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Essential Philadelphia Food for a Weekend Scouting Trip

I'm coming to Philadelphia at some point this summer to scout food for a weekend. I plan on walking around so I've made up a map to follow:

http://citizentaco.com/guide/Philly

I have a sense of most of the good places to go (top of the list: Zahav, Osteria, Chifa, Amada) but are there any places I'm missing from the map?

I don't want to limit my trip to upscale places. In fact I love nothing more than discovering great cheap to mid-range restaurants, especially: ethnic foods (vietnamese, thai, mexican, indian, ethiopian), great food carts/trailers, draft beer, and organic/locavore/farm-to-table places.

Any advice?

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  1. Holy shit that is awesome. Instant classic.

    2 places I'd add after a very quick look: Ultimo Coffee (right by South Philly Tap Room) for the best coffee in town, and Maru Global to try some Maru Balls if you have not had them before. You should also probably add Le Virtu and Tre Scalini (nicer Italian places on E Passyunk).

    1. nice! more extensive than my map but you should really colour code ;) i have differentiations between coffee/restaurant/ice cream but should probably throw in a sandwich section!

      speaking of sandwiches, after a really quick click around that seems to be where you're lacking quite a bit considering the culture there. i didn't notice paesano's which is pretty much across the street from modo mio, but maybe you got the 2nd location in the italian market? then of course there's the tony luke's, di'nics, allesandro's, etc.... the stalwarts.

      i would do a bit of research on the ethiopian scene, there's one in west-ish philly that google maps already has marked... i think around 45th and it starts with an a? the next time i'm down i'm checking it out for sure.

      while i don't think it's the best example of northern chinese, i do have a lot of appreciation for dim sum garden and their skill in hand crafting the dumplings.

      one fun interesting place is maru global... i missed it on my last trip down and was hoping to check out their variations of takoyaki.

      i think if you post your actual list you'll get a better response. it's a little tricky clicking around google maps when the markers are overlapping a bit.

      2 Replies
      1. re: pinstripeprincess

        thanks for the tips!!!

        1. re: pinstripeprincess

          The Ethiopian place around 45th is Abyssinia, and it is bar far my favorite Ethiopian. Be prepared for a lack of atmosphere and predictably slow service, but the food is amazing (and inexpensive).

        2. Couple things (I think - the map is tough with overlaps) First, Little Fish (6th and Catherine) is no more due to structural problems with the building. They have Fish on the other side of town. I see taqueria Veracuzana but not Taquitos del Puebla on 9th between Washington and Federal. Good calls on James, Bibou and Bistrot La Minette. Consider August at 13th and Wharton and I would second one of the paesano's location. Roast suckling pig sandwich - I mean really, don't miss it. Tastes like confit of pork. Didn't notice if you had Rangoon (burmese). Finally, consider having a "mozarella-off" between Claudio's (9th just above Carpenter) and Mancuso's (Passyunk, I think 2 below Tasker) .

          1. Cool map but there is a big void where Reading Terminal Market should be...as should you! http://www.readingterminalmarket.org

            9 Replies
            1. re: bluehensfan

              I missed that bluehen! I think people think - and I have heard people say - that the RTM is a tourist spot. Those folks clearly aren't from around these parts! I do 90% of my grocery shopping there and have for 15+ years and get lunch at least every other week.

              1. re: Bigley9

                If it were just a tourist spot, why would I keep running into the same local people at the market week in and week out? Some of the food at Reading Terminal (like at DiNic's, the Dutch Eating Place, Bassett's, etc.) is top-notch in any foodies book. Sure the location by the convention center brings a lot of conventioneers which is fine but to put the market in the category of some tourist spot (like say Pat's or Geno's) is a sin!

                1. re: bluehensfan

                  my thoughts exactly!!!!

                  1. re: Bigley9

                    There is a reason why some places are "tourist spots"...they are actually good!!!!

                    I'm not saying that all tourist spots are good but some good places can be tourist spots. (now THERE'S a good topic for a separate thread!)

                    1. re: Philly Ray

                      i have to say, i really can't think of any major "tourist" food market that i've been to that doesn't service the general populace and doesn't offer quality options. there might be a couple touristy spots but for the most part they stay open because of the people who get their daily sustenance there.

                      the only ones that maybe come close to that are some of the gimmicky theme park-esque places but you don't go and buy produce, salumi, cheese, etc there.

                      my only disappointment with rtm, that half the businesses were closed on monday at 4pm. i figure go whole hog or go home. would have loved more options but i understand since the place was relatively deserted compared to a weekend morn.

                      1. re: pinstripeprincess

                        This is my major problem with RTM and the major reason I don't go as often as I would like. If you have a regular job, it's impossible to make it there during the week. And weekends there are completely mobbed. It would be nice to be able to stop by after work and pick up things here.

                        1. re: jaba

                          I am often at the market at 5 pm on weeknights and it isn't a problem to shop unless you want prepared foods

                          1. re: jaba

                            If you get there before 10 on a Saturday it's generally a pretty pleasant shopping experience (barring the Flower and Auto Show weeks).

                    2. re: bluehensfan

                      The roast pork sandwich with broccoli rabe and sharp provolone at DiNic's is an essential Philadelphia experience. Some believe it should replace the cheesesteak as the official sandwich.

                2. i think some of the tacquerias in south philly are definitely worth checking out- i live in manhattan now and really miss the authentic mexican food