Philadelphia: Can't miss ethnic and/or veg/vegan friendly near Center City?
Rhode Island hound here, and I'll be in Philadelphia next month. I'm looking for recommendations for any sort of tasty, moderately priced ethnic and or vegetarian or vegan friendly places in the convention center area.
Particular favorites are Japanese, Thai, Cambodian, Afghan, and Ethiopian, but I'm open to anything.
What are your faves?
Thirding Horizons (an absolute must) & seconding Rangoon -- two of my Philly favorites.
If you eat cheese, I'd also put in a vote for wandering or cabbing down to the Italian Market one morning (not Monday), munching on a sandwich at Sarcone's (a good handful of delicious veg options), tasting some cheese at Claudio's and DiBruno Bros., and catching a sugar rush at Isgro's.
For Thai I like Tamarind, a little BYOB on South St. between Front and 2nd. A little bit of a hike from Center City.
There are two Afghan places on Chestnut between Front and 2nd, Ariana and Kabul. They are sister restaurants; I've only ever been to Kabul and it's been awhile, but I remember it being good. To save some change stop at one of the Ritz theaters (closest is the Ritz East, just a block or two away) and pick up one of their Showbills. There's always buy one entree, get one entre free coupon for each of the restaurants in there -- take a friend and split the bill.
You'll also find some good eats at the Reading Terminal Market, right near the Convention Center.
There are three veg'n kosher Chinese restaurants in Chinatown, but I'm not crazy about any of them. For the best veg'n Chinese in town, take a stroll over to Su Xing at 1508 Sansom for the best tofu dishes around.
If you like Mexican, shoot for a reservation at El Vez (aim for early; it can get crazy busy). A very yummy handful of good options and sides. Many different guacamoles to try and a killer blood orange margarita. Love their vegetarian entree. There's another mexican spot right across the street that I haven't yet tried that gets lots of props here on CH, and it's BYOT (bring your own tequila for their margarita mixes).
Are you in town for ALA, by any chance?
I'd skip El Vez. It's a fun atmosphere but overpriced for mediocre mexican. For the authentic stuff, head to the Italian market area where there are a bunch of little Taquerias (warning, the English skills of most of the servers are quite limited). My personal favorite is Los Taquitos de Pueblo on 9th St. just below Ellsworth.
The place across the street from El Vez is Lolita--a much better restaurant with many vegetarian options. It's more upscale than the south philly joints and is a lot of fun.
Absolutely do not miss Horizon's. I am not a vegetarian, but this vegan gourmet place is one of the best restaurants (of any type) in Philly. I agree - skip the Chinese veg places, but the veg dishes at Shao Lang Kung on Race are outstanding.
agree with everyone else, you cannot skip horizons! i ignored their presence for so long and am so sorry i did!
you'll find two afghan restaurants on chestnut street between front and 2nd... i've been to one of them twice (the one with the seat in the window)... pretty decor, OK food...
actually most of the places in a post i just typed up for a similar request match this criteria: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/472840