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Mar 2, 2010 01:14 PM

Any suggestions for three bang-up meals in Philadelphia?

Will be in your very interesting city over a Friday and part of Saturday - staying at the Mariott downtown - would really appreciate any suggestions you may have for excellent lunches on Friday and Saturdayand a late dinner (10-ish) on Friday night. No real price strictures, any cuisines except Japanese. Have searched the board but mine eyes dazzle at the possibilities, would love to hear about your favorites. Thanks in advance.

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  1. Since you give no specifics besides good food and staying downtown, just look at this thread, the answers will be the same:

    As for the late dinner, that is a good time to hit the gastropub scene--Standard Tap, Pub & Kitchen, Good Dog, and Royal Tavern are all board favorites. Less discussed but other places I like for food are Grace Tavern and Resurrection Ale House. All serve til midnight at least, most 'til 1am.

    1. Kanella, Koo Zee Doo, Amada, Bar Ferdinand, Chinatown (I can be more specific if you are interested), Reading Terminal Market

      6 Replies
      1. re: thehungrything

        Hit the Reading Terminal Market for lunch one day (preferably eating at DiNic's). If you want something fancier, Estia has a fabulous $30 business lunch with fresh fish that's well worth it. Reading Terminal is a block from your hotel while Estia is a few blocks to the south.

        1. re: bluehensfan

          well, to follow up, even if you *think* you want something fancier, at least take the time to walk through reading terminal market beforehand.

        2. re: thehungrything

          Chinatown recommendations would be very welcome, Chinese food is a particular interest of ours. Have been to Philadelphia only once before and hit the market, will of course go there again this trip. Thanks barryg for the thread link and other suggestions, and thanks all for your input.

          1. re: buttertart

            We are blessed with many awesome places to eat in Chinatown.
            You could have your late night meal at Tai Lake, a very good Cantonese seafood house. The Salt and Pepper Squid, live shrimp, fried rice with dried scallop and crab, and either snow pea leaves or chinese broccoli are my favorites there.
            Ken's seafood is even better. If he has live Giant clam, he serves the foot sashimi style and then fries the belly with eggplant. Last time we were there he made a third course with the clam belly, soup with some mustard greens.
            I love Dim Sum Garden. It is a hole in the wall, no ambience, Shanghainese restaurant. They make my favorite soup dumplings in Chinatown. I also love their Shanghai sui mai, which are sticky rice filled sui mai redolent of dried mushroom flavor, and they make amazing baby bok choy. I love their handmade noodles, you can get them dry or with soup. We usually get them dry with beef brisket. Their pan fried dumplings, chive dumplings and watercress dumplings are also great/
            Rangoon is a really good Burmese restaurant that has its own thread, I believe.
            Vietnam Palace.
            We have three Szechuan restaurants in Center City. I recommend Han Dynasty. It is not in Chinatown, it is in Old City. Han, the owner, is worth the trip alone. The food is very unusual. You have to like spicy, and the flavor of Szechuan peppercorn. There are threads about this place here and on egullet.

            1. re: thehungrything

              Thanks - this is great information - by the way these restaurants will be getting a lot of business because the Association for Asian Studies is holding their convention there in a few weeks!

            2. re: buttertart

              Vietnam Palace, Rangoon, and Kingdom of Vegetarians are my faves in Chinatown.

          2. Rangoon offers the most extensive menu i can remember in any local Asian restaurant. For a melding of Indian, Cambodian, Thai and Chinese, you can't miss it for one of your bang-ups. I hope you are accompanied by a few folks as getting a pile of small plates and sharing is the way to go.


            3 Replies
            1. re: Chefpaulo

              Thanks for this...Oh boy! Cambodian? Are there any other Cambodian places in town? My favorite SEA cuisine of all - and not one decently represented in NYC.

              1. re: buttertart

                Yes, but in parts unknown to the center city visitor. Kavei in south Philly and Phnom Penh in North Philly are about it. Rangoon should satisfy and save you a bundle in cab fare.

            2. Hi all and thanks, we had a great time in your lovely city thanks largely to the information shared here. Got in Friday morning and had breakfast at the hotel (nothing special, and steer clear of the corned beef hash, it was just cubes of refried cb, deep-fried potatoes, and RAW red onion...) because M had to get to his meetings.
              I went to the art museum and had a wonderful time - what a fantastic collection, what a treat to see the glorious van der Weyden Crucifixion and the Duchamp The Bride Stripped Bare in a single museum visit.
              Back to the hotel and over to the market to pick something up for a bite between sessions - the pork and broccoli raab and the pulled pork sandwiches (from DiNic's) were huge and amazingly good - we brought about a pound of the roast pork back with us to NY (kept it in the ice bucket overnight).
              Off to Rangoon for a lateish dinner - had the ginger salad, the firecracker lentil patties (like falafel on steroids), and the scallops with basil in red curry (very good scallops, not big and watery). The menu is as far as I could tell entirely Burmese, not Cambodian (as the name would lead you to expect) but the food was extremely good.
              Lunch was at Estia - had vacillated on this choice becsause we have quite good Greek food in NY, but was very glad we chose this place. The grilled octopus was sublime - I have never had octopus that was so tender and tasty anywhere. The horiatki was good, with nicely-flavored tomatoes. The grilled daurade was as sweet as a nut and sparkling fresh (the waiter explained that the fish among other things is imported from Greece). The dessert was a little bit of a letdown, very cold not terrific fruit and a very cinnamony baklava (I prefer Turkish style baklava to tell the truth). An excellent bottle of white wine made from Moschofilero grapes - like an Alsatian dry riesling - and perfect medium-sweet Greek coffees and we were two happy people.
              Thanks everybody, we will be back as soon as possible!

              3 Replies
              1. re: buttertart

                Glad you liked DiNic's and Estia. Estia actually uses a washing machine to tenderize their octopus! You may want to see if the Gotham Bar and Grill in NYC still has octopus because it was the only place where we found it to be better than Estia.

                1. re: bluehensfan

                  Good to know, haven't been there in a while but really like Gotham. Thanks for the tip!

                  1. re: bluehensfan

                    PS I would LOVE to know how DiNic's makes their pulled pork. Porky heaven!

                2. How could I have forgotten the divine Bassett's coffee ice cream I had as a midafternoon snack? Delicious and I loved the sort of stretchy texture. You people got it good in Philadelphia.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: buttertart

                    people are all in a rush to recommend capogiro, but bassett's still holds my heart (yes, a bit like comparing apples and oranges, but whatever). :)

                    1. re: mazza3

                      i just wish I had had room for a second go at the ice creams.

                      1. re: buttertart

                        Next time you visit keep in mind that Bassett's will pack their ice cream on dry ice for you that will keep it for at least 4 hours (maybe 6, not sure - I don't live that far!)

                        1. re: Bigley9

                          Great! Next trip. Any particular flavors to recommend?

                          1. re: buttertart

                            They have cinnamon and pumpkin which make a great combination (pumpkin is seasonal though, and comes out in October until they run out of it in March or so). The peanut butter and mint chocolate chip are also very good.