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Moving to City Ave Area

Greetings Philly chowhounders!

I am moving to the area for school at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, which is near city line/fairmont park. Having lived and enjoyed the cuisine in Boston where I went to college, I am wondering what are some good restaurants out near City Line. I have done some preliminary searches and the prospects look littered full of chain restaurants. I have been to Philadelphia several times and know that Center City has plenty to offer, but I want to know if there is anything near my new home!

I am looking for either good, authentic and ethnic restaurants, such as authentic mexican, good sushi, authentic szechuan chinese, etc, an interesting ambiance with a great menu, or just a great mom and pop place that cannot be passed up. I love food and eating it in an interesting spot. And if the decor isn't worth writing home about, but the food is phenomenal, then I'd like to hear about those too!

I will have a car and am willing to drive up to 15-20 minutes away or so. Am I doomed to be traveling into Center City for food fixes??

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  1. You have one of the best chinese places in the city with Chung Hing on Monument Road, right off of City Ave (http://www.zagat.com/r/chun-hing-phil...). Authentic mandarin cuisine.

    Unfortunately, City Ave is a wasteland of chain restaurants (I work actually 2 blocks from PCOM), but there are a couple places that aren't too bad close by. Toni Roni's across from the Acme shopping center, which I guess is a chain?, has pretty good pizzas and cheesesteaks. Szechuwan Express is a take-out only Chinese next to the Acme and has better than expected Chinese.

    Manayunk is maybe a 5 min drive from PCOM and has good Thai (Chabaa Thai and Mango Moon). Go to the Main Line (Lancaster Ave - 5-10 drive) and you'll hit Tiffin (Indian), Mikado (Sushi) and Thai Pepper (Thai obviously). There's also vietnamese with Vietnam Cafe in West Philly (10 min drive from PCOM) and Ha Long Bay in Bryn Mawr/Main Line (10 mins)

    I'm sure I'm missing more, but basically everything is a short drive away from where you're staying. Luckily, you wont have to drive into the city or that far to get decent ethnic foods.

    1. Aldar Cafe in Bala is good, Hymie's or Murry's for deli on Montgomery

      6 Replies
      1. re: bonappetite

        I like in that vicinity too. My current favorite eateries are:

        Chun Hung -been going to this mom and pop Chinese place for over 25 years- family run they will get to know you if you are a regular BYOB

        Ginza - best around for sushi - BYOB- but they will also serve you free beer/sake if you ask

        Pub at Penn Valley- very popular with locals eat at the bar if its crowded, large screen tvs

        The good thing is with a car and a convenient location in Bala Cynwyd you'll be in a short drive of basically any restaurant in Center City.

        Some other info to note; in season, there is a Farmer's market in the GSB parking lot on Thursdays; Produce Junction on the Philadelphia side of Bryn Mawr ave for cheap produce/plants; Ardmore Farmers Market and Trader Joe's in Suburban Square, and Whole Foods in Wynnewood.

        If you want to try a real belly buster cheesesteak, Mama's on Belmont Ave.

        Other places that are OK: Aldar Bistro, the New Tavern

        BYOBs- new one is opening on Bala Ave. Also there is one in Narberth called Aperto. haven't tried yet.

        1. re: rocknroll52

          Yeah I forgot about Mama's massive cheesesteaks.......there's also Larry's Steaks by St. Joe's University (2-3 drive) along with Delassandro's and Chubby's (both steak shops) across from each other in Roxborough (5 min drive from PCOM). There's also Johnny Manana's (Mexican) in East Falls but I don't remember if the food was any good, but interesting atmosphere and decent drink specials.

          1. re: rocknroll52

            Awesome! I should say that chains that are local chains and still family owned that are great would be welcome suggestions. Out of curiosity, what type of food is Aldar (I could guess but wont), and what is GSB? :)

            Also, are there places nearby where I can buy my supply of latin food and spices (ex: cotija or queso fresco cheese, salsa valentina) and ethnic asian? (more ex: fish sauce, roasted seaweed sheets, dried shrimp, all the fun stuff).

            Thanks guys! I am super psyched and not so worried anymore! :)

            1. re: linfr21

              The GSB Building is an office building located at the intersection of Belmont Ave and St. Asaph's Road. You can't miss it.

              Aldar is Mediterranean. They have good hummus & pita, and lamb kebabs.

              For the Asian foods, your best bet is to go to a market in Chinatown. There is also a Japanese store in Narberth called Maido that is a combination grocery/lunch counter.

              1. re: linfr21

                GSB is a name of a huge office building cata-corner to PCOM on City Ave and Belmont Avenue. Its also the name of the deli/cafe inside, which btw has pretty good breakfast deals if you were ever in the mood for cheap eats.

                Aldar I believe is Lebanese?

                In regards to ethnic ingredient needs, yes there are PLENTY of places you can go that is easily accessible to where you are located. An all-in-one shot can be done basically down by the Italian Market (10-15 min drive) where you can find many Asian supermarkets and good meat/seafood/produce purveyors. That area also holds MANY excellent Vietnamese restaurants, including Nam Phuong which I think is the best in the city. Norristown is also a very good place for authentic latin needs (10 min drive up I-76/476)

                Excited to come to Philly yet?

              2. re: rocknroll52

                Aperto is open and it's pretty good.

            2. You're only a short drive down Lincoln Dr. to Mt Airy and Chestnut Hill, which are really experiencing a nice little rejuvenation of their dining scene. Micah, Earth Bread and Brewery, Wine Thief, GeeChee Girl Cafe, Avenida, Tiffin...all within a few minutes trek down a windy scenic road. Keep going up Germantown into Plymouth Meeting and you'll have From the Boot (hands down one of the best BYOB Italian places in the area), and keep going another 8 or so minutes to Blue Fin for sushi (best in the greater Philly area IMHO). Or veer from Germantown Ave to Ridge Pike for Conshohocken's happening little scene including Blackfish, Stone Rose, Coyote Crossing, and really nice Thai.

              If you have a car, a WORLD of options is available to you within 15-20 minutes without going into Center City...although you definitely should. From where you will be at PCOM, you can get downtown in 10 minutes via west River, and visit one of the fan faves - Matyson, or the hundreds of other fabulous finds in our fair city.

              From City Line you can also easily get to University City, where there is another entire world of fabulous food adventures. The long and the short of it is that you'll have plenty of options - So Welcome!

              1. Yes, Aldar is owned by a Lebanese family, have not been in a while but was always good in the past.

                2 Replies
                1. re: bonappetite

                  Out of curiousity, is the Mikado Restaurant in Manayunk both thai and japanese? When I looked it up, it looked like it was at the same address and number.

                  1. re: linfr21

                    I think you mean the Mikado/Thai Pepper in Ardmore. Yes it is one restaurant. It has a Japaense side and a Thai side, but you can order from both menus no matter which side you sit on. I like the Thai food there better than the sushi.

                2. +1 for both Chabba and From the Boot.

                  We live in Roxborough and those are our two most frequent visits.
                  City Ave def. seems like it caters towards the college kids from out of town with the abundance of chain places. But you are close to both the Main Line and Manayunk/Roxborough.

                  Depending on your location on City Line, Chestnut Hill may not be too far to go either. It has some fairly well-regarded places. Mica gets exquisite reviews, and I've heard nice things about Cake as well, though haven't had the chance to visit either yet.

                  Also, don't be daunted by the trip into the city. It's really not too difficult (particularly if you are comfortable paying for parking - which we are not!), and I'd say that we eat downtown at least half the time we go out. It's far too vibrant of a scene to pass up on.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: tfalbo

                    Thanks everyone! I so far have tried out Mikado and Chung Hing. I love downtown but am prepared for not having tons of time to go downtown often.

                    Are there any co ops around here?

                    1. re: linfr21

                      You aren't too far at all from Weaver's Way, a terrific co-op. You have two locations to choose from: the original location in Mt. Airy, which is closest to you--it's small and cramped but packed with goods, and here you'd need to become a member to shop; and the new Chestnut Hill location--bigger, and doesn't require a membership, but prices are a tad higher without one.