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

saturninus Feb 24, 2009 08:21 AM

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!

  1. b
    Bigley9 Mar 3, 2009 06:20 AM

    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
      Buckethead Mar 3, 2009 07:04 AM

      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
        Bigley9 Mar 3, 2009 08:50 AM

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

    2. b
      Bigley9 Feb 25, 2009 11:40 AM

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

      3 Replies
      1. re: Bigley9
        saturninus Feb 25, 2009 12:14 PM

        I heard they are closing, can anyone confirm this?

        1. re: saturninus
          mhdousa Mar 2, 2009 06:27 AM

          last day was yesterday

          1. re: mhdousa
            Bigley9 Mar 3, 2009 06:18 AM


      2. Bossa_Nova Feb 24, 2009 04:19 PM

        Pho 75
        Ô Sandwiches
        Los Taquitos de Peubla

        13 Replies
        1. re: Bossa_Nova
          saturninus Feb 25, 2009 07:10 AM

          I love O - forgot to list it!

          Tell me about Pho 75 and Los Taquitos de Puebla.

          1. re: saturninus
            Buckethead Feb 25, 2009 07:29 AM

            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: Buckethead
              saturninus Feb 25, 2009 09:16 AM

              I quit a year ago ;)

              1. re: saturninus
                Buckethead Feb 25, 2009 10:01 AM

                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
                  Bigley9 Feb 25, 2009 11:39 AM

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

                  1. re: Buckethead
                    saturninus Mar 2, 2009 06:10 AM

                    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
                    rabidog Feb 25, 2009 10:48 AM

                    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
                      saturninus Feb 25, 2009 12:16 PM

                      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
                        rabidog Feb 25, 2009 07:53 PM

                        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
                        rabidog Feb 26, 2009 06:31 AM

                        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
                          lawgirl3278 Mar 2, 2009 09:36 AM

                          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
                    CPaul Mar 2, 2009 11:03 AM

                    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
                      saturninus Mar 2, 2009 12:35 PM

                      How do their soups compare to Nam Phoung?

                2. s
                  sylviag Feb 24, 2009 02:32 PM

                  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
                    saturninus Feb 25, 2009 07:09 AM

                    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. l
                    LPhila Feb 24, 2009 02:22 PM

                    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. juice Feb 24, 2009 09:32 AM

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


                      6 Replies
                      1. re: juice
                        Buckethead Feb 24, 2009 09:35 AM

                        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
                          lawgirl3278 Feb 24, 2009 11:02 AM

                          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
                            saturninus Feb 24, 2009 12:17 PM

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

                            1. re: saturninus
                              opq Feb 24, 2009 03:47 PM

                              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
                                lawgirl3278 Feb 25, 2009 05:21 AM

                                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
                              bakerloo Mar 2, 2009 08:27 AM

                              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. o
                              opq Feb 24, 2009 08:43 AM

                              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
                                saturninus Feb 24, 2009 08:57 AM

                                do you eat in or out at these restaurants?

                                1. re: saturninus
                                  opq Feb 24, 2009 03:44 PM

                                  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. b
                                Buckethead Feb 24, 2009 08:40 AM

                                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
                                  saturninus Feb 24, 2009 08:42 AM

                                  Tell me about Tacqueria El Jarocho and Izumi!

                                  1. re: saturninus
                                    Buckethead Feb 24, 2009 09:38 AM

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

                                    1. re: Buckethead
                                      saturninus Feb 24, 2009 10:15 AM

                                      what's the pricing like?

                                      1. re: saturninus
                                        Buckethead Feb 24, 2009 10:22 AM


                                        1. re: Buckethead
                                          saturninus Feb 24, 2009 10:28 AM

                                          not too bad...

                                  2. re: Buckethead
                                    der Jan 8, 2010 03:34 PM

                                    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.

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