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Aug 16, 2010 07:15 PM

Looking for good eats in Convention/Center City area for this Friday night with family

Taking my wife and two boys (12 and 9) to a Saturday Phillies game. Staying at the Marriott Courtyard on Juniper St. and getting in on Friday. The boys are sorta picky--they'll do Mex, steak, burgers, seafood, and pizza but that's about it--no Asian, nothing fancy (although sometimes we can get them to tolerate French bistro for the steak frites). Any ideas for good eats within walking distance?

Many thanks in advance for any help/advice!

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  1. I wouldn't normally recommend it, but you would probably all like El Vez on 13th St. It's Mexican with options the kids will probably like, but has great drinks for the grownups and some creative menu items to keep you interested. The food isn't amazing but it's better than the chain places by the Convention Center. The atmosphere is fun and you can get gelato across the street afterward.

    2 Replies
    1. re: barryg

      I think El Vez would be a good choice, but also in that same stretch of 13th Street is Zavino, a pizza and wine bar, that would likely please kids and parents alike.

      1. re: urbanfabric

        I was just going to suggest Zavino myself. If you go to either one, be sure to get gelato at Capogiro across the street from either (Zavino or El Vez I mean).

    2. You're in a great area for food. Depending on the time you get in and settle down you can try the "Reading Terminal" it's located on 12th and Filbert right behind your hotel and has everything you mentioned your boys like (if you can't make it Friday try Saturday). You'll be able to find many different foods that I'm sure your boys will enjoy. If you want to keep it even more simple take them to the Gallery (located on 13th and Market just up the street) it's an underground mall where there are a plethora of food options. Enjoy!! Go Phillies!!!

      9 Replies
        1. re: Hungrierthanever

          When were you klast IN The gallery, let alone ate there? The Gallery is a full urban mall (first in the nation BTW) , not just an "underground" mall It is crowded and the food choices are not that good unless you like Mc d's, KFC, Chick Fil A or Salid Works (probably the best choice there!) At one time it was a nice place to shop and occasionally eat. Now it is a place i stop in if I am in a huge hurry while catching the regional rails. I would NEVER EVER recomend going there for a meal to tourists, ever! And the shopping...well 5 Beliow has some bargins (2 for $1 water for instance) and BCF does have nice , inexpensive evening wear (which i pass on the way to 5 Below) but it is now a sad, sad shell of what it once was.
          Oh yeah I was there just last week and will be there agin this week, so i really do know what I am talking about.

          1. re: Prettypoodle

            yeah, i used to stand by the garlic knots at villa pizza as a guilty pleasure but even those went downhill last time i tried them (tasted old). the only other thing i've touched in there was the fruit smoothie from that produce/snack place. definitely go to the reading terminal market at some point during your visit, but skip the gallery.

            el vez was the first thing that came to mind when reading the OP's post. it's great guacamole, otherwise decent food, and a cool atmosphere. the kids will love it. and from there you can walk a block over and a block down to catch the broad street subway which will take you down to the ballpark!

            1. re: rabidog

              Hey rabidog, there's a new pizzeria run by the same owners of Pesto on Broad St near McKean. It's called Pizzeria Pesto (what else?). You can decide if you like the pizza, but they give you complimentary garlic knots at your table.


              1. re: Philly Ray

                oh, good to know! will have to try that out next time i am down that way! the pic on their website makes me hungry.

                1. re: Philly Ray

                  Philly Ray, have you tried it? I ate in and got some pasta dishes and I was very happy. I didn't get garlic knots at the table; they gave us the cold potato salad like they have at Papa Pesto. The atmosphere was casual but very pleasant; I felt like I was getting a bargain version of the food at the big restaurant.

                  I didn't try the pizza and I very curious about how good it is.

                  1. re: barryg

                    I'm not as fanatical about pizza as some others, so I'm not in search of the perfect cracker crust and things like that. We've been there a couple of times, but since I have a 3 year old, we can't get too adventurous with the pizza selection or the toppings. So far we have had the regular pizza and the pesto pizza. The pesto pizza had regular black olives on it (where I was hoping for something more exotic) but we liked the regular pizza. Last time we ordered it with half meatball (I figured my daughter would like that) and when it came out with all meatball, the server was extremely apologetic and comped us a (homemade) cannoli for dessert. So, extra points for service there.

                    But, I do wish that they had a more extensive pasta menu.

                    We just think it is a nice, inexpensive, family-oriented place. And since it is right near our house, we're glad it's there.

                    1. re: Philly Ray

                      Philly Ray, have you had Franco & Luigi's pies? I really like them for non-fancy pizza. Could you compare the pie at Pesto to F&L?

                      1. re: barryg

                        We order from F&L all the time and I like both places. Like I said before, I'm really not one to over-analyze pizza. However, I do know bad pizza when I see/eat it, and to me, the pizzas at F&L and Pesto are both good. I don't think you'll be disappointed with Pesto, but try it and let me know what you think.

          2. Many thanks for all the interesting responses! I actually had been thinking of El Vez before posting, but now I'm leaning toward Zavino. The kids love pizza, and the pasta & wine list look pretty decent. We live in south-central PA, and pizza out here is abysmal, so it might be nice to experience some real pizza. The other option my wife is pushing for is McCormick & Schmick, mostly because one kid loves steak and the other loves shrimp cocktails--but it'd be way pricier and definitely more chain-ish. I'll report back to y'all & let you know! Thanks again!

            3 Replies
            1. re: mwb126

              If you are going Steak House try Butcher and Singer instead. It is a Steven Starr restaurant, so locally owned not a chain and gets great reviews.

              1. re: Bigley9

                I second that Butcher & Singer recommendation! I've tried most of the steak houses around, and this is by far the best. And not just the steaks--the seafood and sides are wonderful too. Try the asparagus and potatoes gratin if you can. Sides are served "family style," so you can order a few and share. I took a colleague of mine from Argentina last year (a country that takes its steak very seriously) and he was blown away by it.

                Butcher & Singer
                555 Lincoln Dr W, Marlton, NJ 08053

                1. re: gaffk

                  wow, don't know where that link came from (I didn't add it and it points to a Marlton, NJ address). Here's the link for the 15th & Walnut location:

                  Bummer . . . they don't have the asparagus or the gratin on the current menu. The downside (?) of a seasonal menu. But the fries are a staple on the menu and also excellent.

            2. Has anyone here eaten at Garces Trading Co.?

              2 Replies
              1. re: mwb126

                Yes. Overall it's very good, but not as enjoyable as Amada because you feel as if you are eating in the middle of a mini-upscale food court. The food is very good (especially the charcuterie, sandwiches, and thin crust pizzas) but I disliked the deep dish pizza since it seemed like eating a San Marzano sauce pie, not someting like Lou Malnati's. I also found that the service slipped perceptibly our last visit, as our server seemed other-wordly (but in a bad way) and they kept trying to top off our sparkiling water with tap. If it were me, I'd go to Amada instead, no questions asked.

                1. re: mwb126

                  yes, but for me it wasn't even really memorable enough to write up here. not bad, but definitely my least favorite of all the garces places i've tried (still not been to village whiskey or chifa, i'm pretty far behind!!) but still pricey.

                2. Wanted to report back after the trip--sorry it took so long! I ended up caving to the wife and kids and went corporate by doing McCormick, which was just down the block from the hotel. It was pretty bad and way way overpriced. But we did go to the gelato place (Capogiro?), and it was fabulous! Both El Vez and Zavino, across the street, looked so much better than M&S--oh well--some weekend we'll ditch the kids and explore for ourselves! Spent some time both days of the trip at the Market--had the best cannoli I've ever had there from Termini Bros.--old school, just like I remembered as a kid. And although the Phillies got their butts whupped by the Nats, we did get to see Strasburg--and probably his last game for a long long time! Pulled him out with a season-ending injury in the 5th. Ouch! Despite the M&S experience, all-in-all a fun trip. Many thanks again for all the great replies!