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Sep 18, 2012 01:53 PM

Philly/College Visit


We will be going to Philly in early October for a college visit. I have never been to Philly!! We are from NY (near NYC)

Booked a hotel on Walnut Street although I think I need to find a new hotel closer to Temple U??

Anyway, we love food! Looking for some restaurants or things we should try in Philly. We like all kids of food from wings to lobster :)

Thanks in advance!


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  1. The Sansome St Oyster House is near to your hotel ( I think) and great seafood. yes, you are a bit away from Temple, but public transport is pretty good.or use your car. The area around Rittenhouse Square has a number of good on here for some of the threads

    1. If you want to fully experience the city and it's food offerings, a hotel on Walnut St is a safe bet. There's a small hotel located on Temple's campus, but it's also an easy subway ride from Walnut St. As for food, you can search for previous recs on 13th St (Midtown Village) or Rittenhouse Square which would are both close to your hotel (I'm guessing). A must visit is Reading Terminal Market, and I'm sure others will have great ideas for you.

      1. Need more info:

        Where exactly you're staying (Walnut is 2 miles long river to river)
        How long you'll be here/how many meals
        What you're looking to spend
        What you like and don't like

        The Broad St. subway line goes right to Temple so if you book at hotel on Broad or within a few blocks of it in Center City you can easily walk to the subway.

        23 Replies
        1. re: Buckethead

          Staying at the Holiday Inn Express 1305-11 WALNUT STREET

          we need

          Friday Dinner
          Saturday Dinner
          Sunday Bfast and lunch

          price is open............... We are used to NYC prices etc. Do not mind paying for great meals

          Thanks so much!!

          PS If anyone has a better choice for a hotel PLEASE let me know!!! I have NO idea what would be a convienent place to stay.

          1. re: doberlady

            That's a pretty convenient location, the Walnut/Locust subway stop is a block away if you want to take the subway to Temple. As lbmsw says you're right near Midtown Village, there are several very good to excellent restaurants there: Jamonera and Barbuzzo are the two best. Really if you just want to walk everywhere you can eat very well just within a few blocks of your hotel. If I were you I'd do:

            Friday Dinner: Vedge, 1221 Locust St. (Vegan), one of the best and most interesting places in the city right now.
            Saturday Dinner: Jamonera (Spanish)
            Sunday Bfast: Kanella (Cypriot), 10th and Spruce
            and lunch: Reading Terminal Market, I'm not really crazy about any of the offerings here (for stuff that's ready to eat, I mean) but if you've never been to Philly you should visit it.

            1. re: Buckethead

              greek seafood sounds good. We love Greek food. We are NY Italians and rarely go out for Italian. My college visiting daughter went to the terminal market last year while on a school trip and she said we HAVE to go there.

              Also, we love Spanish food.

              Will check out all of your suggestions. I read menu's on my down time LOL

              Do you know if we would have to change subways to get to Temple? I guess I really need to google. We don't really want to drive anywhere except to the hotel

              Thanks for all of your help!!

              1. re: doberlady

                You can get on the Broad St line at Broad and Walnut (northbound) and it will take you right to Temple U.

                When you say "Spanish Food" do you mean from Spain or Puerto Rican/Cuban?

                1. re: Philly Ray

                  Spain mainly. Maybe a Tapas place with great sangria?

                  In the meantime I have made an OpenTable for Estia and the Oyster House

                  1. re: doberlady

                    I like Buckethead's suggestions. If I were choosing a Greek place, I'd go for Kanella over Estia. Many people love Estia...we think it okay...but it's completely different from Kanella. However if you go to Estia and get 'the meal deal' (the pre-theater dinner), try the octopus appetizer and the lamb shank entree. I don't eat octopus and haven't tried it but my friends all like it. we find the lamb something a little different.

                    1. re: cook262

                      Another vote for Kanella. The regular menu at Estia has spectacular fresh fish but it's quite expensive. The pre-theater dinner is not really interesting enough to warrant a visit from out of town IMO.

                      1. re: barryg

                        I have a pied a terre in NY and frequent many restaurants. If you like Molyvos you'll love Estia. Yes it is more expensive but I am sure you must be used to NY prices by now. And it is right nearby where Kanella is not.
                        As far as I am concerned, their fish is spectacular.

                        1. re: arepo

                          Kanella is only 5 blocks away from the Holiday Inn Express. It is a nice and scenic walk. The fish at Kanella is also very fresh and delicious. It isn't every day that one has an opportunity to dine at a Cypriot restaurant. It is also BYOB , which may be a change of pace from NY restaurants that you are used to.

                  2. re: doberlady

                    It is a very easy and direct subway ride on the Broad street line. Get off at the Cecil B. Moore stop and you are right at Temple campus.

                    Jamonera is a good tapas place a very easy walk from your hotel. Just down the block from Jamonera is Capgiro--a must for delicious gelato and sorbets.

                    1. re: doberlady

                      Not quite Spanish, and not in walking distance, but Koo Zee Doo has great Portuguese food. Not a far walk from the subway (Market-Frankford Line, two blocks away from your hotel) or a short cab ride.

                      1. re: barryg

                        Is Oyster House and Doc Magrogan's Oyster House the same restaurant??

                        I agree on the pre-theater menu. The marinated 3 day lamb chops sound so good. I love lamb chops. Will check out Kanella

                        1. re: doberlady

                          No, Doc Magrogan's is a different place, in West Philly. You can Google Sansom Oyster House. To my recollection, it's not on Open Table.

                          1. re: lowereastrittenhouse

                            darn it. Made a ressie at the wrong place ughhh

                      2. re: doberlady

                        Here's a good link to Philly's subway map:

                        You would get on/off at Walnut/Locust and Cecil B Moore/Temple. No more than 15-20 mins each way.

                        1. re: gaffk

                          why are both on Sansom Street. I want to make sure I go to the right place. Oyster House seems to not take ressies?

                          1. re: doberlady

                            Oyster House (Sansom near 15th) is not too difficult to get seating without reservation. But have a back-up plan in case.

                          2. re: doberlady

                            As for the Reading Terminal Market, just be forewarned that it's just not the same on Sundays. The PA Dutch vendors won't be there so the lunch choices will be good pork sandwiches and DiNics or decent Louisiana style food at Beck's (there's better at the Khyber Pass Pub, a block off the market-frankford subway line in the historic part of town) and not a lot else. I'd go to the Khyber on Sunday myself because it will give you a chance to see one more part of town. (Check out the Alexander Inn - same basic 'hood as the Holiday Inn)

                        2. re: doberlady

                          For Greek seafood right nearby try my favorite, Estia. It's New Yawkish.
                          Best Italian that comes with a big price tag is also right nearby -- Vetri, but I doubt you'll get in this late. Worth a try though.
                          Reading Terminal Market is a happening not to be missed. Great for breakfast and lunches.

                          1. re: doberlady

                            My two cents...

                            The oysters at Oyster House are really good but the rest of the menu was just ok my last visit (but they had a different chef back then).

                            Estia is great for octopus (they prep it in a washing machine) and fresh fish. I like Kanella too but find it to be a bit salty. Both are a short walk from your hotel. By the way, Philadelphia's center city is very walkable, but don't dream of trying to walk to Temple.

                            You may want to consider Amada if you like tapas or get the Mesibah (with the roasted lamb shoulder) at Zahav. The later is Israeli/Mediterranean food that you really can't get in NYC. Be forewarned, if you are doing the Mesibah you need to pre-order it.

                            If you visit Reading Terminal (and you would be remiss if you don't because it puts the Chelsea Market to shame) the best time to visit is on Saturday for lunch or breakfast so you can see all of the Amish merchants. The market is not open for dinner.

                            You may want to do brunch on Sunday at Parc (a French bistro) or LaCroix (fancier), both on Rittenhouse Square.

                            The place you are staying location wise is fine but not all that fancy if it matters.

                            1. re: bluehensfan

                              I wouldn't walk to Temple given the short visit time, but otherwise, why not? I have many colleagues who live in CC and walk to and from Temple in nice weather.

                              Amada is also good tapas, but Jamonera is much closer to the hotel, and I've had several enjoyable meals there.

                        3. I was just in Philly last night with a buddy. On weekdays at the Oyster House, they have $1 oysters from 5-7pm....but you have to be seated in the bar area. I would try to get there at 5 to get a seat. My friends plane was lated due to the we missed HH. Still had some great and super fresh oysters..Kusshi, Naked Cowboy (which were almost as big as my hand!), Blond Beach, etc. You want the Oyster House at 1516 Sansom.

                          If you like mussels and good beer, then Monk's Cafe on 16th Street is a place you don't want to miss. We ended up eating three different small buckets of mussels...delicious. Also tried something new...braised calf's cheeks...excellent.

                          For a hotel room in Philly...I always use or Priceline. We stayed at the 4-star Marriot last night for $150.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: Adenn1

                            1. Buck a shuck is every night during happy hour at the Oyster House.

                            2. Monks is good but very crowded. Belgian beer bar, with good moulle et frites, and decent burgers too. Good vegetarian/vegan options. But again very crowded.

                            3. You do not want a hotel closer to temple. Take the broad street line up there if you want to save money on a cab, but stay in center city.

                            1. re: cwdonald

                              thanks for the hotel replys. I would like to find a better hotel then the HI Express. Just really unsure of locations!

                              Anyone care to name a few near the HI Express which seems to be in a good location.

                              1. re: doberlady

                                Not sure of your price range. There is a large Marriott at the convention center. Courtyard not far from there. Higher end brands in the greater center city region includ Hyatt, Crowne Plaza, Westin, Sheraton. Boutique and very high end includ Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, Rittenhouse, Sofitel, Meridian (which is right on broad near city call.. straight shot up broad street to temple). Not knowing when you are coming in what conventions are in town, your budget and current occupancy rates not sure what to recommend, but rest assure you have choices that are better than a holiday inn express.

                                1. re: cwdonald

                                  we are spending a small fortune when we visit Boston the week after. We are coming in the afternoon of Oct 12. Will be going to the college open house bright and early Saturday the 13th. Not sure how long the open house is. Will go look up what time the Market closes on Saturday. We might not be able to make it.

                                  So we come in late afternoon Friday, busy most of Sat (day) and free Sunday.

                                  We are 3 people and wanted to be in the $200 a night range

                                  you guys are SO very helpful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  1. re: doberlady

                                    The problem is with Reading Terminal is if you go later than 3 PM the merchants start to close and the place winds down. You may be able to do $200 a night at the Marriott or the Marriott Courtyard around the corner facing City Hall. There is also the Hotel Monaco which is opening in October overlooking Independence Hall that may work too:

                                    1. re: doberlady

                                      You might want to check out the Hilton Garden Inn or the Hampton Inn at the Convention Center. You are just two or so blocks from Broad Street and in the heart of the city. You should be able to get into one of these for under $200...and they would be a step up from the Holiday Inn.

                                  2. re: doberlady

                                    The Palomar and the Sofitel are really nice and are located a few blocks to the west of the HI Express. They are much nicer and in a nice (Rittenhouse Squaree) section of the city. If you really want to go all out, you could stay at the Rittenhouse on Rittenhouse Square (where LaCroix is). All are what I would call botique hotels.

                                    The Lowe's is also a great hotel but it's more centrally located and the Marriott across the street from it is fine too.

                                    1. re: doberlady

                                      If you want something that is more of a boutique, in a neighborhood (versus a larger chain), look at the Alexander Inn. Rooms are smaller, but the continental breakfast is lovely and the staff is great.

                                      1. re: urbanfabric

                                        wow to Hotel Monaco!! Looks amazing and different. Pricing $224 a night.

                                2. don't change hotels --HI is nothing special, but nothing bad either. centrally located/better for dining. also, no one mentioned cabs --Phila has plenty. that's another easy option to get to Temple U. don't know if you are used to the subway from NYC.
                                  just my 2 cents.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: elmom

                                    HI Express gave us a Temple rate of $124 a night. I think I would rather spend the money on food.

                                    As much as I want to change (as I like nice hotels) it makes sense to stay with $124 a night. We will have many college visits this year.

                                    You guys seriously rock!!!

                                    1. re: doberlady

                                      At $124 a night I would stay there too. And within a few blocks you have Zavino (excellent pizza and small plates) and gelato at Capogiro.

                                      1. re: bluehensfan

                                        Hubby enthusiastically agrees with the hotel price! and boy does he like gelato!

                                        1. re: doberlady

                                          Here is the website:
                                          The 13th St location is close to your hotel and if they have it when you stop by make sure and get the bacio.