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late notice: staying in philly for a few days


carpetbagger, esq.
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staying at the ritz (avenue of the americas, and the conference i'm going to is at the loew's right around the corner on market. anything worth checking out in this immediate area?

doesn't have to be ridiculously high end (although it could be). just looking for a memorable place - it could just be a great place to get a cheesesteak/sandwich or something regional.

thanks!

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staying at the ritz (avenue of the americas, and the conference i'm going to is at the loew's right around the corner on market.  anything worth checking out in this immediate area?

doesn't have to be ridiculously high end (although it could be).  just looking for a memorable place - it could just be a great place to get a cheesesteak/sandwich or something regional.

thanks!

The obvious one is Reading Terminal Market, which will be a short block from your conference site. A couple of blocks in the opposite direction, you have Capogiro, and great gelato.

Within a very easy walk from either location are any number of restaurants I like a whole lot - including Tinto, certainly. If you give us some sense of your tastes, I'm sure we can come up with something.

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i primarily like to get local/regional stuff when away from nashville.

i was hoping to hit pat's or geno's just to say i've been there, but i'm not sure i'll have time and some people i know have said that they are in rather lousy areas - so not sure if the coworkers will be up for that. reading terminal market would work - at a minimum, i could try that mac n' cheese that was on the food network recently in a throwdown episode.

what's philly food culture/history like? isn't there a big german influence here? i don't necessarily want thai, mexican or italian unless it's out of this world good (you can get that stuff anywhere). if there's a good place focusing on something that is definitively "philly", i'd be happier than a pig in ...

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i primarily like to get local/regional stuff when away from nashville.

i was hoping to hit pat's or geno's just to say i've been there, but i'm not sure i'll have time and some people i know have said that they are in rather lousy areas - so not sure if the coworkers will be up for that. reading terminal market would work - at a minimum, i could try that mac n' cheese that was on the food network recently in a throwdown episode. 

what's philly food culture/history like? isn't there a big german influence here?  i don't necessarily want thai, mexican or italian unless it's out of this world good (you can get that stuff anywhere).  if there's a good place focusing on something that is definitively "philly", i'd be happier than a pig in ...

If I gave my opinion of Pat's and Geno's, there'd'd be a tussle before I clicked the "Post" button. Cheesesteaks are the foodstuff of record for Philly. The sandwich many of the natives feel should be Philly's signature is roast pork with rabe and sharp provolone. Both can be had in the terminal, and in better iterations: my recommendation would be the roast pork at DiNic's, though you'll need to specify you want it with broccoli rabe - it's a very fine sandwich, now that's he's turned away from his wicked spinach'ed ways.

Aside from that, I'm drawing a blank on what I'd call "typical" Philly fare. I'm sure others will pitch in, though.

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i primarily like to get local/regional stuff when away from nashville.

i was hoping to hit pat's or geno's just to say i've been there, but i'm not sure i'll have time and some people i know have said that they are in rather lousy areas - so not sure if the coworkers will be up for that. reading terminal market would work - at a minimum, i could try that mac n' cheese that was on the food network recently in a throwdown episode. 

what's philly food culture/history like? isn't there a big german influence here?  i don't necessarily want thai, mexican or italian unless it's out of this world good (you can get that stuff anywhere).  if there's a good place focusing on something that is definitively "philly", i'd be happier than a pig in ...

For a restaurant dedicated to the colonial heritage of philadelphia, consider City Tavern. A bit touristy, they have authentic type menus, as well as contract brewed beers based on recipes from the era. I am particularly fond of the George Washington Porter.

Phildadelphia's Belgian Restaurants, such as Monks, and Eulogy will stand up to any in the US. Fabulouus beer selections, great frites, and the moulles, when in season, are super too. You may also find traditional fair like Chicken Waterzouie and Boeuf Chimay, a belgian take on Boeuf Bougignon.

Philly has been described as a city of neighborhoods. There is a Polish influence in the Allegheny section. Wonderful pierogi, pastry, and kielbasa.

There used to be a larger German population, and remnants may be found around 5 points in the greater NorthEast where Blue Fox Bistro is located. (Herr Grund is no longer the proprieter, when it was a traditional German restaurant). Today in the center city area, you might consider Ludwig's Biergarten for great beer, and reasonable bavarian style german food.

South Philadelphia is known as an Italian section, though today people joke that the Italian Market should be renamed the Thai/Vietnamese/South Asian Market. Several restaurants are legacies of the italian neighborhood that was famous in that area. I would point first and foremost to Ralph's and Marra's from a tradition's standpoint, not necessarily from the best gastronomical standpoint.

Philadelphia also has a Chinatown, with little gems like Lakeside Chinese Deli for dim sum, and Sezchuan Tasty House for Szechuan style food, and Sang Kee for traditional Peking Duck. Other threads around here will point you to other good restaurants in Chinatown. Favorites of mine include Vietnam Palace, and Rangoon, a Burmese restaurant which is relatively rare on the East Coast. This is also walking distance from the Ritz.

We have good modern high end food as well. Vetri, and Osteria are wonderful restaurants from Marc Vetri that give you a sense of Northern Italian cuisiine, and fresh ingredients. Vetri was named one of the best italian restaurants in the US The wood buring pizza's as Osteria are wonderful.

High end ccntinental/french cuisine would include La Croix, as well as the Five Star Fountain Room and Le Bec Fin. While not part of cuiliinary tradition per se, you will find these superb world class restaurants, with incredible wine lists.

Finally, there is decent Sushi in Philadelphia. I would suggest in the city Morimoto, (a Stephen Starr restaurant with the celebrity Iron chef which also has an outpost in NYC) would be the high end choice. On a lower end, I would suggest two wonderful restaurants just a cab ride away in NJ, Sagami which is in a traidtional Japanese style farmhouse, as well as Mt. Fuji Restaurant in haddonfield NJ. The omakase experience there can be stunning, and cost significantly less than at Morimoto.

Others perhaps can point you to new good BYOs, interesting cuilinary places like Amada for Tapas, or Snack Bar for innovative small plates paired with drinks, Tria for beer/wine and cheese pairings.

You should also consider some smaller shops, such as Capagiro for the best gelato on the East Coast, and Naked Chocolate Cafe, (for the name alone) as well as their hand dipped chocolates, sipping chocolates and baked goods.

Hope you enjoy your stay in our fair town, and find it to be a gastronomical experience.

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i primarily like to get local/regional stuff when away from nashville.

i was hoping to hit pat's or geno's just to say i've been there, but i'm not sure i'll have time and some people i know have said that they are in rather lousy areas - so not sure if the coworkers will be up for that. reading terminal market would work - at a minimum, i could try that mac n' cheese that was on the food network recently in a throwdown episode.

Capaneus: You'd probably also be surprised to find a bunch of people agreeing with whatever you had to say about Pat's and Geno's, unless it was "They're still the best cheesesteaks in town." I think the general consensus is that these two tourist magnets have long since surrendered their claim to supremacy.

carpetbagger, esq.: That said, you should not fear for your safety if you decide you should go there just to say you've been. The area around Cheesesteak Corner (intersection of 9th/Passyunk Ave/Wharton) is not dangerous, contrary to the picture your informants have painted; the two sandwich shrines stay open all night and draw decent crowds well into the wee smalls on the weekends. You could even walk there if you're up to it; just be aware that the 9th Street market feels very desolate at night -- you might want to approach via 10th Street instead; you won't be able to miss it -- just look for the blaze of light from Geno's across the ball field at 10th and Federal.

You can get a decent cheesesteak at Rick's in the RTM, but if you're going to have a classic Philly sandwich there and have time for only one, have that roast pork Italian instead, and get it from DiNic's.

what's philly food culture/history like? isn't there a big german influence here?  i don't necessarily want thai, mexican or italian unless it's out of this world good (you can get that stuff anywhere).  if there's a good place focusing on something that is definitively "philly", i'd be happier than a pig in ...

[...]

Philly has been described as a city of neighborhoods. There is a Polish influence in the Allegheny section. Wonderful pierogi, pastry, and kielbasa.

Allegheny^WPort Richmond

The district's main drag is Richmond Street; Allegheny Avenue cuts across it. The Allegheny section of the city lies west of Broad Street around the street of the same name, well away from Port Richmond.

If you have the time and the interest, you can reach this district on the restored vintage streetcars that ply SEPTA Route 15. Take either the Broad Street or Market-Frankford lines to Girard station and transfer to a car headed eastbound (to Richmond and Westmoreland streets); you will ride right through the Polish district.

South Philadelphia is known as an Italian section, though today people joke that the Italian Market should be renamed the Thai/Vietnamese/South Asian Market. Several restaurants are legacies of the italian neighborhood that was famous in that area. I would point first and foremost to Ralph's and Marra's from a tradition's standpoint, not necessarily from the best gastronomical standpoint.

Marra's -- which is not in the Italian Market but five blocks southwest of it on Passyunk Avenue -- has some of the better pizza in the city but is otherwise unexceptional. But you weren't coming here for pizza, were you?

And as for the "Italian" Market, the Southeast Asian flavor is rapidly being supplanted by a Mexican accent, which is convenient because that means they don't have to repaint the storefronts (the national flags of Italy and Mexico use the same three colors). There is a little storefront restaurant in the 9th Street market's less busy stretch (south of Washington Avenue) called Taquitos de Puebla that a lot of us swear by for delicious, inexpensive, and even adventurous authentic Mexican fare. Try the cabeza de res taco if you dare. An equally good Mexican restaurant with slightly better ambience in the same area is Plaza Garibaldi in the 900 block of Washington Avenue.

Also in this general vicinity are several very good Vietnamese, Laotian, and pho restaurants, mainly in two pockets along Washington near 6th and 11th. Pho (pronounced something like "fur") is THE soup that eats like a meal, and if you've never had it, you should try some; I'd recommend Pho 75 (the city's original pho house, in the mini-mall in the 1100 block of Washington; the ambience is high school cafeteria but the soup is very good) or Pho & Cafe Viet Huong (across the parking lot from Pho 75 in the same mall; the ambience is more like a busy diner and the menu is more extensive; try their bun bo Hue [spicy beef vermicelli soup]).

Free associating: Two of the city's best Vietnamese restaurants are closer to your hotel, across North 11th from each other between Race and Vine. You won't be disappointed with a meal at either Vietnam (on the east side) or Vietnam Palace (on the west side); I am partial to the latter.

Finally, there is decent Sushi in Philadelphia. I would suggest in the city Morimoto, (a Stephen Starr restaurant with the celebrity Iron chef which also has an outpost in NYC) would be the high end choice. On a lower end, I would suggest two wonderful restaurants just a cab ride away in NJ, Sagami which is in a traidtional Japanese style farmhouse, as well as Mt. Fuji Restaurant in haddonfield NJ. The omakase experience there can be stunning, and cost significantly less than at Morimoto.

There is also an excellent lower-end sushi place much closer to your hotel: 1225 Raw (yes, that's how they answer the phone there), at 1225 Sansom Street, right next door to Capogiro.

Others perhaps can point you to new good BYOs, interesting cuilinary places like Amada for Tapas, or Snack Bar for innovative small plates paired with drinks, Tria for beer/wine and cheese pairings.

You should also consider some smaller shops, such as Capagiro for the best gelato on the East Coast, and Naked Chocolate Cafe, (for the name alone) as well as their hand dipped chocolates, sipping chocolates and baked goods.

You can easily walk to either Tria from your hotel. The original is at 18th and Sansom, to the southwest of the Ritz; their new Wash West outpost is at 12th and Spruce, to your southeast. Both are busy all the time; the one on Spruce offers outdoor seating (heated), making it a great place to watch the passing scene.

Naked Chocolate is at Juniper and Walnut, just around the corner from Capogiro at 13th and Sansom. The area around Capogiro -- the heart of "Midtown Village" -- is loaded with decent places to eat and drink, including Stephen Starr's Mexi-kitsch El Vez and the more straightforward Mexican BYOB Lolita, the wine bar Vintage, the aforementioned 1225 Raw and the old-school-elegant traditional (but not red-gravy) Italian restaurant Portofino (on Walnut just east of 13th).

If you like Buffalo wings, the best in the city are served at Moriarty's, one block further east of Portofino, next to the Forrest Theater. But you weren't coming here for Buffalo wings, were you?

(N.B. the rainbow-flag-bottom street signs in this area. This is my home and stomping ground.)

Hope you enjoy your stay in our fair town, and find it to be a gastronomical experience.

What the man said. This is a great town to dine out in.

Edited to fix typo.

Edited by MarketStEl (log)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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For a restaurant dedicated to the colonial heritage of philadelphia, consider City Tavern. A bit touristy, they have authentic type menus, as well as contract brewed beers based on recipes from the era. I am particularly fond of the George Washington Porter.

The only thing City Tavern has going for it is the touristy costumed waitstaff and a good beer selection. The fireplace is a nice place to hang in front of with an aforementioned beer or a hot toddy. The food, historically accurately, is leaden and not very tasty.

Phildadelphia's Belgian Restaurants, such as Monks, and Eulogy will stand up to any in the US. Fabulouus beer selections, great frites, and the moulles, when in season, are super too. You may also find traditional fair like Chicken Waterzouie and Boeuf Chimay, a belgian take on Boeuf Bougignon.

Add Zot and Belgian Tavern in Fairmount to this list. There's an embarassment of riches of good Belgian beer and eats in this town.

Philly has been described as a city of neighborhoods. There is a Polish influence in the Allegheny section. Wonderful pierogi, pastry, and kielbasa.

There used to be a larger German population, and remnants may be found around 5 points in the greater NorthEast where Blue Fox Bistro is located. (Herr Grund is no longer the proprieter, when it was a traditional German restaurant). Today in the center city area, you might consider Ludwig's Biergarten for great beer, and reasonable bavarian style german food.

South Philadelphia is known as an Italian section, though today people joke that the Italian Market should be renamed the Thai/Vietnamese/South Asian Market. Several restaurants are legacies of the italian neighborhood that was famous in that area. I would point first and foremost to Ralph's and Marra's from a tradition's standpoint, not necessarily from the best gastronomical standpoint.

Philadelphia also has a Chinatown, with little gems like Lakeside Chinese Deli for dim sum, and Sezchuan Tasty House for Szechuan style food, and Sang Kee for traditional Peking Duck.  Other threads around here will point you to other good restaurants in Chinatown. Favorites of mine include Vietnam Palace, and Rangoon, a Burmese restaurant which is relatively rare on the East Coast.  This is also walking distance from the Ritz.

The Polish neighborhood is in Port Richmond. Both this and the Northeast would be a ride on public transportation or a pricey cab ride unless you had a car or a cohort with one.

We have good modern high end food as well. Vetri, and Osteria are wonderful restaurants from Marc Vetri that give you a sense of Northern Italian cuisiine, and fresh ingredients. Vetri was named one of the best italian restaurants in the US The wood buring pizza's as Osteria are wonderful.

High end ccntinental/french cuisine would include La Croix, as well as the Five Star Fountain Room and Le Bec Fin. While not part of cuiliinary tradition per se, you will find these superb world class restaurants, with incredible wine lists.

All good suggestions but on the pricier side.

Finally, there is decent Sushi in Philadelphia. I would suggest in the city Morimoto, (a Stephen Starr restaurant with the celebrity Iron chef which also has an outpost in NYC) would be the high end choice. On a lower end, I would suggest two wonderful restaurants just a cab ride away in NJ, Sagami which is in a traidtional Japanese style farmhouse, as well as Mt. Fuji Restaurant in haddonfield NJ. The omakase experience there can be stunning, and cost significantly less than at Morimoto.

The cab ride to Sagami might not be too expensive, but I suspect the cab ride to FUJI (not Fuji Mountain, an inferior sushi restaurant) in Haddonfield would probably run you almost as much as dinner round trip. Again, a great suggestion if you had a car at your disposal. Actually, the PATCO high speed line could take you from 12th & Locust to the Haddonsfield station which is a very short walk to Fuji. That would be a worthy ride on public transport for a great meal.

Others perhaps can point you to new good BYOs, interesting cuilinary places like Amada for Tapas, or Snack Bar for innovative small plates paired with drinks, Tria for beer/wine and cheese pairings.

You should also consider some smaller shops, such as Capagiro for the best gelato on the East Coast, and Naked Chocolate Cafe, (for the name alone) as well as their hand dipped chocolates, sipping chocolates and baked goods.

BYO's near your hotel would certainly include Mercato or Lolita, both of which have threads dedicated to them in this forum. The closest store for a bottle of wine would be 12th & Chestnut and it has one of the widest selections in the city. Matyson is an excellent BYO on 19th Street, which isn't far away. Dmitri's at 3rd & Catherine in Queen Village is my standby BYO for delicious Mediterranean appetizers and grilled fish. No reservations, but time can be passed pleasantly at their de facto waiting room, the New Wave Cafe's bar right across the street. They'll come get you when your table is ready.

If you'd like a nice cocktail, glass of wine or an interesting beer one night you're more than welcome to stop by Chick's and introduce yourself. We could also provide some dinner if you were feeling so inclined.

Don't miss Reading Terminal. It's the most uniquely Philly experience there is and you'll find plenty of good eats there. The suggestions you've gotten here should make the rest of your meals interesting. Do let us know where you ended up and what you enjoyed.

Have a nice visit! :smile:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Others have mentioned the Reading Terminal Market upthread, but let me add my endorsement. From the Loew's, just cross walk north on 12th street (or enter through the Reading Terminal Headhouse and work your way to the rear to Filbert Street) to the RTM, which is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays 'til 5 p.m., Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Pennsylvania Dutch merchants closed Sunday-Tuesday; not all other merchants are open on Sundays, and many tend to close earlier than the official 6 p.m. closing on weekdays.)

Here are my recommendations for breakfast and/or lunch at the RTM:

Down Home Diner (mid-scale) or the Dutch Eating Place (downscale) for breakfast. Try the scrapple at either establishment. Down Home diner open 'til 8 p.m. for dinnner (use Filbert Street entrance). Since the Down Home Diner was established by Jack McDavid, who hails from western Virginia not all that far from the Tennessee border, you might want to skip lunch or dinner there, since I'm sure you can find excellent examples of this style of cooking back home. But breakfast is superb and the biscuits exceptional.

Roast pork sandwiches from DiNic's. Get it with greens (spinach or broccoli rabe, your choice) and aged provlone. But the sausage, scallopine, brisket and pulled pork are also fine.

Hershel's Deli. Corned beef, pastrami and brisket sandwiches. The hand-carved pastrami is right up there with the best New York offers.

Salumeria. Not your typical Philadelphia hoagie. Get it with the house dressing and artichokes. For a more traditional, but excellent hoagie, go to Carmen's.

It may just be pizza, but it's very good pizza at Pasta By George. Or go for the lasagne or eggplant parm.

Nanee's Kitchen offers very credible South Asian fare. The various fritters are quite tasty and filling.

For dessert, Bassetts Ice Cream is a must. My favored flavors include raspberry truffle, French vanilla and rum raisin.

The Loew's is also convenient to Philadelphia's thriving Chinatown, just another block behind the Reading Terminal Market. Any number of dim sum establishments to chose from (Ocean Harbor is a fav of many eGulleters; some disparage Joy Tsin Lau, but their chicken feet, turnip cakes and other goodies are quite good.) The following repeats Sandy's (MarketStEl) recommendations, but Rangoon offers Burmese food, which you won't find in many places. For excellent, tastebud-numbing Szechuan fare both the hole-in-the-wall Szechuan Tasty House and the more commodious Chung King Garden are the real deal.

If you're in the mood for a wide-ranging beer selection, there are two excellent venues near the Ritz. On 16th Street is Monk's Tavern, offering Belgian fare along with the beers. On Sansom Street just east of Broad (not far from Capogiro) is Ludwig's Garten. The Alsatian onion tart or the Jagerschnitzel will warm your tummy on a cold autumn evening.

I wouldn't presume to send you to barbeque, since you're coming here from Tennessee. But given your inland residence, perhaps seafood would be in order. Just west of 16th Street can be found the Sansom Street Oyster House. Lots of different oysters, of course, along with clams and a full roster of fish house standards. I've found the service iffy lately, but the cooking always satisfies. They know how to handle the deep fryer there. And try the snapper soup, a Philadelphia tradition (add a splash of sherry to cut the richness). During Happy Hour at the bar, Blue Point oysters from Long Island or clams on the halfshell are $5 for a half dozen, iirc. There's frequently a Happy Hour special for a $5 plate of fried smelts, perfect for nibbling with beer.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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so far, i went to delilah's at rtm to try the mac n' cheese i saw on throwdown and to see how her fried chicken. i wasn't all that impressed honestly. i guess i shouldn't have expected much in terms of southern food in philly, but i figured if her mac n' cheese was as good as advertised, it would be worth it. it wasn't.

dinic's, on the other hand, looked abso-freaking-lutely fantastic. i will definitely be going there tomorrow for lunch, and maybe picking up a banana and nutella crepe to take back to the snoozefest i am attending.

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My advice?  Skip the crepe, and take a short walk down to Capogiro for some gelato.  Trust me on this one...

What Andrew said re: the crepe place. It's the worst food at the RTM. Tried it once: never had a cardboard crepe before.

But as good as Capogiro is (and it's very, very good), why would you want to walk past Bassetts?

Edited by rlibkind (log)

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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**Step away from the lousy crepes at the RTM.** Follow others advice and get gelato at Capogiro and/or Bassett's for your sweet fix. It's no contest. In fact, do both. Only you know why you deserve it. :smile:

If you really must have a crepe, go to the place at 17th and Sansom (La Creperie?) or to Beau Monde at 6th & Bainbridge. Either would be vastly superior.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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so far, i went to delilah's at rtm to try the mac n' cheese i saw on throwdown and to see how her fried chicken.  i wasn't all that impressed honestly. i guess i shouldn't have expected much in terms of southern food in philly, but i figured if her mac n' cheese was as good as advertised, it would be worth it.  it wasn't.

dinic's, on the other hand, looked abso-freaking-lutely fantastic. i will definitely be going there tomorrow for lunch, and maybe picking up a banana and nutella crepe to take back to the snoozefest i am attending.

Yeah. Don't try that sandwich that won a televised showdown for Best Sandwich in America, either. Or try it and just make alternative lunch plans.

Delilah's isn't terrible, but for my money her chicken isn't even the best in the RTM: Down Home Diner's skillet fried is better. Neither seemed worth referring a Southern gentleman to, though.

And really, really listen to folks about those crepes. Really. And at DiNic's, remember: broccoli rabe, not spinach; sharp provolone, not mild; go early if you can. I'll let you make your own decision on peppers, just cause I'm in a tolerant mood.

:wink:

Edited by Capaneus (log)
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so far, i went to delilah's at rtm to try the mac n' cheese i saw on throwdown and to see how her fried chicken.  i wasn't all that impressed honestly. i guess i shouldn't have expected much in terms of southern food in philly, but i figured if her mac n' cheese was as good as advertised, it would be worth it.  it wasn't.

dinic's, on the other hand, looked abso-freaking-lutely fantastic. i will definitely be going there tomorrow for lunch, and maybe picking up a banana and nutella crepe to take back to the snoozefest i am attending.

I never was a fan of Delilah's either. DiNic's is the greatest though. Get the roast pork with provolone and spinach greens or broccoli rabe (or half and half like I do). It's the best sandwich in the city.

The pancakes are great at the Dutch Eating Place. I eat them weekly as a part of my balanced diet... :biggrin: Even better than Dotson's in Franklin!

For dessert, they have very good pastries at Termini's bakery. My favorites are the peanut butter and chocolate mouse nirvana and the chocolate ganache and buttercream almond soucce (I have no idea how to spell it...)

Also, Fisher's soft pretzels are very good as are the peanut butter chocolate covered pretzels from Mueller's. And the buns at Beiler's are great too.

By the way avoid the crepes (not all that special at all) and avoid the Down Home Diner like the plague. Unless you want it or some other intestinal ailment.

Edited by Bluehensfan (log)
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DiNic's is the greatest though. Get the roast pork with provolone and spinach greens or broccoli rabe (or half and half like I do). It's the best sandwich in the city.

I thought you were a person of definite opinion, Bluehensfan. Can't make up your mind? CHOOSE: RABE OR SPINACH!

...and avoid the Down Home Diner like the plague. Unless you want it or some other intestinal ailment.

Well, at least that's a definite opinion. It happens to be wrong. I eat there at least once a month (indeed, I enjoyed the cast iron fried chicken yesterday, but more regularly indulge in the various breakfasts) and haven't visited the porcelain god once. Nor has anyone who has dined there with me. Never even a pang.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Allow me to chime in with a defense of the Down Home Diner as well. I enjoyed a fine lunch there with Rebecca Salame (Rebecca263), her son and a female buddy of his (NOT girlfriend) last summer. The food there is perfectly fine, and you should try the scrapple. Everything else on the menu, however, you can probably find just as good or better versions of back home.

How's Day Two coming along?

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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I guess this is not the best place to discuss the Down Home Diner, but the last two times we have been in for breakfast I was not happy. First time, completely undercooked pancakes, still wet on the inside. The worst part about this was that no one seemed to give a fig when I pointed it out. The most recent time the food was cooked, but the service was barely warmed up. Not only was it not competent, it was simply rude.

We have since eschewed Down Home Diner for breakfast. I know it is something of a chain,but the Marathon Grill gave us a very nice breakfast with pleasant service as well

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thanks for all the replies so far. here is the summary of where i went:

thursday lunch

delilah's: fried chicken, mac and cheese, greens.

grade: b-/c+. i already gave my review of that trap.

thursday dinner

pat's: cheeseteak wiz witout (i would've gone wit but the coworker wasn't huge on onions) and some cheese fries

geno's: cheesesteak w/ provolone and onions and a birch beer.

grade: the coworker and i got one of each and split them. we both though that pat's was better, and i think it was teh wiz that did it. one thing i was surprised by was how little meet you actually get in the sammich. a bit of a letdown - i'm assuming you can order double steak. i guess i'd give geno's a b and pat's a b+. neither one was "OMG THIS IS AMAZING!", so i guess they're both like rendezvous - you go to say you've been there.

thursday late night

ludwig's: some wurst appetizer plate with some mustard and cheese.

grade: b. nothing special but fine for pub food.

friday lunch

dinic's: pork sandwich, sharp provolone, 1/2 broccoli and 1/2 spinach.

grade: a-. very good sandwich. definitely better than the cheesesteaks and stuff from delilah's. to me, that's what a sandwich should be like.

friday dinner

moriarty's: ale house sandwich (beef sammich with melted cheese and horseradish sauce) and an order of wings.

grade: b+/a-. originally we were going to go to susanna foo's place, alma de cuba or la fez, but i wasn't in the mood to get dressed up nor did i want to wait 2.5 hrs to eat at la fez (the rap music seemed out of place for a mexican place). since we were planning on going to moriarty's anyway for a drink, we figured we would check out how long the wait was - 10 minutes. score. if i lived in philly, i think i'd go there pretty often. the wings reminded me of what most of the pizza shops offered growing up in syracuse, and the ale house sandwich hit the spot. the one thing i find rather funny/sad is when irish pubs do all kinds of southwest/tex-mex stuff. if you don't want shepherd's pie - fine. get a burger or something. adding all of these tacos and nachos and enchiladas just seems rather unfortunate.

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moriarty's: ale house sandwich (beef sammich with melted cheese and horseradish sauce) and an order of wings. 

grade: b+/a-.  originally we were going to go to susanna foo's place, alma de cuba or la fez, but i wasn't in the mood to get dressed up nor did i want to wait 2.5 hrs to eat at la fez (the rap music seemed out of place for a mexican place).  since we were planning on going to moriarty's anyway for a drink, we figured we would check out how long the wait was - 10 minutes. score.  if i lived in philly, i think i'd go there pretty often.  the wings reminded me of what most of the pizza shops offered growing up in syracuse, and the ale house sandwich hit the spot.  the one thing i find rather funny/sad is when irish pubs do all kinds of southwest/tex-mex stuff.  if you don't want shepherd's pie - fine. get a burger or something.  adding all of these tacos and nachos and enchiladas just seems rather unfortunate.

I don't go there as often as I probably ought to, but that's in part because the place isn't set up to handle a large group of hungry singers post-rehearsal, and the Irish Pub across the street (nice waitstaff, worse food but still acceptable, atmosphere one step up from a frat bar) does. (Edited to add full disclosure: One of the waiters on Moriarty's staff is an acquaintance of mine. If he has the night off when we perform, he has attended PGMC concerts, and I occasionally run into him at one or another of the Gayborhood watering holes/pick-up spots.)

I had one of those Tex-Mex dishes on my last visit (belated birthday treat from a fellow PGMCer) -- a shrimp quesadilla. The main reason I had it was because I had ordered those wings the last time I ate there, two weeks ago. Yeah, I agree that these sorts of things really have no business being on an "Irish" pub's menu, but consider that most of what we call "Irish pubs" on this side of the pond are really American pubs tricked out with faux-aged wood and Guinness signs (Moriarty's is one of the less inauthentic examples of these), I don't find it quite so blasphemous.

On your next visit, if you want something that's more authentically Irish, try The Bards in the 2000 block of Walnut, or, for a fancier experience, the Plough and Stars on 2d Street in Old City. There's also a hole-in-the-wall restaurant on West Chester Pike in Upper Darby -- I don't know its name -- that serves a genuine Irish breakfast and has become a sort of unofficial consulate for Irish immigrants in the area.

Glad you're enjoying your visit, and that you liked the wings. Moriarty's is one of those Restaurants Every Neighborhood Should Have -- a reasonably priced, convivial place where you know you will get decent eats no matter what you order.

Edited by MarketStEl (log)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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thanks for all the replies so far.  here is the summary of where i went:

thursday lunch

delilah's: fried chicken, mac and cheese, greens. 

grade: b-/c+. i already gave my review of that trap.

thursday dinner

pat's: cheeseteak wiz witout (i would've gone wit but the coworker wasn't huge on onions) and some cheese fries

geno's: cheesesteak w/ provolone and onions and a birch beer.

grade:  the coworker and i got one of each and split them.  we both though that pat's was better, and i think it was teh wiz that did it.  one thing i was surprised by was how little meet you actually get in the sammich.  a bit of a letdown - i'm assuming you can order double steak.  i guess i'd give geno's a b and pat's a b+.  neither one was "OMG THIS IS AMAZING!", so i guess they're both like rendezvous - you go to say you've been there.

thursday late night

ludwig's: some wurst appetizer plate with some mustard and cheese. 

grade: b. nothing special but fine for pub food. 

friday lunch

dinic's:  pork sandwich, sharp provolone, 1/2 broccoli and 1/2 spinach.

grade: a-.  very good sandwich.  definitely better than the cheesesteaks and stuff from delilah's.  to me, that's what a sandwich should be like. 

friday dinner

moriarty's: ale house sandwich (beef sammich with melted cheese and horseradish sauce) and an order of wings. 

grade: b+/a-.  originally we were going to go to susanna foo's place, alma de cuba or la fez, but i wasn't in the mood to get dressed up nor did i want to wait 2.5 hrs to eat at la fez (the rap music seemed out of place for a mexican place).  since we were planning on going to moriarty's anyway for a drink, we figured we would check out how long the wait was - 10 minutes. score.  if i lived in philly, i think i'd go there pretty often.  the wings reminded me of what most of the pizza shops offered growing up in syracuse, and the ale house sandwich hit the spot.  the one thing i find rather funny/sad is when irish pubs do all kinds of southwest/tex-mex stuff.  if you don't want shepherd's pie - fine. get a burger or something.  adding all of these tacos and nachos and enchiladas just seems rather unfortunate.

I hope you didn't form a negative impression of Philadelphia from this list. There are a lot of great places to eat in Philadelphia. With the exception of DiNic's, I don't think you got near to the top of any category for the type of place you visited.

There are some great ethnic places (every variety of Asian comes to mind, not to mention all the Belgian places) and some superb chef-driven restaurants (Snack Bar and Ansill, for starters).

Next time, I hope you will have better luck.

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moriarty's: ale house sandwich (beef sammich with melted cheese and horseradish sauce) and an order of wings. 

grade: b+/a-.  originally we were going to go to susanna foo's place, alma de cuba or la fez, but i wasn't in the mood to get dressed up nor did i want to wait 2.5 hrs to eat at la fez (the rap music seemed out of place for a mexican place).  since we were planning on going to moriarty's anyway for a drink, we figured we would check out how long the wait was - 10 minutes. score.  if i lived in philly, i think i'd go there pretty often.  the wings reminded me of what most of the pizza shops offered growing up in syracuse, and the ale house sandwich hit the spot.  the one thing i find rather funny/sad is when irish pubs do all kinds of southwest/tex-mex stuff.  if you don't want shepherd's pie - fine. get a burger or something.  adding all of these tacos and nachos and enchiladas just seems rather unfortunate.

I don't go there as often as I probably ought to, but that's in part because the place isn't set up to handle a large group of hungry singers post-rehearsal, and the Irish Pub across the street (nice waitstaff, worse food but still acceptable, atmosphere one step up from a frat bar) does. (Edited to add full disclosure: One of the waiters on Moriarty's staff is an acquaintance of mine. If he has the night off when we perform, he has attended PGMC concerts, and I occasionally run into him at one or another of the Gayborhood watering holes/pick-up spots.)

I had one of those Tex-Mex dishes on my last visit (belated birthday treat from a fellow PGMCer) -- a shrimp quesadilla. The main reason I had it was because I had ordered those wings the last time I ate there, two weeks ago. Yeah, I agree that these sorts of things really have no business being on an "Irish" pub's menu, but consider that most of what we call "Irish pubs" on this side of the pond are really American pubs tricked out with faux-aged wood and Guinness signs (Moriarty's is one of the less inauthentic examples of these), I don't find it quite so blasphemous.

On your next visit, if you want something that's more authentically Irish, try The Bards in the 2000 block of Walnut, or, for a fancier experience, the Plough and Stars on 2d Street in Old City. There's also a hole-in-the-wall restaurant on West Chester Pike in Upper Darby -- I don't know its name -- that serves a genuine Irish breakfast and has become a sort of unofficial consulate for Irish immigrants in the area.

Glad you're enjoying your visit, and that you liked the wings. Moriarty's is one of those Restaurants Every Neighborhood Should Have -- a reasonably priced, convivial place where you know you will get decent eats no matter what you order.

The other place I would trumpet for Irish food in the greater Philadelphia is the Shanachie. They do a good Ulster fry, and have great other dishes, including Boxty's, great salmon, fish and chips, among others. Their chef recently left, and is going to be reinvigorating Kildare's menu.

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I hope you didn't form a negative impression of Philadelphia from this list.  There are a lot of great places to eat in Philadelphia.  With the exception of DiNic's, I don't think you got near to the top of any category for the type of place you visited.

[...]

Next time, I hope you will have better luck.

In the case of Moriarty's, I believe that your statement above depends on the category. Overall, it's good but not great, but I can think of only one other restaurant in the city that I might consider its equal or better when it comes to Buffalo wings -- La Creole (I think that's its name) on South Front Street. Judging from what he ordered, he did decide to check out my recommendation of Moriarty's for its wings.

It's certainly not authentic (or 100% authentic -- they do have shepherd's pie, which is a stereotype) Irish fare, as I also agreed above. But as we both noted in our own way, that's not what you go there for.

You go to Pat's and Geno's so you can say you went. Now that he's gotten those out of his system, I'm sure he will seek out better cheesesteaks next time. Don't forget that all the first-rate ones are now served well away from Center City -- it just happens that Pat's and Geno's are also the two places in the Cheesesteak Pantheon (Pat's deservedly, Geno's by association) that are closest to where carpetbagger was staying, with the sole exception of Jim's at 4th and South, which is arguably better or worse than Pat's.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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