a pint of Anvil Ale. The food I would describe as noticeably better than a standard chain. But again fresh well made beer is wonderful. (Rt. 309, North Wales, PA)

                                  Chestnut Hill Farmer's Market (produce) - Have never actually been here but the SO buys breakfast meats here (country hams, bacon, sausage, scrapple) that are sublime. After years of eating supermarket meats I found their offerings mind blowing.

                                  1. re: missclaudy

                                    You can get locally raised and I believe grass fed meats at the small outdoor farmers market located near Mermaid Lane (right next to the 24 hour flower store)in the warmer months of the year. I don't eat meat so I haven't paid too much attention to what they sell, but if you are seeking meat that fits the descriptors in your post above, I'd try there once spring hits. Thanks

                                    1. re: Laura D.

                                      Perfect, Laura D. That market is wonderful and there is a vendor there with grass fed meats. I have worked with him . You can buy his meats during the winter at Clark Park in West Philly on Saturdays or by contacting farmtocity.org/ , an organization which promotes sustainable agriculture and is the sponser for Winter Harvest, a buying club for locally raised farm products available in the winter. It's great ! Also there is a stall at Reading terminal Mkt, run by the Fair Food Project of The White Dog Foundation, that sells loads of naturally, locally and humanely raised meat .

                                      1. re: missclaudy

                                        Fabulous lamb sausage, lamb pepperoni, chickens, and more from the meat vendor at the Mermaid Lane (across from TLA video) farmer's mkt. I highly recommend it!

                                    2. re: Chinon00

                                      I go to the Chestnut Hill farmer's market every Thursday for their Indian food. I love their samosas and their chickpea dish is wonderful.

                                  2. I used to live in Chestnut Hill and it appalled me that the "Farmer's Market" didn't have any actual farmers. It really isn't any better than the SuperFresh, other than the availability of prepared foods.

                                    The real reason I'm posting is to say that I joined Winter Harvest this year and it is the best thing I could have done. The quality of the meat is fantastic and the produce, while limited in variety, is also really good. It's also super easy--just put in your order and go to the pick-up location once a week. I highly recommend it.

                                    1. Finally got to From The Boot in Lafayette Hill. I found the food to better than Maggianno's with basically the same type of menu. The SO and I both had veal dishes prepared slightly differently and we were both pleased. The dessert was a surprizingly good "Hazelnut Gelato" (actually it was just ice cream to my observation but none the less good). Maggianno's was our guilty pleasure (i.e. simple food with outrageous portions) but not anymore with this place a stones throw away.

                                      1. I agree. I think the food at From the Boot is much better than Maggiano's. The caesar salad is great at from the boot and way below average at Maggiano's. There is no comparison with the entrees-From the Boot wins hands down!

                                        1. While I wouldn't trade living in Mt. Airy for any other hood in Philadelphia, we definitely need a chowhound revolution to take us to the next level, and equal to our peers in CC area. We do have a few solid places. My favorites include: McNally's..love the turkey chilli and club sandwiches and long time no smoking policy. From the Boot and Sorrentos are areas best Italian, and will often keep me from driving into town when the urge comes over us. Roller's Express for breakfast. Osaka and the new sushi place have been nice additions. Umbria is that great place we all forget about. Haven't been in over a year, but it has been consistently excellent. The Indian place in the Chestnut Hill farmers market and the Mexican/Venezuelan stand in the Flourtown farmers market are all decent.

                                          What we need and the neibhorhood would respond to in a gigantic way: Indian, Thai, a really interesting BYO.

                                          Over-rated places that would make great locations for a much better place (see above list.)Mexican place in Mt. Airy, it is beyond disappointing. We don't even think twice about getting in the car and driving to Washington Avenue for great Pueblan cuisine. Angie Brown's....Goat Hollow was a great nbhood institution, with one of the most diverse and ecclectic crowds (a true Mt. Airy type of place.) Poorly executed and unimaginative and expensive pseudo creole food. She has ruined every place she has ever touched. Soleras, Chestnut Hill grille, Chineese place next to TLA, Campbell's.....Can you imagine what it would do to our chow rep if these places were something special?

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Chasdet

                                            Nail on the head Chasdet, how many thousands of miles have I put on my car, having to drive down town to eat something good.

                                          2. Chas,
                                            I can't speak for most of the places you mentioned, as I haven't lived in Chestnut Hill for too long and haven't tried all of the places in the surrounding areas. However, I second your dislike for Solaris and Yu Hsiang Chinese (the place next to the TLA). In my mind Solaris is missing something with their menu, though unfortunately I can't pinpoint what that "something" is. Everything on their menu just seems a bit off, and it seems as if some obvious things aren't included, whereas plenty of strange and "inappropriate" things are there. I also find their pricing/portioning to be confusing, as some things seem to be ridiculously overpriced (example, the tomato and mozzarella napoloeon appetizer), whereas some seems oddly inexpensive. They have a great location, and don't necessarily make bad food. But, nothing on their menu leaves me with any desire to go back there. In all fairness, though, I am a vegetarian and a picky eater on top of that, so I am not the best judge of a restaurant's menu. However, I have taken others to Solaris and they seem to agree with this opinion.

                                            And, regarding Yu Hsiang...there were tomatoes in my entree. Now, I realize that Chinese food you get at most Chinese restaurants in America isn't authentic. However, I'm not so sure that it speaks highly of a Chinese place that is throwing ingredients into their food that I'm pretty sure don't even exist in China. And, besides the tomatoes, it was just plain bad food. My choice for Chinese in the area is Panda Garden. Everything I've tried has been delicious, the menu is huge, and the prices are ridiculously cheap.

                                            I second your liking of McMenamins, From the Boot, and Sorrentos. All have great food, as well as a pleasant atmosphere. It is worth it for me to drive out of Chestnut Hill to these places, since I don't feel there is comparable food in the heart of Chestnut Hill. Thanks!

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Laura D.

                                              Where is Panda Garden? We're seriously lacking for good chinese in these parts! (I'm in Erdenheim, right next door to C-Hill.)

                                              1. re: kiwijen

                                                Panda Garden is located in Mt. Airy--I believe near the intersection of Mt. Pleasant Avenue and Lincoln Drive, though I've only gotten delivery so am not 100% sure of that. Their phone number is 215-753-9040, (I have it programmed into my cell phone for "emergencies"). I always get the same thing from there, but their menu is huge, portions are huge, (I usually can get a dinner and two lunches out of my meal), and price is extremely low (usually about $20.00 for a huge meal for 2). And, of course they deliver which is a plus! Of the "basic" chinese fair in the area (excluding places like Cin Cin) this seems to, by far, be the best. Hope you get to try it out!

                                            2. Since you guys go to From the Boot, you should also try Caspian Grille in the same shopping center.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Den

                                                Yes, Caspian is excellent...these also run a delightful stand in the Flourtown Farmers market.

                                                Heres dreaming of a really great new restuarant in CH Hill - Mt. Airy in the New Year.

                                                1. re: Chasdet

                                                  Cheers to that, Chasdet. Let's hope some enterprising local chef is reading this board.

                                              2. I third McMenamins! Great homemade soups, terrific fish and chips, great beer selection.... Yum! I used to work in Mt Airy - there isn't anything close in Manayunk, which has gone terribly downhill. BTW- I love this website!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: asitnick

                                                  What's the deal with Umbria? Despite good word of mouth, the atmosphere is very odd, harsh lighting with muzak and the sort of wall-to-wall carpeting you'd find in a surburban TV room, and you can hear everything everyone else says. No pasta on the menu and fairly expensive. My NYC wife got the creeps and we didn't stay. Worth trying again, really?

                                                2. We've had two company holiday dinners there. Always amazing. I remember the lamb being outstanding. It is weird that no one knows about it.

                                                  1. Flannery's in Wyndmoor....the best sandwiches around. Try the soups too!

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: suegirl

                                                      My H and I moved from NYC years ago and feel like we have to do so much driving for food. Here are my local favorites:
                                                      Cin Cin for Chinese food. We've never had bad food and the service is better than most restaurants at that level.
                                                      Bagha's Kitchen (spelling?) in the CH Farmers Market for Indian takeout
                                                      Dahlak in Germantown has now teamed up with Desi Village in King of Prussia and now serve Indian food. Something to try. They have a $6.95 lunch Indian buffet.
                                                      Baccios in Mt Airy in the former Mt. Pleasant Cafe across from the now closed Angie Browns. Quite good southern Italian. Better and fresher than The Boot. Make reservations on the weekends though. LOVE their lasagna.
                                                      Umbria for white tablecloth dining.
                                                      Night Kitchen for the chocolate mocha cake. They sell slices which I sneak from time to time. Yum.
                                                      The Farmers Market on Winston across from TLA. I started getting raw milk and the strawberries last weekend were sooo good. Get out there a support our farmers!
                                                      Cresheim Cottage for brunch. Especially this time of year when you can be outside in the garden. Food and service are very satisfying.
                                                      Osaka for sushi. We've always been happy with both the service and the food.
                                                      McMennimins for beer and decent bar food.
                                                      Citrus is very good food. Especially great for vegetarians and seafood lovers.

                                                      I have issues with:
                                                      Cafette. Went there for brunch several years ago. Sat outside and at the 45 minute mark still hadn't ordered so we left. Wasn't that crazy about the food prior to that.
                                                      Kings Garden, Chestnut Grill, Trolley Stop, the Mexican place in downtown Mt. Airy, not so great. I want to like and support the Persian restaurant at the top of the hill, Geechee Girl Cafe whose food is great but the service is consistently glacial, and Bitar's has very flavorful food and is great for lunch or to pick up dinner.
                                                      I vote for Vietnamese, Thai, and a good Indian restaurant. Oh, and good pizza!

                                                      1. re: alonna Smith

                                                        I finally tried Geechee Girl two nights ago and I'm happy to say the food was fantastic and the service was friendly and attentive. I had the fried chicken special with cole slaw and tomato and cucumber salad, with cornbread (possibly the best I've ever had) an appetizer of sweet potato cakes with chipotle sour cream and a delicious mint iced tea. My wife had the low country shrimp (shrimp over buttery grits) which was outstanding. She also had the homemade peach cobbler for dessert. An outstanding meal for sure, and I can't wait to go back!

                                                          1. re: gretfed

                                                            311 W Mount Pleasant Ave

                                                      2. Can't go without 'em:
                                                        Top of the Hill

                                                        The Persian Grille

                                                        Cake is lovely little bakery. They've just moved a few doors down (for more room I believe).

                                                        Top of the Hill is a great place for higher-end sandwiches and soups. Delicious, but not great for sitting down with a group. There are a couple of stools inside and a few tables outside, but your best bet is to grab lunch and go.

                                                        Shundeez (Persian) is a great option for lunch or dinner, especially if you take it home (shop at their new location behind Borders where Roller's used to be). The restaurant feels a tad stuffy, but the food is excellent.

                                                        If you're willing to drive the extra 5-10 mins from Chestnut Hill, The Persian Grille on Germantown Pike is an old favorite, and another of my favorites.

                                                        The Bitar's down on Germantown Ave in Mt. Airy is a good option for take out or lunch. The meat can be a bit dry some days; I'd recommend getting a sauce on the side.

                                                        I have posted about Osaka before: Very enjoyable, well made, and quality (for Philadelphia) sushi with a nice restaurant and bar.

                                                        Nice, but no rave:

                                                        Cafette is fine, but too air conditioned, even in the Philadelphia heat. Make a reservation or expect to wait for a while.

                                                        Cin Cin is also nice, if a bit rich. Before 7pm there seem to be a lot of families, and gets tedious after a few visits.

                                                        Hoka Hoka for sushi is fine, but not as high in quality or atmosphere as is Osaka, one of my favorites. They in the same price range.

                                                        I agree with Laura D. that Solaris is odd. It'd never my choice for dinner; a late lunch can be nice if someone wants a burger.

                                                        9 Replies
                                                        1. re: taradiddle

                                                          Did Cake reopen in their new location yet?

                                                          1. re: JanR

                                                            No; the building (Robertson's conservatory on Highland Avenue) is still brown-papered so you can't see inside. The sign saying "Coming Soon: Cake at the Conservatory" (or something like that) is down -- hmmmm... But on the plus side, we saw a guy wheeling a palette full of sacks of flour down the street towards the building about a week ago. Fingers crossed.

                                                            Meanwhile, Top of the Hill market is about to open a cafe in the little spot where Cake used to be. Good news; their food is swell; now there's a nice indoor space where you can eat it.

                                                            1. re: kagoo

                                                              I do not see the sign about Cake at Robertsons any more. Also, no one at Cake answers their phone. I would like to buy one of their delicious chocolate mousse tortes. Does anyone know what the story is with Cake in Chestnut Hill?

                                                              1. re: julelm

                                                                Check out the front page article in the Chestnut Hill Local on Cake. The have moved the Robertson's green house and are serving breakfast and lunch. Dinner may come in the near future. Opening date is July 17th, with a grand opening in the fall.

                                                                1. re: alonna Smith

                                                                  I drove by the Robertson's atrium this weekend. The Cake sign is there, but it can't have opened yet. There is still paper on the windows.

                                                          2. re: taradiddle

                                                            Ate at Osaka for the first time last week. In short, food was good, service was very slow but friendly, and it was so loud I couldn't wait to leave. It would have been loud for a bar let alone a restaurant.

                                                            Enjoyed the gyro platter from Bitar's. The lamb was moist and delicious.

                                                            1. re: G Goo

                                                              I'm glad you said something about the noise there. I thought it was a one time problem when I was there, as there was an incredibly rowdy group behind me (and I'm only 25 so it takes a lot for me to call someone "rowdy"). However, perhaps I guess it is just the accoustics in general and not a reflection on individual diners.

                                                              I know this might sound lame, but I got sushi from the Chestnut Hill farmers market on Saturday and thought it was great. Then again, I don't eat fish so it was an avocado roll which is likely difficult to screw up. Still really tasty and cheap, though!

                                                            2. re: taradiddle

                                                              I tried Bitar a week or so ago and was very disappointed, Though the babaganoush (sp?) was outstanding (great body, nice and smokey taste), the pita was not freshly made and the tabouleh was soupy and so old that all of the veggies had lost their crunch. The worst: was the falafel, which had no discernable flavors and a texture like sawdust inside.

                                                              I'll take the drive down to Walnut Street and enjoy in the fresh ingredients of Sahara Grill next time...

                                                              1. re: gretfed

                                                                I agree with your review of Bitar. A great disappointment, as is Mi Puebla.

                                                            3. Went to Hamlet Bistro with the wife Saturday night. I liked it. I found the food to be solid (not mindblowing) and the service was really good. We started with a cheese plate: Peppered Brie, Whiskey Cheddar, and a Stilton. Then for the main entree I had a delicious Soft Shell Crabs and she had the Stuffed Pork Loin (stuffed with apples and raisons which I found kind of heavy menu item for late July).
                                                              I need to get over to Umbria and Bacio (whose menu looks very Italian-AMERICAN) in the near future . The guy I spoke to at Bacio had an accent which is a good sign?

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Chinon00

                                                                I've been to Bacio three times now. I believe there are two owners, one who cooks and the other who handles the front of the house. The latter is a very friendly guy but he does not have an Italian accent. The food is good (homemade pasta). The homemade ricotta cheesecake is wonderful. Atmosphere is nice. Wonderful recorded opera music.

                                                                1. re: JanR

                                                                  Went to Bacio tonight with the SO. To start off the staff were great and the atmosphere was very cozy. We started with the medium sized antipasto. I didn't like it very much. There were two meats, two cheeses, oilves, and marinated veggies. One meat I believe was a salami while the other was pepperoni. The salami was acceptable but the pepperoni seemed to be a cheap store bought variety. The cheeses tasted like they were from pastuerized milk and supermarket bought. The marinated veggies and olives were decent. My SO had the Schiaffetton for an appetizer. It was very good. The tomato/ basil sauce was bright and pungent and the spinach pasta was memorable. For mains we had the Shrimp, Clam, Mussels, and Scungilli pasta in a white lemon caper sauce and the Chicken Piccata. Again, the pasta was great (made on the premises) and the seafood was solid (although the shrimp were a tad overcooked and I would have liked to have held the scungilli which provide that "black" flavor that I don't really care for). The chicken was wonderful too, lightly breaded and very tender with a simple lemon sauce. For dessert we shared a fruit salad steeped in sweet wine and freshly chopped mint. On a hot night it really hit the spot.
                                                                  Thanks Bacio for providing us another solid option in Mount Airy. See you soon!

                                                              2. For those of us who love Indian food, we now have two options. Tiffin.com delivers their great food two days a week for lunch only: Mondays and Thursdays. Now an Indian takeout place is across from the 7-11 in "downtown" Wyndmoor. They have the Indian takeout in the CH Farmers Market. In Wyndmoor, they are open M-Th 10-7 and F-S 10-8. I have gotten take out from them from the FM and again tonight, their 2nd day open. Really good Indian food.

                                                                1. I agree with the Roller's assessments. Bad food. Bad atmosphere. Can definitely do better elsewhere. Geechee Girl is almost always delicious, original and made to order -- slow service sometimes. Cafette's new chef is really doing great things. Hamlet Bistro on Emlen is tasty and reliable. Does anyone know if Citrus in CH is still open? Used to be fantastic.

                                                                  1. As many others on this thread have mentioned, our little corner of Philly it definitely lacking its share of good restauants. Places like Solaris Grille and the Melting Pot are just embarrassing!

                                                                    The food I think about when I'm full? The green curry at Chabaa Thai Bistro in Manayunk. And regarding the dueling sushi joints in C-Hill, we have forever abandoned Osaka for the MUCH fresher and better-tasting sushi at Hokka Hokka.

                                                                    Living in Mt. Airy, I have to give big ups to McMenamin's. Their regular menu is pretty standard but their specials run the gamut and are really good. Have only been to McNally's once, but I just saw them featured on the Food Network today - they were doing a show on Thanksgiving and were featuring their "Dickens" sandwich.

                                                                    Good luck!