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Philly Top Five

Going to Philly for the first time for five days for a conference this week.

What are your top five (or more) things I should make sure to eat, or places I need to eat at, to really feel like I've experienced historic, authentic (I know, a problematic word/term!) Philadelphia food and foodways. I live in SF so I'm really looking for food and experiences that cannot be duplicated anywhere else but in Philadelphia.

And in addition, what are your top five places to go/things to eat inside the Reading Terminal Market?

Thanks so much in advance for your help!

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  1. The top five things at the Reading Terminal Market seem a lot easier so I will tackle those...
    1. A pancake (and scrapple or bacon) breakfast at the Dutch Eating Place
    2. A roast pork (with greens and provolone) sandwich from DiNic's
    3. A soft pretzel (preferably just out of the oven) from Fisher's
    4. A cannoli or other pastry (lately it's been the pig ears) from Termini's
    5. An apple fritter or cinnamon bun (the ones with the brown cinnamon on top, not the cream cheese) from Beiler's
    Of course, that's not to say there are only five things you must try at the Market...

    1. Top Five Restaurants (that I can think of right now, none of these are very expensive):

      1. Horizons
      2. Caffe Casta Diva
      3. Raddichio
      4. Shiao Lan Kung
      5. Chloe

      1. I've eaten 2-4 meals a week at the terminal for the past 5 years. My top 5 items are:

        1. Roast Pork with Cheese & Greens at DiNics (you're going to see a lot of these)
        2. Salmon with Red Curry Sauce at the Little Thai Place
        3. Chocolate covered pretzels from the PA General Store
        4. Iced Coffee from Old City Coffee
        5. Beef Taco Salad with black refried beans and guacamole from the 12th St Cantina

        And now I'm soooo ready for lunch!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: jessicheese

          At Reading Terminal:
          - Ricotta canolli at Termini's
          - Bacon, egg and cheese in a soft pretzel at the Amish pretzel place
          - Dinic's sandwich

          In the city, Vetri is my favorite fine dining. L'Angolo is best low key BYOB Italian. I love Buddakan for the Bento Box lunch special. DiBruno's on chestnut is a must for lunch or goodies.

        2. Not one recommendation from anyone to take in a Cheese Steak?

          3 Replies
          1. re: Feasty Boy

            Nah, too touristy. Stick with DiNic's. I'd add that the chocolate peanut butter pretzels are good at Mueller's as is the salmon from the Thai place.

            1. re: bluehensfan

              Given the guideline of "looking for food and experiences that cannot be duplicated anywhere else but in Philadelphia," I think one cheesesteak wouldn't be too touristy in the course of five days. With the Reading Terminal Market area being convenient (presumably to the Convention Center for the conference), there is Rick's (I think) in Reading Terminal Market plus Campo's and Sonny's on Market Street near 2nd and 3rd. All three are good though not "the best" in the city. There are other boards devoted to the best cheesesteak in Philly but, for the convention center area, these three are worth a try. Everything else mentioned for RTM is right on target. I haven't been there recently -- I'm getting hungry just reading this board and thinking about getting over that way soon. Whatever you choose, you should enjoy.

              1. re: jfr

                I agree ! You have to have a cheesesteak - they are absolutely the best in the Philly area. As for being a tourist thing, I suspect there are a few locals that indulge in a cheesesteak once in awhile (just to keep all those cheesesteak shops in business).

          2. I'm Italian American from Boston, and one thing I love about Philly is the Italian provisions readily available here. So, here are a few of the red/white/green highlights. If you have any time in the morning, I find the Italian Market (the heart of it is on 9th street between Christian and Washington) to be enduringly charming. Some would argue it's become less than "authentic", but it's just nice to stroll through an honest-to-goodness, functioning outdoor market. Claudio's mozzarella is tasty, DiBruno Bros. is good for sampling and has a good cheese selection. Sabrina's (not Italian per se, but great, on Christian just west of 9th street) is the best breakfast/brunch I've found in the city (lunch and dinner there are not nearly as good). Long waits there on a weekend. Also, try gelato at Capogiro (there are two locations, both at Samson St., one on 13th and one on 20th). They'll let you try as much as you want before you buy. The "herb" flavors are really interesting. Have fun in Phila.

            2 Replies
            1. re: leavethegun

              Naked Chocolate (Walnut & Juniper) is great for dessert. I love their drinking chocolates, they're very rich. I usually get a small and am well satisfied. And it's cheap to boot. If you can sneak in some Grand Marinier, it's even better.

              1. re: bumble

                Talking dessert, the Franklin Fountain between front and 2nd on Market is a unique experience and great dessert/mid day sweet location!
                http://www.franklinfountain.com/