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Eating on a budget in Pliladelphia

e
elgordo Feb 14, 2007 09:27 AM

I'm visisting Pliladelphia for a few days in March and would welcome suggestions for decent food on a tight budget .... wide and varied tatse ...... I'll be living in the Old City area, so anything central would suit.

  1. b
    Boognish Feb 19, 2007 08:23 AM

    Unless you're vegetarian as well, I wouldn't suggest a vegetarian-only restaurant in Chinatown since the vast majority of the restaurants in that area will serve vegetarian dishes and non-veg dishes.

    I highly recommend Szechuan Tasty House. Oh man is that good stuff.

    1. G Goo Feb 18, 2007 01:01 PM

      Radicchio Cafe on 4th and Wood in Old City. Delicous and cheap Italian BYOB. They don't take reservations so be sure to get there early.

      4 Replies
      1. re: G Goo
        saturninus Feb 18, 2007 03:27 PM

        I disagree with cheap but agree it's wonderful. Definitely arrive early. I would say it is closer to mid priced.

        1. re: saturninus
          G Goo Feb 19, 2007 04:38 AM

          Cheap relatively speaking. Most entrees are between $14 and $20. Anymore that's pretty cheap for an upscale restaurant, especially of that quality.

          1. re: G Goo
            saturninus Feb 19, 2007 05:25 AM

            It's definitately a great value, just wouldn't describe as out and out cheap.

            1. re: saturninus
              Tonyjlive Feb 19, 2007 07:30 AM

              Agree

      2. suttonh Feb 17, 2007 01:57 PM

        Clearly you have more places to visit that time will likely allow... but I must recommend Nanzhou Handdrawn Noodle House. We stumbled upon desperately hungry, cranky kids, crankier dad. Wonderful, unusual, and outrageously affordable. Do not miss it if in Chinatown (and you must go to Chinatown anyways).

        Enjoy

        1. b
          Bashful3 Feb 15, 2007 06:02 PM

          Not Chow, but ample and reliable is Little Pete's, in back of the Philadelphian, entrance on Fairmount Ave, between 24th and 25th. (Near Museum).

          Soup, salad, beverage, main and two sides, plus dessert can be as low as $12.95 for dinner. Quality is very high, portions huge. Good for lunch or brunch as well. Friendly, fast service, but a tad on the noisy side. Oddly enough, this bargain eatery also has a bar.

          1. gina Feb 15, 2007 05:46 PM

            I second Lake Blue, plus another good, inexpensive sandwich spot in Old City is Campo's Deli, at Market and Strawberry Sts.

            Society Hill Hotel Bar, at 3rd and Chestnut, has great food and a pub atmosphere. One of our favorite bartenders there is a Scotsman. :)

            1. e
              elgordo Feb 15, 2007 08:55 AM

              Thanks to all - looking forward to my visit more than ever now. Apologies again from a barely literate Scotsman!!

              1. saturninus Feb 14, 2007 12:52 PM

                Just make sure to spell it "Philly" and "Philadelphia"

                1 Reply
                1. re: saturninus
                  e
                  elgordo Feb 14, 2007 12:57 PM

                  Oops ... apologies!!

                2. e
                  elgordo Feb 14, 2007 11:44 AM

                  Thanks all,what a choice .... already reserved a table at Horizons for our first night in town - the recommendations for it were so good. Looking forward to some good eating in Philli.

                  1. b
                    Buckethead Feb 14, 2007 10:43 AM

                    Alyan's, on 4th St. just south of South St., has great middle eastern food at cheap prices. Two people can spend $15 and go away happy and full.

                    1. bluehensfan Feb 14, 2007 10:22 AM

                      There is Famous 4 Vegetarian in the Reading Terminal Market if it helps.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bluehensfan
                        spyturtle008 Feb 14, 2007 11:00 AM

                        Just don't get the cheesesteak! They changed their recipe some time ago and what they serve now is a gloppy, chewy mess with the consistency of Bubba Yubba. Everything else I've had there has been wonderful, though.

                      2. d
                        DanielleM Feb 14, 2007 10:07 AM

                        try kabul for a nice sitdown dinner -- 2nd and chestnut area -- entrees under $15, byob; Afghani cuisine (GREAT kabobs)

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: DanielleM
                          e
                          elgordo Feb 14, 2007 10:15 AM

                          My wife's vegetarian .... does Kabul cater for non - carnivores?

                          1. re: elgordo
                            spyturtle008 Feb 14, 2007 10:58 AM

                            Yes, Kabul is veg-friendly. If you like middle eastern, Maoz (on South St. near 2nd) sells inexpensive and huge falafel/hummus/eggplant sandwiches and good fries. There's not much seating to speak of, but they're cheap and yummy.

                            Also for a veg treat that would satisfy any CH, consider eating on the lower level of Horizons (on 7th just off of South St.). It's a vegan gourmet restaurant, but they have a good selection of cheap(er) eats on their bar menu -- some of the same things you'd get upstairs but with less of the bells & whistles.

                            Also off of South St. (on 6th, I think) is Gianna's Grille. Your wife could have her pick of any of a number of veg sandwiches (including a decent veg philly chease steak) and you could get something carnivorous if you'd like. (My favorite there is the fighting dog w/ broccoli rabe.)

                            If you venture down to Chinatown, Cherry St. Vegetarian is my favorite of the chinese vegan restaurants, and very reasonably priced.

                            I'd also encourage you to venture down to the Italian market if you get a chance -- plenty of places for excellent, cheap sandwiches -- both the italian variety and vietnamese bahn mi. Not a place anyone, let alone a self-respecting CH, should miss out on during a trip to Philly.

                            1. re: elgordo
                              d
                              DanielleM Feb 14, 2007 10:59 AM

                              uh, eh -- sort of. There are vegetarian appetizers and a few vegetarian plates -- i cannot speak to how good they are though; i have not tried them. You can check out their menu yourself here:

                              http://philadelphia.menupages.com/res...

                              1. re: elgordo
                                m
                                mazza3 Feb 15, 2007 06:43 AM

                                yes. they have delicious lamb dishes. a word about afghani food though, if you are unfamiliar. some of it can be sweet (rose water, candied orange rind, raisins) so if this isn't your thing, you might do better to avoid it.

                                1. re: mazza3
                                  spyturtle008 Feb 15, 2007 07:35 AM

                                  Yes on the sweet bit -- it's good food but you have to be either in the mood for it or feeling a bit adventurous. Another element that can add to the sweetness is pumpkin -- one veg dish I tried there was pumpkin-based, and although it was good, it did feel kind of like dessert in a way...

                                  1. re: spyturtle008
                                    spyturtle008 Feb 22, 2007 06:04 AM

                                    Just thought to mention -- if you are on a budget and do decide to eat at either Kabul or its sister restaurant, Ariana, you might want to stop in at one of the Ritz Theaters and pick up one of their Filmbills (a free publication with articles about movies, etc.). There is always a 20% off coupon for both places in it.

                            2. juice Feb 14, 2007 09:53 AM

                              If you want a good, cheap sandwich, Lake Blue on 2nd or Mulberry Market on Arch make great, fresh hoagies for $4.79 with Boars head meats and whatever fixings you want. I personally like Soho pizza. A large pie can last you at least two dinners for around $16-18.
                              All you can eat sushi at AOI on 12th and walnut ($20). Not the best but not the worst. Nick's Roast Beef on 2nd makes good sandwiches for about $5. Their whole menu is fairly inexpensive. Konak on Vine street has $2 appetitzers of the whole menu on Tuesday nights. You can feast with many different items for $10-12. If you want drinks, Sugar Momma's, Drinkers, and National Mechanics are cheap all the time. Other spots run decent happy hours (look at other happy hour posts), Cheers.

                              1. bluehensfan Feb 14, 2007 09:40 AM

                                There are a few pizza places (Gianfranco Rustica is one) that are very inexpensive in Old City. Philadelphia is a very walkable city, and about 9 or so blocks to the west is the Reading Terminal Market http://www.readingterminalmarket.org that is open for breakfast and lunch. There is a wide range of food served there, most of it is very good, and all of it is inexpensive. DiNic's has roast pork sandwiches for like $6 and the Dutch Eating Place has pancakes for $4 or so, neither of which can be beat! Also, Chinatown is very, very inexpensive as well, and is a few blocks north and east (towards Old City) from the market. You could get cheap buns there or meals for a decent price too.

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