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Jul 13, 2013 03:42 PM

Best ethnic restaurants in Phlly area

I have a ethnic cuisine meet-up group in the Central PA area. Because there is very limited access to international cuisine here, we will be venturing out to Philly. Wanted some recommendations of places to try. Thanks in advance.

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  1. What is your definition of ethnic? What cuisine are you most interested in trying?

    1 Reply
    1. re: cwdonald

      Wide variety. We try anything from Asian to Russian.

    2. Indonesian: Hardena
      Vietnamese: Nam Phuong
      Mexican (Tacos): Los Taquitos de Puebla
      Cuban/Colombian: Tierra Colombiana

      When I think of more I'll post them.

      13 Replies
        1. re: Philly Ray

          Great list Philly Ray.. Here are some others I might throw on there...

          I would throw in
          Kim's Restaurant for Korean BBQ (olney)
          Picanha for authentic Brazilian steakhouse (northeast Philly)
          Uzbekistan for Russian and uzbeki food far northeast philly
          Rangoon for Burmese food Chinatown
          Syrenka's Cafe for Polish food Port Richmond
          New Wave Cafe in Kensington for mom and pop polish food
          Manakeesh Cafe and Bakery for lebanese food West Philly
          Wah Gi Wah for amazing Pakistani Fried Chicken West Philly
          Cafe Soho in Philadelphia for Korean Fried chicken
          Penang Malaysia Chinatown

          I am curious what people would recommend for ethiopian, thai and indian these days. Also Im not familiar with the west African offerings in the city as well.

          1. re: cwdonald

            Thanks. That should keep us busy for awhile.

              1. re: cwdonald

                New Wave Cafe is in Port Richmond on E. Allegheny Ave.

                1. re: cwdonald

                  While I like Kim's too, I think Serabol is at least as good and has a wider selection. If you order a lot of items you're also going to get better side dishes there, I think.

                  Dim Sum Garden in Chinatown, right where the China bus picks up and drops off passengers, is very good. If you haven't had these dishes, definitely try the potatoes dish and the egg & tomato dish. These are two homestyle dishes that I don't see offered that often in restaurants due to their simplicity, but they're very delicious.

                  I've had pretty good Chinese at Four Rivers as well.

                  Sol Levante Bakery on Cheltenham Road is a pretty good Korean bakery.

                  For Ethiopian we always end up at Abyssinia which is pretty good. Their kitfo is particularly tasty.

                  There are a fair number of West African restaurants and shops down in southwest Philly, but I can't recommend particular locations. I did go to a nice grocery that had chilled sodas that had been imported from Africa in large glass bottles. Many of these shops have a little bit of everything, including some clothing and household items.

                  1. re: Deathalicious

                    Does Serabol use all gas or is there charcoal too?

                  2. re: Philly Ray

                    I would really recommend against Los Taquitos de Puebla, it used to be a great place but after two crappy visits a while ago I recently finally gave them a third chance to live up to their former high level and they failed miserably with poor service and bad food. I don't see myself ever returning. If you're visiting from Central PA I would absolutely not go there. I like the rest of Ray's picks though. If you want to visit a taqueria I'd recommend Veracruzana.

                    When someone says 'ethnic' I tend to think they also mean 'not expensive', is that included in your definition? If not, I'd say Zahav is our best 'ethnic' restaurant, also great are Kanella and Noord. If you're looking for places that are more casual and less costly, Ray's and cwdonald's recs are good, though I haven't been to all of them. I'd also add Le Viet (Vietnamese, I prefer it to Nam Phuong but both are good).

                    The city's best Indian restaurant at the moment is Ekta as far as I'm concerned.

                    Bitar's in South Philly is a good middle eastern place with the added bonus of a nice grocery section with middle eastern pastries, breads, and other things you could take home with you.

                    1. re: Buckethead

                      Admittedly, it has been a while since I have been to Los Taquitos. More recently, we have been going to Los Gallos and have enjoyed it.

                        1. re: Buckethead

                          Kanella is pricy but I think just a little bit less than Zahav and I personally prefer it to Zahav.

                          I'm surprised by the recommendation for Veracruzana. I really liked their food 3-4 years ago but for some reason it just doesn't taste as good any more. Even the salsas aren't as good. I haven't found a suitable authentic Mexican replacement but actually I think the Mexican offerings at El Camino Real are pretty good, particularly the cactus and sweet potato burrito and the roasted corn.

                          For VIetnamese I actually really like Pho & Cafe Viet Huong. I feel like they have more variety but their dishes are cross the board consistently good, particularly the green papaya salad.

                      1. Peruvian: El Balconcito
                        Venezuelan: Sazon
                        Norwegian: Noord
                        Cambodian: Khmer Kitchen

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Philly Ray

                          I was\ looking at Khmer Kitchen. Their dishes look really good and affordable.