HOME > Chowhound > Philadelphia >


Birthday lunch -- but budget an issue

  • e

Being down an income for over a year, our eating out has been cut back to nearly nothing. But next week is my birthday. We can't do our usual big celebratory dinner, but I'm hoping for lunch ideas. It doesn't have to be a "celebratory" lunch place -- just splurging to eat out at all will be a celebration.

I've searched the board, but many lunch suggestions are for visitors or business lunches.

Something with some parking accessibility in the general area would be good and perhaps under about $15 a person.

We've done RTM, cheesesteaks, etc. but would like something different. I'm very open to ideas and a wide range of food, atmosphere, and environment.

(If it's open, I need to stock up at the Spice Corner.)

Thanks for any suggestions!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. How about a trip to Chinatown? The parking isn't great, but there are lots of well priced places like Lee How Fook , Vietnam, and Rangoon. Happy Birthday!

    1 Reply
    1. re: DaisyM

      I agree. Another option is Cafe de Laos, on 11th St. just south of Washington.

    2. Chinatown is a good idea. I'd probably head to the Italian Market, though, where you can graze and walk around. My husband and I love to do this. You could go to one of the taquerias, or get amazing sandwiches from Paesano's, walk a bit, and then get a pastry at Isgros, or you could walk further south on Passyunk to Capogiro.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

        I always support Rangoon, although their specific lunch deal doesn't have a lot of my favorites.

        Other ideas:

        Amada, actually - the Catalan Express is only $14.50 for Soup & a salad or sandwich...but SO much better than most salad/sandwiches. It's actually only $8-10 for the sandwiches alone, and they are large, with potatoes...you could easily eat well with just a sandwich, or split an appetizer with it instead of the Express.

        I love Vientiane in West Philly (Thai/Laotian), which would be easier for parking and has a fantastic lunch special (I believe for $10? - it was more than worth it).

        One of the tacquerias would also be a cheap/easy parking option.

        Happy Birthday!

        1. re: PhillyA

          You can order off the complete menu at Rangoon during lunch. That would be my choice. (Ahhhh, tea leaf salad!)

      2. I would recommend the Thursday lunch at Meme.

        It's two pieces of amazing, fresh fried chicken, home made biscuit, their own dipping sauces and a miller or iced tea for $11. It's a great deal at an otherwise expensive restaurant. Plus when the weather's nice the atmosphere is lovely, and you can use the $4 left over in your budget to get ice cream and sit in Rittenhouse Square Park.

        One of the best fancy lunches in the city in my opinion, but it's only on a Thursday, you'll have to find meter parking and you should get there early to nab a window seat!

        1. Matyson is a wonderful place for lunch. The lunch entrees are in the $12 and under range and it's byo. You could even split one of their wonderful desserts.

          1. I second the recommendation for Vietnam, which is an excellent and low-priced restaurant. It's sit down and a BYOB.

            There's also the Sansom Kebob House, which is very inexpensive, and has a wide range of Afghan food. It's fairly healthy and somewhat similar to Indian food. Very vegetarian friendly as well.

            VIC Sushi on Sushi on Sansom also has a three roll special for about $10. My friend and I usually get the special plus a specialty roll, and the bill is always under $25.

            Elaine from http://www.elleats.com

            1. I absolutely love Sahara for lunch on Walnut just east of Broad. It's a byob, so maybe take an inexpensive bottle with you to celebrate? I just think their hummus is killer and their falafel is fresh and tasty.

              I also agree with other posts that recommend the Italian market and Chinatown. Happy Birthday!

              1. Thank you all! I'm keeping note of all of these suggestions.

                We'd planned to go to the Italian Market, and then down Washington. But then I heard Spice Corner was still closed. Needing to stock up on spices, we hit RTM for Spice Terminal instead and planned to go to Chinatown afterward.

                Instead, we ended up grazing through the Market and sharing some of this and some of that -- roast pork/rabe at DiNic's, samosas, falafel, Thai BBQ chicken, and ended with Termini's cannoli's!

                It was a treat because we've not been eating out for so long and because last time we'd been to RTM was a Saturday with the kids -- which limits how long and how wide we can "graze"!

                It just hit us as right for the day and fun. But I'm definitely saving the lunch suggestions for HIS birthday or when work comes in and we can celebrate!