Ethnic in West Philly
Aside from the usual Indian and Thai in West Philly, are there any unusual, good, fun ethnic restaurants (I know there must be) or a place with good pub-type food? I'm familiar with Marigold, White Dog, Vientiane, etc. What don't I know about?
you started a topic i have been meaning to start for ages!!! thank you! every time i go to west philly, i always run into extremely tasty food. even though i've now lived in PA for 3 years, west philly is still a totally recent discovery for me. (how?!!) back in DC, we had a place on georgia ave called mike & rita's; it was west indian and served up amazing rotis for a whopping $3. i lamented about the fact that we didn't have an equivalent in philly, but now i know we MUST - i just need to find it and i am on a mission. if i didn't love my neighborhood so damn much i would absolutely move to west philly, i'd try to rent an apartment above fu wah. :) that said, here's my short short short (but ever-expanding) list:
fu wah grocery store at 47th and baltimore: excellent tofu hoagie! (thanks saturninus!)
vietnam cafe: also 47th and baltimore, same owners as fu wah and vietnam in chinatown (the one on the east side of 11th).
abyssinia: pretty great food (etheopian/eritrean, forget which), but the space needed a thorough cleaning IMO. also, service was slooooooow. but the food, good.
dahlak: FUN atmosphere, good beer list, food was good (possibly a hair below abyssinia, i dunno, i have to visit both again - but wins in terms of ambiance, service and beer.)
i'm all ears for hearing about these places i have yet to try... and definitely have to check out those places on mazza3's list! i keep hearing good things about bitar's.
also, i was just reading on yelp about saad's halal place: http://www.yelp.com/biz/saads-halal-p... --- sounds good to me!
Kabobeesh is excellent, in particular the amazing naan and kulfi (home made ice cream) in the freezer to the right of the cash register. The Pakistani families and giant screen tv showing Pakistani idol only add to the experience.
If you're looking for roti, Brown Sugar Bakery on 52nd & Chancellor (near Locust) has great ones, in addition to the much hyped "doubles" on the weekends.
My favorite W. Philly downscale ethnic by far is Blue Nile Falls at 52nd and Webster. Above a bar (the entrance is on Webster), this is much better and cheaper Ethiopian than Abyssinia, Dahlak etc. which have the captive U. City student audience. BNF is pretty new and is still relatively undiscovered, but the service is friendly and though the service is slow, that's because everything is clearly made to order.
Saad's is fantastic. The falafel sandwich is outstanding - the falafel itself isn't as good as the truck at 20th & Market, but the sandwich is lovely and well balanced. The hummus is dreamy, creamy good, as is the baba ganouj (sp?). I could probably make 3 meals out of the veggie platter ($9 or thereabouts) if I weren't such a pig about the food there. This is definitely one of the least mentioned places in W. Philly (though everyone seems to know what I'm talking about when I mention/describe the place).
good pub food can be found at the new deck tavern. they have a surprisingly cheap and delicious french onion soup there (it's a few doors down from the white dog). all of the pub0type food is good too.
as for ethnic, none of the ones that i am goign to recommend are as 'nice' as the three you mentioned. but without further ado - gojjo, abyssinia and dahlak for ethipian (all on/near baltimore avenue). there's a bitar's out here somewhere too. i live near the one in south philly (work in west philly) and the original one is awesome. oooh, fatou & fama's!! delicious caribbean and senagalese food and a kick asss lunch buffet. do't bother with han wool, way too expensive now. the greek lady on 40th is delicious. you didn't have nan on your list, that is definitely a local favie. for all of these recs, you can read more on the uc page of philly menupages: