Saturday night dinner in Old City
I'm a New York Chowhounder who is frequently in Philadelphia on business for a Saturday night, staying in Old City without a car. I've tried Buddakan, which I liked but found just a bit too self-conscious and trendy for its own good. I'd greatly appreciate any recommendations in the $30 per person (without drinks) ballpark.
You are very close to some very good byob places -- which do not have the slick ambiance of buddakan, but have very good food.
Raddichio -- 4th and Wood.(close to Vine) -- Italian, do not take reservations, byo
kabul -- 2nd and chestnut -- afghani, byo.
mandoline -- 2nd and chestnut -- american cuisine, byo
You can eat like a king for $30 pp at each of these places
Some other restaurants in the area which others will surely pipe up about, but I have (unfortunately) not tried so cannot speak to:
Amada -- 2nd and chestnut -- spanish tapas, full bar available.
Tangerine -- 2nd and market -- another stephen starr restaurant, moroccan.
In other news, you are a short cab ride from practically any place in center city or the northern liberties.
on a particularly nice night, i'd go to Positano Coast @ 2nd and Walnut for some delicious "crudo" (italian marinated fish, shrimp etc...delicious) and some nice wines, and a cheap (but small) bowl of linguine with clams.
I'd only go to Serrano to say hi to the folks there and be friendly with your other drinkers at the bar -not to eat.
If I was feeling asian-y and not quite like going to Chinatown, i'd go to Anjou on Market tween 2 and 3 for their udon. Like the whole place or not, their udon is unique and satisfying. Drinks are tasty.
And lastly, I'd got to Tangerine, still Starr-full-of-itself but has great great great whole grilled fish
If you don't mind walking for 15 minutes or so, there are quite a few fabulous restaurants south of Old City along Bainbridge St. between 2nd and 7th streets. I'd especially recommend:
Ansill (my favorite), 3rd and Bainbridge: small plates, not expensive, great wine and beer list, great service.
Southwark, 4th and Bainbridge, also very good wine and beer list, small and inventive menu, great atmosphere.
Shouk, 6th and Bainbridge, middle eastern small plates, they were BYO for a while but I think they have their liquor license now.
mmm, i keep forgetting about those italian options in old city:
positano coast, as mentioned above, is just fabulous. i ordered heavier food than the above-mentioned, and i left very satisfied. it's got sleek decor and a great wine list.
la locanda del ghiottone is on the north side of market, and another yummy (albeit cash-only and BYO) italian restaurant. very rich sauces; and although you may leave feeling about fifteen pounds heavier you won't really care because it all will have been worth it.
i *would* second the above recommendation for amada; however i called myself earlier today for reservations and there is nothing available for quite a long time, let alone tomorrow night. see for yourself at www.opentable.com . though if you are ever back in philly with more notice, make reservations at amada for sure. you'll spend a lot but it is all worth it - the food is heavenly. three months later i can still taste the wild mushrooms on my tongue, but i never missed the $14 they set me back.