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Bored off the old haunts in South Philly - new reccs?

We've been to:

Cantina Los Caballitos
Nam Phuong
Cafe de Laos
South Philly Tap Room
Le Virtu
Carman's Country Kitchen
Morning Glory
Mr. Martino's
Lucky 13
Plaza Girabraldi
Black and Brew
Sarcone's Deli
Devil's Den

So where should we try? We're open to everything - a casual dinner out, take out, food shops, you name it!

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  1. Cafe de Laos
    Tacqueria El Jarocho
    South Philly Tap Room (I haven't been there since the new chef came in though)

    6 Replies
    1. re: Buckethead

      Tell me about Tacqueria El Jarocho and Izumi!

      1. re: saturninus

        Izumi is the new sushi place across from the fountain at Passyunk and Tasker, it's good but it's no Zento.

      2. re: Buckethead

        I have been to SPTR twice in lst few weeks, and they have a great food menu, great beer and a really cool low key ambience. Oysters = excellent, watercress salad with "head", delicacy taken from cows head and crispy potatoes = excellent. head tacos at $1 a piece are great snacks etc.. everything we tried was really tasty, except for chopped salad, ok but not as good as everything else! - I am more of a regular at Royal Tavern and prefer to travel to SPTR.

      3. Hardena @ 17th and Hicks - Very good "home cooked" Indonesian food. $6 / plate! The place always looks like it's closed, but it's not. Really.

        El Jarocho @ 13th and Ellsworth - Truly-better-than-the-rest tacos are $2/pc - chorizo especially good. The goat special platter they do on Saturdays is sublime.

        2 Replies
        1. re: opq

          do you eat in or out at these restaurants?

          1. re: saturninus

            I always eat-in at Hardena - it's a bit like sitting in someone's house. Last time I visited, I recall they were watching the "Mr Bean" movie as I ate.

            I always take out from El Jarocho because I'm a little self-conscious about eating big, greasy, vile-looking tacos in public - possibly in front of women. Just can't do that.

        2. I've been meaning to try 1601 Cafe but haven't had the chance. Looks cute. Anyone been?


          6 Replies
          1. re: juice

            It was good (not great) when it first opened, but slid significantly until I finally stopped going there a year or so ago. Haven't been back since. They have good beers on draft and the place is nice inside if you just want to have a few beers, but the food is not good.

            1. re: juice

              I went to 1601 twice and it wasn't that great. The first time I wasn't impressed (and I can't remember actually why). The second time my husband ordered a burger, medium, and it came to us raw and ice cold in the middle. Of course when it was mentioned it was returned as a hockey puck, with the same bun (which had the raw beef juice on it). That was the end for me.

              I noticed the Royal Tavern wasn't on your list. Definitely worth checking out. Also Chiarella's makes great Italian in a friendly atmosphere.

              1. re: lawgirl3278

                How is Royal Tavern these days? I loved it when they opened but had some lackluster meals and stopped.

                1. re: saturninus

                  Royal Tavern is solid, solid bar food.

                  Brunch there is surprisingly satisfying, but go on Sunday because whoever works the bar on Saturday has no idea how to make a Bloody Mary. And the ones on Sunday are delish - spoken as someone who generally hates Bloody Marys.

                  1. re: saturninus

                    It's great. I'll agree for awhile a couple of years ago the menu got a little strange for me as they got rid of most standard bar food. But now they have a good mix. Their meat loaf sandwich is the best.

                2. re: juice

                  I haven't had a lot of luck at 1601. Also, I heard they just put a giant pool table in the back, so seating is limited.

                3. I still love the Royal Tavern - usually everything is bar-food delicious. Also, Southwark for an old-school cocktail and charcuterie, on 4th and Bainbridge.

                  1. Looks like your list lacks two of our favorites: Tre Scalini and L'Angolo.

                    If you get to Tre Scalini, try the veal filets (thick, juicy, tender) or the veal chop.
                    We like their pastas and many other things, too.
                    L'Angolo is always good and very reasonable.

                    I don't know if 13th and Wharton is too far away for you, but we think August is great. It's cash only. All these are byob.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: sylviag

                      I don't eat veal, which is why I didn't like Tre Scalini but I am dying to try L'Angolo.

                      I forgot to list August. I liked it but didn't love it.

                    2. Pho 75
                      Ô Sandwiches
                      Los Taquitos de Peubla

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: Bossa_Nova

                        I love O - forgot to list it!

                        Tell me about Pho 75 and Los Taquitos de Puebla.

                        1. re: saturninus

                          Aren't you vegetarian? Both places specialize in meat. I don't think there's a single thing on the menu at Pho 75 that doesn't have meat in it. Los Taquitos de Puebla has a few things without meat, but the tacos al pastor and longanizas are so delicious I've never tried anything without meat in it. They do have some interesting-looking veggie quesadillas (squash flower, huitlacoche)

                            1. re: saturninus

                              In that case, get yourself to Los Taquitos de Puebla without delay. I left it off my list because I thought you were a vegetarian. Their tacos al pastor is the best $5 you can spend on food in the city.

                              1. re: Buckethead

                                I have also recently become addicted to their Frijoles Charros (Cowboy Beans)

                                1. re: Buckethead

                                  Tried Taquitos de Puebla Saturday. AMAZING. Can't wait to go back. They were out of Cowboy Beans. I ordered safely and got the chicken tacos. The chicken was so delicious. Dark meat but perfectly cooked - flavorful and juicy. The tacos were too big to pick up! Can't wait to go back.

                                2. re: saturninus

                                  hey, that's news to me too!! here's my random thoughts, though south philly isn't my area of expertise for sure.

                                  i am dying to get to hardena... i hear such good things!!

                                  have you been to little fish yet?

                                  maybe try out cafe con chocolate? i thought it was darn good - not transcendent - but interesting for sure and worth a visit. japanese and mexican (on separate menus. though fused would be REALLY interesting). cute little cafe - good tea - near 21st and snyder. http://www.cafeconchocolate.com/

                                  and though you're no longer a vegetarian, i feel compelled to point out that one of the things i absolutely CRAVE now and then is a mock-chicken cheesesteak from govinda's. now that i mentioned it i think i might have to go there for an early dinner.

                                  ooooh that 1601 menu looks really good!!!

                                  i would second los taquitos de puebla - there ARE some veg snacks (though not many) that are just delicious - best guac in the city... but my meat-eating companions could not stop raving about the tacos alambres.

                                  and though it's not in south philly i really recommend jumping on the broad street line and getting off at spring garden to hit the prohibition taproom. if there's better gastropub food in this city, i haven't found it!

                                  1. re: rabidog

                                    I know Rabidog! It was a huge confession I was afraid to make on the board, considering my 14 years as a strict vegetarian. Now I will eat anything but veal and foie gras.

                                    1. re: saturninus

                                      hey, it's okay! many many times i have thought about jumping ship for convenience's sake (i really wanna travel to some places where i'm sure meat would be inevitable - the uzbekistan food blog on this site is an amazing read) but i have not been able to bring myself to do it. yet. but i never have a problem with anyone who eats meat. my SO does it like it's going out of style.

                                      on a side note, very odd, i just had a few drinks at the society hill hotel before meeting up with my weds night film group... and sitting at the bar i totally met one of the co-founders of the product that is bacon salt! http://www.baconsalt.com/ while they are a relatively new company, i've actually seen their youtube videos before and was familiar with the product, so it was all a big weird coincidence. he is here in town promoting the salt on qvc. turns out he is from seattle and his favorite restaurant there was also one of my most transcendent foodie meals ever (tamarind tree)! i had to work that story in somewhere. it was eerie.

                                    2. re: rabidog

                                      i did end up making my way to govinda's for an early dinner and that mock-chicken cheesesteak is fabulous as usual (and i have meat-eating friends who even confirm this at their level of carnivorous standards!). though i was wrong about the rolls: they get them from a place, i think he said new york bakery, south of washington? i need to look this place up. they are really, really good rolls, chewy and crusted with sesame. kinda want that sandwich again now!

                                      1. re: rabidog

                                        New York Bakery is on 11th Street I think between Jackson and Wolf. Not far from Epiphany. Their bread is great, and mom uses their dough for pizzas.

                                3. re: saturninus

                                  Pho 75 is a Vietnamese soup place on Washinton Ave at 10th St(?) , IIRC,. Very casual, fast-food atmosphere. Superb noodle soups, served with bean sprouts, basil, jalapeno slices and lime on the side.

                                  1. re: CPaul

                                    How do their soups compare to Nam Phoung?

                              2. how about Paxia? I haven't been but I've heard some good reviews

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Bigley9

                                  I heard they are closing, can anyone confirm this?

                                2. Heading just slightly north, have you tried the Ugly American? I've had some good meals there. Witch is a little more hit or miss. Then on Front Street around Catherine is a new place "Saute" - haven't been at all - has anyone else?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Bigley9

                                    FYI, the chef and pastry chef left the Ugly American late last year and last time I was there it was bad. I have heard that they have since re-hired the pastry chef, but haven't been back to confirm that.

                                    1. re: Buckethead

                                      rats again! I haven't been in 09, so I haven't been there since the chef left.