One weekend: one Chinatown place, two for foodies
Zipping into Philly for a quick three-day stay. Please find me a Chinatown restaurant that will make me weep that I live in Orlando, and a couple of great city places for dinner--cheap or fancy, as long as the food is amazing.
I would start with Zahav and get the Mesibah prix fix menu with the lamb shoulder.
Chinatown is hard... you could go for Sang Kee Peking Duck, Rangoon for Burmese cooking, Nan Zhou Hand Drawn noodles for great noodle soups, or perhaps for a lighter meal, Dim Sum Garden. I am not sure they will bring tears to your eyes, but they are good food.
Perhaps for one additional foodie experience either the Reading Terminal market with its myriad of choices, or perhaps a trip down to the Italian market and a sandwich at Paesanos, or perhaps Georges Tripe sandwich.
The Chinese place that everyone's talking about lately, oddly enough, isn't in Chinatown - it's a place called Han Dynasty, that has a few locations (and tons of mention on other threads).
In Chinatown, I like Sang Kee for duck, and for their soups (wanton noodle, and triple dumpling). Mandarin Garden (I think that's the name) probably has the best soup dumplings I've had in Philly.
Sang Kee has a stand in Reading Terminal Market, FWIW.
Philly Chinatown, right?
It really depends what you want.
If you are looking for Cantonese Dim Sum, then I recommend: Ocean Harbor, Ocean City or Joy Tsin Lau.
If you are looking for Cantonese BBQ or congee, fried rice, noodle, then I recommend: Ting Wong or M Kee.
If you are looking for Shanghai Style Dim Sum, then I recommend: Dim Sum Garden.
If you are looking for Szechuan cuisine, then I recommend: E Mei or Four Rivers.
If you are looking for late night live fishes, live lobsters, then I recommend: Tai Lake or Jade Harbor.
Can you tell us a bit more that what you are looking for?
I will respond to the other two places.
Bistrot la Minette for classic French with a punch and Estia for Greek Seafood.
Both a cut above.