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Help in Philly


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Ok all you Philly Phanatics!!

I've been reading all the Philly threads I could the last week or so and I got a pretty good idea as to what's what and where. However, I didn't call and make reservations so here is my plight:

I need places that don't take reservations. I am perfectly willing show up and wait (Frontera Grill-style in Chicago).

As to what kind of food and pricing, etc.:

Location: I am staying in the City Center, but will have a car so I can go pretty much anywhere.

Pricing: Doesn't matter.

Type Food: No Asian, no German: ANY other style of food is okay. However, I am looking for quality and creativity. It doesn't have to be "fine dining" if there is a local chef cranking out simple pleasures at some street corner restaurant, that would be great. I also would be will to go to places that take reservations but let walk-ins sit and eat at the bar.

I do have a reservation at Django for one of my nights in Philly and I have a list of Philly cheesesteak and roast Pork places for my daytime sustanance.

Some of the places that I have read about that look interesting to me are: Passion, Lolita, Matyson, RX, Chloe & LeBaia.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Rick

"the only thing we knew for sure about henry porter was that his name wasn't henry porter" : bob

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all of those places would fit the bill, it seems to me. la baia is less so with the creativity--it tends to turn out relatively standard italian dishes. it's a very reliable place in my experience, with very good food, but not on the level with the other places you mention when it comes to creativity.

chloe is the first one you mention that strikes me because they specifically don't take reservations.

you could add southwark to your list as well.

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I'm not sure what nights you are looking for, and many places would be a good possibility without reservations during the week, though not on weekends. Having said that, Melograno is a good Northern Italian no-reservation BYO, and a credible addition to your alternatives. Radicchio and Audrey Claire are also good and no-reservations.

Otherwise, with the exception of the usual suspects (Matyson, Marigold and Django; Southwark and Sovalo on the strength of recent reviews), you're probably still in time to make reservations at most places.

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I'll agree with the above posts, and second the recommendation for Melograno. You'll have best luck going right when they open at 5pm, or later, like 8-8:30. You still might have to wait.

Interestingly, there aren't that many places around here that hold bar seats specifically for walk-ins, like Frontera does. Passion is the only one on your list that does, at least I've walked-in an gotten something there with no reservations. And I like those bar seats, they look right into the kitchen. Same with Bistro 7. That being said, if you're OK with eating at a bar, you'll have a decent chance of getting a seat at the last minute at many spots around town.

The trick is that the smaller BYOBs don't have bars at all, and few have seating like that set-aside. Most of the places you listed are BYOB, so you'll have to bring a bottle of wine if you want one, (or some tequila for their mix at Lolita.) Passion and Southwark have full bars, the rest we've been discussing are BYOB. But there are wine bargains to be had in PA, pop into one of our state-run liquor stores and look for "Chairman's Selections".

I do wish there were more of what you describe around here, I've eaten at Frontera Grill twice, and both times I just wandered in, was told there was a 2-3 hour wait, or I could sit immediately at the counter... hmmm... tough call...

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Don't forget Sansom Street Oyster House. Although it's not an 'R' month, they will still have decent oysters. And soft shell crab season is about ready to start, if it's not here already. In addition, if you're lucky, they'll have Ipswich clams (eat 'em steamed or fried), plus there's always Snapper soup, as well as all the other great fishhouse classics Cary Neff and crew serve up.

And, of course, you get to say hello to Katie!

I don't know where you call home, but if it's not the Mid-Atlantic region, then you owe it to yourself to get to Sansom Street Oyster House. Places like this used to be all over large East Coast cities, but today they are few and far between, at a great loss to those of us who enjoy their seafood fresh and simple and prepared with pride.

I'm just curious -- why no Asian or German? Is it a matter of taste, or do you have plenty of either type at home or other places you travel?

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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all of those places would fit the bill, it seems to me.  la baia is less so with the creativity--it tends to turn out relatively standard italian dishes.  it's a very reliable place in my experience, with very good food, but not on the level with the other places you mention when it comes to creativity.

chloe is the first one you mention that strikes me because they specifically don't take reservations.

you could add southwark to your list as well.

Agreed with everything, especially about La Baia and its good food / lack of "innovative" cuisine.

Lemme third Melograno.

Never been to Southwark or Melograno though, but I've heard too many good things without hearing bad things to not recommend them.

I'll also agree that most places you may want to go are not likely to need reservations, the exceptions being Django and Matyson, one of which you already have a reservation.

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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Don't forget Sansom Street Oyster House. Although it's not an 'R' month, they will still have decent oysters. And soft shell crab season is about ready to start, if it's not here already. In addition, if you're lucky, they'll have Ipswich clams (eat 'em steamed or fried), plus there's always Snapper soup, as well as all the other great fishhouse classics Cary Neff and crew serve up.

And, of course, you get to say hello to Katie!

I don't know where you call home, but if it's not the Mid-Atlantic region, then you owe it to yourself to get to Sansom Street Oyster House. Places like this used to be all over large East Coast cities, but today they are few and far between, at a great loss to those of us who enjoy their seafood fresh and simple and prepared with pride.

I'm just curious -- why no Asian or German? Is it a matter of taste, or do you have plenty of either type at home or other places you travel?

"the only thing we knew for sure about henry porter was that his name wasn't henry porter" : bob

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Don't forget Sansom Street Oyster House. Although it's not an 'R' month, they will still have decent oysters. And soft shell crab season is about ready to start, if it's not here already. In addition, if you're lucky, they'll have Ipswich clams (eat 'em steamed or fried), plus there's always Snapper soup, as well as all the other great fishhouse classics Cary Neff and crew serve up.

And, of course, you get to say hello to Katie!

I don't know where you call home, but if it's not the Mid-Atlantic region, then you owe it to yourself to get to Sansom Street Oyster House. Places like this used to be all over large East Coast cities, but today they are few and far between, at a great loss to those of us who enjoy their seafood fresh and simple and prepared with pride.

I'm just curious -- why no Asian or German? Is it a matter of taste, or do you have plenty of either type at home or other places you travel?

The reasons for No Asian and No German are because I have been on an Asian food binge for several months in several cities and need a break, and as the the No German it's just that I haven't seen any new, interesting German food for quite some time.

"the only thing we knew for sure about henry porter was that his name wasn't henry porter" : bob

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and as the the No German it's just that I haven't seen any new, interesting German food for quite some time.

Is there such thing as "new, interesting German food" anywhere? I don't mean that in a snarky way (well, okay, I kinda do), but I can't recall ever having particularly interesting German food. Even in Germany.

(I mean, unless you count beer as food. Which I do.)

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and as the the No German it's just that I haven't seen any new, interesting German food for quite some time.

Is there such thing as "new, interesting German food" anywhere? I don't mean that in a snarky way (well, okay, I kinda do), but I can't recall ever having particularly interesting German food. Even in Germany.

(I mean, unless you count beer as food. Which I do.)

I vaguely recall a NYT article about a Younk Turk opening a nouvelle autrichienne :cool: place in Manhattan. That's pretty close to German. On the other hand, the place seems to have faded from the map. Certainly there is nothing in our area.

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The jaegerschnitzel at Ludwig's Garten is a satisfying dish, but, hey, it's just jaegerschnitzel. So I fully understand your aversion to Teutonic cuisine, such as it is at most German restaurants in this country. But the beer!

I did have a good meal in Germany, however, and it was German food. A simple fish restaurant in Frankfurt's downtown retail district; I went for various herrings and salads. (Once again, I'm showing my tendency for fish prepared simply but well. Get thee to Sansom Street Oyster House.)

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Chloe and Matyson would be my first two choices as well.

I would like to say one thing about Melograno though...the food was excellent, as was the service. But, I felt that we were rushed through our meal in order to turn over the table for the next party waiting to eat.

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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The jaegerschnitzel at Ludwig's Garten is a satisfying dish, but, hey, it's just jaegerschnitzel. So I fully understand your aversion to Teutonic cuisine, such as it is at most German restaurants in this country. But the beer!

I like German food fine, if it's only for a meal or two at a time. But after a week or so, it gets tiresome: I miss vegetables. Nonetheless, the occasional schnitzel goes down okay, and I'll drink the beer anytime.

I'd be interested to see what sort of modern German or Austrian cuisine a Young Turk could come up with. (As opposed to the Turks in Germany who cook up kebabs. That's some good stuff, though.) Most of the German food I've eaten has been in the US or in rural Germany; I'm sure that there are people doing interesting stuff in, say, Berlin, but I've never been there...

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I'm just going to piggyback here a little and ask: how far is Philly by train from NYC? How much would it cost to get there? I might have a couple of holes in my upcoming trip, and just wondered. I've never been there, and I know it's a cool place as long as you're not wearing the wrong team colors. :laugh:

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I'm just going to piggyback here a little and ask: how far is Philly by train from NYC? How much would it cost to get there? I might have a couple of holes in my upcoming trip, and just wondered. I've never been there, and I know it's a cool place as long as you're not wearing the wrong team colors.  :laugh:

If you take Amtrak, it's an hour and a half or so, but it ain't cheap ($40 or so one-way). You can take local trains (NJ Transit -> SEPTA with a change in Trenton); that's a lot cheaper, but is kind of a hassle and takes 2 1/2 hours or so. Option #3 is to take a bus: either Greyhound or the Chinatown bus is only $15 or so one way and if traffic is okay, takes two hours.

You should definitely come to Philadelphia. Obviously, we'll do our best to give you recommendations; you can probably get some volunteer tour/dinner guides as well...

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Amtrak is indeed the fastest, but it's about $50 each way now, although there are some discounts (usually about 10%) to be had for students, seniors, AAA members, etc...

Greyhound happens to be running a nutty deal right now, $12 each way to NY, which is on par with the slightly weird Chinatown busses. I don't know how long this promotion is on. Their regular fares are between $50 and $72 round trip, depending on advance booking, etc

The Greyhound drops you right in Chinatown in Philly too, and their bathrooms aren't as scary as the ones on the Chinatown busses. But the movies aren't as cool.

http://www.greyhound.com/scripts/TicketCenter/esavers.asp

Doing the commuter train dance is kind of a pain, and it can take forever if SEPTA and NJ Transit get out of sync.

I'd take Amtrak if speed is more important than money, but the Greyhound for $24 will only add about a half-hour each way, and leave you $76 for food down here.

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Greyhound happens to be running a nutty deal right now, $12 each way to NY, which is on par with the slightly weird Chinatown busses. I don't know how long this promotion is on. Their regular fares are between $50 and $72 round trip, depending on advance booking, etc

The Greyhound drops you right in Chinatown in Philly too, and their bathrooms aren't as scary as the ones on the Chinatown busses. But the movies aren't as cool. 

http://www.greyhound.com/scripts/TicketCenter/esavers.asp

A friend tried to take advantage of this deal, and I am told that, while it exists, it is not available as a walk-up ticket price.

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