First visit to Philly
I'm going from NYC to Philadelphia for 3 days this week. I'm on a limited expense account, so I need to keep my lunches to $20 and my dinners to $40.
Where should I eat to get a feel for Philly? I want good, local favorites. Something unique to Philadelphia, if possible.
I'm staying downtown, but I'm willing to go anywhere I can get to in a cab.
You should definitely do lunch at Buddakan one day. They now offer their Bento Box lunch for $14- and you get to pick 3 courses from a list of choices. My favorite combo is either the chicken ginger dumplings or shrimp and scallop spring rolls, the Asian chicken salad, and the terayaki salmon or sesame crusted tuna. It is a great way to sample some of their popular dishes at lunch time for a fraction of the cost.
I agree- Reading Terminal is ideal for lunch.
I have been to Monk's for years, and adore their beer selection. However, I believe there has been a slippage in service, and the space is very crowded. I would actually suggest the new Belgian Cafe in Fairmount. Similar beers selection, decent mussells, similar burger selection, and a bit lest frantic compared to the Monks experience.
I would also throw Tria as a good place to visit, as well as Snack Bar. Both are doing some really interesting things with small plates, and matching food with wine and beer.
tria and snackbar are great, but not on a budget - neither is osteria, for that matter.
i think the marra's suggestion is a good one - loved their manicottis - it's nothing fancy, but it seems so quintessentially philly to me. criniti's, too, for some good italian (easy to get to from downtown by hopping the orange/broad street line at city hall, taking it down to oregon, walking north a block. for marra's you're best off in a cab, i think - it's not far).
oh, and do we ever have some good bar food here... i like eulogy, north third, standard tap... monk's is always highly recommended, but i've not yet been there!
Reading terminal Market is a good choice. Eat lunch at one of the Amish lunch counters, and get a roast pork at DiNic's. I personally would recommend Osteria, eat at the bar, Good Dog for their burger, and Standard Tap for a good beer and their smelt. You might also enjoy visiting South Philadelphia. Ralphs, or Marra's are classic restaurants down there. I am sure there will be people suggesting Pats or Genos, but personally I would skip them if you get a roast pork.
For dessert, try Capogiro gelato, and or Naked Chocolate cafe.
My two cents worth.