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This Weekend in Philadelphia...

We're driving up on a last minute trip to spend the weekend with BF's family in Philadelphia (they're coming from South Carolina) and we're driving from D.C. area...

Anyhow--any quick recs--nothing fancy but MUST TRY places for first time visitors

We are staying in Cherry Hill, NJ (bf couldnt find a nice hotel in the Philadelphia downtown area it seems this weekend on last notice--is there some convention or something going on??)

however, we will be spending most of the day (Saturday and Sunday I think) in downtown Philadelphia or the city limits to see sights etc...

Definitely would like to have:

1. Cheesesteak (Phillies claim to fame in food, right?)

2. One nice meal--nothing over the top fancy and about 50-60 USD range per person

3. Some other places you think are homely favorites unique to Philadelphia's culture and city...

Only thing is--dont eat lamb, prefer Cuban over Mexican if thats a suggestion, love anything home cooked asian but dunno about Philadelphias chinatown or asian cuisines or which ones the city specializes in...love places with small plates too...

Thanks!!
Cory

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  1. Great restaurants: Tinto, Ansill, Osteria
    Cheesesteak: search the board for the many threads, but then go to DiNic's in the Reading Terminal Market for a Roast Pork sandwich with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe

    1. I know it's obviously a tourist thing, but the group I went to Philly with this summer loved Reading Terminal Market. The prices were super cheap (compared to Boston, at least), and everything was homemade and good quality. There's lots of variety for different tastes, also.

      2 Replies
      1. re: invinotheresverde

        Hi, I just had to reply that the Reading Terminal Market is most definitely not a tourist place and is a wonderful place to have lunch or breakfast on a Saturday morning. Dinic's pork sandwiches are great, and the pastrami at the Deli across the aisle is also wonderful. It's a great place to check out and shouldn't be missed - can't really go wrong. It gets very crowded at lunchtime.

        1. re: phillywoman

          I didn't mean EXCLUSIVELY a tourist place, more like someplace guidebooks, etc. recommend checking out. I'm sure both tourists and locals enjoy it immensely. I know I did.

      2. thanks for the quick replies to far!!!

        we're staying at the Westin in Mount Laurel, NJ I just found out...anything good around there too--since we're leaving around 4pm--should we do dinner near our hotel--anything good in mount laurel, NJ?? or should we make the trip into the city after checking in...just worried about places opening late enough etc

        1. Ohhh I think Sunday evening before we drive back to DC we may do Little Fish at 6pm since I just quickly scanned the boards and found great reviews for the tasting menu there...

          Any place great for SUnday brunch--I was checking out lacroix and saw they do an amazing brunch it seems from the looks of the menu--any reviews or idea on price?

          and the "fancy meal" on sat night i am leaning towards vetri or lacroix...or osteria??

          5 Replies
          1. re: coweepooh

            Unless you are Veerrrryyyy lucky you won't get into Vetri on such short notice, not sure about the others - you can see Marc Vetri on Saturday do a cooking demo at Fosters Homeware at 2. He is preparing some of his classic dishes.

            1. re: coweepooh

              Lacroix is definitely the most interesting brunch in the city, but it's expensive, $75 per person if I remember correctly. Vetri, Lacroix, Tinto, Amada, and Osteria are all booked for tomorrow night dinner according to Opentable. Vetri is waaay above your price range anyway, the rest are doable on $50 - $60 pp but still pricey. If I were you I'd go to Ansill for dinner tomorrow. It's probably my favorite place in the city, does small plates, is not terribly expensive, and you can get in there tomorrow night.

              Skip the cheesesteak and get a roast pork sandwich instead, from Tony Luke's, John's Roast Pork, or DiNics in the Reading Terminal Market.

              1. re: Buckethead

                oh yah Lacroix Sunday Brunch Buffet is all inclusive of hot and cold entrees and a raw bar and dessert for 56/pp...and its 85/pp on holidays...

                prices sound great esp compared to Ritz Hotel Brunch Buffets or NYC prices hehe

                1. re: Buckethead

                  hmmm thanks for the recs...yah Vetri prices didnt seem so bad but i was looking at ala carte--like entrees were around 25-40 but i assume you were referring to the degustation tasting menu which seems to be the way to go (according to the website there anyways)....

                  hmm ansill may be great then...lemme check out the menu there and some others...

                  i loved the little fish suggestions from other threads since we love cozy places vs stuffy super fancy--esp on a last min trip like this and with BF's mom hehe

                2. re: coweepooh

                  Lacroix for brunch is a MUST DO, if you can swing it. I believe its actually a BARGAIN at $56 each and trust me , I know $56 isn't a "bargain brunch". When we went we expected the bill to be $125 per person for this amazing experience...it wasn't! Definately under $60 each unless prices went up. Regardless of price, PLEASE give it a try!

                3. hmmm yah--so ive booked Little Fish for Sunday dinner (very excited) and Lacroix Brunch Buffet at 11am on Sunday :)

                  just have to pick a place for Saturday lunch and dinner...

                  I am thinking Saturday lunch at a roast pork or cheesesteak place--is there a place that does both quite well or 2 places walkable distance of each other so we can try 1 great cheesesteak and 1 great roast pork?

                  btw Philadelphia Chowhounders have the quickest replies...thanks soooo much!!

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: coweepooh

                    It may be fun for you to try out Reading Terminal Market where you can can get both Roast Pork and Cheesteaks. You can also hit any of the Dutch Eating Places. Generally a fun place for food lovers...

                    1. re: Lotus7

                      thanks...yes we may do reading terminal market on sat morning before we see some sights OR sunday morning before brunch at lacroix

                      1. re: coweepooh

                        I don't believe Reading Terminal is open on Sundays.

                        1. re: mlplyons

                          It is but if you go on Sundays, you miss the Amish merchants (i.e. go on Saturday). Here's the scoop: http://www.readingterminalmarket.org

                      2. re: Lotus7

                        I second (or is it third?) the Reading Terminal Market. Uniqely Philly, puts the Eastern Market in DC to shame. Not just for tourists either (am there every week because the food's so good!). Best bets are pancakes at Dutch Eating Place, roast pork sandwiches at DiNic's (but with provolone and rabe), and soft pretzels at Fisher's. A word of warning...since Rick's Steaks was shooed out of the market in October, the only place for cheesesteaks in the market is Spataro's, and they have been running out in recent weeks because of the demand. Personally (as most locals will agree) I'd choose roast pork over cheesesteaks any day.

                        Another good place to snack is to get gelato at Capogiro.

                        It's a shlep from Cherry Hill. But they do have cheap parking downtown in Philly at 15th and Arch for $7.50 all day on the weekends (or check PPA's web site). Reading Terminal has $3 parking for up to two hours with a validated purchase but it gets steep after that.

                        1. re: bluehensfan

                          Is Fisher's the place that serves the scrambled eggs and cheese all wrapped up in a pretzel crust? That was heaven, pure heaven. If so, I think they stop making them at either 10 or 11 am, so get one early, OP.

                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                            That's the place. The pretzels are pretty good too. Also to try in the market: cinnamon buns at Beiler's and apple dumplings at Dutch Eating Place.

                    2. okkk just booked Ansill for Sat night dinner at 8pm for us...thanks so much to everyone for replying and all the help even on opentable etc :)

                      just gotta worry about dinner tonight around Mt Laurel, NJ but I may just cave in and have us go to Cracker Barrel if all else fails OR to Monsoon--this malaysian place someone had suggested on the boards...

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: coweepooh

                        If you don't mind driving a little (about 5 miles south down Kings highway) there are a few places in Haddonfield. Fuji is probably the best one (http://www.fujirestaurant.com/home.htm), I have no idea if they have availability on such short notice but it's worth calling them. Kitchen 233 is pretty good, and there's a cajun place called Melange, also good although some things I had there were much better than others (dessert was fantastic).

                        1. re: coweepooh

                          If you like sushi, try to get to Sagami in Collingswood, NJ.

                          And even though you've booked your Philly dinners, I'll mention Paradiso in South Philly.

                          http://www.paradisophilly.com/

                          1. re: coweepooh

                            You're close to Joe Brown's Melange Cafe with locations in Cherry Hill and haddonfield. Some dishes will make you say "Oh my God" when you taste it. Alleged to be Louisiana Italian Fusion You can make the $50 cut-off by choosing dessert or appetizer.

                            Your less than 5 miles from Kuzina Sofia greek food in Cherry Hill.

                            Get your cheese steak or hoagie out of the way tonight from Yellow Submarine in Maple Shade, again less than 5 miles from your location. Or hit the Italian Village a couple miles north on the highway.

                            1. re: FrankJBN

                              I don't know if this is too short notice, but I'd recommend not going to Kuzina by Sofia. It was OK when if first opened and I really wanted to like it, but lately it's just not worth it. Orders come out cold, wrong, the gyro plate I got last time had maybe about 10 french fries on the plate. The owner was more interested in sitting at a table outside and chatting with her friends than coming in and checking on the trouble her customers were having. South Street Souvlaki in Philadelphia is better and much more consistent.

                            2. re: coweepooh

                              Blackbird in Collingswood NJ is wonderful. Also for great sushi go to Mikado in Cherry HIl. You should be able to get last minute reservations at either. Both are byo.

                              1. re: joluvscards

                                I would recommend Fuji in Haddonfield over both Mikado and Sagami.