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north philly (i think) lunch spots?

hi folks.
i just moved here from los angeles to work on a movie for 4 months.
our office is currently on west hunting park ave (south of the 1 and kinda near henry ave)

i am looking for good lunch spots. we have a car and are willing to drive approx 10 minutes in any direction.

we went to tiffin yesterday for lunch. decent. not spectacular.
other places i have scoped out are:
tierra columbiana
tommy gunns american bbq
taconnelli's pizzeria (pushing it dinstance wise)
would love to find some good vietnamese or thai or other asian spots too.


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  1. Chubby's is terrible, don't bother. Ditto the place across the street, D'Alessandro's. Tommy Gunns is pretty good, we don't have any really great barbecue in Philly but I like theirs. If you head a little further west past Tommy Gunns you'll be in Manayunk, there's a decent Thai place there called Chabaa, they're open for lunch Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday and Sunday.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Buckethead

      cool thanks.

      i think i'm gonna check out pho 75 today for lunch.

    2. oooh, just decent? ouch - tiffin's one of our faves! what did you have? i find their saag paneer & chana masala just OK, but the paneer tikka masala and the malai kofta out of this world good, so much so they make up for where they don't do as well elsewhere! did you go to the mt airy location (assumed) or the girard ave location? mt airy is brand new.

      if you are willing to travel as far south as northern liberties, you'll find a ton of good eats. hrm, it might be a 10 min drive if you were to run all the stop signs and red lights. :) but there's taco riendo at 5th and thompson - if you're feeding a group this would be a great spot. cheap (cash only!) and good mexican food.
      jose's, though a little farther south, has some very very fine burritos. on 10th just south of spring garden. this is probably out of your driving distance range though.
      there are so many mexican joints on north 5th street, though, i can't imagine not finding something delicious in there. it's just an area i have not explored yet.
      i've also heard good things, but have not yet been, to isla verde. i tried, alas, they were not open on the day i went. :(

      tacconelli's - be forewarned - you've got to reserve your dough 24 hours in advance. how am i supposed to know i'm gonna be craving pizza tomorrow??!! it is pretty good, but i wouldn't label it transcendent. maybe i need to revisit.

      it also might be worth checking out some of the korean spots further north on 5th street... kim's is the only one i've been to (bright orange one-story structure) and i don't know much about korean food but it was good. you can BBQ your own stuff there at the table, which is always fun to do (or watch, if you don't eat meat like me!). there's a very recent thread about korean food in that area you might check out.

      5 Replies
      1. re: rabidog

        this is great info. i went to pho 75 which i thought was really quite good, although i drank about 10 glasses of water today. there is a promising banh mi/bun/cha gio joint next door which i shall be checking out as well.

        as for tiffin,
        i personally ordered ordered the grilled lamb rack. which had wonderful flavor, but the meat was overdone. (par cooked or rested too long perhaps?)

        the flavors were all pretty outstanding, however, my coworkers mostly ordered chicken which were overcooked breast meat pieces, which i personally don't like. there was a lamb dish cooked with mustard seed that was excellent.

        i think i'd rather stick to the vegetarian options, and honestly, it took way too too long to get there with the 50 odd stop lights i had to stop at.
        i should say that my coworkers all loved it.

        i also am very spoiled to live in Los Angeles which has more culinary diversity than new york. we have a rather large little india which i go to quite a lot which has lots of regional specialty. gujarathi chaats, southern indian joints etc.

        i'm looking forward to philly eating, particularly this mid range byo type of dining that LA truly lacks. and of course to my first real cheese steak!

        1. re: modernist

          If I were you I'd skip the cheesesteak and get a roast pork sandwich with broccoli rabe and provolone instead, it's Philly's *good* local sandwich specialty. Head to the Reading Terminal Market and get one at DiNic's. It's a little further than your range, but you should see the RTM at least once during your time here.

          1. re: Buckethead

            Definitely do DiNic's and see the Market. They also have $3 parking across the street. http://www.readingterminalmarket.org

            Also, on Race between 9th and 10th, Nan Zhou is a great hand-drawn noodle dive.

            1. re: bluehensfan

              i actually had dinner at nan zhou hand drawn noodle last night.
              got the lamb soup with thin noodles.

              i attempted to go to johns roast pork but realized it was lunch only. also tried dibrunos but too late.

              i'll look into manyunk too. the area north east of me seems to be sort of a korean/vietnamese area too which is cool

              1. re: modernist

                Do you mean DiNic's? DiBruno's is the cheese place/gourmet market closer to Rittenhouse (and in the Italian Market). The food there's pretty good but not worth venturing to. Sometime's DiNic's car run out of roast pork or rabe later in the afternoon. Also in the market, the Dutch Eating Place has great pancakes and Fisher's has really good soft pretzels.

                You do know to try the gelato at Capogiro? http://www.capogirogelato.com

      2. There is a Thai place on Spring Garden St between 9th and 10th called Siam Lotus. Location-wise, that's a few blocks south and east of Tiffin (if you are talking about the Tiffin on 7th and Girard).

        If you are looking for Mexican, there is Las Cazuelas on Girard between 4th and 5th (down the street from Tiffin) and Taco Riendo on 5th St a block or two north of Girard.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Philly Ray

          i gotta warn you - as much as i try not to demean my poor coast, the east coast (and especially philly) does not have thai food like the west coast! i think siam lotus is just OK. the best thing i've had in philly pales in comparison to anything i've had out west. however it's not all bad news! our vietnamese here is just awesome. i really suggest you check it out. :)

          definitely do check out the mexican places listed above!! i'm curious to know from a californian if they're as good as i think they are!

        2. have you gone to manayunk at all? not far from where your office is, fair number of options (there are a lot of posts on it if you search this list).

          1. Mod: where do you work? You might want to investigate Tiffin's lunch delivery and try some of the veggie dishes. go to www.tiffin.com

            I like Las Cazuelas, but I'm not sure how our Mexican will compare to what you were used to in LA. My daughter's Mexican FIL thought it was very good, though. How did you like Tierra Columbiana? I have a number of Puerto Rican friends at work who love the place.

            1. just got bun nem nuong cha gio at the vietnamese place next to pho 75. not bad!

              i'm working on west hunting park ave, which is just west of when it becomes roosevelt ave.
              probably too far for tiffin delivery.

              bluehensfan: i was talking about DiBruno's. i wanted to try one of their panini's. actually i first walked to tinto to see if it was a good place to rock the bar solo, but it was kinda crowded. i'll look into DiNics.

              rabidog: yeah, i'm trying not to be snooty here. but i'm pretty much expecting every type of "ethnic" food not to live up to the standards that i'm used to in Los Angeles. we have the largest populations of chinese, korean, japanese, vietnamese, thai, cambodian, armenian, persian, mexican and central american in the united states.
              the food options attest to this fact... if anyone needs tips on LA eating, i'm your man.

              i think i'll try the colombian place tomorrow.
              my coworkers are already starting to eat at their desks and i'm the only one going out. so it sux to be the gangster maverick and also to eat alone!

              how does taconnelli's compare with say otto, or grimmaldi's? is it thin crust? gas oven or brick oven?

              i love pizzeria mozza in LA but i also like a greasy new york gas oven slice.

              1. the thing i'm looking forward to is the mid range BYOB type of fine dining. which is pretty much absent in los angeles.

                what else are the particular strengths of philly?

                4 Replies
                1. re: modernist

                  Couple of thoughts - first try Rangoon, a burmese restaurant in Chinatown (9th street between Race and Arch). Whatever else you choose, have some of their 1000 layer bread
                  Phila has traditionally had a large Italian and Polish population (lots of other folks now of course), so given the era there are a lot of old time Italian American restaurants, particularly in South Phila, and some interesting peirogi/keilbasi places - one not too far from you is the Peirogi Kitchen on Henry Ave at (or very near) Roxborough Ave. They make peirogi's, etc to take home but they also do lunch. These aren't the glam choices but they are the soul of old Phila food in lots of ways.
                  We are currently experiencing a rush of French Bistro's (Cochon, a BYO at 6th and Passyunk probably the best although I haven't tried them all)
                  Ansill and Gayle, while not BYOs, are two of our more innovative restaurants both on 3rd street between Bainbridge and South
                  There are lots of threads on BYOs and this board is (IMHO) a pretty good judge of their character!

                  1. re: Bigley9

                    thats funny,

                    after i had dinner i walked around chinatown and saw rangoon on my walk and i picked up one of their paper menu's on the outside. i spent a month travelling in myanmar a few years ago, and although it was my least favorite food in all of south east asia, it was interesting.
                    i'll definitely try this place out.

                    i really am not into "glam" restaurants and in general i avoid them. i like the ghetto "keepin it real" style places as well as fine dining, but not with over the top trendy interiors like morimoto. i doubt i'll eat there.

                    cochon, ansill and a few others are all high on my list of to try's. those types of restaurants are easy to locate with minimal research here and on other sites.

                    peirogi kitchen sounds awesome. i love keilbasa in particular, i can practice my polska with the pani's.

                      1. re: modernist

                        rangoon's awesome - just ate there sunday. if nothing else, i really recommend the coconut milk / tapioca dessert soup. yes, i said dessert soup. :) the thousand layer bread is sinfully fried, but quite good. the firecracker lentil fritter app... now that's just weird (and delicious). love rangoon.

                        oh, you won't go wrong with the BYOs. my current favorite is little fish (there's a recent thread here devoted to them - read it!). it is WELL worth your trek down into south philly. other notable ones are modo mio (not too terribly far - at least it's on the north side of philly, just north of center city) and matyson. those three make up my favorites in the city right now.

                  2. I just ate at Tierra Colombiana today with my coworkers. The food is excellent and the portions are large. I figure I'll get at least one more lunch out of it. They have both Cuban and Colombian dishes, delicious flan which goes great with their cafe con leche. Your job is close to the Tastykake outlet -- though admittedly that does not make for a well rounded lunch...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Hansel

                      i will go when i can handle a heavy lunch.
                      arepas and 3 types of fried meat is pretty hardcore.