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May 11, 2009 02:55 PM

New to Philly, please advise

I'm moving to Philly from Boston in June and wanted some advice on restaurants and bakeries- specifically, how to find places similar (or better) than my Boston favorites. I have a few specific places that I'm very sad to leave, so I'd appreciate any suggestions on places that compare with:

* Flour Bakery (scones, muffins, sticky buns, cakes are out of this world!)
* Party Favors (cupcakes and cakes with thick buttercream frosting...)
* Rosie's Bakery (thick fudgy, not cakey, brownies)
* Mistral/Sorrelina (upscale but not rediculously priced italian/mediterranean)
* Zaftig's (Jewish diner-style eatery)
* Christina's spices in Inman square (cheap and extensive selection of bulk and bottled spices)

And also any cute coffee shops that are NOT too loud and have nice areas for sitting and reading (a la Uptown Espresso in Boston)

And of course, any of your general favorite restaurants - on my visits to Philly I've tried Zahav, Amada, Parc, and Fork as well as a small Afghani place in Penn's Landing and had good experiences at all...

Thanks so much!

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  1. Where in the city will you be moving? That might help with some local places as each neighborhood has its own little spots.

    For upscale Italian/Mediteranean, try Osteria on Broad near Spring Garden. That's probably the best in the "not ridiculously priced" range, but I'm sure others will mention their faves. Philly is loaded with good Italian.

    For spices, I like the Italian Market Spice Company on 9th Street near Carpenter.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Philly Ray

      I'm going to be living at 2400 Chestnut and working at Penn

      1. re: athena877

        They have decent cupcakes at Naked Chocolate near Penn. Sometimes they are a bit inconsistent, though. They have great hot chocolate (try the Aztec) and decent chocolates.

        You will want to familiarize yourself with the Reading Terminal Market It is a quick hop on the green subway/surface lines (you'd disembark at Juniper in Center City and walk two blocks to the market). Here, you will find fabulous sticky buns and other Amish baked goods at Beiler's and spices galore at the Spice Terminal at the market. They also have great pancakes at the Dutch Eating Place as well as as a number of other great foodie finds including great corned beef and pastrami at Hershel's. A word of caution, the Amish vendors (including Beiler's and the Dutch Eating Pace) are only open on Wednesdays through Saturdays. Also, the market can get crowded on Saturdays (but not when they open at 8 AM).

        You may want to try great Mediterranean/Greek food at Estia. It's not cheap but they have a $30 three course lunch special that can't be beat.

        1. re: bluehensfan

          You can find a great spice place in the Italian market -- 9th street south of Christian street (not very convenient to Penn) -- and there's also a place in the Reading Terminal market in the back, I believe. There's also a great cheese place on 9th St plus wonderful Di Bruno's.

    2. I've consistently found that the best quality spices come from Penzeys Spices in Mt. Airy.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Boognish

        I have to agree, much fresher than the shop in the Italian Market.

        1. re: Boognish

          Penzey's is in Chestnut Hill, not Mt Airy.

          1. re: G Goo

            I didn't even realize they were separate entities.

        2. Spice Terminal in RTM for spices.
          L'Angolo in South Philly for Italian, and I love Audrey Claire for American-ish Mediterranean. Kanella, Effies for more greek type stuff.
          Brown Betty for cupcakes and def. go to Naked Chocolate by Penn.
          Also by Penn there's a Metropolitan Bakery (40th and Walnut) for scones and whatnot. They also have coffee.
          Coffee shops around 24th and idea. But there's a Starbucks by Penn that is generally quiet upstairs, and further out into West Philly there's the Green Line.

          1. For me, the Famous 4th St Deli (4th and Bainbridge in Queen Village) is the place to go to replace Zaftigs. I don't know how it compares, but I love it. The chopped liver is really good and so is the MB soup. It's unlikely you'll have any room for one of their amazing and mammoth pastries, but you can take one home!

            Also, for coffeeshops, try Chapterhouse at 9th at Bainbridge, or Cafe L'Aube at 15th and South. Cafe L'Aube is good because in addition to good coffee, they have wonderful crepes - sweet and savoury.

            1 Reply
            1. re: berbadeerface

              My boyfriend LOVES Famous 4th Street Deli. Biggest, meatiest sandwiches I've ever seen for him, a free cookie for me.

            2. Famous 4th will probably be your best bet for Jewish diner in this city. There's an outpost opening at 19th soon, but I don't know if it'll have the same diner-ish vibe.

              For coffeeshops, you've got a few options. Considering where you're living and working ...
              Walnut Bridge Coffee House on Walnut, east of the bridge, across from Sweat Gym
              Caffination (sp?) at 22nd & Chestnut
              La Colombe on 19th, below Sansom
              Darling's on 20th, below Pine
              Kafta Crossing at 44th & Chestnut
              Cafe Clave on Locust, between 43rd & 44th (across from the CVS
              )Earth Cup on 45th, right below Pine

              There are also all the Greenline spots (43rd & Baltimore, 45th & Locust, etc.) but I'm not as big a fan since it's always crowded and sometimes loud-ish. Walnut Bridge is my fav of that lot.