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Sep 13, 2007 02:30 PM

4 nights in Philly

In a couple weeks my wife and I will be in Philadelphia on business for 4 nights. Our hotel is across the street from City Hall. We won't have a car, but don't mind a moderate subway ride or cab ride. Price is not that important (except not "super expensive").

Please help us out with these categories:
1. General good, interesting, eclectic food for dinner. "The one place you HAVE to go for dinner in Philly!" (This is the one I'm most interested in!)
2. Italian for dinner
3. Chinatown for dinner (Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, fusion all ok)
4. Breakfast on Saturday morning.
5. Late (mid-afternoon) place for a big (weekday) lunch before a dinnertime flight.


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  1. 1. Matyson
    2. Tre Scalini, Radicchio or Caffe Casta Diva
    3. Lakeside
    4. Dutch eating place at the reading terminal. Crepe place at the reading terminal.
    5. Reading terminal for great sandwiches etc. Assuming Mon - Sat. Sun lots of places are closed.

    4 Replies
    1. re: joluvscards

      Without question:
      1, Matyson. There is a liquore store around the corner at Chestnut and 19th. You will be very happy you went to this very special place
      2. Melagrano; go early to get a table. Radicchio or La Viola if not
      3. Lots of good places. Lee How Fook.
      4. La Colombe for world's greatest coffee and real French croissant; Little Pete's for full breakfast (24-hr diner).
      5. El Vez (Mexican) close to your hotel before checking out

      1. re: joluvscards

        I see a lot of recommendations for Matyson. I'm going to try it out. Any suggestions for which dish I should give a try?

        1. re: baekster

          Dessert! They make great desserts.

          1. re: baekster

            Monday thru Thursday they offer a themed, prixe fixe tasting menu with 5 course for $45. Usually a good bet if you're not too picky. If you want to order from the menu, I like the duck for an entree and foie gras or veal sweatbreads for an appetizer. You can't go wrong with dessert.


        2. for #5, I'd suggest Monk's - good burgers, excellant mussels and fries, killer beer selection.

          1. Pretty much all of the city is within a short cab ride of city hall.

            1. If I had to pick one place in the city, I'd pick Ansill. Ever since David Ansill closed Pif and took over as chef at his namesake place, it's been fantastic. I don't think there is one single restaurant in the city that is universally acknowledged as the one, must-have, gotta-go place.
            2. Osteria. It's a quick cab ride from your hotel (6 blocks north of City Hall). Melograno is very good too, but they don't take reservations. There are quite a few other great italian places that I'm sure others will mention.
            3. Rangoon is great, so are a lot of other places in Chinatown, but Rangoon is Burmese, which is kind of a rare cuisine in my experience. Other people here probably know more about Chinatown than I do.
            4. If you are willing to get up early, breakfast at Sabrina's (9th and Christian) is great, but you have to get there before 9:15 or so if you don't want to wait. They also have a new location at 18th and Callowhill that's closer to your hotel. If you'd rather make reservations, brunch at Lacroix is excellent.
            5. Reading Terminal Market. There are dozens of vendors, just walk around and get whatever appeals to you. Then do it again and again. And cap it off with a cupcake.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Buckethead

              Since you're flying into town on business, I won't recommend any BYOBs in order to minimize any hassles. Otherwise, I'd strongly endorse Caffe Casta Diva for your Italian dinner.

              1. Le Bar Lyonnais: You'll get Le Bec-Fin food at very reasonable a la carte prices and an excellent selection of wines by the glass as well. I have to politely disagree with some of the others - Le Bec-Fin is the must visit restaurant in Philadelphia. Le Bar Lyonnais (in the basement) is an excellent introduction to that restaurant and its cuisine.
              2. Osteria: Despite some periodic service issues, I have heard from friends who say that food is outstanding.
              3. Lakeside Chinese Deli
              4. Fountain Restaurant (at the Four Seasons)
              5. Any of the suggestions above are fine for lunch.

              1. re: Buckethead

                A few doors down from Ansill is Gayle. Always interesting, delicious food. The menu is certainly eclectic and Chef Stern's style is deconstructed. Had the seafood stew on Saturday - marvelous combination of fish, shellfish and light broth - certainly not a stew but a lovely composition, light & flavorful, each ingredient shining through. Also love the lobster roll.

                1. re: wandasue

                  Daniel Stern spends most of his time at Rae these days from what I've heard, though Gayle is still very good.

              2. Vietnam on 11th between Race and Vine for dinner. Great Vietnamese in a nice atmosphere.

                1. I'm adding a new category - 6. Best Dessert

                  Go to Capogiro on 13th and Sansom (right around the corner from your hotel) for the most mind-blowing gelati you will ever consume.