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Jul 24, 2011 10:54 AM

Downtown Philly Recommendations - July 24-27

Hi Philly Chowhounders! MSP Chowhound here. I'm in Philly this week and looking for some awesome recommendations for all meals, but particularly dinner. I'm staying at the Downtown Philadelphia Marriott and would like something in easy walking distance or a decent cab ride. Main requirements is that the places be local - no chains. I don't want to eat anywhere I can eat at home. Looking for the following:

- Breakfast (specialty pancakes or omelettes)
- Italian
- French
- Steak
- Cheesesteaks
- Farm to table/local sourcing restaurants
- Bakery - any place with specialty cupcakes or cookie
- Molecular gastronomy

I've already been to Reading Terminal Market, so I'm looking for recommendations outside of that. I'm pretty adventurous and am open to suggestions of your favorite places even if they don't meet the specific cuisines I listed.


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  1. Given your location in the center of town and the wide range of cuisines, there are probably 100 good, local restaurants you could eat at that meet your criteria. Rather than try to list them, I'll recommend the S. 13th St corridor as a location a couple blocks away from your hotel that has several good picks you might be interested in:

    Barbuzzo - Mediterranean with farm-to-table sensibilities
    Amis - Modern Italian from local, celebrated chef Marc Vetri
    Lolita - Haute Mexican, they have a great carne asada dish for your steak craving

    I'd skip cheesesteaks and get a roast pork from Dinic's in Reading Terminal if you haven't been; otherwise, get a sandwich from Paesano's or Jake's Sandwich Board.

    For the bakery, I would personally get cannoli or Italian cookies from Termini's in Reading Terminal or their original South Philly location, but you are also right near Philly Cupcake which has a lot of crazy cupcakes and there is a cupcake truck that parks by Love Park (aka JFK Park, on the other side of City Hall from your hotel) during the week. Famous 4th St Cookies in Reading Terminal are really good too, but they're just good chocolate chip cookies, nothing exotic. If you want crazy cookies you can try Cookie Confidential off of South St, I haven't been but they make some wild cookies:

    For steak, two locally owned and operated steakhouses worth looking into are Barclay Prime and Butcher & Singer. There's also The Prime Rib, a small regional chain with locations here, Baltimore, and DC.

    1 Reply
    1. re: barryg

      A lot of good suggestions already. As an out-of-towner who loves food-centric Philly trips there is a lot to enjoy. Barbuzzo, Lolita and Sampan are all right next to each other and all are fantastic. Paesano's is no joke: Maybe the best sandwiches I've ever had. Other neighborhood sandwich joints are also fantastic: Chickie's, Campo's. There are also two large Vietnamese strip malls on either side of the Italian Market on Washington ave where you can find great stuff.

      Also, if you're there during the week and can get away for lunch there are some great lunch trucks near UPenn. The Korean bbq truck and taco truck stood out, as did a sandwich one near Drexel (Mikey D's)

    2. Ended up at Alma de Cuba last night. It was excellent! Heading to 10 Arts today for lunch and Beau Monde for dinner tonight. I'm meeting a local friend tomorrow for lunch and it's sound like she wants to go to Popis Italian. Looks like mixed reviews on Yelp so I'm a little leery. Thoughts? She really wants/needs a place with parking. Is there any traditional Italian closer to downtown that would also have parking for her and maybe better reviews for me? :) Thx!

      9 Replies
      1. re: Seige

        Le Virtu on E Passyunk is great and will have ample street parking during the week, but there isn't a parking lot that is close. The cuisine is from Abbruzzi, not really the same as Popi's, but really good. They also have a great patio area, but it may be too hot for that to be comfortable. For something more in line with Popi's style, Pesto on S. Broad is reliable if unexciting; again it's street parking but it shouldn't be a problem.

        1. re: barryg

          Ah I missed that this was a lunch rec... I don't think either place is open for lunch, sorry.

          1. re: barryg

            Also in the area near Pesto and Le Virtu is Paradiso (which is open for lunch on Tuesdays). Street parking should not be an issue at that time of day.


        2. re: Seige

          Radiccho cafe in Old City on 4th and Wood is very good (not sure about how the lunch menu compares to dinner, but there is plenty of parking during the day.

          1. re: Seige

            Not traditional, but perhaps you could convince her to join you at Osteria?

            If you're headed to Beau Monde tonight, I'd suggest you cross the street to Bistrot La Minette or walk another block on Bainbridge to Adsum. Or head down 6th to Little Fish (reservations needed) or Cochon (both LF and Cochon are BYOB). Beau Monde is fine, but there are so many more exciting places to try!

            1. re: urbanfabric

              Yea I agree that Beau Monde is a bit underwhelming for dinner, but it is a nice brunch or lunch spot, especially if the weather is good and you sit on the patio.

              1. re: barryg

                I know you've been to Reading Terminal before but want to cast another vote for DiNic's roast pork and the pancakes at the Dutch Eating Place (only open on Wednesday during your trip). Brown Betty has good cupcakes (most of the time) partucularly the red velvet and all chocolate. They have a branch at the Shops of Liberty Place nest to the Westin entrance and one down on 20th St. Lately I have been addicted to Termini's biscotti (at RTM). I also really like Amis and brunch at Parc.

              2. re: urbanfabric

                Thanks for the suggestions. I'm meeting a different friend for dinner tonight and Beau Monde was her suggestion. And I LOVE crepes so I have no doubt it will make me happy. However, I don't have dinner plans for tomorrow night yet, so I may have to check those other places out then. :)

                1. re: urbanfabric

                  In a twist of irony, Beau Monde is apparently closed on Mondays. We ended up at Bistrot La Minette. Very quaint and good food. Thanks for the suggestion!