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Aug 18, 2009 03:07 PM

Can't Miss Restaurants in Philly?

My husband and I are heading out to Philly the first weekend in October for the Phillys/Marlins series. We've never been to the area, and have heard that there are really great places to eat. Since we have limited dinners (Friday and Saturday night) and limited other meals as well, we want to make sure to get some great meals in. Don't want to waste any time on tourist traps or chains.

Any places we shouldn't miss for a fun dinner, breakfast/brunch or lunch? Thanks!!

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  1. Guess I should mention that we are staying downtown and won't have a car. So we will have to stay relatively close...

    1. You're likely to get a huge range of replies depending on who answers. It might be helpful to know some things about what you like to narrow down the choices.

      Such as,

      - Any ethnic preferences (or dislikes?)
      - BYOB or with a full/talented bar (and then, wine lovers vs. mixed drinks vs. beer?)
      - Budget per person?
      - Time limitations (if you have to get to a game, a place where one would normally linger over many courses for a tasting dinner might not be the best, and somewhere close to the Broad Street line would be recommended)

      The good news is you can get to most all of the well-recommended and loved restaurants here in Philadelphia on public transit, by walking, or reasonable taxi.

      9 Replies
      1. re: sockii

        Thanks for the tips...I'm new here.

        We are willing to try it all. We both love food. And I'm more interested in true delicious food- doesn't necessarily need to be fancy place were we would linger. No budget- just looking for your city's true gems. I know absolutely nothing about the city and can't wait to visit. I would hate to miss out on some of the city's best places.

        As for time restraints, you are correct. I suspect we will have to eat early dinners in time to get to the 730 pm game times. But, I read somehwhere that the stadium has some great picks too! Ha.

        I had no idea that Philly had so many BYOB options. To be honest, since we'll be on vacay, I wouldn't visiting a place wtih a bar. And I'm more of a cocktail gal, but my husband LOVES beer. Heard that there is some good local beer also...

        Thank you!!

        1. re: phoenix patty

          OK, here's one that doesn't get too much play on this board...The South Philly Taproom. They are open all day, so you can have an early dinner and not miss the first pitch. If your husband loves beer, they will not disappoint. Lots of local brews on tap and pretty good food.


          If you are taking the Broad Street Subway down to the game, get off at Snyder Ave and walk over to 15th and Mifflin (about 3 blocks away). Afterwards you can hop right back on the subway to the Sports Complex.

          Alternatively, you can stop by after the game and drown your sorrows after the Phils kick some Marlin butt, ;))

          1. re: Philly Ray

            Hey Philly Ray- we're rooting for the Phillys!! My best friend from college just got traded to the team, so we're gonna go check it out.

            1. re: phoenix patty

              Then it's all good. If you end up at the SPTR, let me know. I live close by. First round is on me.

              Is your friend Cliff Lee or Ben Francisco?

                1. re: Philly Ray

                  The trade ruined our plans to go see him play in Boston, but now I'm excited to check out a new city. And eat!

            2. re: phoenix patty

              A few recommendations for places with great cocktails and great food (all with websites who's menus can be browsed):

              -Southwark. A 'classic' kind of place--go for great renditions of standard cocktails (manhattans, e.g.) and updated comfort food like roast chicken. It's located in a great part of the city, just south of South St. at 4th.

              -Amada. Updated versions of traditional tapas, everything tasty because the owner Jose Garces is a perfectionist.

              -Oyster house. Recently reopened and garnering as much praise for the cocktail list as for the food. I've had only the expertly shucked oysters, of which there are many varieties, but I've heard raves about the burger, of all things.

              1. re: nwinkler

                Both of us absolutely love seafood, and oysters especially. Thanks for that recommendation!!

                1. re: phoenix patty

                  and the Oyster House also has one of the city's best mixologists - so go there even if it is just for cocktails and a few oysters at cocktail hour!

          2. For a nice dinner w/ full bar, Amada, a tapas restaurant in Old City, never disappoints. I recommend the chef's tasting menu.

            South Philly Taproom, as mentioned, is a nice off the beaten track spot and a good place to go before the game. It's not in a "cute" area or anything so other than the fact that it is on the way to the stadiums, it is not a destination spot for out of towners, IMO, just a good neighborhood bar with a great beer list. Don't go after a night game as catching a cab back downtown might be hard and the neighborhood is a bit sketchy if you don't know it.

            For lunch, get to Reading Terminal Market at least one of the days.

            For brunch on Sunday, if your only concern is great food and not budget, look into the brunch at Lacroix. There are a lot of posts about it here on CH and on Yelp.

            As for avoiding tourist traps, in general ignore or actively avoid anything that the concierge tells you and you should be OK. Pretty much any place you hear about on here will be worthwhile.

            3 Replies
            1. re: barryg

              You should really stop by for breakfast at the Dutch Eating Place at Reading Terminal Market http://www.readingterminal.org They have great pancakes. Another good place to eat at the market is DiNic's for the roast pork with cheese and rabe. As far as dinners, Zahav, Amada, and Chifa are good picks and are all downtown. I also really like the seafood at Estia but it's a bit pricy.

              1. re: bluehensfan

                I'm getting hungry already checking out the menu's. Thanks for the rec's guys.

                I think we'll def check out Reading Terminal Market for Bkfast of Lunch Sat. Those apple dumplings sound amazing! Maybe make rezzie's for Lacroix Sunday morning. And, I'm leaning towards the menu at Amada...lived in Spain for a year and I crave authentic Tapas. Looks like it gets great reviews.

                1. re: phoenix patty

                  Amada won't disappoint. It's not authentic per-say (more of an upscale version of authentic), but I took my mother (who has also lived in Spain a few times in her life) there, and she was impressed by how much the interpretations held true to Spanish flavors.

                  And it's just a fantastic restaurant.