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Jan 7, 2009 08:25 AM

nolibs or west philly?

Hello all! I found an amazing house in west philly right next to clark park. But I am having trouble deciding if I want to move from nolibs. I am a huge foodie! I love being able to walk out in my pjs and get brunch from places like honeys sit and eat! Am I making a huge food mistake moving to west philly??!?!? Are there brunch places I can walk to in my slippers? I know there are a lot of ethnic restaurants in west philly. Advice please!

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  1. I moved from West Philly (not far from Clarke Park) to Fishtown, and while there are good things over here...every day I miss West Philly.

    I can't say I got Brunch a whole lot because I worked a lot of weekends at the time...I've heard good things about Rx, but I haven't tried it. Hopefully someone else has some good suggestions there...

    As far as food in the area in general goes, there are lots of unique, ethnic food choices. Some of my favorites
    - Vientiane (Laotian/Thai - 48th and Baltimore)
    - Vietnam Cafe (Vietnamese, I believe it's in the process of expanding - 47th and Baltimore)
    - Abyssinia (Ethiopian, also Dahlak, and Gojjo are good, but Abyssina's my favorite - 45th and Locust)
    - White Dog Cafe (34th & Sansom, haven't been there in a while but I used to love it)
    - Kabobeesh (42nd & Chestnut, little kabob place)
    - Dock Street (50th & Baltimore, pizza & brewery)

    I've also heard great things about Nan & Marigold Kitchen, but I haven't been to either.

    Additionally - Clark Parke is right by the trolley stop at 40th & Baltimore that all the trolleys (except the 10) go through - which makes it quick and easy to get elsewhere in the city, so food choices all over will be available.

    1. I wouldn't move here unless you like Craig Laban's best resto of '08 (Distrito), Capogiro gelato, an awesome byob (Marigold), crazy good ethnic food, a solid bakery (Metropolitan), Naked Chocolate, good beer (Local 44), and a year-round farmers' market.

      All that said, it is a world away from NoLibs, so I'd come out here and nose around first. I wouldn't live anywhere else in Philly, but I tend to put down roots. I think the food scene is evolving rapidly, but it's still a neighborhood of homes rather than businesses. Looking forward to the new Tampopo that 's currently going in at 44th & Spruce.

      As for a "shuffle to brunch in your slippers", I can't recommend Marigold Kitchen enough. And living off Clark Park, you'll just be a few blocks away.

      Good luck and feel free to ask more questions.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Boognish

        There's a Capogiro in West Philly? I thought there were just the two locations on Sansom at 13th and 20th.

        1. re: Buckethead

          New one opens in about 1 month on the 3900 block of Walnut.

          1. re: Boognish

            And rumors of a new one in Mt. Airy

      2. tough call, really. but if you are a foodie and want options options options, then where you are is still on top (of west phil anyway). if you want to go to an evolving food scene with a nice variety of good options (even though the good options are filled with penn students a lot of the time), check out west philly. clark park is great in the spring and summer though and liberty lands cannot compare at all. outdoor space is an under-referenced necessity.

        and you'll have a supermarket close to you in west philly, the fresh grocer.

        9 Replies
        1. re: mazza3

          I'd actually skip Fresh Grocer and hit Supreme/produce trucks/thai grocer/indian grocers/elsewhere. Actually I'm not really one to give advice since we shop at Wegmans in Cherry Hill for our staples, but I'm quite adverse to Fresh Grocer.

          H-Mart in Upper Darby! Walking distance from the 69th St. El!

          1. re: Boognish

            I love Supreme - they sometimes lack "normal" things that you get at a grocery store, but their ethnic selection is awesome.

            1. re: Boognish

              Hm. I rarely go to Fresh Grocer now, but I disagree that it's that bad. With Fresh Grocer, you get random things like a really decent cheese selection without having to go into Center City - sometimes, a nice boucheron or decent brie just hits the spot, and Fresh Grocer gives you that.

              I do, though, agree that the produce trucks/ethnic grocer/etc. are all awesome (and where is that Thai grocer? Am I missing something obvious?).

              Re the OP: I like West Philly, but it's different scene than NoLibs. I say you spend a weekend around here and see if it's your scene. For brunch, Rx more a more than decent neighborhood brunch spot, nothing particularly special but good and local. There are lots of great places to fill that "huge foodie" requirement of yours, but at the end of the day, we're still talking about a place that's mainly neighborhood-based (at least for right now). Oh and that comment about all the good stuff being filled with Penn students? If the good stuff happens to be on Penn's campus, you can't be surprised, but you'd be hard pressed to find places like Gojjo filled with Penn students even some of the time.

              1. re: Ali

                The Thai grocery is far from obvious. It's on the 4300 block of Locust across from the CVS. I don't cook Thai too often, but it's great in a pinch. Nice owners as well.

                1. re: Boognish

                  i am not a huge fresh grocer fan, but there are NO supermarkets in northern liberties, which is why i included it on my list.

                  and west philly around penn's campus does have good cheap lunch options too as rabid dog says. and i am totally with her about preferring full plate's brunch to honey's....

                  1. re: mazza3

                    we have supermarkets! i hear this everywhere and it perplexes me. what items can you not find in nolibs? i will go on a mission to try to find it. :) if you haven't been, check out fine fare just outside of the neighborhood boundaries on the north side of girard past 6th... it's a VERY odd maze of regular groceries, cheap. it's probably about as big as some of the smaller big-chain supermarkets, just laid out in a very strange manner. their spice rack may be the best selection in the neighborhood with many whole spices. check your produce carefully, or buy it from one of the slightly nicer places (i prefer almanac, cornerstone or palm tree, all with lovely produce sections). and don't go there hungry, because admittedly, it smells a little weird in there. also the spring garden market has a large aisle of 'regular' groceries. also cousins is not far at 5th and berks, though i've not been.

                    though i once had a triscuit craving that could not be sated on a sunday (though i was new here and ill-informed of all my options back then), and more recently had a sugar-sprinkle scare just before x-mas, i've been able to find everything i've needed within neighborhood boundaries.

                    1. re: rabidog

                      Rabidog, you must check out Cousins!! I go there regularly from Fishtown. Great produce selection, Jamaican, spanish, middle eastern aisles, halal meats and extremely price competitive. It will not dissappoint I promise you.

                      1. re: tilemaker

                        interesting! i always assumed it was just a discount place. i'll have to schlep up there soon.

                  2. re: Boognish

                    And I think there's another one on Walnut between 46th and 47th.

                    FWIW, I just returned from Supreme where I bought...nothing. They no longer seem to carry Harvestland chicken, so I just went home. Hopefully something will thaw before midnight....

            2. as a resident of northern liberties for nearly the past 3 years, it pains me to say west philly BY FAR has superior cuisine. we've got modo mio, true, and we've got some other decent stuff, but west philly has more diversity... certainly has more affordable dining options at every turn, and seemingly has authenticity (though i hate to use that word, so i had to preface it with "seemingly," since i'm not an authentic anything but mutt). some of the most delicious, unpretentious food in the city comes from west philly IMO. i hate how far i am from it. i have spent all too much time biking or taking the el to and from west philly for meals. it's my go-to neighborhood when i can't figure out what i want right away.

              i don't know much about west philly brunching, but i do feel that is one of northern liberties' strengths. while i'm not a huge fan of honey's (though i will tolerate it when others want to brave the lines), i love the brunches at north third and a full plate. but, for me at least, if i had fu wah and vietnam cafe and dahlak and dock st and so, so many others so close by, i'd survive just fine without french toast and mimosas. :)