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Nov 11, 2012 11:28 AM

First time in Philly, early December

So, DH and I have a long weekend in Philly in early December. We have eaten all over the world and have the fortune of living (and dining) in central london. We have a passion for Sichuan food. For a three day (just) weekend, what do people recommend. Open on price, we are far from being hung up on Michelin stars, would rather get the gen on what is really Good, rather than what is "hot". Apart from Sichuan of course, which has to be hot! Thanks in advance from a long time lurker.
Ps - we eat meat, shellfish, offal etc. no holds barred cooking very much welcomed.

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  1. My picks for Szechuan would be Han Dynasty in old city, can be very, very hot if you ask.
    Also for a fine American meal, try Farm and the Fisherman.
    For a minor triumph Tacconelli's pizza is wonderful as well.
    Lastly for a sandwich, Nick's Roast Beef at 20th and Jackson has IMVHO, the best sandwich in the city.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

      2nd Nick's Roast Beef for sandwiches. Unlike many places that use select grade beef with tenderizers added for their roast beef sandwiches, Nick's only uses USDA prime grade beef delivered fresh from Kissin Fresh Meats on Richmond St. Melt in your mouth delicious.

    2. One Item my British colleagues often go for when stateside is beef. Philadelphia has good number of excellent Steak Houses from which to choose. Union Trust , Barclay Prime, Butcher and Singer to mention just a few and for prime rib, Prime Rib in the Warwick. Drinks at Hop Sing's, the Ramstead Room or Franklin Mortgage. Should you enjoy and perhaps get a chuckle at a local take on an English Pub with some variations on British mainstays try the Dandelion. The Oyster House is good drinks, bivalves and good fun. Quite good Italian at Osteria, small plates at Barbuzzo, Vegg for Veg!!, Zahav for good drinks & award winning Israeli cuisine. Upscale brunch La Croix . Expect to need reservations at many of these places especially on weekends. Yes you are lucky to be living and dining in central London. I believe you will find some quite interesting choices in Philly, have a go!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Bacchus101

        Agree with above. I'd add Amada for an upscale tapas place.

        1. re: sal_acid

          I just had a great meal at Osteria, and if you are interested in offal & the less conventional cuts I'd say that the chicken liver rigatoni there is an essential and probably one of the more popular pasta dishes in the city.

          I'd also +1 Paesano's (mentioned below).

          We have a pretty vibrant gastropub scene, so that would be worth considering as well. There are multiple threads on the subject, but the usual suspects are typically Khyber Pass, South Philly Tap Room, Standard Tap, and a few other that I am forgetting. If you are a beer drinker we have a lot of great local offerings. Dogfish Head IPA's are highly regarded, and I am a fan of most anything from Yard's Brewery (though particularly Philly Pale Ale & Brawler). There is also something of a cult following for Troeg's Mad Elf, which should be available depending on when you'll be here.

          To add another option for American, I've had several excellent meals at Matyson (though not since they've changed ownership, which was some time ago). They do a tasting menu typically focused on a showcasing a single ingredient (but this week it is "Five Senses"). Unfortunately that's only available Mon-Thurs so I'm not sure you'd be able to get there if you'll have obligations in Exton.

          I hope you enjoy whatever you find!

      2. Suggestions are good so far. Here is a list that I like for a starting point of restaurant research:
        I don't agree with it 100% but it's a good place to start.

        Since you have a passion for Sichuan you should also look into E Mei and Four Rivers in Chinatown in addition to Han Dynasty. You can search the board for discussion about this. There is also a lot of good Vietnamese food, especially soups like pho.

        Deluca is right that Nick's is way up there for sandwiches. There are a lot of great sandwiches around in general, also check out Paesano's, DiNic's roast pork, and Sarcone's hoagies.

        For a snack try Federal Donuts for gourmet donut flavors.

        1. (Sichuan) R & Z Ping Pong
          273 E Swedesford Rd
          Gateway Shopping Center
          Wayne, PA 19087
          (610) 254-0281

          Not as good as Han Dynasty in my opinion but more offal on the menu including multiple kidney dishes.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Chinon00

            Agree that Ping Pong has a much more extensive menu than Han Dynasty, including the offal mentioned by Chinon00. While the service at Ping Pong is not as polished or even as English-proficient as that of Han Dynasty's, the food and preparation are more consistently delicious and the specials are usually quite fantastic. The chef at Ping Pong really aims to please, while the kitchen has a number of people from Sichuan Province.

            1. re: mookleknuck

              Worth pointing out that Ping Pong is out in the suburbs, about a 30 minute drive or train ride. The other restaurants mentioned are all in or very close to the city center. The Chinatown Sichuan restaurants have a more extensive menu than Han Dynasty as well (I had a great pig foot dish at Four Rivers).

          2. (BBQ) Fette Sau
            1208 Frankford Avenue,
            Philadelphia, PA

            Wonderful American BBQ smoked to perfection. Brisket, Pulled Pork, Flank Steak (great), Pork Belly, Pork Ribs, sausage and other meats. All local craft beer and extensive Bourbon list.

            15 Replies
            1. re: Chinon00

              Liked the environs but not the food at Fette Sau. Too fatty!

              1. re: bluehensfan

                My pork belly and brisket (w/ side of potato salad and Italian sausage) and flank steak and pork ribs. ;]

                1. re: Chinon00

                  Dear me, that looks very good indeed...

                  1. re: FurryWritingDesk

                    I wish my brisket there looked like that :(

                    1. re: bluehensfan

                      That cut is unfortunate. And this has occurred on more than one visit to you?

                      1. re: Chinon00

                        No way I was rushing back after eating (well throwing away most of) it...

                        1. re: bluehensfan

                          So you've ordered the brisket there again w/ better results?

                          1. re: Chinon00

                            This shows a BBQ problem, maybe Phila, maybe in general. Been to Fette Sau in Brooklyn a number of times and it rocked, perfect meat each and every time, not been to the resto here. Been to Percy's a number of times here and has been all over the map, like a different resto map, sometimes brisket wonderful, sometimes overcooked and dry, even the pecan pie and mac/cheese there has been wildly different, both good and horrid. Thus l gave up on Percy's but will try FS when back in Phila.

                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                              BBQ is hard to get consistent in general. Given that Fette Sau's Phila location is brand new I think that we should give the a few more weeks to prove if they can be consistent or not.

                            2. re: Chinon00

                              I gave up after the first try and went back to Percy Street.

                              1. re: Chinon00

                                I gave up after the first try and went back to Percy Street.

                  2. re: Chinon00

                    Chinon did you like it better than Percy Street?

                    1. re: cwdonald

                      Haven't been to Percy since they opened. I liked it but just haven't gotten back so it wouldn't be fair to judge.

                      1. re: Chinon00

                        I recently re-tried Percy St. for the first time since they opened and it's much better now. Definitely not "first time in Philly" material but good. I haven't been to Fette Sau.

                        1. re: Buckethead

                          For a Londoner Percy St. could be a revelation - never underestimate the ability of Europeans to get American cuisine all wrong (and vice-versa). I've only been to Texas a handful of times but Percy St. does a pretty successful approximation of what I've experienced there, though I'm sure a Texan would laugh at that assertion.

                          Blue Belly BBQ doesn't really do any of the traditional regional styles so it's hard to compare to the others but I don't think there is a chef in town who does better with slow-cooked meat (also at Cochon). It's worth considering too.