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The best of Reading Terminal Market

I've never been before and we'll be heading there in December. Hubby was to try a roast pork sandwich from DiNics. What else should we try? All types of cuisine are great. And we'll have our 2 year old with us who also eats EVERYTHING.

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  1. I'm sure there is a thread on this somewhere else on the board. But here goes anyway:

    For breakfast:
    My go to is the Dutch Eating Place* for fluffy pancakes, bacon, and delicious apple dumplings.
    Beiler's Bakery* next door has yummy sticky buns. Try to get them when they are warm.

    For lunch:
    You know about DiNic's. The best is the roast pork with provolone and broccoli rabe or greens. Order it "wet" to get it extra juicy (but have napkins close by). You won't be disappointed.
    I like the gyros at Olympic Gyro and they have also started serving lamb souvlaki that is yummy.
    Hershel's Deli has good pastrami but alas, it's not my thing.
    The thai place has good salmon if you want a healthy option for lunch.

    For snacks, etc:
    Miller's Twist* has fabulous soft pretzels. Get them when they are warm if you can too. I like mine without butter but most people don't mind it. They also have delicious cinnamon sticks.
    Fourth St. Cookies has great double chocolate chip cookies. Warm out of the oven, they are hard to beat.
    I am a big fan of the milk chocolate peanut butter covered pretzels at Mueller's Chocolates.
    Termini's Bakery has great cannoli and pastries, especially the Nirvana and Almond Succes.
    Metropolitan Bakery has great bread to take home.

    * Merchants denoted with this symbol are Amish Merchants who are only open from Wednesday through Friday.

    Enjoy your visit!

    2 Replies
    1. re: bluehensfan

      Hershel's hot pastrami on rye with swiss and deli mustard is undeniable. Grant it, maybe not everyone's thing. But that sandwhich is absolutely amazing. Highly highly recommended.

      1. re: VTRP

        I second the Hershel's rec. Also, it doesn't get talked about much, but I think the Rib Stand (also run by the amish) is delicious, if you are in the mood for barbecue.

        Also, so many great snack options. Everything bluehensfan mentioned is great.

    2. Let me add to bluehenfan's list Diener's chicken wings. They are crispy cooked in rotisserie baskets. not buffalo style. Wonderful (amish merchant - wed-sat). Also check out Fair Food Farms - they have lots of local products - not just produce and meats but chocolates, carmels, granola, etc.

      1. I love the brownies and whoopie pies from Flying Monkey.

        1. Thank you all. Maybe hubby will get the pork and I'll get the pastrami and we can share....

          And I've seen those apple dumplings mentioned other places...I'll have to try one. I think I'll gain 5 pounds that day.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rizzo0904

            We went to Amada, Osteria and Reading Terminal Market, one night, two dinners and I gained six pounds. Oh yeah and stopped at Tony Luke's to investigate the hype. Brought home a ton of food too. Talk about gluttony!

          2. No one ever gives Beck's Cajun any love but they're damn good!

            9 Replies
            1. re: kukubura

              I almost did today after seeing the muffalletta on the menu - have you tried it?

              1. re: Dennis S

                Not the muff but I did have a taste of quite a few of their dishes (jambalaya, gumbo, bread pudding, other stuff) and it was all far better than you have reason to find in a Philly food stall.

                1. re: Dennis S

                  Had the muffaletta about a week ago, surprisingly good olive salad and very well priced. They sell by the quarter. Another big plus for Hershels pastrami.

                2. re: kukubura

                  they are good, i like eating there. i think it's just that it's one of the newer places there, hence the lack of love.
                  i also really like the hoagies at salumeria, the 3x dumpling soup at sang kee, and some of the desserts at termini bros. find flying monkey hit and miss (or rather, fresh or stale).

                  1. re: Bob Loblaw

                    I have noticed a significant improvement in the Flying Monkey's stuff since it's changed ownership. Now I can get their yummy brownies and not worry about breaking a tooth! I also like their new pumpkin whoopie pies.

                    1. re: bluehensfan

                      good to know! i didn't even know they changed ownership. will try their stuff again.

                        1. re: bluehensfan

                          I just saw that... was considering recommending it to the poster on the other thread who's running the marathon on sunday. seemed a more appropriate caloric splurge.

                          made it there today, though - got a pretty good pumpkin whoopie pie.

                          would like to try the pumppel cake some day. it did look good. but w/something like that, I'd worry about freshness anyplace... i mean, how many slices of that could they sell?

                          1. re: Bob Loblaw

                            Scary, but when I went there to get my brownies and whoopie pie at Flying Monkey (I agree the whoopie pie is pretty good), all of the rest of the people were lining up for the Pumppel cake...they were dishing out three slices of the behemoth when I was in line). So it looks like there are no shortage of takers?

                3. Finally heading there tomorrow. I'll report back with what we tried and our thoughts.

                  We have a friend requesting some Wilbur's Chocolate which I've never heard off but we'll pick some of that up from PA General Store as well.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rizzo0904

                    Wilbur "buds" pre-date hershey's kisses and have a similar shape - but are better!
                    Enjoy the market!

                  2. Olympic Gyro is a really good sandwich. I love the soft steamed Pita it comes in.

                    1. Had lunch at DiNic's....accidentally ordered the Italian style pulled pork with rabe and prov instead of the roasted pork. So glad I made that error. The pulled pork was awesome. My hubby had the roasted pork and tried mine....said mine was better.

                      Had a pumpkin whoopie pie at Flying Monkey....very good.

                      Then we tried a warm apple dumpling from Dutch Eatery or whatever it's called. I'm not a pastry fan by any means but this was good. I'm guessing that I would pronounce it excellent if I actually liked pastry. So a good from me in this case is a big positive.

                      Got some cookies at 4th St to take home...the double chocolate chip are delicious!!

                      Tried the peanut butter chocolate covered pretzel you all metioned as well....just meh. But the dark chocolate covered ones are great!

                      Thanks for all of the recs!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: rizzo0904

                        Glad you liked your visit and sorry you were not a big fan of the pretzels!

                        1. re: rizzo0904

                          This has me wishing I ordered the pulled pork instead of the roast pork. Roast pork not as flavorful as I had hoped. Italian style is def. the way to go.

                        2. Original Turkey make decent turkey breast sandwiches. They'll also throw some skin on the side if asked and it's available. If you hit RTM again by car and bring an electric cooler, you should try the Fair Food Farm Stand. They have excellent and varied raw milk as well as some very tasty butter and meats. There's also a decent chinese dumpling and soup place around the corner called Dim Sum Garden. However, they don't serve dim sum.

                          2 Replies
                            1. re: bigmackdaddy

                              Actually, a lot of what they serve is seen at dim sum, but it's not served old-school-style on carts. Rather, you order off the menu and they bring you prepared to order snacks. The food is okay, but nothing I'd write home.

                            2. On a side note, we're hoping to visit the market soon. DH wants a cheesesteak. Are there any decent ones there or nearby? Not really willing to look up the Pat/Geno's corner (unless we can walk from the market). Any recommendations?

                              17 Replies
                                1. re: akur

                                  You can walk there from the market if you love to walk. We've done it. You get to walk through several neighborhoods plus the entire Italian Market.

                                  Now, whether or not Pat's and Geno's are worth that long of a walk is another matter. Of course, nearby Paesano's is worth running a marathon.

                                  1. re: kukubura

                                    Thanks! How far to Paesano's? We're taking our 4 yr. old twins, so we can't walk that far.

                                    1. re: akur

                                      Too far for them. Paesano's is in the Italian Market. However, if you manage to take the kids they'll likely love it. It's the best sandwich joint in Philly of the many I've been to.


                                      1. re: akur

                                        If you walk down to 8th and Market, you can catch a bus that will take you down. Return trip on the bus back up 9th St. Your kids should be able to ride for free.

                                        1. re: Philly Ray

                                          I like Paesano's a lot. For sandwhiches, I even like it more than any *one* thing at RTM. But if i was visiting Pihlly, I'd definitely choose RTM over Paesanos. And there are some good sandwhiches there - I don't think much of DiNics, but everyone else seems to; I like the Salumeria hoagie especially.
                                          For cheese steaks nearby I'd say RTM exile Rick's, although the locale lacks energy.

                                          1. re: Bob Loblaw

                                            Rick's was supposed to move from the Bellevue food court to Liberty Place last month--did it happen?

                                            1. re: Bob Loblaw

                                              Don't go to Rick's. If I worked nearby I'd go there for lunch but if I were visiting from out of town I'd stay away. The location is downright depressing.

                                              If I were taking kids to Philly for lunch it would be a tough decision between RTM and the Italian Market. Both are the kinds of places that I have strong memories of when I was young: Vibrant, exciting and busy. On a nice day Italian Market might get the edge for being outdoors, but I love Reading too. Plus you could all get different food and share. Don't forget to check out Beck's Cajun. Surprisingly good cajun food right in RTM.

                                              As for Paesano's... you ain't finding better sandwiches within 100 miles or more probably. Arista... Gustaio... mmmmmmmmm

                                              1. re: kukubura

                                                Yeah, when they did the Throwdown with Bobby Flay and the challenge was over the Paesano sandwich, I thought to myself, "That's not even the best sandwich on the menu."

                                                1. re: Philly Ray

                                                  So the Italian Market is worth a stop? We're driving in from Baltimore. We could do the Italian market for lunch and RTM for dessert, walking around? How is parking around the Italian market?

                                                  1. re: akur

                                                    Enjoyed the bread pudding from Beck's Cajun at RTM yesterday. Simple (with apples) and not overly sweet. Came with a whiskey sauce that I didn't use. Also tasty and not overly sweet. (I skipped it because I just have a thing about goopy desserts. Always get the "a la mode" on the side.)

                                                    1. re: Seeker19104

                                                      Beck's is pretty phenomenal, all around..

                                                      Here's a snippet from my review of them: Put all of this on a hoagie roll and you’ll have an alligator sausage po’boy, but probably not as good as the one served up at Beck’s Cajun Café. In fact, I’m not sure why this hasn’t been a serious contender in the “best sandwich in Philadelphia” contests that seem to happen every other week.

                                                    2. re: akur

                                                      What's up fellow Baltimoron?
                                                      What we always do is get off the highway down by the ballpark, take 611-N/Broad north, hang a right on Passyunk, and park near 11th or 10th st. That puts you at the south end of the Italian Market, where Pat's and Geno's are. Then you can walk up 9th through the whole market, window shop at various butcher shops etc, and end at Paesano's, which is at the north end of the Market (it just moved a little south but still towards the nothern end of the market).

                                                      If you want to go straight to Paesano's and then toodle around the market stay on Broad and then hang a right on Christian instead of Passyunk. Parking hasn't been a problem for us in that area, if you keep an eye out. Around RTM, however, we have had trouble before.

                                                      You're also not far from Chickie's there, another top-notch sandwich joint.

                                                      Also, on Washington Ave in either direction of the Italian Market there are two huge Vietnamese strip malls full of stores and restaurants. Very cool.

                                                      1. re: kukubura

                                                        Thanks! That sounds like a plan.

                                                        1. re: akur

                                                          Take paesano's number with you and make sure they're open. I'm sure they will be but we did discover that they were mid-move halfway there a while back and weren't able to go. Either way you've got options. Philly is a hell of a lunch town!

                                                          1. re: akur

                                                            and if a cheesesteak is a must - go to George's on 9th Street just below (1 storefront below) Christian St. They are some of the best in town (according to some of us, I am not starting a cheesesteak war) There is another George's further down the street - make sure you are right at Christian St next to Lorenzo's Pizza.

                                        2. DH and I just returned from an overnight trip to Philly, the purpose of which was to try as much as possible at the Reading Terminal Market. We made 3 separate trips over the course of 2 days, and here is a rundown of what we had:

                                          1. Bassett's Ice Cream. I had Butterscotch Vanilla, DH had Moose Tracks. Both were creamy, sweet, and delicious.

                                          2. Old City Coffee. Strong but not burnt or bitter, friendly staff. They also have very cool milk dispensers.

                                          3. Miller's Twist. DH had a cheesesteak pretzel--delicious! Not too salty on the inside, as that was reserved for the hits of salt on the outside. The cinnamon sugar dipped soft pretzel was also very good and buttery, although a bit messy.

                                          4. Dutch Eating Place. The line was tremendously long, so we got Apple Dumplings to go. For $3.00 you get a large lump of apple heaven, surrounded by fresh sweet cream. A far better deal than the Metropolitan Bakery's cherry cheese danish, which for $2.75 contained very little cherry or cheese.

                                          5. Spataro's. The only "real" cheesesteak we had on the trip. It was stuffed with onions and meat and slathered with cheese. DH could only finish half even though it was quite delicious.

                                          6. DiNic's. Top of the heap. DH and I split a pork sandwich with provolone and peppers (they were out of broccoli rabe). We wen't back first thing this morning and got 3 more to take home. The plan was stop by Pat's and Geno's on the way back to do our own "Food War", but after this pork, we scrapped that idea. This pork sandwich was hands down the best thing I've had in a while. It was worth the 15 minute wait on line.

                                          7. Grabbed a pound of Wilbur's buds after seeing a rec from another poster. They are worlds better than Hershey Kisses and you don't have to unwrap them!

                                          All in all it was a great place with far more hits than misses. I ogled the roasts in the cases of Och's, and all the delicious looking sausages, wishing I had my kitchen with me so I could have cooked!
                                          We'll be back.

                                          1. I was fortunate enough to be able to take a tour of Reading Terminal Market with Rick Nichols of the Philadelphia Inquirer (partially retired). Tommy Dinic gave us samples of his roast pork sandwich and talked about the long process involved in getting the pork ready to go. I took photos of our tour if you are interested: http://www.alonnazone.com/gathering/1272

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: asmith

                                              Nice pictures. And I discovered what happened to an old high school classmate (Anna Florio)!

                                              1. re: gaffk

                                                I hope she did not become part of DiNic's roast pork sandwiches.............. (sorry couldn't resist).

                                                1. re: cwdonald

                                                  (like an episode of The Sopranos)

                                            2. I'd buy a scoop of Basset's ice cream, then take it over to the Dutch Eating Place, order a warm apple dumpling, and add the ice cream.