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Good eats near the Alexander Inn in Philly

we will be in town for just one night and would love recommendations for dinner that are within walking distance of the Alexander Inn.

Monk's is already on the list for brews & appetizers.

no dietary restrictions and open to all types of food, moderately priced is good.


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  1. Estia - Excellent but a bit pricey. Figure 150 for two with a bottle of wine.

    Effies - another Greek - But BYOB

    La Castagne - High end Italian.

    Davio's - High end N. Italian/steak place. Also pricey

    Il Portico - Italian

    MY Personal Fav - Branzino - BYOB - but you will need a reservation

    1 Reply
    1. re: jerseybill52

      Great call on Monk's. I probably wouldn't venture too far away from the mussels and the beer, but both the offerings and final results were generally outstanding (altho I'd drop the "Ghent Mussels" from my list; Bacon, cheese, and mussels might be a good combo, but not when they're steamed together--anyway, there was enough of the garlicky kind in other buckets to make up for it.) The place has a nice dark-woody-neighborhood vibe about it, too.

      If I were in Philly only one night Monk's would not be on my list, largely because of the above limitations. If I were there 2+ nights it definitely would be considered. (It's not far from Capogiro, too, so that takes care of dessert.)

      If I had only one night in the area, tho, I might very well return to Branzino -- mentioned above -- which produced excellent results for us a couple of years back.

      Branzino Restaurant
      261 S 17th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

    2. This is a pretty broad request as the Alexander Inn is centrally located downtown, meaning that there are scores of high quality restaurants within walking distance.

      Here are a few moderately priced BYO places within a couple blocks of the Inn:
      - Kanella, Cypriot cuisine (think Greek with a twist), BYOB. I just had an excellent dinner there. Definitely get a reservation if its the weekend. They do a good brunch/lunch, too, so that is another option.

      - Lolita, "haute" Mexican, BYOT--bring your own tequila and they will mix up a fine margarita. They don't take reservations so expect a long wait on the weekends during peak time, but they will take your cellphone number and call you--it's around the corner from your hotel so that may work out well.

      - Mercato, Italian, BYOB. I haven't been here in a while but it's a favorite of many. They also don't take reservations on the weekend; not sure about during the week but again they will call your cell when the table is ready.

      All of the above have entrees +/- $20. If I had to pick one, I would choose Kanella in a heartbeat.

      If you want to have beer with dinner, there is a great take out beer store at 10th & Pine called the Foodery that stocks 100+ bottles and you can make your own mixed six pack.

      1. Also, to add to this growing list, Bindi -- modern Indian (not traditional), BYOB; El Vez -- upscale Mexican, a bit pricey; Raw -- sushi.

        1. Estia is a must-do for fresh fish and octopus. Lolita and Bindi are both good (and there's a Capogiro right there for dessert) as is Alma de Cuba for nuevo latin cuisine. Do hit the Reading Terminal Market for breakfast or lunch (especially Wednesday through Saturday when the Amish merchants are in town) and there is a great Moroccan hole in the wall called Argan a block south of the Sofitel (on either 18th or 17th) that serves wickedly good pita-type sandwiches. My favorite is the tangy, juicy, lamb with roasted eggplant, tomatoes, and greens. I see someone the previous poster recommended Raw for sushi but it seems to be going downhill as of late which is very disappointing because it's a great place visually and the service is good.

          1. Something worth bearing in mind is that from the Alexander Inn you're under a mile from anywhere in center city Philadelphia. You'll be able to walk just about anywhere you want to go as long as you can handle 3/4 mile in nice weather. (Kanella, Mercato, Lolita, Bindi are all good and no more than a 5 minute walk away - tria, across the street from the Alexader Inn has great cheeses from Murray's in NYC and a good selection of wine & beer too.)

            1. I recommend Kanella, too. But skip Effies (Greek, recommended in first post.) I've never been impressed with anything I've eaten there.

              1. thanks for all the feedback! i didn't realize we were going to be so in-the-heart of it all.
                i will check out websites & menus.
                any other brewery/brewpub recommendations (the boyfriend is a beer fiend)?

                7 Replies
                1. re: txgoddess

                  Good Dog is at 15th and Sansom and has great beers and what some say is the best burger in town.

                  1. re: Bigley9

                    Standard tap (gastropub with all local brews)
                    Brauhaus Schmitz (german beer/food---get the bratwurst!)
                    McGillins (oldest pub in Philadelphia)
                    Bridgids (casual place near Art Museum with good beer selection and food)

                    IMHO I would skip any of the "brewpubs" in Philly as the above places are better

                    1. re: rocknroll52

                      "IMHO I would skip any of the "brewpubs" in Philly"

                      Me too, at least the ones I've been to. We have a good brewery in this city, Yards, but they don't have a brewpub. The places that brew their own (Nodding Head, Triumph, Manayunk Brewing) make beers that are just OK. One I haven't been to is Earth Bread & Brewery, the owner used to brew Heavyweight beers so I know he's got talent, but I haven't made the trip out there yet and it's too far away for the OP anyway.

                      1. re: Buckethead

                        I really like EBB, but it's in my 'hood. I do think it's worth a trip out here, for local folks who are really into beer.
                        If I was in town for just a few days, and had no other reason to come to NW philly, I'd leave it off the list.
                        I might like the pizza (er, flatbread) more than the beer, actually.

                        i had the 'sampler' at the manyunk brew pub. all 8 beers tasted pretty much the same. they tasted good, just not that much difference one to the next.

                        1. re: Buckethead

                          Why is it we have so many good local brews and no decent brewpubs?
                          If you enjoy a good cocktail check out Southwark! Manhattans, Sazeracs, etc!

                          1. re: Buckethead

                            You are missing the revived Dock Street in West Philadelphia on your list. I think it does some great beers. Not a destination that I would direct people to....

                            What I like about EBB is they also have guest beers on tap. Was there last week and had a wonderful PBC Hops from the Hood wet hop IPA. As well as a very nice farmhouse ale brewed at EBB.

                            Triumph has always been up and down in my opinion. And I have been to all three locations. Nodding Head has some occasional great beers. I am particularly fond of their Berliner Weiss, but overall have not been a big fan their beers.

                      2. re: txgoddess

                        Varga Bar is not far at all (10th & Spruce) and has an outstanding American beer list with like 20 taps:

                        And of course Monk's at 16th and Spruce, which has like 20 Belgians on tap and well over a hundred bottles. It gets really crowded, though.

                        As mentioned, skip the brewpubs, they are lame.

                      3. okay. so far monk's and varga bar are on the bill for beers. what would your One byob (wine) recommendation be for dinner in the city center? intrigued by kanela and mercato so far, but open to others! probably also grab a mid-afternoon, inexpensive lunch once we arrive - do either of the beer haunts serve decent grub or should we do that separately? thanks!!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: txgoddess

                          You won't be unhappy with the food at either. I haven't been too thrilled with the food at Monk's for the past couple years because I remember it being much better, but it definitely is not bad. They do have great fries and are known for their mussels. Varga's menu is a bit more ambitious and has some misses, but the wings are really worth trying (they are confited--fall off the bone tender). For the BYO, I already voted for Kanella early on in this thread so there you go. If the menu sounds good to you, you will like it.

                          266 S 10th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

                          1. re: barryg

                            Kanella also has the advantage of accepting reservations (which Mercato does not).