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Feb 7, 2012 11:03 AM

lunch and / or dinner

Coming to Philly for the day to check out a museum in City Center. Wondering if there are any unique (not overly fancy or expensive) spots to hit for lunch or dinner in the area. Slightly picky - no Mexican or Indian, but do like Italian, Asian and American. No burger places as daughter not into beef.

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  1. Which museum? About how expensive is "overly" expensive?

    8 Replies
    1. re: Buckethead

      National Jewish Museum As for expense - I am not looking for the swanky sit down, white table cloth experience - I cant say with money but for a party of three I dont want to spend more than $25 - $30 a person (no drinking needed). And for lunch, after looking around, Id be happy with a place like a gastropub. I want something more unique to Philly that just an upscale experience (that could be had in any city.

      1. re: drbelfer

        The Khyber Pass Pub on 2nd St is close, open for lunch and dinner, a very good gastropub with a cajun and barbecue influenced menu. Definitely has the Philly gastropub vibe. If it's a Friday, Sat or Sunday, Kanella is a little farther but worth the walk, excellent affordable Cyrpriot food in a casual BYO setting. Also a good choice for dinner every night except Monday.

        1. re: drbelfer

          You'll be in Old City. There's a really great gastropub down there, the Khyber Pass, it's 4 blocks from the museum. There's also a very good sushi/Japanese place a block further away, Zento, and an authentic Szechuan Chinese restaurant, Han Dynasty. Any of them would be good for lunch or dinner.

          Although it's more expensive than your price point, I'd recommend Zahav for dinner. It's in the area, is totally unique to Philly, and the menu is modern Israeli so it goes with your museum visit. It's mostly small plates, so you could conceivably spend less depending on how you order, but they have a $38 prix-fixe that's a bargain for what you get.

          Old City isn't the best restaurant neighborhood in the city, there are a few other places there for dinner but the only ones I'd recommend are in the same price neighborhood as Zahav but are not as good/unique. If you head west on Chestnut St. you'll come to Aqua, which is a good and inexpensive Malaysian/Thai place.

          1. re: Buckethead

            If it were me, I'd pack a lunch and save my $ to get the Mesibah at Zahav. But with all the food they give you for dinner, you may want to skip lunch. It's truly a unique, casual, and delicious place albiet a bit pricy but entirely worth it.

            If you do eat lunch, avoid the Bourse (next to the museum) at all costs. They do have a small cafe in the museum (I think) but it's never open on Saturday (for the sabbath) when we visit so I can't comment on it. If you want something uniquely Philly for lunch, walk a few blocks to the Reading Terminal Market and have something like a roast pork sandwich with provolone and broccoli rabe and browse around.

            1. re: bluehensfan

              l am going to Zahav tomorrow for the Mesibah, there is no way l would even consider lunch unless l was uhockey.

              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                I was going to ask about that. We have an upcoming res at Zahav (made before the four bell announcement). The last time we were there, we did the Tayim menu. I have wanted to try the Mesibah, but I'm afraid it will be too much for only two people. Is that the case? Otherwise, is it worth it to bring the remaining lamb home with us? Does it reheat well?

                1. re: Philly Ray

                  I've done the Mesibah twice and I enjoyed the Tayim I did much more. The lamb is very good and the rice is excellent, but both times (with a big group) we were basically too full to enjoy the lamb by the time it came, and I felt that the mezze they give does not represent the best selections on the menu.

                  1. re: Philly Ray

                    It reheats very well. One time l asked for just the hummus and the lamb and they said price was virtually the same, so l got everything. Tomorrow will try to eat just the hummus and the lamb, wish me luck. If for example, there are four people in your party, the lamb shoulder is the size of a car door. As expected uhockey ate the entire lamb shoulder alone, my idol.

        2. Just as a change of pace, you might want to try Honey Sit N' Eat. It has great food and a funky vibe with a mixture of Southern Jewish food. Might play well with the museum---and not terribly far.

          1. Thanks for the suggestions - I should note we are not into middle eastern or Isreali food

            4 Replies
            1. re: drbelfer

              A couple of blocks further away is Fork. Therence Feury is the chef. While people do not think this is amazing food, it is very good. I am partial to the house made chacuterie. You also have on the same block as the khyber pass, the Continental. Another stephen starr restaurant it is an eclectic menu with an international twist. Its in a converted diner and has a nice feel to it. Across the street from it is Cuba Libre which recently updated its menu and has been getting some buzz.

              If you walk a few blocks up chestnut, Morimoto is the philadelphia outpost of the iron chef. Reasonable price for lunch, and decent price for the omikase for dinner. You also have Buddakan which is another stephen starr outpost (there is on in NYC too). This is asian fusion. For many of us in philadelphia the menu is tired but many people still enjoy it.

              You also have Talulahs Garden up this way which is a farm to table type of restaurant. Very fresh ingredients, and interesting drinks. If you like cheese, this is a good place to go.

              1. re: cwdonald

                Great suggestions but pricy ones... BTW what day of the week is the OP interested in? A lot of good places are not open for lunch on Saturday.

                1. re: bluehensfan

                  Bluehensfan you are completely correct that I didn't think about price when thinking about the choices. On the lower end you have Stella at second and south. High end pizzas at a decent price. I am sure others can suggest some more reasonably priced places as well. I was just trying to jump start the conversation after the OP said that Middle Eastern is not their cup of tea.

                  1. re: cwdonald

                    Chinatown is not far away.

                    Rangoon for Burmese
                    Vietnam or Vietnam Palace for Vietnamese

                    Search board for many Chinese options.

            2. Trip is scheduled for a Tuesday