Student in Philly for month... where to go?
I will be working at University of Pennsylvania for the month of August. I'll be in the university district with no car, just me and my appetite. Besides the train to RTM, an evening or two at Districto, and some lunch at Koch's Deli where are 'must go' establishments? Thank you.
Welcome, where are you from?
In West Philly, definitely get Ethiopian food. I like Abssynthia but there are a lot of good options.
In CC: Amada
For cheesesteak: John's Roast Pork (although this is hard without a car).
Don't miss the Italian Market (9th St between Christian and Washington).
Around Penn, there are a few options that are good to great.
Hummus is good for an afternoon lunch. (40th & Walnut)
Saad's is a great middle eastern spot, with wonderful hummus, baba ganouj, falafel sandwiches, etc. (45th & Walnut)
Ethiopian options run amuck: Abyssinia (45th & Locust), Dalak (47th & Baltimore), Gojo (on Baltimore, near 45th), Ethios (45th, between Ionic and Chestnut).
Nan Restaurant at 40th & Chestnut is one of the lovely options in UCity. Kind of French-Asian fusion.
Marigold Kitchen will be undergoing changes right when you're in town, so double check to see what's up. The current incarnation is really good and might or might not be available. If it is, you should try for a reservations. (It's usually easy enough to get into, but I'd imagine it'd be a little less so during the last days of Erin O'Shea's tenure there.)
Tampopo is going to be open when you're in town. At 44th & Spruce, it's going to be one of the best lunch options in the area if you're up for a small walk from Penn.
Right next to Tampopo is Local 44, great selection of local beers and a small menu of bar food.
Take the 34 trolley on Baltimore and head to Dock Street Brewery at 50th. It's got fantastic beer and some really good coal oven pizzas. This is definitely one of those oft forgotten, great spots of West Philly.
There's now a Capogiro (gelato) at the Radian building (Walnut, between 40th & 39th). It's got a alcohol license, too, so go chill with a drink and gelato - you shouldn't be swimming in students in August.
Demetris at 45th & Chestnust is brand new and has an interesting menu. If you're interested, look for reviews while you're in town.
There are also some fantastic coffee shops in the area. Green Line has 3 branches and is the most popular - 43rd and Baltimore, 45th and Locust, and some spot farther west that I've never been. Cafe Clave right by Koch's is better, though - the place was just meant to be a coffee shop. The one at 40th & Locust (used to be a Buck's but I can't remember the new name) is the usual Penn spot, though.
And that's just some options around West Philly/UCity!!! (I didn't even mention the great lunch trucks - don't know if they're around that much in August.) You'll also have more options looking to Chinatown and Rittenhouse - both are totally easy to get to via SEPTA (or walking). Frankly, with just a month, I wouldn't look farther - the options available are already vast.
I love Ali's recs. I would retract Nan however, and add White Dog (sit at the bar and get a cheeseburger and amazing fries, the dining room stuff is good, but slightly boring and a little overpriced). Sitar India has a good buffet, and possibly try Rx, a West Philly BYOB that is super relaxed. I like to take a 6 pack there instead of wine, and it's the kind of place you could totally be comfortable if you're dining solo.
My favorite in West Philly for Ethiopian food is Kaffa Crossing, 4423 Chestnut. It's also a very pleasant and relaxed coffee shop.