Center City Weekend: Best Buys?
I'll be in Philadelphia (Warwick hotel) this weekend with the family (5 -- all pretty adventurous eaters). Looking for dinner suggestions for places that are tops in food quality, low in prices. Any ethnicity. Anywhere in Center CIty, South Philly/Italian Market, University area. I'd love to go to Bibou or someplace like that, but I'm trying for something a couple of notches down in cost. Vietnamese, Mexican/South American, old-school Italian. Anything goes.
We're already planning on one Cheesesteak lunch (haven't settled on which place) -- though I prefer a provolone steak wit, rather than cheese whiz. I know, heresy.
Try Modo Mio - excellent food, and the turista menu is the best deal in town: http://modomiorestaurant.com/menu
PLUS it's BYOB - the only drawback is they only accept cash, so stop at the MAC before.
Also Caribou Cafe on Walnut St has a $29 pre-fixe option if you are interested in french bistro.
For amazing and authentic Mexican (NOT Tex-Mex), Las Cazeulas at 4th and Girard cannot be beat. Also a BYOB, which keeps the price down. http://www.lascazuelas.net/Index.html
There are so many great restaurants doing "pre-fixe" options for a small price at the moment, you may want to browse www.foobooz.com or www.uwishunu.com. Or of course - this board always has some great comments on current specials.
Wow - where to begin? Off the top of my head: Raddichio, Salento, or Melograno for Italian, Bar Ferdinand, in N. Liberties, for tapas, Villa di Roma, in the Italian Market, for cheap Southern Italian, Cedars for Middle Eastern, Campo's for hoagies, Beau Monde for LaCreperie for crepes, Vietnam Restaurant, Ariana or Kabul for Afghan, Konak for Turkish. Don't forget to visit the Reading Terminal Market - great place for lunch.
Reading Terminal Market is a must-eat for breakfast or lunch (especially pancakes at the Dutch Eating Place and roast pork at DiNic's). Bebe's in the Italian Market has great BBQ, a real hole in the wall but very authentic. Also Estia has a great business lunch for $30 p/p that has grilled octopus, a whole grilled fish, and baklava. They serve this on the weekend too. Finally, I like the Moroccan lamb pita sandwiches at Argan near Rittenhouse and if you get to No Libs do try Paesano's sandwiches.
Nice selection of small, cheap taquerias with some pretty impressive food. My favorites:
Que Chula es Puebla in Northern Liberties
Taco Riendo in Northern Liberties
Taqueria Veracruzana in South Philly (Italian Market
There are several, but by far my favorite (although beware, slow service - just expect it) is Abyssinia in West Philly/University City. Cheap meal, very different, very fun, and very good.
As mentioned, Rangoon in Chinatown is awesome, and rare to find.
Vientiane - Always good, but they also have an AWESOME Saturday lunch deal - appetizer, soup, and huge entree for $10. Tiny byo, but one of my favorite places in the city - West Philly/UCity
As mentioned, Bar Ferdinand in Northern Liberties is a great alternative to the (admittedly even better, but much pricier) favorites of Amada and Tinto. My absolute favorite is their under-appreciated, amazing, and inexpensive brunch, but also a good dinner or drinks option.
Vietnamese on Washington Ave is my best buy in the city. You can grab a cab or a bus down from Center City.
Good Dog is a fabulous and well-priced burger and fries.
Italian: Villa di Roma, and it's a fun, philly experience
Paesano's Roast Pork Sandwich
Rangoon's a great suggestion! Chinatown in general would be fun and cheap.
For a great BYOB that's not very expensive, I'd suggest Audrey Claire, but there are plenty to choose from that can give you really great food for a cheaper price. And they're very casual.