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Jan 24, 2008 02:05 PM

Holes in the wall

Something to this effect within a posting below prompted the thought..

Where are the great holes in the wall...I mean looks like a dump, but ker-pow..something delicious to be had therein.

I'll start.

Doesnt have a name. (at least that I recall)
On 10th, just before Arch, just left of Tai Lake and before the grocery on the corner.
little storefront.
inside 2 maybe three miniscule seats around tables.

Delicious steamed dumplings...pork, etc.

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  1. Taste of Portgual in the Northeast. Total hole in the wall in a bit of a rundown shopping center. There is an upstairs and downstairs, downstairs is a bit nicer but we love having dinner upstairs. Everyone is either Portuguese nor Brazilian, typically we are the only folks up there who speak a word of english. Absolutely amazing food, homestyle cooking. Favorites are pork and clams, ribs, steak with fried egg. Small inexpensive list of Portugese wines (some difficult to find in PA). Love it, love it, love it!

    4 Replies
    1. re: AmblerGirl

      I agree. ToP is a great restaurant albeit sketchy area

      1. re: AmblerGirl

        Ambler Girl, thanks so much for review ToP. I drive past it twice a week and always wonder if I should stop in. I will give it a try.

          1. re: gsElsbeth

            Here is the contact info. It is definitely worth a try, the food is fantastic.

            (215) 535-8700
            718 Adams Ave
            Philadelphia, PA

        1. The first one that comes to my mind is Hardena, the Indonesian "rice table" place near 15th and Moore. It not only looks like a IS a dump!!!

          But the food...

          Then there's Los Taquitos de Puebla on 9th St.

          And not that it needs any more play on this board (or anywhere else, for that matter) but I think John's Roast Pork qualifies here too.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Philly Ray

            Hey Philly Ray, I'm going to head down to Hardena this weekend with a couple of intrepid friends. Any advice on what or how to order? Thanks for the tip.

            1. re: hungry100

              The beef rendang, the collard greens, and the tempeh are probably our favorite items. The lamb is tasty also.

              Since you will be there on a weekend, also order the satay (chicken or lamb). The satay are not part of the items you can choose from the buffet, but they only cost a dollar or two. The dipping sauce that comes with them is awesome.

              If your group is into sharing, just have everyone choose different items on their plate so you all can get a taste. Heck, at only $5 per plate, just order an extra plate of stuff to share.

              As for how to order, just belly up to the counter and have a look at the steam table. Don't be shy about asking what they are serving that evening, they will be more than happy to tell you. Then just choose three things that sound good to you. If you like hot and spicy, ask for some sambal on the side.

              Trust me, you probably have not had a dining experience like this in Philly before. You will all leave full and spend less than $10 per person.

              Please report back!!

              1. re: Philly Ray

                Thanks PR -- this sounds totally up my alley. I will report back.

                1. re: Philly Ray

                  Hi again, most important -- can we bring beer?

                  1. re: hungry100

                    I don't see why not. Since they don't have a liquor license they would fall under the same rules that every other BYO does. We never brought beer there and lately we've been doing takeout.

                    I guess you can just bring some and ask them if it's ok, but I don't think it will be an issue.

                  2. re: Philly Ray

                    Hey Philly Ray, we loved, loved, loved Hardena! There were four of us and we took your advice -- we ordered five platters, both the lamb and chicken satay and a huge bowl of soup. The price? $31. It was amazing. First of all, loved the hole in the wall atmosphere and the friendly owner and patrons. We did enjoy some beer with dinner. What did we eat? Obviously, everything! They were out of the collards, but we had a "vegetable medley" the ingredients of which couldn't totally identify. It was good, but not quite as interesting as the jack fruit, which I've never had before. They were sort of egg shaped balls with a very stringy-meaty appearance. The owner kept telling us they weren't meat, which we found hard to believe until we ate them. They had a sort of sweetness to them. What was amazing is that everything we had was different from everything else (although the fried fish curry and the chicken curry did seem to have the same delicious curry sauce). We had lamb, fried chicken, some sort of hard boiled egg dish, little crispy fish, tempeh, eggplant, fried vegetable fritters, fried fish with curry sauce, chicken curry, both satays and the soup, which was my favorite. It seemed to be coconut curry with chicken, noodles, cabbage and I don't know what all else. It was beyond a meal in itself. I wish I could be more specific about the flavors and ingredients, but it was almost a blur of deliciousness. Many things were spicy, but not too spicy unless the sambal got involved, which is when I thought my head would blow off. I couldn't believe I witnessed another diner scooping up the hot sauce and putting on his spoonful of rice. The only downside is that the food is quite salty, and I woke up the next day pretty puffy from water retention. But I'd happily do it again. And soon.

                    1. re: hungry100

                      I'm glad you all had a great time. That is truly a unique dining experience in Philly. Try to go again before the hot, summer weather hits. Even thought they have an air conditioner, it struggles to match the heat of the steam table and it can get a bit uncomfortable in there. But you can always do takeout if you have a craving.

              2. Florida Style Pizza, on Snyder between 22nd & 23rd. Bulletproof glass, shady corner, best inside out pizza you'll ever have!!!

                1. Jovan's at the corner of Memphis and York in Fishtown. Family friendly corner bar with great homemade food and a slight Eastern European vibe. Plan to stay awhile...they start cooking from scratch when you place your order.

                  1. I'm going to have to recommend Lee's deli at 47th and Baltimore in West Philly. It's definitely a dive, but they have a lot of unique breakfast sandwiches and a killer chicken cheesesteak. It'll also be tops in my book because it provided me with my first scrapple experience. I was pretty apprehensive but it wasn't bad!