DC Hound has 3 Specific Philly Questions
Coming to Philly on Saturday June 23rd. Dining that night at Amada and staying at the Four Seasons. Going to the Tut exhibition Sunday morning.
Question 1. Where should we have lunch on Saturday while doing the usual touristy things downtown? Looking for a nice sit down lunch for a peaceful break in the day, bottle of wine included. Have read alot about James and Vetri. Are either of these good options? Can you recommend anything else? Bear in mind, wife and I will be dressed in shorts and will have our very polite 6 year old chowpup with us.
Question 2. After Tut on Sunday, we will be heading home via I-95 South to Washington DC. Wife has requested a real Philly cheesesteak (with whiz?) on the way out of town. Are any of the good places convenient for us to stop at while heading that way? And how exactly do I to phrase my order? Do you put mushrooms and onions on those things?
Question 3. Why doesn't Philly have their own Board?
Thanks for all your help.
1. Neither of those restauarants serves lunch, nor are they particularly near Independence Hall and the historic stuff. "Peaceful" rules out a number of things in the neighborhood, and "serves wine" complicates things too. What will you be visiting, and how far do you like to walk?
2. Tony Luke's is right off the Oregon/Packer exit of I-95, on Oregon Avenue practically under the highway. Easy, convenient. So, of course, they're closed on Sundays. Hit Jim's at 4th and South instead -- v. close to downtown.
1. This is a tough one. A lot of the nicer restaurants are closed for lunch on weekends, and those that aren't may be a little too upscale for super-casual clothing. You might check out Estia--lovely, peaceful atmosphere, good food and wine list, and you might get away with shorts on a weekend lunch.
As an alternate suggestion, if you want something very Philly and fun, you could go to the Reading Terminal Market. It will be busy and hectic, but there are tons of great food options, many uniquely Philly. Check out Philly's other (and many of us think better than cheesesteak) sandwich--roast pork with greens and sharp provolone from Dinic's. The RTM has many, many other good food options as well, but you'd have to give up the idea of peaceful and wine.
2. It's a shame, Tony Luke's was my first thought until I realized it was a Sunday (though if I was going to TL's I'd get the above-mentioned roast pork). I agree that Rick's on South Street is probably your best bet.
3. I've been wondering this for years.
Caribou Cafe is a nice little french bistro, I'm pretty sure open for lunch Saturdays. Really quite casual. It's in the middle of town, though (12th and Walnut, I think) so not right by the tourist places. Thank you.
Not so far from the tourist area is Jones at 7th and Chestnut. A nice spot for lunch and kids are welcome. Check to make sure it is open on Saturdays. right near your hotel is the Public Bar, which is not a bad spot for lunch, but nothing special. Regarding your cheesesteak, I agree that your best bet is Reading Terminal. Getting it with Wiz is a matter of choice. Personally, I hate whiz, but love cheese, mushrooms and fried onions. If you really want the best of Philly, get in your car Saturday at lunch and drive to John's Roast Pork. You should order the cheesesteak and have your wife order the roast pork and I can guarantee you that your meal will be far better then Amada! The concierge can give you driving directions.
Why not grab a cheesesteak on Saturday at Campo's during somepoint of your day which is right in the middle of the touristy stuff. There are also some other things down in that area that you could snack on to make a full rounded lunch (ex. Franklin Fountain) if you choose to skip the bottle of wine. It's ironic, but I just got done complaing about the Food Network show Road Tasted and how there are better places in the city to get both ice cream and steaks, the thing is, some of our gems are off the beaten path, however, these are perfectly good and right in your area. As to the steak question...The answer is what ever you want you can get. If you want to get a "whiz wit" (fried onions & cheeze wiz) or "whiz witout"(whiz with no onions) then do so. If you want to add mushrooms or peppers then feel free to do so as well. Everyone has their own thing, kind of like hoagies and hamburgers.
Where is there better icecream? Different styles, maybe (e.g. Capo Giro), but for Philadelphia-style ice cream Franklin sets the mark, IMHO. If you're serious about good wine, Panorama might be an option. It's in the Old City neighborhood close to Christ Church, Elfreth's Alley, etc. It's a bit more formal for dinner, but lunch may be more casual.