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Fabulous Food in Downtown Philly

We were in Philadelphia for three days and ate four meals at Schlesinger’s. A delicatessen, in the Jewish tradition, Schlesinger’s is a fantastic representative of this kind of restaurant. Generous portions of delicious food, a deft hand with the kind of recipes that make a deli’s reputation, casual and warm, this was a find for hungry travelers.
Stumbling in early on a weekday, we found the Work Week Breakfast Special. For $3.95 you get eggs, flavorful home fries, a choice of toast including rye, with seeds and without, and coffee. A yummy bargain.
For lunch, the Fish Combo for 2 (feeds four) at $29.95 was the most generous platter of smoked fish, kippered salmon, whitefish spread, cream cheese, sliced vegies, and bagels I’ve ever encountered. I really don’t know how they’ll stay in business given the size of their portions, but I wish them well.
And the pastrami! And the homemade mustard! And the chicken soup with not just matzo balls, but noodle bows and fresh chicken meat. Order the cup, the bowl is too big for one person.
It’s not perfect. The kishka was too salty, the kasha was cool rather than hot, but the flavor is wonderful. Did I mention the chopped liver with schmaltz? Go, eat, try the home-made pickles. It’s a terrific place.

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  1. I don't mean to be crass but if you ate four meals in three days at a Jewish deli in Philadelphia your opinion is seriously suspect. Where else did you go?

    5 Replies
    1. re: barryg

      Is this the place that Kibitz in the City turned into? I started reading this and wondered if I stumbled onto the wrong board!

      1. re: bluehensfan

        Yes, it is where Kibitz was.

      2. re: barryg

        We went to Alma De Cuba. Glitzy, seriously unimpressive food, over priced.
        Also tried Silk City Diner - tasty, fun, as promised.
        We kept returning to Schlesinger's because it satisfied all five travelers. Whether we wanted salad, soup or something more substantial, everyone was happy. I often find, when traveling, that the familiar and delicious carries further than the hype of the new.
        If my review sounded like a stereotype, excuse me. I just wanted the information to be available to others. Don't confuse the quality of the restaurant with my writing style.

        1. re: chirsh

          Alma De Cuba is not new, nor is it a place you'll find getting a lot of "hype" or positive reviews around here...it certainly wouldn't have been anywhere near one of my top recs for the Rittenhouse area.

          1. re: chirsh

            Well, each to his/her own, but you really missed out on the fabulous array and variety of restos that Philly has to offer, in just about every cuisine and price range.

            It would be boring to me to return to the same resto every day while traveling, much like returning to the same tourist attraction several times. Especially with the resources Philly has.

            How was the pastrami?

        2. My husband and I often find a place we love when we travel and return to it again and again, just like you did. We're staying in Center City this coming weekend and will try Schlesinger's, which sounds great. There are all the pizza joints you could ask for downtown but a dearth of Jewish deli's, so for us, this will be an occasion!

          1. My husband and I tried Schlessinger's for lunch on Sunday and were favorably impressed. The deli is owned by Philly condo maven Alan Domb and offers a nice selection of hot and cold dishes. My husband loved his roast beef special, which was absolutely loaded with rare roast beef. I had a scrambled egg, munchee cheese, and turkey bacon wrap that was scrumptious. We shared a black & white for dessert. For us, the gold standard is Juniors', in NYC, but this was a close second - fresh, cakey, plenty of chocolate and white glaze.

            As chirsh noted, portions are generous and our sandwich and wrap were quick to come to the table. There's also a complimentary pickle bar with pickled peppers, several types of cucumber pickles, and potato, health, and macaroni salad.

            I hope that Schlessinger's is successful, because there are many more menu items we want to try. This place is an asset to Center City. Thanks, chirsh, for the recommendation!

            2 Replies
            1. re: Elaine

              Did you go for breakfast, lunch and dinner on the same day? Return the next day for lunch?

              1. re: menton1

                We went for breakfast, took out sandwiches for lunch, then the next day we went for brunch and then a light dinner.