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Fishtown or nearby rec's?

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We are heading to Johnny Brenda's (1201 N. Frankford) to see a band tonight. Looking for a dinner spot nearby, although of course we could eat there too (this place is owned by the same people as Standard Tap). Any suggestions?

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  1. oooh, fun! i live in nearby northern liberties, and while most of what i've found in fishtown is delis and pizza (all mediocre at best) there are a few options close to the nolibs/fishtown border that would allow you to only park once. i'd very highly recommend either of the spanish tapas places close to fishtown:

    there's isla ibiza at 3rd and girard, a couple blocks from johnny brenda's. it's pretty yummy (more traditional) spanish tapas. very pretty place, and if you don't want a wait, this is the spot to go. every time i go in i am seated immediately. the almond/date/cinnamon butter that comes free with bread, it is to die for. mac y queso was also yummy. my dining companions looooved their meat options, i think i remember a tomato / jumbo lump crab soup among other things. great affordable wines.

    there's bar ferdinand on 2nd st one block south of girard (yellow awning) where you can get more modern spanish tapas. expect the trendier, younger setting to also come with a bit of a wait, but i'd recommend just eating at the bar. you get the best service there, and ironically it's where the noise level is at its lowest. great wine list here too, but $$$$$

    what kind of band? i'm not doing anything tonight and might end up heading out myself. :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: rabidog

      I wish I knew what kind of a band it is...this is a "friend of a friend" invitation and I am just along for the ride. Looking forward to going to this place though, and thanks for the recommendations!

    2. Do yourself a favor and eat @ Brenda's. Food is simple and fantastic, the crowd is fun and diverse, the jukebox is......well, fun and diverse. I recommend the clam chowder (if it's still on the menu) and any of their sandwiches. Wash it down with a fresh local brew. Tables are tough to get but you can always sit at the bar. Interesting conversations will surely follow. One of my favorite bars.

      Oh yeah, although I haven't seen a show there yet, I did get a tour of the music venue and it is quite impressive. They certainly know what they are doing, and they do it well.

      1. i would probably eat at johnny brenda's - they are the same owners as standard tap - currently in this month's bon appetit as great pub fare. but the bar can get pretty crowded so i like to eat elsewhere on show nights.

        if none of the above suggestions arent' to your liking - there's las cazuelas (authentic BYOB mexican) at 5th & girard - tiffin (new - fab! - indian) at 8th & girard

        1. ^ i think you're one block away on those. las cazuelas i thought was 4th and girard, and tiffin at 7th and girard?

          i've not eaten at johnny brenda's, but i have eaten at standard tap. several times, because i do like their beer. grimy pub fare is one of my guilty pleasures, but i've not been a fan of any food i've ordered at the standard tap. maybe vegetarian cuisine is not where they excel.

          another place i just remembered - though i can't personally recommend because i have not dined here yet, i have heard many good things about this place - taco riendo just north of girard on 5th. next time i crave mexican, i am soooo there.

          1. Thanks all. We did end up eating at Johnny Brenda's. My BF was very happy with his hanger steak (it came perfectly cooked to order and with a side of potatoes gratin), but I was pretty underwhelmed by my grilled chicken sandwich. The chicken was flavorless, charred and dried out, and the spinach appeared to have been recently defrosted. There was no flavoring of any kind on the sandwich--not even a swipe of mustard. The super-skinny fries tasted good but they are very hard to eat!

            Next time we will try some of your other suggestions. I was really taken by the tapas idea and would love to grab some great Mexican!

            1 Reply
            1. re: travelmad478

              Sorry the food wasn't all you expected.....I would say the exception rather than the rule. Hope you enjoyed the show!

              Bar Ferdinand would be a fun place to go to before a show. Las Cazuelas, although great the first time I went (4 or 5 years ago) the last visit recently was less than stellar. Mediocre at best.

            2. thanks for reporting back! after eating at il cantuccio last night (there's a seperate review of that place from me) i found myself too exhasted to check out the local music scene. hope the band was good!