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Rec's for a 5 day visit in October

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Maine hound coming to Philly October 9-14 staying at the Sofitel in center city. I'm looking for reasonably priced meals within walking distance or a short cab ride from my hotel. Would like to sample what is best about your fair city without breaking the bank. Maine has great seafood but is weak in most ethnic areas including italian, chinese, indian and latin cuisines.
Thanks for your advice.

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  1. Please define "reasonably priced" a little more specifically, it means different things to different people.

    Philly is rich in great Italian food and, to a lesser extent, Latin food, our Chinese scene is OK, our Indian scene is lacking.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Buckethead

      Although not within the OP's immediate area, Sitar India near 38th and Market Streets is a great ethnic Indian restaurant. One can do the buffet or order a la carte.

      Am seeing more and more native Indian people there all the time which is an excellent barometer of authenticity.

    2. $20pp for lunch, $50-60pp for dinner would be in the right ballpark, beverages excluded.

      3 Replies
      1. re: realmainiac

        You should be able to do quite nicely with your ballpark if you are careful in ordering,especially at lunch as it is quite easy to drop a $20. Perhaps the Reading Farmers Market for lunch, a great spot, good fun with a huge selection of food items across all cuisines.
        Just some quick recs would be:
        Zahav - Israeli- highly touted, friendly, busy
        Dandelion - British- upscale pub
        Parc - French Bistro-on Rittenhouse Sq.-people watching
        Amada -Spanish small plates
        The Oyster House - (not Maine but just in case you need it)
        Osteria/Amis - Italian (popular now, CH's will note others)
        Tria-3locations-Wine,Beer, Small plates-European feel
        Distrito- Mexican in Universtiy City
        Village Whiskey - arguably -The best burger & frieds
        Barbazzo -assorted small plates -very busy place
        Vegg - you guessed it...great bar, nice venue, interesting food

        Being careful with drinks and ordering moderate menu items you should be fine at any of these places. Reservations are suggested for all. Many other great spots I am sure you will hear about.

        1. re: Bacchus101

          One other suggestion; should you want to try the ubiquitous Philly Cheese Steak look in chowhound threads for suggestions and avoid Geno's and Pat's.

          1. re: Bacchus101

            Love Zahav, order the tasting menu if you can. Love Amada, Morimoto and Dandlelion. For cheesesteak, make sure you order with wiz at least once. Reading Terminal has plenty to offer. Dim sum is relatively cheap in Philly. I'm not from Philly, so these are my suggestions with limited time.

        2. We have a truly unusual and widely admired Burmese restaurant, Rangoon, on 9th Street in Chinatown.

          Highly recommend this one. Something between Thai, Indian, and Chinese; however, unlike any of those.

          I am particularly fond of the Tea Leaf Salad. Others are smitten by the Thousand Layer Bread.

          Prices are moderate and they serve alcohol, if you're interested.

          Many of our finer restaurants are "BYOB" which entails a trip to the State Store before dining.

          1. Recommend these byob's: Little Fish, Will, Mercato, Pumpkin, Fond (all require a short cab ride). A good byob (though IMO not as good as those above) within walking distance is Branzino. Aloso in walking distance is an excellent non-byob: Fitler Dining Room. Another non-byob I would recommend is Bar Ferdinand in Northern Liberties. Great tapas from a very talented chef. You really should try our chef-owned byob's while you are here.

            7 Replies
            1. re: JanR

              The Harvest Market Festival is at Reading Terminal Market on Saturday October 12th. One of the two days that they do hot donuts at the Market. Reading Terminal is a great place to go for breakfast (pancakes at the Dutch Eating place), lunch (Dinic's) or just a snack (Miller's Twist, Bassetts, Fourth St. Cookies, and/or Termini's).

              Zahav is great by the way. If you like lamb make sure to pre-order the Mesibah.

              1. re: JanR

                Fond is an excellent recommendation, but they now have a liquor license. However, you can BYO with a corkage fee during the week. I also believe they allow BYO without corkage on Sunday or Monday.

                1. re: Philly Ray

                  Thanks for all your replies. I'm really excited about my trip as it has been almost 20 years since I was last in the city and it looks like the food scene has exploded since then.
                  Any suggestions for an "old school" italian place?

                  1. re: realmainiac

                    Modo Mio is quite popular/ short cab ride needed. Or Victors with the opera singers, for old school red sauce it is fine. Other CHs will have more choices and opinions , I am sure. Both Amis and Osteria, offer some old school choices but a bit more upscale, not that mom and pop red sauce feel or price.

                    1. re: Bacchus101

                      Second Modo Mio (also byob). Great food. They also have Sugo Sundays which is old school red sauce.

                    2. re: realmainiac

                      For great Italian BYO near your hotel, I'd go for Melograno.

                      For "old school" I'd go to the brand new Little Nonna's. It is just opening today, and their whole mission is to be an old school type Italian restaurant. Even though it is brand new, the chef/owners have a terrific track record, and it will undoubtedly be good.
                      http://articles.philly.com/2013-08-30...

                      1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

                        I would definitely recommend Little Nonna's. We went this evening... Good take on the classics. Had a few of the small plates, a salad, and the linguine and clams. My favorite was the head on shrimp scampi on white beans.