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Feb 14, 2007 09:27 AM

Eating on a budget in Pliladelphia

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.

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  1. 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 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.

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

        6 Replies
        1. re: DanielleM

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

          1. re: elgordo

            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

              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:


              1. re: elgordo

                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

                  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

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

              1 Reply
              1. re: bluehensfan

                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. 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.