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If you only had 4 days in Philly...

Where would you eat? I've heard mixed reviews on Le Bec Fin.

Aussie Chowhound looking for some local food finds. So if you were only in Philly for 4 days... where would u suggest?

I dont mind paying for food (thus, will have no probs going to Le Bec Fin... if it's worth it) and other places.


Thanks guys.

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  1. Welcome to Philadelphia!
    Le Bec Fin is worth it..........I really like their prix fix lunch
    Pif in south philly
    XIX (Nineteen) atop the Bellvue Hotel just got a really great review
    Farmacia www.farmacia.com
    Are you staying in Philly or going out to any of the surrounding areas?

    1. Chinatown: try Sang Kee or Shaolin
      For a great BYO, Matyson
      Middle Eastern sandwich: Alyan

      1. What is there a lack of in Australia that we might be able to suggest. I haven't been...

        A south philly italian restaurant might be nice.

        1. Le Bec Fin is a topnotch French restaurant. They also have an elegant lunch, if you prefer to do that and then have a very light dinner.

          Vetri is an outstanding, upscale Italian restaurant with a nationally-known chef. Call for reservations immediately - they're hard to get.

          Pasion is well known for seafood, especially their ceviches. Estia has excellent grilled fish in a beautiful setting.

          Philadelphia's strongest point is probably the small BYOB's - bring your own bottle, wine or liquor, no charges or fees - in places run by creative chefs, sometimes husband/wife combos.
          Tops would be Matyson and Marigold Kitchen - as good as anywhere.
          Others, small and good and highly recommended, would be:
          August, Caffe Casta Diva, Pif (French), Radicchio (no reservations accepted), Tre Scalini, Branzino, and L'Angolo.

          As you see, quite a few are Italian. Philadelphia has excellent Italian food.
          You probably get good Asian food where you are. French, except for upscale, is not our strong point. For upscale Japanese, we have Morimoto here.
          Another choice for "elegant" would be LaCroix at the Rittenhouse Hotel - one of my top choices.

          Let us know if you have any specific preferences.

          1. You have to have a cheesesteak. Pat's is my choice.

            1. Okie. Thanks for all the suggestions.

              How's the Malaysian food? All i've read about is Penang. Is that the only one?

              I'm living in Dallas and thus my life is void of good asian cuisine esp South East Asian.

              Tell me more about yr fave BYOBs... I'm also interested in a good bargain esp when I can bring my own wine.

              Also we'll be spending a couple of days in Valley Forge/Wayne area. Any reccs there?

              1 Reply
              1. re: AussieGirl

                Penang is ok, the kind of place you have to order carefully. Another somewhat unique place is Rangoon--it is Burmese, which is kind of a cross between Thai and Indian. If you go, try the spring ginger salad. IMHO, the best Chinese in town is Shiao Lan Kung. They are only open for dinner.

                There are a number of excellent BYO's listed in SylviaG's message above. My personal favorite is Matyson. You can check out their menu at Matyson.com to see if it appeals.

                If you like Spanish, check out Amada. It's relatively new and serving world class tapas and other wonderful dishes. It's a little pricey, but worth it. Amada has an extensive wine-by-the-glass selection including a larger selection of sherries.

              2. A lot of good recommendations thus far. You should try roast pork at DiNic's in the Reading Terminal Market and a breakast of pancakes at the Dutch Eating Place there (Weds-Sat only!). www.readingterminalmarket.com

                Pasion was pretty good our last visit but we were only moderately impressed by Amada. Farmicia was no great at all.

                If you don't mind the steep prices, Estia has great fresh grilled fish.

                And make sure to get a soft pretzel here too!

                1. You can also get the soft pretzel at the reading terminal market!

                  1. Suggestions for the Valley Forge/Wayne stay. Margaret Kuo has a chinese fusion place in Wayne. The Gateway shoopping center has an indian restaurant which is good. August Moon in Norristown is good for Japanese particularly sushi. Literally across Main street is a mexican restaurant that is quite good. [not sure how it would compare to the Dallas offerings] If the local food is a important then a trip. Mama's for a good and a cheesey cheesesteak is worth the trip. Mama's is on Belmont Ave. in Bala Cynwyd. Bluefin on Germantown Pike, a slight drive from VF has excellent sushi. There is even an excellent chinese buffet in the Plymouth Meeting Mall if gluttony is a goal. Again a drive, the Persian Grill on Ridge Pike in Lafayette Hill may a different offering then Dallas may have. Korean may also be different - Stonewall on Ridge Pike in Plymouth Meeting. ALSO just drive on Lancaster Ave. towards Philly. This is the Main Line, lots of restaurant choices, and a bit of an adventure. Enjoy bon appetit

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ken from conshy

                      the valley forge / wayne recs are great. i was just about to mention several of those myself, so instead i'll just second:
                      -the indian place in gateway shopping center is called a taste of india, and although it doesn't look special from the outside, it's hands-down the best indian food i've EVER had. go for the lunch buffet or go for dinner when you can request them to turn up the heat a notch - it's WONDERful. right near one of the enterances to valley forge park, too. sometimes i grab some channa masala to go and drive less than a mile up the street, and park & eat on a blanket overlooking the valley. spectacular.

                      the mexican place in norristown, again, not a looker from the outside. it's taqueria la michoacana, or something to that effect. the enchiladas suizas are absolutely stellar. the local bands that play ?tuesday? nights - not so stellar. :)

                      stonewall or stonewell (i can never remember which) on ridge pike is spectacular and definitely something different... soooooo highly recommended. the owners are so nice. the place is so unassuming. i think it's a BYO if i'm not mistaken. my three most favorite dishes: the pepper/onion 'pancake,' the tofu/clam soup (amazing amazing *AMAZING* presentation unlike anything you've ever seen - i'll let you be surprised!) and the ice cream/candy desert trio thingy. seriously, this place can't get enough good press. there's never anyone in there, but it is truly a gem. just stay away from the 'health' spa that neighbors out back. eh.

                      1. re: rabidog

                        re: stonewell in conshohocken... i am moving from conshy into philly in a week, so we've been hitting all our local favorites, one a night, since all my cooking stuff is packed! we went to stonewell the other day, and i am VERY sad to report that they removed most of the korean specialties from their menu and are just focusing on japanese and sushi. how disappointing. there are already plenty of sushi places in the area; in fact bluefin up the street is much better in the sushi department. my two aforementioned favorite korean entrees are gone. i seriously almost cried.

                        anyone know of a good korean food replacement i might try?

                    2. Thanks for all teh Valley Forge suggestions.

                      I'm looking for Bistro 7's website but i guess they don't have one. I think i'll book it in any case -- the reviews i've read are good.

                      1. How's Georges in Wayne? Does it compare to his other restaurants?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: AussieGirl

                          I would stay away from Georges in Wayne. We went there last week after a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer hinted that it had improved. If that was an improvement, it must have gotten pretty bad. There are better options. If you like asian fusion, we had a good meal at Nectar, in Berwyn, a few days ago.

                        2. Don't forget gelato at Capogiro - NOT TO BE MISSED! It's located at 13th and Sansome.

                          1. georges does not compare.

                            1. Two of my absolute favorites are Horizons, a new vegan restaurant that's been very positively reviewed by a number of meat-eating critics and Chowhounds:


                              and Cherry St. Vegetarian in Chinatown:


                              (Also a favorite of some omnivores I know.


                              I like Zocalo's in University City for Mexican, but it's a tad overpriced:


                              As for BYO's, I tried one recently that I enjoyed, Audrey Claire (Rittenhouse Square area):


                              I second, third, and fourth the recommendations for Capogiro! Might warrant a couple of trips to cram in all the unique flavors.

                              Spend some time wandering the Reading Terminal Market and the Italian Market. DiBruno's makes some good sandwiches to munch on while you're wandering, and this is also where you'll find Gino's and Pat's for cheesesteaks (everyone I know who's tried both prefer Pat's). There are also lots of Vietnamese places nearby where you can get some good, cheap bahn mi (Vietnamese hoagies).

                              For a quick, cheap bite while wandering South Street, consider Maoz. Great falafel / hummus / eggplant pitas and a yummy little salad bar to boot.

                              Farmacia has been mentioned here but you'll get mixed reviews. I was excited to try it, have been twice, but was disappointed both times (more by the service than the food).

                              Enjoy the good eats!!

                              1. I haven't been to Penang in Philly, but it's an outpost of the excellent NY Malaysian restaurant. There's also a Cafe Spice (on S. 2nd) that is an outpost of one of my favorite NY (multiregional) Indian places.

                                Two places I love in Philly are Indonesia Restaurant in Chinatown (better than any of the Indonesian places in NY) and brunch at Cuba Libre (I've never done dinner there)--I just love the vibe of the place--Cuban Colonial design, great music, nice staff, excellent food at pretty reasonable brunch prices.

                                Vietnam Restaurant in Chinatown is also very good if you're looking for good S.E. Asian.

                                I love the breakfast pretzels stuffed with egg, cheese & meat from one of the pretzel vendors at the Reading Terminal Market.

                                There's a great gelateria around 13th & Chestnut, I believe--I'm sure a local can supply the details.


                                1. These were already mentioned but I want to enthusiastically second Pif, Marigold and August. All wonderful and very different from each other.

                                  1. vietnam restaurant is divine, but right across the street is veitnam palace, don't be fooled. palace is very good, but restaurant is so much better. alot of the mexican food places let you bring your own tequila, though living in texas has probably raised your expectations of mexican food. every now and then, a few places will get a few things right, but not all. go with friends so you can get the meat sampler and try more things.

                                    shiao lan kung is the best chinese restaurant in the city, hands down. i am a philly native and have tried so many other chinese restaurants and this one is head and shoulders above the rest. feel creative when you order, you'll miss how good everything is if you just order the basics. personal recommendations include the salt baked soft-shell crab, seafood bean curd soup (stay away from the hot and sour, is their only dud), kan kung (ong choy, water spinach) with shrimp paste, roast pork with ginger and scallions and any seafood dish.

                                    the thai restaurant at 5th and bainbridge is very good, though i forget its name. it is only open for dinner, so if you are walking on south street and get hungry, bainbridge is one block south.

                                    byos to recommend in addition to others previously mentioned...raddichio (italian)- 4th and wood, southwark (modern)- 4th and bainbridge, dmitri's (greek/seafood)- 3rd and catherine. there are so many good ones.

                                    definitely spend some time in the reading terminal, is my favie place to bring out of towners (other than 9th street/the italian market, but that's where i grew up/live so they'll see it anyway). the best chicken wings in the world are made there by the amish tucked in the far northwest corner (closest to 12th and race). yum! the vegetarian bar is really good, as are the middle eastern and southern spots. you can also get termini's and famous 4th street cookies and soft pretzels there, it really is paradise.