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Apr 9, 2007 04:00 AM

Only in Philly? - Help plan my trip!

Just figured out that we'll be in Philly for a night, coming in Sun afternoon in a couple weeks (the 22nd) and out late the next Monday (23rd).

I've started looking through the board, but thought I'd try putting an explicit request out there! Counting the meals, I should have a late lunch Sun, dinner Sun, brunch/lunch on Mon, and an early dinner before heading out.

There's two of us, one of whom is vegetarian. We'll be staying at the Sheraton Society Hill, without a car (not sure how easy it is to get around).

Can anyone help me fill out my meals, or at least give me a starting point? What stands out in Philly, perhaps things I couldn't really get elsewhere (not required, again, just a starting point!). Not very familiar with the Philly food scene at all. I would prefer not to have to trek too far out, as, given our limited time, I'd also like to squeeze in little tourist-type action. Looking for low to mid-range suggestions, and places I can still get into, seeing that I'm only a couple weeks away!

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Welcome to Philly! Not sure of exact address, or whether Horizons is open on Monday, but that should be your cornerstone for unusual Philly food. Vegan, believe it or not, but heavy meat eaters like me were tickled pink with the innovative chow. If someone could supply phone number for you, perhaps you could call them up to make a reservation for either Sunday or Monday.

    Within walking distance from Sheraton, on Monday, try to squeeze in a peek in the Curtis Building (6th and Chestnut?) to view unique Tiffany glass mural in lobby. Not on the tourist info, but truly wonderful. The opera curtain in Mexaco City is its equally large, very special counterpart.

    Reading Terminal Market is also special, but pretty dead, barely open, on Sundays.
    Not all Philly restaurants are open on Mondays, so you will have a challenge.

    1. As a veggie that knows the area here are my tips.
      Call to see if any of these are open on Sunday or Monday:

      Zot - new belgian style bar with 24 styles of mussels, not a ton of veggie options though but great beer and wine selection
      Continental Old City - nice brunch and dinner
      Eulogy - fabulous belgian bar, 300 beers, more veggie options
      xochtil - new mexican restaurant in headhouse, not open monday
      chloe - amazing byo in old city, veggie options

      8 Replies
      1. re: saturninus

        I see byo mentioned a few times on this board - bring your own alcohol? Don't see this term used much on my home board (SF) . . .

        1. re: nsheth

          Precisely. Usually it's wine or beer, though a few places supply margarita mixes and you can bring your own tequila. You can really bring whatever you want to a BYO, but usually wine or beer are recommended. Getting smashed at a BYO is a no-no.

        2. re: saturninus

          Chloe, closed Sun/Mon.

          Eulogy sounds good, I love good beer bars. ZoT's has pretty limited veggie selections (but does sound really good to me!)

          Continental seems interesting, dishes from all over - though, I often find those places to be pretty mediocre in practice . . .

          Couldn't find any info of Xochtil online?

          1. re: nsheth

            Continental isn't anything you couldn't get anywhere. Getting around Center City is pretty easy, mostly walkable as long as the weather is nice. The deal with BYOBs is that liquor licenses are incredibly expensive and hard to come by, so many of our newer, smaller, most creative restaurants are BYO. You should definitely check out the Reading Terminal Market for either breakfast or lunch. It is uniquely Philly--not many places like it in the U.S. Search the Board for eating recs from its multiple vendors.


            Here are a bunch of places you should check out that are open either Sunday or Monday, lunch or dinner, with good veggie options:

            Lolita--upscale Mexican BYOB, they will substitute marinated tofu for meat in several of their dishes. They provide margarita mixes if you bring tequila, usually a couple of flavors. A couple weeks ago, the flavors were traditional, blood orange, and mango/mint. You can also get a virgin pitcher.


            Matyson-one of Philly's best BYOBs. A great Monday lunch spot. The menu changes often, and it is the kind of place that will accommodate veggie requests if there isn't anything on the menu.


            Tria- a cafe devoted to wine, beer, cheese and the foods that go with them. It's got a fun, hip atmosphere. They don't take reservations and there is often a wait, but it's a great lunch or late afternoon spot.


            Osteria--One of our most exciting new places is a first-rate Italian restaurant, Fantastic food and a nice wine list. It's a tough reservation, so I would make it soon.


            For some of the best gelato in the country, don't miss Capogiro, which has two locations in Center City--at 13th and Sansom (across from Lolita) and on 20th near Rittenhouse Square.

            1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

              These are all AMAZING places listed. But they are not within walking distance. I think it's an excellent list and you should check out some, but if you want to stay close, try some of the restaurants I listed above.

              1. re: saturninus

                I couldn't find mention of xochtil anywhere on this board or on the web - spelling error, perhaps?

                1. re: nsheth

                  It's spelled Xochitl (switch the 't' and the 'i').


              2. re: Hungryin theBurbs

                Thanks for the suggestions! These look good. I'll have to consult a map, figure out where everything is . . .

          2. Great restaurant on Olde City: Fork at 2nd or 3rd & Market St. You can walk there from your hotel. Food is always good, will need a reservation for Saturday night, also has nice Sunday Brunch.

            4 Replies
            1. re: gtvlad

              Thanks, it does appear to be real close to the hotel, and the menu seems interesting. I made a reservation for Sun night.

              Roughly planning - Tria for a late lunch on Sun, Fork for dinner, Reading Terminal Market for lunch on Mon. Still figuring out dinner on Mon, leaving at 10pm or so, will want to eat beforehand.

              Thanks to everyone for their suggestions!

              1. re: nsheth

                Radicchio Cafe is an excellent restaurant for a Monday night. It's an Italian BYO located at 4th and Wood. It is at the most a 30-minute walk from your hotel or a five-minute cab ride. And it's a nice walk. Looking at their Web site, it looks a little different then I remember it just a few months ago.

                Another place that's close to you that I never see mentioned but my wife and I like a lot is Amici, also Italian, on Market Street close to Fork. It's one of the places I go when I'm craving for fresh pasta. It's more like a South Philly restaurant in a bit more fanciful digs.

                I would also recommend Fork, especially for brunch.

                Another place very close to you that I didn't see mentioned on this thread is Positano Coast. I haven't been there but a of people have nice things about it.

                Here are a couple links.



                1. re: nsheth

                  Note that Tria doesn't open until 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays... I would suggest Vintage as an alternative but they're not open at all on Sunday. If you get there right when they open it's not crowded for at least an hour, usually, so you could still do it if you're doing a late dinner at Fork.

                  Although they're not the same as Tria, I would offer the ideas of Good Dog or Monk's as alternatives. Both more Belgian-style beer-oriented but with good bar-type food.

                  And definitely make room in your schedule for Capogiro!

                2. re: gtvlad

                  Oh, and, based on the raves I've seen on this board, I'm going to have to squeeze in some gelato!

                3. Quick trip overview -

                  Went to the Reading Terminal Market. I couldn't remember the sandwich place that people had recommended (looked it up later, it was Dinic's), thought I should get a cheesesteak while in Philly, ended up getting one from the place in the front, I think it was Rick's? It was alright, nothing standout, a little bland, but filled me up.

                  Tried Capogira for an afternoon gelato break, very good! Split a grande with 4 flavors - if I recall: cappuccino, dulce de leche, some sort of melon, and honey tangerine. The honey tangerine really wowed me, but everything was solid. Sampled a few other flavors while in there.

                  Had a leisurely meal at Tria. I went through a beer or three, my gf had a glass of wine, we split a couple cheeses and a very good grilled cheese sandwich. I also got a plate of warm figs stuffed with gorgonzola served with prosciutto. All in all, price-wise things tended to add up quickly, but it was a fun place.

                  Fork was a disappointment. We had a late reservation, though the reservation was unnecessary, as the restaurant was pretty much empty. Maybe 2 or 3 total tables occupied, and a couple people drinking at the bar. Despite this, the service was atrocious. Waiters were nowhere to be found, mistakes weren't corrected, things were paced too slow. Food-wise, things started off good. I got a salad which came together pretty well (blue cheese, crispy shallots, etc., if I recall), and we got an order of the yucca fries which were very addictive. For entrees, I got the pork chop, my gf got the mushroom tamales. I tried a bite of hers, didn't think much of it. My pork chop was pretty overcooked and dry. For dessert, we split the bread pudding. It wasn't reheated properly - the top was hot, the center was cold and hard. We sent it back, it took over 20 min to come back (by that time, the restaurant was empty). They had simply reheated the half-eaten dessert, which resulted in it being burnt to a charred black on the edges. It was still inedible, and we left it on the plate. No apologies were offered from the waiter on either the initial cold dessert or the long delay, and it was still on our bill. It felt like he was just going through the motions. Overall, a pretty disappointing meal.

                  Grabbed a small meal or two elsewhere while site-seeing, nothing memorable enough to write about. Thanks to everyone for their suggestions!