HOME > Chowhound > Philadelphia >


Northeast Philly

Any hidden culinary treasures to discover in NE Philly? Please share.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. While it's largely a culinary wasteland, there are a few good ethnic places in the NE. El Balconcito for Peruvian/Portugese, Manila Bay, Picanha, Taste of Portugal, Kao Tip for Thai. There's the Grey Lodge for great beer & pretty good food. Wasabi has good sushi. Three monkeys Cafe is supposed to be good (haven't been there).

    3 Replies
    1. re: rsgdmd

      I second El Balconcito, Picanha, Taste of Portugal, and Grey Lodge. Makiman Sushi is also good. There are also the Vietnamese places along Adam's Avenue--Pho 75, Pho Hoa, and Cafe Saigon. They aren't necessarily better than the Chinatown/South Philly places, but very good if you are in the area. There's also Sweet Lucy's for great barbecue.

      Where are Manila Bay and Kao Tip?

      1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

        Manila Bay is a great authentic Filipino restaurant on Castor Ave.

        I highly recommend Grey Lodge. Their Thai Mussels are to die for, great tomato pies and very good cheese steaks, paired with one of the best beer selections in Philadelphia. You also have the original Chickie and Petes on Frankford for very good mussels in red or white sauce.

        I would also throw in Tony's Place on Frankford Ave for Tomato Pies. It is as close to Trenton style tomato pies you are going to find without going to Hudson Street.

        1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

          Kao Tip is on Cottman Ave just west of Frankford. It's where the Gourmet restaurant used to be.

      2. I can't say enough great things about Manila Bay, from the family that ownes it, to the cuisine that is like eating in my mothers kitchen. We try to frequent Manila Bay a few times a year, and I love everything from their lumpia to their adobo to their halo halo. It's a great little place with great food and service. Definitely the best Filipino restaurant I have found on the East Coast, and best I have found closer than Chicago and my mother's kitchen! Check it out if you get a chance. Also find their fan page on Facebook as they post specials on there from time to time that are only available to their Facebook fans. Some great deals to say the least! Cheers! -mJ

        1. I left the 'hood (Somerton) 20 years ago. La Paella Tio Pepe on Bustleton, Kawabata on Grant and the Jade Palace on Cottman were about it for authentic foreign fare. Glad to see more choices in yonder Great Northeast.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Chefpaulo

            my god - does Jade Palace still exist? We were so cool and adventurous to be eating there!

            1. re: Bigley9

              Noooooo, long gone. But I had the honored good fortune of taking my first Chinese cooking lessons from Jade Palace owner and chef, Ben Lin, in 1978 - 79. He taught classes in the kitchen of the YWCA on Chestnut Street and we had a thorough course in Chinese preparation, including mixing and hand rolling dough for our steamed moo shu pancakes. His shrimp and lobster sauce is still a regular offering at my table, as are many others from his now browned, faded and stapled recipe book of mimeographed sheets.


          2. I would second the Manila Bay suggestion, and throw one in for Uzbekistan, a great BYOB serving a wonderful assortment of meats.

            1. Great to see so many great things being said about Manila Bay. We found this place on a whim when I was looking for a Filipino restaurant for a field trip for the Asian Pacific American Heritage Club here on McGuire Air Force Base, NJ. I did a Google search for Filipino Restaurants in the area, and up came Manila Bay.

              Needless to say, we had about 20 who went to Manila Bay for the first time, and it was great. We've been back many times since, and the food is always good and authentic, and the service is always top notch.

              During this time, the owners have gotten to the point where they recognize us. Cherri usually runs the front of the house, and she is super sweet, and yes, she is Filipino. Her husband Bob tries to spend some time in the restaurant as well, and they are just good people.

              The food is always good, and always fresh. We've had anything from their fried fish, to the chicken or pork adobo, to the chicken tongkatsu (not a Filipino dish but my wife loves it). Their lumpia (shanghai) are awesome, and I always find myself getting an order to go that I'll eat in the car on the way home.

              They do have a bar there as well, with about 8-10 seats, and it's not a bad place to stop in for a beer and watch a game over dinner. I've stopped in by myself before and done this. On the weekends, they also fire up the karaoke machine in true Filipino fashion, and it's a great time! Definitely check it out as I think you'll be very happy with the authentic cuisine! Cheers! -mJ

              1 Reply
              1. re: njfoodies

                Went to Manilla Bay, had lumpia, panict, and adobo, it was average at best. I used to live in Hawaii and all my friends were filipinos. Heck I learned how to make adobo and pancit which are my favorite dishes. There are so many ways and style on how to make these dishes. I have had my filipinos that live in the area go to this restaurant and they weren't impressed. I guess I can say I went there one time. I also had the pork inihow which was grilled pork with vinegar, shoyu, and raw onions. It is what it is.

              2. A second vote for Uzbekistan! It is such a fun restaurant--a very foreign vibe, incredibly cheap menu and very interesting food, with emphasis on grilled meats, dumplings and salads. Bring your own Vodka to toast with the table of Russian gangsters carousing near you.

                1. Has anyone been to Taj-India on Bustleton? Went last night for dinner and thought it was very good (although a bit pricey) for having to travel 10 minutes for a spicy indian meal

                  1. I work in the NE so I am always trying to find good food to treat myself to on my lunch break. My three favorite places are Makiman Sushi, Datillo's and the Lancater County Market stand place. Datillo's has excellent sandwiches, my favorite is the meatball (but there is no place to sit, so it's take out). The Lancaster market place has the MOST amazing rotisserie chicken ever. There is no place to eat it there, but that doesn't stop me from eating a half a chicken while sitting in my car :-) Seriously, best chicken I've ever tasted. The whoopie pies are great too. I need to go back and try everything there, so far everything has been great. Pickles too! Oh and Sweet Lucy's is excellent too. I love that place. I really need to try some of the other places mentioned in this thread.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: b1979

                      Where is the Lancaster County Market and what days are they open?

                      1. re: alonna Smith

                        It's on Cottman near the intersection of Cottman and Large, right across from the GNC and near the Toys R Us. It's only open Wed-Sat I think.

                    2. Chinks for tghe best Cheese Steaks...

                      1. Must revive this old thread to say what an incredibly good meal we had last night for our first meal at the previously mentioned El Balconcito II on Castor Ave.

                        I ordered a seafood dish that was delicious and that I'll literally get four meals out of - after we ate you couldn't even tell I'd touched it, even tho' I'd had plenty. All that for $16; it was like a paella for four, filled with shrimp, clams, mussels, squid and a couple other things I'm unsure of, mixed with marvellously flavored rice. My husband had a pork and clam dish that he also enjoyed, and he too had leftovers, which is a rarity! We had a side of plantains, yum, and leftovers there too. Since we couldn't remember if we preferred the plain or the sweet, they were kind enough to bring us an order of plain but with a few sweet too, so we'd know for next time. Both were good. I also enjoyed one of the two types of Peruvian beers they had, very malty. My husband's was only so-so.

                        We will definitely be back there!! Oh, but I should mention that service was on the slow side...not a problem at all for us, we had nowhere else to be, but it wouldn't be a place to go if you're in a hurry. Also, very casual atmosphere with music a little too loud and a soap opera on the tv. So not a romantic night out. But the food, ah, the food! :-)

                        1. I really enjoy all the Vietnamese places mentioned - including Viet Kitchen next to Taste of Portugal.

                          Once in a great while, I like Nicks Roast Beef for a greasy ruben or the Country Club Diner for a good wrap sandwich.
                          Don Giovannies for pizza.
                          Maki Man for sushi
                          I forget the name of the place on buselton - for good shwarma and falafel.

                          I need to try Manila Bay and Datillo's. Where is Datillo's btw?

                          And i also 2nd the Dutch Market. Great stuff there.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: LaurCar

                            Dattillos is on the corner of bustleton and rhawn