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Busboy

Sunday Night in Philly

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Hope to be heading into Philly after three days of backpacking and will be looking for a decent meal on Sunday night. Pumpkin and Osteria both seem to have tables open, but we may want something a little grungier and heartier (may not -- comments re: these two spots appreciated) but, you know, a little higher-quality than Italian Market tourist traps, Center City yuppie bars or chain restaurants (not that there's anything wrong with them). The fewer large screen TVs, the better, and a modest price is helpful. No seafood, but burgers that do not taste like TGI Friday's and come with exciting sides; old school pizza or Italian fare; maybe even decent tapas (though I find that their crack-like pricing scheme does hurt the budget) are all thoughts, but I am happy to hear others.

My brief time in lovely Kensington suggests that it's not a dining destination, but that's where my son the urban pioneer lives and -- all things being equal -- proximity to the neighborhood or the interstate/river are appreciated.

Thanks.


Edited by Busboy (log)

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Any of the Garces group would fit the bill. Chifa, Amada, Distrito et al

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Actually there's a very good gastropub right in Kensington: the Memphis Taproom. If you want something a little more interesting, a couple of the city's best BYOs are a bit south of there: Koo Zee Doo and Modo Mio. KZD's menu is geared towards sharing though, and the plates are huge, for two people (it sounds like you'll be two) it may not be ideal unless you don't mind not being able to sample more of a restaurant's variety on one visit. Modo Mio is Italian, not as good as Osteria in my opinion but still very good.

Osteria is still great, one of my favorite places in the city but only slightly further away in Old City you can go to the city's best restaurant, Zahav. Their $36 prix-fixe is a great deal, you get as much food as I could imagine wanting to eat (and I love Zahav).

Pumpkin is fine but if you're just visiting there are many other places that I would go to over Pumpkin.

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A couple of possibilities - nothing fancy but solid cooking and grunge-friendly. I'd also agree on the Koo Zee Doo recommend.

Puerto Rican cuisine at Freddy and Tony's at 201 W. Allegheny.

Cuban and Colombian cuisine at La Tierra Colombiana at 4535 N. 5th

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I love, love, love New Wave Cafe, a Polish spot on Allegheny Ave. Sorry for the Yelp link but they don't have a website. Oh, and they're cash only. A Polish feast could definitely be in order after your 3 days of camping.

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This might be a little late if you're talking about this week, but as has been implied above, you're actually not in a complete food wasteland in Kensington. You might have to travel a short distance, but the greater Fishtown, Kensington, Port Richmond area has gained many new places in the last couple of years, as well as maintaining some great old traditional spots.

Your biggest problem is that you're looking at a Sunday night. I'm not sure how many of the potential places will be open when you want to go... but a quick phone call ought to clear that up.

I'll second several of the above recs, and add a few.

The Memphis Taproom is pretty close to where you'll be, and they'll almost certainly be serving something. They've got a great beer list, a diverse, if not huge, menu, and they might even have their hot dog truck active in the beer garden. Maybe not destination cuisine, but pretty fun on a summer night. Food till midnight on weekends.

http://memphistaproom.com

Only a little bit further, deeper into the Port Richmond neighborhood, as mentioned, the New Wave Cafe is pretty great. (If you call them or google their address, or whatever, make sure you're looking at the right one: there's another New Wave Cafe on south 3rd st. Also a bar with food, but totally different thing, different neighborhood. You want the one at 2620 E Allegheny Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19134 phone - 215-634-3224) The foods all pretty great: the Borsch (red and white), the Pickle Soup, the grilled Kielbasa, the potato pancakes (especially the Hungarian one with meat stew between two crisp pancakes!) the pierogies, the Polish beer selection...

The trick is that they often turn into more of a disco dance club than a restaurant as the evening goes on. But I'm not sure about sunday nights. You could call and ask.

Also, not too far from there is the legendary Tacconelli's Pizza. http://www.tacconellispizzeria.com/ The trick is that they have the quirk of preferring that you call ahead to "reserve your dough." You don't have to pre-order, you just have to tell them how many pizzas you intend to order. Generally, they prefer that you call a day ahead, BUT! from their website: "It's recommended to call ahead to reserve your dough, but its not always necessary." So you might be OK just showing up. But I'd call ahead. Also - last seating on a sunday is 8 pm. Cash only.

There's also really good Vietnamese soups out in Kensington proper, at Thang Long Noodle. http://thanglongphilly.com/ The chicken soup (Pho Ga) is outrageously good, and perhaps even better is the Beef Stew Noodles. They're only open until 5:30pm on sundays though. Only till 8:30 other nights.

As Holly mentioned, you're not too far from Tierra Columbiana. http://www.tierrarestaurante.com/ They serve Sundays until 10pm according to the website. Very good, hearty South American and also Cuban food. As the name suggests, the center of the menu is Columbian cuisine but it's really more generally South American and Caribbean. And it's good.

If you head not very far the other way, toward downtown, into Fishtown, you have many options. Fathom Seafood house is a casual fish house-ish thing from a well-regarded chef with some other swankier places in town (ooh- sorry, not open sundays, according to the website...but then, things change, could be worth a call) http://fathomphilly.com

Johnny Brenda's is a music venue with very good gastro-pub-ish food (serving until 1am 7 days a week).

http://www.johnnybrendas.com

Frankford Hall is an attempt at a traditional German beer hall, from restaurant mogul Steven Starr. They say they're open until 2am, even on sundays, but I wouldn't count on food that late...

http://www.frankfordhall.com/

Sketch Burger makes really good... wait for it... burgers. Open until 9pm every day "except when we aren't" according to the website. http://www.sketch-burger.com/

Modo Mio is a very good, if inconsistent, Italian BYOB. You're very likely to have something mindblowingly delicious, and something incomprehensibly bad in the same meal, but the highlights are worth it, and the prices are good, so it's definitely worth a visit. If it were open on sundays, which it isn't. They also seem to have let their website domain expire or something, which is just the kind of inattention to detail that characterizes that place. But the food can be really good!

If you've come that far into Fishtown, you're almost in Northern Liberties, which offers MANY great options, too many to list here, really, but consider Cantina Dos Segundos (serving till 1 am, 7 days) Standard Tap (the granddaddy gastropub, also serving until 1am 7 days.) KooZeeDoo (modernized Portuguese - Sundays 4-9pm) Bar Ferdinand (Tapas) not quite as consistently delicious as Amada, but at a fraction of the price, and some of it's quite good. Nice vibe. Kitchen 5pm-10pm sundays.

Then of course, there's the whole city... Places will close up earlier on sundays, but there's always Chinatown.

If you're not already in the wild, feel free to ask for more details. But the short version is that you can get good food not far from where you're staying. And it's certainly worth keeping in mind that you're not very far from the middle of Center City, so the whole city is really your oyster if you're willing to drive for 10-15 minutes.


Edited by philadining (log)

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Thanks, all, for a wealth of suggestions. Given that the boy will likely never actually graduate from Temple and that the girl is already talking about transferring there, I suspect that I'll have an opportunity to hit many of these spots, regardless of where we end up this Sunday.

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I'll pile on with Memphis Taproom. Quirky joint with great food and even better beer as the name implies. Plus it's close to where you'll be staying.

I also really like Modo Mio and you cant beat their prix fix menu for the level of food that you get.

Although I do love Amada, I'm not sure you and your companion (s?) will make it out of there without spending way more than you wanted to. Food is excellent but I'd agree with your crack-like pricing scheme comment.

I've been to Tierra Columbiana twice now and have mixed reviews. If you do go, check out the thread and zero in on what seems appetizing before going.

Not a big fan of Tacconelli's but others seem to love the place.

Hope you find something great to post about!

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Just had dinner at Fathom Seafood earlier this week. Delicious! Chicken Fried Monkfish, Friday Night Fish Fry, Cauliflower Tempura and the Mussels were particular standouts. A quite serviceable Jalapeno Margarita at the bar as well. I like this place and it's reasonable. Open 7 days. They're aware that the website is wrong...

Definitely a fan of Tierra Colombiana. Don't miss the aranitas appetizer. Garlic sauce is addictive. Picadillo and empanadas yummy. Black beans almost as good as my mama's...

Standard Tap or North Third both have diverse menus for a crowd that could include meat-n-potatoes types as well as vegetarians.

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