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Point us in the right direction, please.

We will be visiting Philadelphia for 4 days in early August. We are looking for guidance from local chowhounds as well as past visitors to helps us get started on our quest for restaurants.

we are staying at Le Meridien 1421 Arch St
-will be relying on transit.
would prefer to have dinners within 20 - 30 minutes of hotel
-entrees that run around $25 pp would be great, - or + would be ok too
-we live in SW so we love to have fresh seafood and fish whenever we are on the coast. It doesn't have to be a seafood restaurant as we love fish prepared using ethnic restaurants.
- we will need dinners Th, Fr, Sat and Sun

I was in Phildelphia many years ago and had dinner at Warm Daddy's. I know it has moved, and it may not be considered chow worthy, but I remember having great fried chicken, yams and the music was really good. Is it worth a visit given we only have 4 days?

Good food while traveling is a high point for us so please point us in the right direction to make our time in your town special. Thanks!

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  1. center city isn't very big. arch street is towards its norther border, but broad street is right smack dab in the center (and at 1421, you're right off broad), so there are a lot of places w/in that 20-30 minutes, even if you're just going by foot. rittenhouse square, chinatown, reading terminal are all relatively nearby. old city isn't that far. it's only stuff like fitler's square, south street, that are a long walk, yet still considered center city. and there are some good south philly places that are an easy trip on either the broad street line (subway) or the C or 23 bus.

    Other neighborhoods - manyunk, northern liberties, etc., are farther, and less transit-friendly, but if you don't have a particular destination there, don't bother - center city has plenty of options.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Bob Loblaw

      Great info Bob, thanks. While I did mean areas that would work, I am also looking for specific restaurant that would work for us. Reading Terminal is on the list, I loved it last trip.

      Seeing:
      Alma de Cuba, Osteria, Parc, Tavern 17, the new place Amuse [@ Le Meridien], Le Bec Fin, Davio's

      ?????

      1. re: DebitNM

        I would cross Tavern 17 off that list. I'm actually kind of curious how you got that amidst that collection of other (much finer) restaurants.

          1. re: DebitNM

            Alma de Cuba offers Ceviche tastings, at 3/28, 5/45, 7/58. They are half size portions and well worth it IMO.

            Osteria is an easy walk from where you are, probably about 15 mins. I'd definitely say include Marc Vetri in your plans and Osteria would seem to be the right fit given your price range and distance concerns

            In terms of a pure seafood place, I would say Fish. Have not been but I enjoyed my eats at the previous place (Little Fish) and Fish has been on my to-go list.

            1. re: ramenbound

              I've done the walk from Osteria - and parts north - to center city many times. While the dangers are overrated, it's definitely not the most scenic stroll that Philly has to offer. And crossing the vine street expressway - even though you're well above it - is the sort of experience best avoided, if possible.

              2x on your Fish advice, based on my Little Fish experience I'd definitely try it out.

    2. For seafood I highly recommend Fish at 17th and Lombard. It has an all seafood menu and by far the best new restaurant around. Matyson is a personal fav. While everything is good I love their scallops. The desserts are amazing.

      1. When you say you're relying on transit, do you mean public transit or will cabs be an option? For two people to go somewhere on the subway will be $4 one way, $8 round trip, unless you buy tokens, so a cab is usually not much more expensive. I live in South Philly and a cab to around where your hotel is usually runs about $7-$8 including tip.

        If I was going to four dinners in Philadelphia, I'd go to Zahav, Bibou, Kanella, and Koo Zee Doo. Those are the four best restaurants in the city right now in my opinion. If there are only two of you, you may want to skip Koo Zee Doo, as the portions are huge and you wouldn't get to taste as many things as you would at a another place. Of those four places, I'd say Bibou and Zahav are the places you absolutely should not miss for dinner. Kanella serves lunch Thu-Sun and they do just as good a job at lunch as during dinner, you didn't mention needing lunch but if you do, I'd maybe do Kanella at lunchtime one day and save the dinner for another place. Kanella is walkable from your hotel. So is Bibou if you don't mind walking, it's about 1.5 miles on foot.

        None of those places specifically specializes in seafood, but they all have at least one fantastic seafood dish. Kanella does a nice whole fish at dinner and a couple fish dishes at lunch, Zahav has a great fish soup, and the chef at Bibou makes the best scallops I've ever had, though they don't seem to be on the menu right now. KZD has a great clam dish.

        I like Fish (the restaurant), personally I don't think it's in the top tier of restaurants in Philly but if you want to do one seafood-centric meal, I'd go there. So I think I'd skip KZD in favor of Fish if I were you. It's also closer to your hotel.

        Some other places you may consider are Fond, Osteria, and Meritage. And no matter where you have dinner, stop by one of the two Capogiro locations in center city for the best gelato in the city. They're both on Sansom St., one at 13th and one at 20th. There's also a smaller Capogiro on East Passyunk Ave. a couple doors down from Fond.

        1. For seafood I'd recommend the following:

          Estia-Greek restaurant specializes in grilled fish
          Devon Seafood Grille -also very reliable for seafood
          Oyster House Philly-updated version of the old Sansom St Oyster House

          For something a bit more elegant, XIX at the Bellevue

          I think Warmdaddy's is a fun spot to go for a meal with live music. I've only been there once but thought the food was good.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rocknroll52

            I'd second Estia for the very fresh fish flown in daily from the mediterranean. They have great octopus too (tenderized in a washing machine).

            I have heard great things about Fish but have not been there...yet. I'm not a big fan of Kanella or Devon...just didn't like the fish there all that much.

            I'd second the Zahav and the Capogiro tips and of course you know about Reading Terminal. If you are lucky with your trip dates you will hit the annual Dutch Festival there the second weekend in August.

            Alma de Cuba's good but have not been in a few years (seems like

          2. Fish was exactly what came to my mind... Its a fabulous restaurant.

            Assuming you are looking for more than just dinners, I would also consider Kanella's weekend brunch.

            Bibou and Zahav are probably the other dinner spots I would try to book (Bibou, especially books in adavance). Bibou is also BYOB.

            If you like Warmdaddy's, you might also like Chris's Jazz Cafe, which is very close to your hotel. They don't get much press, but the food is always good... although the service tends to be slow. It might be a perfect stop for dessert & music, or after-dinner drinks.

            I would also mention Tria, as a nice spot to stop for a mid-afternoon snack with a glass of wine or beer. Their outdoor tables are good for people-watching.