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Quick bites, portable meals, and toddler friendly dinners

We'll be on a road trip, stopping in Philly for 3 nights and traveling with a 2 year old. We normally travel by finding interesting places to eat, and sight seeing along the way.

We're staying near Rittenhouse square, and expect to spend the first full day wandering around the standard touristy areas, with lunch at Reading Terminal. Beyond that, I'm looking for suggestions on interesting local dining, anything from DDD up to a family friendly bistro in terms of formality (nothing high end or that would require more than an hour of sitting still).

Any suggestions?

Coming from Toronto, I'm especially looking for things that don't translate well across the boarder, like Mexican, BBQ, meals involving chunks of meat, and obviously a cheesesteak. We're happy to drive for a good dinner, but would prefer to walk or take transit for breakfast and lunch. Portable lunches are also a plus.

I saw this link in another thread, which led me to Max Brenner (!?): http://philadelphia.foobooz.com/2010/... . How would a 2-year old fare there?

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  1. BBQ... Fette Sau, or Percy Street would fit your need. Both are a cab ride/short drive from the Rittenhouse Square area.
    Fette Sau is an indoor/outdoor relaxed atmosphere with large picnic tables outside, and regular tables inside. You order and get your food at the counter and bring it to your table.

    Skip the cheesesteak and get the roast pork at DiNics in the Reading Terminal (ask for it wet). Paesano's or Johns Roast Pork for takeaway sandwiches would be another good choice.

    Everyone often recommends Chinatown for visitors with children, but I hesitate to suggest that given the quality of the chinese food in Toronto. The only restaurant that comes to mind that might be a bit different is Rangoon, a Burmese restaurant in Philadelphia's chinatown (definitely kid friendly.)

    Other folks would be able to suggest the best Mexican places.

    You would do fine with a young child at Max Brenner.

    2 Replies
    1. re: cwdonald

      There are some surprisingly good lunch options in the basement dining court area of the Comcast Center. On the ground floor of the building is a pretty impressive screen display - don't know how to describe it, but it's worth 5-10 minutes if you're nearby w/your kid - and, if you're willing to brave the heat, you can take this all with you to eat at the nearby Sister Cities park - http://www.centercityphila.org/life/s... - very toddler friendly.

      1. re: Bob Loblaw

        Comcast Center food court includes, DiBrunos (prepared foods, and sandwiches), Terminis (bakery), Mexican post, a steak place, a seafood place, a juice bar, a deli/salad place, and a sushi place. Packed during the week, dead on weekends. Large area in the middle to eat and it is well air conditioned.

    2. Agree that Rangoon is probably the only place in Chinatown worth exploring, if you are unfamiliar with Burmese cuisine. Fette Sau is a great recommendation for BBQ, an easy drive or cab ride.

      For lunch options, check out Federal Donuts for fried chicken and donuts--it's pretty much a take-out place, but you can walk the food over to Rittenhouse square for a picnic. Food trucks are also a potentially good option. Both Love Park and City Hall Plaza (as well as the Porch at 30th Street station) have a rotating selection of excellent trucks, depending on the days you are here.

      For Mexican, you could go more upscale with Distrito or El Vez. They are both big, lively restaurants where you could take a young child, especially early. On the other end of the spectrum are the various Taquerias in the 9th St./Italian Market neighborhood. I like Los Taquitos De Puebla, but there are a number of places in that area.

      1. Just north of the constitution center is Franklin Square - it can seem a little hard to get to because the streets around it are very wide, but it is amazingly quiet and calm once you are there. There is a burger stand called Square Burger that makes good small burgers, cake shakes, etc. Plus there is a playground, carousel, and a miniature golf course with a different city attraction as each hole. It's a great place to take a break from wandering the city.

        1. If you'll be down by the Elfreth's Alley and Betsy Ross house, you could do take out or eat in at Fork, Etc.

          1. Thanks everyone, great suggestions. Upscale Mexican sounds like a good option, and the take-out/picnic table/food truck lunches will be very helpful.