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Where to eat in Philly?


vinniecap
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I'll be driving in on a Friday and hopefully having dinner at Vetri.  Saturday lunch and dinner are open.

No breakfast? Or do you have another commitment?

If you've never had scrapple, you must take breakfast at the Reading Terminal Market. Either the Down Home Diner or the Dutch Eating Place . I tend to eat it plain, but others top with ketchup or syrup. Great side dish for eggs. The Down Home Diner does a wonderful job with pancakes. Overall I prefer the Down Home Diner to the Dutch Eating Place (the quality of the ingredients isn't as good at the latter), but it's a matter on which honest people can disagree. The Down Home Diner also serves incredibly good biscuits. (Should you stop by for breakfast Saturday, you'll probably find me schmoozing with Tommy or Joe at DiNic's soon after the market opens at 8 a.m.; yes, you can get a pork sandwich for breakfast!)

As an addendum, if you stop by for breakfast on Saturday, you can see me giving much deserved additional flack to rlibkind (whilst schmoozing with Tommy or Joe at DiNic's) for even suggesting the Down Home Diner over the Dutch Eating Place. But then again, rlibkind knows how I feel about the Diner...

Granted, while the atmosphere of the Dutch Eating Place is not that of the Down Home Diner (the DEP's all counter service), the food is all very fresh, top-notch, and much more tastier than at the Down Home Diner, which if you ask me has seen much, much better days. While they try to make breakfast a bit fancier at the Down Home, the execution just is not there according to my tastebuds.

Also, while you can get roast pork for breakfast, you may want to wait until later in the morning (at least 10 or 10:30) because the rabe is not ready until that time, and a roast pork sandwich without rabe is like....well...use your imagination.

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Throwing a touch more complexity into the mix -- you could, for a Philly experience, head down to the Italian Market midday instead of RTM, or maybe do so before you leave on Sunday. The Sarcone's Special hoagie is tied neck-and-neck with DiNic's roast pork as far as I'm concerned. Very different, very good.

Vetri and Osteria aren't supersimilar, exactly, but I think you'd be doing Philly a disservice not to cast the net a little wider.

Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

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[At Dinic's m]ake sure you ask specifically for the brocolli rabe: they've only recently repented their spinach-slinging ways, and may relapse. You would then incur a terrible karmic price.

Capaneus, you read too many New Yorker cartoons! Even if you say it's spinach and you say to hell with it, I say it's also mighty tasty. Different from the rabe, but mighty tasty in its own right. You don't get the bitter-vs-sweet counterpoint that you would with the rabe, but spinach makes for a richer sandwich.

But I think we can agree: don't skip the provolone!

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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You might also try Ansill, especially if you're an offal fan. The shirred duck egg was my favorite thing there, but I think he caved to the pressure and removed the foie gras from the dish.

http://ansillfoodandwine.com/ansill_food.html

Yes, I'm an offal fan. Ansill's menu reads like a dream.

James seems to get a luke-warm, if not chilly reception by those on this forum.

So, let me get this correct: Amada = traditional tapas, Tinto = re-invented tapas. That's how the websites read, anyway.

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

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You might also try Ansill, especially if you're an offal fan. The shirred duck egg was my favorite thing there, but I think he caved to the pressure and removed the foie gras from the dish.

http://ansillfoodandwine.com/ansill_food.html

Yes, I'm an offal fan. Ansill's menu reads like a dream.

James seems to get a luke-warm, if not chilly reception by those on this forum.

So, let me get this correct: Amada = traditional tapas, Tinto = re-invented tapas. That's how the websites read, anyway.

Actually I would say they're both "reinvented" tapas, just from different regions of spain. Amada is "mainland" spain while Tinto is the northern Basque region of spain (hence you'll find creamier, meatier dishes on the menu overall).

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Ah, thanks.

As for Cochon and Ansill - proximity to Capogiro?

I haven't solidified plans, yet, but I'll be most likely be staying near Wharton.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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Ah, thanks.

As for Cochon and Ansill - proximity to Capogiro? 

I haven't solidified plans, yet, but I'll be most likely be staying near Wharton.

Ansill and Cochon are both down in Queen Village. If you think of the distance from Wharton to Broad St. - the kinda-sorta-midpoint of the Capogirae - as a unit, the walk down to these places is roughly that distance again. Twenty-five minute walk, say, to Center City, another twenty-five to QV.

Whereas Tinto is across 20th St. from Capogiro v.2.0

As to James, the place was initially poorly received because of specific problems/incidents. If you read on, things do warm up. At this point, I think it's fair to say the consensus is pretty fulsome. Anyway, I don't like it as much as Tinto or Amada, so others can chime in if you have questions.

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Someone's gonna get a talking-to at the DEP on Saturday morning?

This might be an excuse for me to get my cheese platter for a party that afternoon early. I was thinking of doing an all-local, Fair Food Farmstand edition (I've established a reputation among my fellow PGMCers that I must now live up to), but need notes on the cheeses. I assume the folks there will be able to give me descriptions. I tried some 1841 last week and liked it.

If you're in my neck of the woods, ue, and it looks like you will be, drop me a line. If I'm free, I may be able to meet up.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

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

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Alrighty folks, after combing the threads and checking out the various websites, I think I'm going to have to stay a whole month in order to do Philly's restaurant scene any kind of justice.

On the one hand, philadining's (incredible) enthusiasm, reviews, and pictures makes Cochon seem almost unavoidable. On the other hand, the food look a little heavy for summer; especially after a tasting menu at Vetri the night before and a pork sandwich at RTM.

Anything that promises decent (they don't necessarily have to be dead-on authentic) Spanish tapas reduces me to a shameless sop. So, both Tinto and Amada read like dreams. But, they seem small and dark, apt to be crowded on a weekend night, and operate at VOLUME 72. Are they?

The only reason this concerns me is that the purpose of this trip is a reunion of sorts with an old college buddy. Since he has business most of the day, and I'll be on holiday, our only chance to catch up is at our dinners together, so I'm looking for places with calmer temperament. It doesn't have to be the library, but we shouldn't have to shout, either.

Zahav has pastilla on the menu, an culinary experience I greatly desire to repeat. This one's made of rabbit, a version I've not encountered before. This one is definitely on my list of considerations.

Lastly, James, despite the recent F+W BNC wine, doesn't seem well-received by many on this forum and elsewhere. Given that Zahav, Cochon, Amada and Tinto have received almost uniformly positive responses, I'm not sure that this is the place for me; at least not on this trip.

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Alrighty folks, after combing the threads and checking out the various websites, I think I'm going to have to stay a whole month in order to do Philly's restaurant scene any kind of justice.

On the one hand, philadining's (incredible) enthusiasm, reviews, and pictures makes Cochon seem almost unavoidable.  On the other hand, the food look a little heavy for summer; especially after a tasting menu at Vetri the night before and a pork sandwich at RTM.

Anything that promises decent (they don't necessarily have to be dead-on authentic) Spanish tapas reduces me to a shameless sop.  So, both Tinto and Amada read like dreams.  But, they seem small and dark, apt to be crowded on a weekend night, and operate at VOLUME 72.  Are they?

The only reason this concerns me is that the purpose of this trip is a reunion of sorts with an old college buddy.  Since he has business most of the day, and I'll be on holiday, our only chance to catch up is at our dinners together, so I'm looking for places with calmer temperament.  It doesn't have to be the library, but we shouldn't have to shout, either. 

Zahav has pastilla on the menu, an culinary experience I greatly desire to repeat.  This one's made of rabbit, a version I've not encountered before.  This one is definitely on my list of considerations.

Lastly, James, despite the recent F+W BNC wine, doesn't seem well-received by many on this forum and elsewhere.  Given that Zahav, Cochon, Amada and Tinto have received almost uniformly positive responses, I'm not sure that this is the place for me; at least not on this trip.

I took my dad to Amada on a Wendesday night, and it was a very reasonable volume. Until the flamenco dancing started (this is a Wednesday-night-only thing if i recall correctly), at which point it became rock-concert loud (and also fantastic to watch). I haven't been to Tinto since they added doubled their floor space, but it was also a good volume.

I had an interesting meal at James, with 2 excellent and 2 bad courses a couple of months after it opened, so I'm not sure how it is now.

Things that just occured to me: do not get the tastings at Amada or Tinto. They just consist of dishes on the menu but with no choice.

Maybe philadining can answer this. I'm not sure, but the dishes he gets and the dishes on the website's menu, so either the website is out of date, there are constant specials, or regulars get special dishes. I'm actually interested in this myself, because when I go I'm going to want some of those specials.

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UE, from your comments, I think you should go to Tinto, and/or Zahav.

I like the food at Amada a lot, but I have often found it VERY loud, even in the absence of Flamenco dancers. That's perfectly fine in many circumstances, but probably not so great for catching up with your buddy. Tinto isn't exactly a cone of silence, but it's a little less clangorous.

And I must say, there are a few things on the Tinto menu that are really rocking, and a little more unusual than the offerings at Amada (lamb brochetas, duck montadito, mussels, mushrooms.)

I still haven't made it into Zahav yet, but Solomonov is a talented chef, it should be good...

You've correctly perceived that Cochon is not all that summery. Personally, I'll eat delicious any time of year, but you're right, the general slant of the food is never going to be light and refreshing. That said, a salad and a nice piece of fish... or scallops and grilled rack of lamb... sounds pretty summery to me, it's not all stews and braises.

Andanand: the menu has evolved a little since the one posted on the web, and there are always a few specials each day. As regulars, I'm sure we've been offered a few things that were not on the menu at all, like those awesome frogs legs, but the vast majority of dishes have been either on the menu, or specials that anyone could have ordered. So look for the specials, and go early if you can, they run out...

But UE, you hit the nail on the head when you said that you need to stay a month. Let us know when you schedule that, we can fill up 30 days of meals!

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

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Lastly, James, despite the recent F+W BNC wine, doesn't seem well-received by many on this forum and elsewhere.  Given that Zahav, Cochon, Amada and Tinto have received almost uniformly positive responses, I'm not sure that this is the place for me; at least not on this trip.

i had an overall relatively positive experience at james a couple months ago, with a few missteps -- their famous duck ragout with chocolate was so undersalted that it didn't taste like much of anything, and in another dish beans were chalky and not cooked enough. but other than that it sounds like it would fit at least part of your bill -- it's not too loud, and dim and pleasant and a nice place to sit and talk over dinner. good cocktails too.

amada can be earsplitting. tinto isn't as bad, but it can still get into yelling territory. maybe with their new room it's less so. and as was mentioned, it's directly across the street from capogiro...

(edited to remove a random sentence fragment that i have no idea where it came from)

Edited by mrbigjas (log)
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I haven't been to Tinto since it expanded, but pre-expansion, they had a downstairs room that was nice and quiet. The main floor was indeed somewhat noisy. Anyone with more recent experience?

In the tapas vs. tapas throwdown, I definitely prefer Tinto (like philadining said, just a little more unusual, e.g. a pyramid of potatoes w/a La Peral cheese sauce instead of straight up patatas bravas) to Amada. Also, it's worth repeating once more: Capogiro? Across the street. Amada is about 10 blocks from the Capogiro 13th St location. Zahav, about the same. James and Cochon, farther away.

Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

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What I love about this group is that you all *GET* (live) my passion for (good) gelato. Yes, I think that Tinto is a likely winner here, given the positive comments and, more importantly, its proximity to Capogiro.

BTW, I forgot to mention that Ansill also looks great.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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ansill is possibly my favorite restaurant in town. i mean there are others that are more impressive with cutting-edge cooking, or have a fancier atmosphere, or are "better" in numerous other ways, but i can't think of a place in town makes me as happy as consistently as ansill does.

if you go for happy hour time you can drink cheap prosecco and eat cheap oysters.

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i'm not sure if it's been mentioned upthread, but i vetri was one of the best meals i've ever had and definitely the best italian i've ever had. almost impossible to get a reservation but definitely worth calling to see if there are cancellations. if you're in the mood for a steak try davio's (i used to work there)

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I think you'd enjoy Ansill too.  So, is this buddy up for making a couple of stops? It's a totally reasonable walk from Ansill to Cochon...  Not a bad walk from Ansill to Amada, or vice versa.

I suppose. I don't see why not.

But, that means I'd have to axe Tinto and, more importantly, Capogiro. The latter half of that is unacceptable.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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But, that means I'd have to axe Tinto and, more importantly, Capogiro.  The latter half of that is unacceptable.

Well, Ansill -> Amada -> Capogiro (original location, on Sansom St.) is totally doable, especially if it's a nice summer evening. And you'll want the walk. Oh my, yes.

Edited by Andrew Fenton (log)
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But, that means I'd have to axe Tinto and, more importantly, Capogiro.  The latter half of that is unacceptable.

Well, Ansill -> Amada -> Capogiro (original location, on Sansom St.) is totally doable, especially if it's a nice summer evening. And you'll want the walk. Oh my, yes.

Clearly, I have been reading your collective comments about this "new location" of Capogiro without allowing it to register, consciously.

The only Capogiro location I know about is the one that is somewhat off the main drag of restaurants that includes Susanna Foo's, Le Bec Fin, Lacroix at the Rittenhouse and morimoto. As I recall, all four were within walking distance of that Capogiro (see how obsssesed I am about it?). Is that the original (Sansom Street) location?

See, now, this is self-defeating. I had settled on Tinto -> Capogiro. But, now, you've re-opened what I had thought to be a tightly sealed can of proverbial worms.

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Aha! There are two Capogiri:

the original (119 South 13th Street), and the Rittenhouse outpost (117 South 20th Street). Each is near lots of good restaurants.

edit: ninja'd by mrbigjas. DAMN YOUR CAT-LIKE REFLEXES!

Edited by Andrew Fenton (log)
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Okay, so to regroup and summarize, all of the following restaurants, which are currently under consideration for my Saturday night dinner, are within a reasonable walking distance (1, maybe 2 miles tops, given it'll be night and we'll be full) from *a* Capogiro:

Tinto

Amada

Ansill

Any others?

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Okay, so to regroup and summarize, all of the following restaurants, which are currently under consideration for my Saturday night dinner, are within a reasonable walking distance (1, maybe 2 miles tops, given it'll be night and we'll be full) from *a* Capogiro:

Tinto

Amada

Ansill

Any others?

Schweet-haht, you just allowed your open can of worms to go on one terrific reproductive binge: by that particular definition, virtually every restaurant, river to river and Vine to Christian, fits the bill. Probably some others.

And that's with just two Capogirae. I shudder to think of the domination they could achieve if they really put their shoulder to the wheel, metastasis-wise.

I think at this point you need to ask yourself which dinner spot you really feel for, and pick a Capogiro to match.

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