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Suggestions in Philly?


LJC
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What a waste of a really beautiful room -- one of the most atmospheric spots on the Penn campus.

Menton1 did remember correctly that Le Bus used to be near the White Dog Cafe.

Gia Pronto (sara's suggestion) is a nice new panini and salad shop, better suited to take-out business than for a sit down lunch (crowded and somewhat uncomfortable to eat-in) -- but really good salads and panini. I haven't been to Rx, but I've heard good things.

I've enjoyed Nam (but haven't been there for awhile) and campus standbys have been Nara (formerly Genji) for OK japanese lunches, Beijing (good, very inexpensive, if not exciting) chinese lunches, and Tandoor (very good value for their lunch and dinner buffets of Indian standards).

I don't know that I lament the loss of the Palladium as much as others here.

I did work there as a waiter in 1995. My own descriptions below are based on that, plus one trip I've made back to have a drink since.

True, it's the only bar with fireplace that I've ever been in, and I've always enjoyed it there.

The orange shade of the dining room walls have caused

that shade to be my preferred wall color should I ever open a

lounge-y bar.

But they've never really made money. The only reason they weren't closed down earlier was because the owners didn't care as much about making a profit as other places. That is both admirable and a shame, I admit.

I believe they made a miniscule profit or broke even all the time.

Their weekday lunch business is how they made most of their money, plus catering downstairs in the Gold Standard.

Their weekday dinner doesn't deserve to be called a rush.

(No weekend lunch.) Their weekend dinner business was even worse.

And that's talking about when school was in session.

Their summer lunch business was moderate at best.

Their summer dinner business was ridiculously dead.

I remember walking away from one dinner shift with $8-10 in tips for the night.

They did make lots of money on May Day, and some from occasional drinkers at night in the bar.

And yes, a restaurant would be better from the perspective that the general public can visit more often. But being a restaurant all these years hasn't inspired the general public and students to visit nearly often enough.

Assuming they don't change the historical details too much in the renovations

(a big assumption, I know), there's no reason true fans can't pop in every so often to check the place out and marvel at this and that.

On to Le Bus. From more than one person, I've heard about how disgustingly filthy and vermin-infested Le Bus was.

Of course, now that I think about it, I can't recall if those people were in the

restaurant business and know how common vermin can be in the business.

Of course, I do remember eating there once and watching a mouse scurry across the floor.

I've tried only tried Sitar, Tandoor, and New Delhi (are there any West Philly Indian buffets I've missed?), and always preferred New Delhi. It was consistently acceptable when I went, and I can't recall what I didn't like about Tandoor that time I ate there.

Beijing has what I would call acceptable Chinese food. Not bad, but far better and cheaper stuff in Chinatown.

Gia Pronto. So that's in that strip of places between Beijing and the Wawa?

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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Herb, were you around in the late 80s/early 90s? Before Penn cracked down on underage drinking (around 1991 or 92 IIRC), the Palladium was packed every night with students--and when the weather was nice the whole patio area was crammed full as well. So they might not have done so well in the mid-90s, but back in the day it seems they had to have been raking it in on drinks alone.

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Yes, Gia Pronto is in the strip near the Wawa. It's owned by a former Whartonite, very nice guy. They serve La Colombe coffee, very good salads made to order, panini, nice pastries, good yogurt..it's a little pricey but a great addition to the options around campus. I go there constantly for coffee and yogurt, in fact I'm headed there now!

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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Herb, were you around in the late 80s/early 90s? Before Penn cracked down on underage drinking (around 1991 or 92 IIRC), the Palladium was packed every night with students--and when the weather was nice the whole patio area was crammed full as well.

Ah yes, that would have been the "Get-Laidium."

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Herb, were you around in the late 80s/early 90s? Before Penn cracked down on underage drinking (around 1991 or 92 IIRC), the Palladium was packed every night with students--and when the weather was nice the whole patio area was crammed full as well. So they might not have done so well in the mid-90s, but back in the day it seems they had to have been raking it in on drinks alone.

No I wasn't really around in the early 1990s. But when I was there, during the weeknights, the bar was pretty crowded some nights. And yes, I vaguely recall the terrace also being fairly crowded some of those times.

Don't get me wrong, you can rake it in on drinks alone. But the math has to work.

Large enough space for you to cram enough people through, especially if your revenue is concentrated in such a small time window.

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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does bitar's still have an outpost in west philly? in my time at penn i was a great fan.

thumbs up on white dog and magic carpet for lunch; thumbs way down on mad4mex. if you end up with an unseasonably warm day, you could get something at reading terminal -- easy if you do elect to stay at lowe's -- and bring it with you for lunch and eat outside. unlikely in february, though.

does zocolo do lunch? if you have two and half hours that might be a possibility.

have fun! philly's a great town to munch your way through.

Edited by kieran (log)
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does bitar's still have an outpost in west philly? in my time at penn i was a great fan.

What was Bitar's on 40th St. between Walnut and Sansom has been changed by the owners (still the Bitar's people, I think) into a more upscale concept (though with similar Mediterranean/Middle Eastern fare) and is now called "Simsum." I think it's a good place, but the last few times I've been, there have not been many customers. I'll certainly go again.

When I say "upscale," I mean it's upscale from Bitar's, not upscale in the absolute sense. It's still a BYO and a very cheap place to eat.

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  • 1 month later...

So, I am back...

Thank you all very much for the suggestions they were very good. Here is where I went:

When I got to town and checked in I headed to Oscars on Sansom and 18th St.; this was a blue-collar bar that the doorman suggested for a cheese steak and beer. It was as good a cheesesteak as I have ever had and the pub was a throw back to old school urban bar life.

1st day's lunch I had at the University (lunch was included in the program) it was horrid! That night I went to the white dog and had a very good meal. I have to mention that the decor is so adorable and warm I really felt like I was in a friend’s country house. Memorable was the Pork Chop stuffed with blue cheese and walnuts and even more so was the ice cream for dessert (strawberry buttermilk). I did leave wondering what lunch would have been like.

2nd day's lunch I went to La Teressa and tried the "wet duck" sandwich, which was pretty good. I was expecting something life altering and it wasn't but nonetheless it was very tasty. I then met an old friend who took me to Dinardo's (3rd and Race) for Crabs. We had the house soup (just ok) and clams/oyster on the half shell (I could not get over how cheap they were; less than $1.50 each) with a great cocktail sauce. And then the jumbo crabs (blue claws) cooked in Dinardo's house seasoning were fantastic. All together with lots of beer the check was less than $35 each including a generous tip.

Final day I got stuck eating lunch with the "group" again but headed to the grease trucks before driving back to NYC. I tried the chicken sandwich from Hemo’s, which turned out to be all the fuel I need for my ride home.

All in all I had a great time and I can't wait to return with my wife. The city is really very fun (restaurants, bars etc.) and the buildings/historic sites are breath taking. I think I will wait until the cherry blossoms blossom and then I'll be back to try the places I missed and have some more fun.

Once again thanks for the help and I loved your city.

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Oh god, you went to Oscars? Awesome. Did they give you a cheesesteak and a half for the price of one? That's a deal they used to have all the time that I never understood--order a sandwich, get a sandwich and a half...

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Ha ha ha-

I couldn't understand it. I thought that they were using smaller rolls than usual so they gave an extra half. I had no idea it was a promo. At any rate it was more than I should be eating so I took the extra half back to my room and ate it as a late night snack. It was great, not to mention cheap; two pints of beer and a sandwich and a half came to $12.

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Ha ha ha-

I couldn't understand it. I thought that they were using smaller rolls than usual so they gave an extra half. I had no idea it was a promo. At any rate it was more than I should be eating so I took the extra half back to my room and ate it as a late night snack. It was great, not to mention cheap; two pints of beer and a sandwich and a half came to $12.

Excellent! Oscar's is the quintessential neighborhood dive, but it's a great bar. A real throwback. Glad we could show you some "kul-chah" Brotherly Love style! :laugh:

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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Good god, the times I've spent in Oscars..... OK I won't go into that. I haven't been there in a while, but I do appreciate that there are still dive bars like that right downtown when the rest of center city is getting so damn fancy.

LJC, let us know when yer coming back; we'll go for drinks or something. If you liked Oscars, you'll love Bob & Barbara's...

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  • 1 year later...

DC egulleteer will be in Center City at the Doubletree hotel tonight. Could I get some expert help for dining this evening. BYOB preferred but not essential.

Thanks

Good god, the times I've spent in Oscars..... OK I won't go into that.  I haven't been there in a while, but I do appreciate that there are still dive bars like that right downtown when the rest of center city is getting so damn fancy.

LJC, let us know when yer coming back; we'll go for drinks or something.  If you liked Oscars, you'll love Bob & Barbara's...

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Off the cuff, Porcini on 20th and Sansom is a very good bet - small so go early but it's sunday. No reservations so you can do that on a whim. I have always been very happy there and it is close to you.

Evan

Dont forget Capogiro gelato for dessert! - 13th and Sansom! Really near you.

Dough can sense fear.

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Off the cuff, Porcini on 20th and Sansom is a very good bet - small so go early but it's sunday.  No reservations so you can do that on a whim.  I have always been very happy there and it is close to you.

Evan

Dont forget Capogiro gelato for dessert! - 13th and Sansom!  Really near you.

Pumpkin is close by too but a very hard table to get. Give them a call - you may get lucky on a Sunday - never know :smile: ...... There is a pumpkin thread on the forum fairly recent...

215-545-4448 17th and South. 2 blocks up and like 3 over from the doubletree.

Dough can sense fear.

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I'm at work tonight. You're more than welcome to come visit me if you like oysters and seafood.... :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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At the least, stop by Sansom Street Oyster House for some oysters.

As far as BYOBs, Lula (mentioned in another thread on PA board) would be one possibility, 2 blocks east.

Go another block east of Lula and a few stores south on 11th and there you have La Boheme, a little French BYOB.

If you prefer other parts of the Mediterranean, go 2 blocks south from the Doubletree to Pine St. Turn left and half a block east is Valentino, a fine little Italian joint. Go another block and a half east and you have Effie's, my perennial favorite for Greek, especially if you get a table in the back courtyard.

If you prefer to go west, there's a host of Italian BYOBs (La Baia, Bronzino, La Viola, Bellini).

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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We had a nice time in Philly. We had oysters at the Oyster house and met Katie and then went to Valentinos on Pine street for a good meal with black ravioli with lobster stuffing and a tender veal chop among the highlights. Friendly service and they even provided a decanter for the 89 Calon Segur I brought. I also ate at Dmitris on Pine which was ok but again friendly service. I walked back to the hotel and had an after dinner drink at Brasserie Perrier where I chatted with a lively group of folks. Diane the bartendress very nice. I found the city quite hospitable. Oh yes, breakfast at Reading market-buckwheat pancakes with apple butter-yum!

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