New Orleans ChowHounder...
Greetings from New Orleans! I'm going to bypass any online reviews from lesser sources and come straight to the top, my fellow ChowHounders from Phladelphia. I need 3 things primarily:
1. The best cheesesteak spot.
2. The best food store in South Philadelphia.
3. The best Italian restaurant in Philadelphia (preferably one that doesn't go nuts with garlic).
Lagniappe: The best bar near the stadium for a Phillies game.
Armed with this vital information, I will be able to have a stellar visit in a few weeks. Many thanks!
I'll give it a shot.
Best Cheesesteak spot is hotly debated but probably John's Roast Pork if you are in South Philly environs, however they have very limited hours so I advise you check before going there. Tony Luke's is very good. I love Pete's deli, but it is way out in Conshohocken.
Let me also say that the cheesesteak may be Philadelphia's most famous sandwich but it is not its best sandwich. The best is a roast pork italian with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe (with hot roasted peppers for me). Tony Lukes, DiNics in the Reading Terminal Market, John's and many others make this very well.
The best food store is an open question. What type of shopping are you looking to do? The Italian Market which is actually a couple of streets with food markets and open air stands is great shopping for produce, meat, fish, cheese, and Italian specialities.
I highly recommend a stop for lunch and shopping at the Reading Terminal Market which is not in South Philly, it is in Center City. There are threads discussing this wonderful place on this board.
The best Italian is a question I will let others answer. I have heard Tre Scalini is great but I have yet to try it. Vetri may be the most talked about and it is quite good and also very expensive. For a red gravy Italian place Criniti near the Phillies stadium is good.
BUT, best bar near the stadium with excellent beer on tap and the best food is hands down the South Philly Tap Room. You must go there.
AND one half block away is by far the best coffee in the city, Ultimo coffee.
Thanks for taking the time to respond, hungrything, my mouth is watering already! Funny thing about the cheesesteak. I came to Philadelphia last in 1996 for the All-Star game and had a great time, but I never got around to eating a cheesesteak, goofy as that sounds. But as you've said, I've heard it's not necessarily the way to go sandwich-wise. Solution: roast pork italian AND a cheesesteak! Duh!
Yea, you can't spend more than 20 minutes in there, and that's if you bullshit with the staff. It is walking distance to the South Philly Tap Room if you're going there, which I agree is a great bar to drink and eat at.
The Tap Room is not in walking distance to the ballpark, but it's only a few blocks from the Broad Street Line subway, which will get you down there real quick. There isn't anything worthwhile in the immediate area of the stadiums, unfortunately.
For cheesesteak, John's Roast Pork is probably #1 in my book. The issue is that in addition to the limited weekday hours, your last chance to get a cheesesteak there is at about 2:30, when the grill shuts off (I've gotten one slightly later than this time, but I think it can be a case by case basis whether it's 2:30 or 2:45).
Since you're talking South Philly, I would definitely throw Cosmi's into the mix. Cosmi's has been doing it for me these days - definitely in my top bunch for cheesesteaks. Dalessandro's and Steve's are great if you're venturing out of S Philly (I'm assuming you'll be there).
Le Virtu comes to mind as a place that doesn't go nuts with garlic. Out of their six or seven pastas I think there's one maybe two that are garlicky in the least bit. I'll toss in L'Angolo for another South Philly outpost and Melograno if you're talking Center City (both are BYO). Osteria is a great accessible alternative to Vetri that also offers a fine selection of pizzas.
By the way, it really annoys me how CH always links to the Tony Luke's in NJ, rather than the one in S Philly.
I agree, that is annoying, I'll try to remove that link. I'm not sure when you last went to Dalessandro's but I dont think it is as good as it used to be. The meat is overcooked, rubbery and tasteless and the rolls are too soft. It has changed hands at least once in recent years, and the Dalessandro family no longer runs it.