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Jul 5, 2008 07:05 PM

Family trip to Philadelphia (Center City)

Hi! My husband and I are going on a family trip with our two toddlers to Philadelphia for a long weekend in August 2008. We'll be staying at the Crown Plaza Center City. We would love to try a couple of "Philly's best" which are also family friendly 8-) -- I know that may be impossible! Thanks for any suggestions you chowhounders can provide!

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  1. Scroll down to check previous posts for what Chowhounders consider the best restaurants. Almost all Philly restaurants are fine with children, especially if you dine early, but call ahead to be sure. While not on my list of the "best," Jones, Melograno (does not take reservations), and Bellini Cafe are family-friendly no matter what time you go, and they're all good. A restaurant on my list of the best is Radicchio; fine for kids, but they don't take reservations, so go early.

    1. I'd suggest Vietnam for casual and delicious Vietnamese food. For dessert, The Franklin Fountain for amazing sundaes or Capogiro for terrific gelato. Amada is our favorite place for tapas and I think if you went early it would be fine with toddlers. A lot of people from out of town want to try a cheesesteak. Many post on this site re which is "the best".

      5 Replies
      1. re: DaisyM

        Make sure to take them to Reading Terminal Market for soft pretzels or ice cream. The whole market is very family friendly!
        Also at Estia, a fancier Greek place, I have seen younger kids there at lunch...

        1. re: bluehensfan

          Or go to the Dutch eating place (in Reading Terminal Market) and try the apple dumpling. You can get it with fresh cream drizzled over it. I think it's the best thing I have ever tasted!!! It was truly amazing...

          1. re: bluehensfan

            Or go to the Dutch eating place and try the apple dumpling. You can get it with fresh cream drizzled over it. I think it's the best thing I have ever tasted!!! It was truly amazing...

            1. re: megmosa

              The Dutch Eating Place has great pancakes too for breakfast, and the kids will love the Fisher's soft prezels, Bassett's ice cream, Fourth St. Cookies, and chocolates from Mueller's at the market.

              Also, Capogiro is great for the adults as previously mentioned, and the Naked Chocolate Cafe also has a good frozen chocolate drink. And the two (assuming you go to the Capogiro on 13th St.) are a block or two away!

              Finally, do take the kids to see the 10 million pixel video wall in the Comcast Building. It's free and close to your hotel (it's that tall, monolithic building). And they have a pretty good food court below it in case hunger hits.

              1. re: bluehensfan

                Looks like a huge USB memory flash drive! (LOL). Beautiful bldg. Greenest Bldg in Philadelphia. Good food court.

        2. Many center city restaurants have outdoor tables this time of year, which are great for kids because they have more to look at, and the noise isn't as big a problem as indoors. Thank you.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Bride of the Juggler

            I semi-agree with that. WIth the anti-smoking ordinance, outdoor seating has effectively become the new smoking section. I don't mind what anyone wants to smoke, but I'm not extremely happy to have them wave it in my kid's face, yk?

            1. re: Mawrter

              Restaurants might not be enforcing it, but from what I understand, the no-smoking ordinance applies to outdoor seating as well.

              1. re: Philly Ray

                Hey, thank you for telling me. The specific incident I'm thinking of was in the burbs, not in town, so I wasn't speaking very tidily. And hey, restaurants in town have been operating under a smoke-free ordinance for longer than the rest of the state, so maybe they have more of the bugs worked out than the Chester Co. place with the world's rudest smoking patron.

                I just have to ask, though, and this is a total aside: where DO people smoke?

                1. re: Mawrter

                  on the sidewalk right next to the entrance. This creates a big smoking cloud for you to walk through on the way in. Yummy.

                  1. re: hollyd

                    That's against the rules too. I believe that smoking is restricted within 20 feet of the doorway also (not just for restaurants, but all businesses in Philly).

                    What drives me nuts about sidewalk cafes is when the tables and chairs do not leave enough room for pedestrians.

                    1. re: Philly Ray

                      you are correct. no smoking in outside cafes or within 20 (or 25?) ft of any entrance. they've made it so incredibly inconvenient for smokers that it's really just not worth it, in philly. this is what led me from my on-again off-again habit to totally quit, back in february. i mean, is it REALLY worth huddling against buildings that don't totally shield you from the elements while your drinks/friends wait inside? for me, no. though i will probably always miss and occasionally crave a smoke with a really tasty beer.

                      1. re: rabidog

                        Stop talking like that! I am ready to light up one of my fingers and try to inhale!

          2. There are many possible options. If you give more detail about the kinds of food you like, price range, etc., we can give you more specific recommendations. A lot of places are ok with kids if you go early. We've always had good luck with our kids in Chinatown. For Chinese food, Sang Kee is good and has booster seats/high chairs if you need them. I also highly recommend Rangoon. We've been going there since our kids were babies and they always remember us and love the kids. There are several menu items that even my super-picky daughter will eat, mostly the fried appetizers--tofu triangles, crispy taro, etc. My son loves the chicken satay.

            10 Replies
            1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

              Thanks for all of the suggestions!!! Chinatown and the Reading Terminal Market sound great for our kids so I'm adding them to our "itinerary"! We're also looking for an Italian place walking distance from the hotel (within about a mile or two). Is Chinatown near to the Crowne Plaza? Thanks again.

              1. re: GA578

                Yes, Chinatown is near the Crowne Plaza, a couple blocks away from Reading Terminal. Italian restaurants near you that are OK for kids if you go early include Melograno and Roberto's (BYOB, no reservations), and Salento (BYOB, takes reservations). Another activity to consider during the day is to nosh your way up and down the Italian Market at lunchtime, eating tacos, fresh mozzarella, falafel, fresh hot bread, water ice, etc. Thank you.

                1. re: GA578

                  Crowne Plaza is also a relatively short walk to Capogiro Gelato at 20th & Sansom for some of the best gelato in the U.S. Another idea if the weather is nice is to go to DiBruno's (gourmet grocery w/lots of prepared foods) on Chestnut and pick up some prepared food, walk over to Rittenhouse park and have a little picnic or bring it back to the hotel.

                  1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

                    I just got a pint of Capogiro's seasonal strawberries & cream. It didn't even make it into the freezer before I sampled it.

                    1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

                      Capogiro is a good suggestion, but isn't there one about two blocks from the Crowne Plaza on 13th and Sansom? That's certainly easier to get to with 2 little ones

                      1. re: Kramer

                        I thought the Crowne Plaza was at 18th & Market, putting it much closer to the Capogiro @ 20th & Sansom.

                      2. re: Hungryin theBurbs

                        Gelato sounds awesome - especially now in the summer! Any delicious cupcake places in the area?

                        1. re: GA578

                          The best cupcake place in the area right now is Naked Chocolate cafe at 13th and Walnut. They are open late. Thank you.

                  2. My family and I went to Philadelphia this weekend and we had a great time. We had some cheesesteaks which were fabulous from Tony Jr’s. The place is small but it has a large open space so although they don’t have any high chairs, we took our double stroller in there and the kids actually behaved. The gentleman who brought us our food was very nice and the service in general was good.

                    We walked around the area and wound up at Naked Chocolate Café. I had read some reviews of Naked Chocolate which were not so great but I really wanted to have a good desert and it looked like such a cute shop that we decided to walk in. We ordered one of their nudos (a chocolate chip one), a chocolate cake and a strawberry cupcake. I was disappointed because they didn’t have much of a cupcake selection and that was really what I wanted. The chocolate chip nudo is their version of a brownie. It was DELICIOUS.

                    I really wanted another one so the next day, after dinner we walked back to Naked Chocolate Café for me to get another nudo. They didn’t have the chocolate chip nudo but they had a chocolate nudo and this time they had chocolate and vanilla cupcakes so we got one of each of those. I was very impressed with the taste and texture of the cake, the taste of the frosting, and the ratio of frosting to cake.

                    They also have something else which I thought was interesting - a chocolate fondue platter. The platter has strawberries, bananas, cheesecake and marshmallows. It’s not easy to find a restaurant (aside from a fondue restaurant) which has fondue deserts and they are so delicious and easy to prepare that I always wonder why. Anyway, I didn’t realize they had that until after I had ordered for us, but it looked delicious and we definitely could have shared that. The girls at the counter were not as friendly as one would expect at a cute bakeshop, but they were nice enough. All in all, we really liked the Naked Chocolate Café and we would return.

                    On our last morning we went to The Reading Terminal Market and I wish we would have gone at another time. We had breakfast at The Dutch Eating Place which some of you chowhounders had recommended and boy could we have eaten more. The pancakes were delicious as were the apple cinnamon toasts. We went ahead and bought an apple pie from the vendor right next door to take to some friends and that was exquisite, too. I can’t wait to go back!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: GA578

                      Thanks for posting about your trip! It's always nice to know if people like our recommendations or not (but how can you not like the Dutch Eating Place?). You'll have to come back to Philly and eat more soon (and if you do try the marquis and orionoco chocolates at Naked Chocolate).