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50 Great Meals Under $50?

So I picked up Philadelphia Magazine's October issue for the 50 meals under $50. Some I've tried, others I haven't. But I didn't want to take their word for it. Who's got an opinion? Should I really venture out of my safe haven of Center City (or usual Center City spots) for some of these?

Just so you have it, the list (yeah, I know, it doesn't add up to 50...I have no idea why unless they're including random sidebar restaurants):

Under $15
Honey's Sit and Eat
Station House
El Jarocho
Great Burger
Rizzo's
Nudy's Cafe
Silver Diner

$16-25
Nifty Fifty's
Ants Pants
Hershel's East Side Cafe
Bridgid's
Rajbhog
Alfred's Tomato Pie

$26-35
Vietnam
Devi
Grey Lodge Pub
Su Xing
Mama Palma's
Fellini
Sweet Lucy's
Boathouse Raw Bar
La Esperanza
Silk City

$36-45
Shouk
Geechee Girl Rice Cafe
Kim's BBQ
Beau Monde Creperie
Teresa's Next Door
Thai L'Elephant
Sapori
Picanha Brazillion Grill

$50
Bluefin
Blue Sage
Divan
Citrus
Modo Mio
Hamlet Bistro

So, folks. Whatcha got?

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  1. Picanha Brazilian Grille is definitely worth the trip. 6000 block of Castor Ave if I recall.

    Go on a Friday (hey that's tomorrow!)..it fills up fast, but definitely fun with locals and everyone speaking Portuguese. The rodizio is what you want (i think about 17.99 a head for all you can eat buffet style salad and brazilian sides....and grilled meat...meat till your eyes pop out.

    It's BYO...locals bring all the fixins for mojitos or caphirinas(sp?)..the waitstaff is always willing to mix up a batch.

    Kim's BBQ is also worth the trip. 5900 block of North 5th St. I havent been in ages but it's been there for ages and from what I've heard its really good.

    neither is too far of a jaunt out of CC..

    1. Of places on that list that I've been to, you should go to El Jarrocho, Bridgid's, Shouk, Vietnam, Citrus, and Blue Sage, and not bother with Honey Sit n Eat, Beau Monde, and Divan. Of course, that's just my opinion, and in fairness to Divan I was only there once, a couple days after they opened when they were still going through some growing pains.

      Also, El Jarrocho is around the corner from a bad drug street, a guy was actually shot dead in their doorway last summer. So if you go, go during the day. We live close enough that we can get delivery, but I doubt they deliver to CC. If you want to fill the 'cheap, great tacos' slot on the list, Los Taquitos de Puebla is a better bet.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Buckethead

        Was just at Vietnam last weekend with my wife and we had yet another disappointing meal. I think the place is over-hyped and serves average food at best. Their Pho surely isn't that great. So I think it shouldn't be on the list. The Grey Lodge Pub is a unique place in the Northeast, I know the owner Scoats. Used to be a grungy little dive bar serving fantastic beer. Now it is a place with a very nice restaurant upstairs and still a unique (and updated) bar downstairs serving some of the best beer in the region. Their "Friday the Firkenteenth" celebrations (held every Friday the 13th, twice a year) brings out THE best local breweries for an incerdible time. The place is worth going to for the brews alone.

      2. Not one on that list qualifies as "great" in my book. Did the article say "50 great meals" or just "50 meals"?
        Try Mediterranean Grill in Bryn Mawr if you feel like venturing out of CC sometime.

        3 Replies
        1. re: idia

          The cover says "50 great meals," not "50 meals." I do, however, agree with you that, at least of the places I've been to on that list, none are great, though some are good to very good.

          To use Vietnam as an example, the food is solid. I've never had a disappointing meal there, but if someone were to ask me for great food, I wouldn't dream of sending them there. It's Vietnamese with a slight S. Chinese bent and nothing special except the fun dragon bowl drink.

          Of course, we're also talking Philly Mag here. These are the folks who put out "best of Philly" lists that include things from NJ & DE. (Not to say that those places might not be great, but they're not Philly.)

          1. re: Ali

            But it's not just "50 great meals" it's "50 great meals under $50" it's also stipulated as meals for TWO (ref: http://www.phillymag.com/articles/50_...) so in reality it's not just 50 great meals or even 50 great $50 meals, it's 50 great meals that cost less than $25.

            1. re: jzerocsk

              I think Ants Pants has one of the best bacon, egg, and cheese's in the city. I think that one qualifies IMHO.

        2. Give Divan another try. Their Doner kabob is terrific. Also, we really liked shouk.

          1. I couldn't disagree more with Rizzo's, Nifty Fifty's, and Silk City. I am always disappointed whenever someone drags me to one of these restaurants.