Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Philadelphia Dean & Deluca/Zabar's


reggie_212
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm spending New Year's with my girlfriend at her apartment by Rittenhouse Square and never having spent much time in Philly, would anyone have any suggestions for a gourmet market in the area? We're planning to stay in and cook and I'm used to having a Zabar's type store around me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, there's nothing like Zabar's anywhere else. Quite a store.

But here's the good news: Di Bruno's, after a zillion years in the Italian Market section of South 9th, has opened a satellite store near Rittenhouse Square. 1730 Chestnut Street, a terrific Italianspecialty/gourmet/cheese/meats/Salumeria-type store. Open 7 Days.

Web Site: http://www.dibruno.com/contact.html

However, if you are specifically looking for a Zabar's smoked fish-type experience, you'll just have to wait until you get back to NY!

Edited by menton1 (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Menton1,

Thanks for the tip. I will definitely check it out during my visit. I was hoping though for a broader selection such as a butcher and seafood counter.

Well, there's nothing like Zabar's anywhere else.  Quite a store. 

But here's the good news:  Di Bruno's, after a zillion years in the Italian Market section of South 9th, has opened a satellite store near Rittenhouse Square. 1730 Chestnut Street, a terrific Italianspecialty/gourmet/cheese/meats/Salumeria-type store.  Open 7 Days. 

Web Site:  http://www.dibruno.com/contact.html

However, if you are specifically looking for a Zabar's smoked fish-type experience, you'll just have to wait until you get back to NY!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Menton1,

Thanks for the tip.  I will definitely check it out during my visit.  I was hoping though for a broader selection such as a butcher and seafood counter.

 

You want that, head over to the Reading Terminal Market. Unfortunately, it's not convenient to Rittenhouse Square, but this is a great town to walk around, and it's not all that far a walk. Since you're on vacation, you should have the time.

Salumeria, the store referenced in menton1's post, is located there. Harry G. Ochs is the best butcher in town, and Martin's two stalls down carries lots of freshly made specialty sausages. If you go on a weekend, there's also a Pennsylvania Dutch specialty meat vendor (Dutch Country Meats) open. John Yi and Golden Sea Food can take care of the fish. Downtown Cheese is almost as good as DiBruno's in the cheese department. You won't find all the unusual packaged goods you will at Zabar's, but DiBruno's has some of that territory covered.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

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

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Menton1,

Thanks for the tip.  I will definitely check it out during my visit.  I was hoping though for a broader selection such as a butcher and seafood counter.

 

You want that, head over to the Reading Terminal Market. Unfortunately, it's not convenient to Rittenhouse Square, but this is a great town to walk around, and it's not all that far a walk. Since you're on vacation, you should have the time.

Salumeria, the store referenced in menton1's post, is located there. Harry G. Ochs is the best butcher in town, and Martin's two stalls down carries lots of freshly made specialty sausages. If you go on a weekend, there's also a Pennsylvania Dutch specialty meat vendor (Dutch Country Meats) open. John Yi and Golden Sea Food can take care of the fish. Downtown Cheese is almost as good as DiBruno's in the cheese department. You won't find all the unusual packaged goods you will at Zabar's, but DiBruno's has some of that territory covered.

I will echo Sandy here. The terminal market is worth the walk. I routinely walked there weekly when I lived on the square - even in the dead of winter. It's especially worthwhile if you can get there when the amish vendors are there.

Having lived in both cities, I can also say that there is really nothing like Zabar's (at least in terms of an appetizing counter) here but nothing like the R.T.M. in NYC. Try to go. Get a Dinic's sandwich while you are browsing.... and a Fischer's pretzel.... oh and an apple dumpling.....

Enjoy yourself here and report back to us.

Evan

Dough can sense fear.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Definitely head over to the RTM. If you want a "taste" of the market now, go to its web site or the Reading Terminal Market topic in the Pennsylvania forum.

Keep in mind the RTM is closed on New Year's Day (Sunday), and some merchants take the week or two after New Year's off; in any event, the Pennsylvania Dutch merchants are only there Wednesday-Saturday. Also, some merchants will close earlier than normal on New Year's Eve. If you can get to the RTM this Friday or Saturday, though, you'll be amazed. And come back on May when the fresh local produce starts to roll in. In the meantime, you'll have to "settle" for a roast pork sandwich with provolone and greens at Tommy DiNic's.

None of this should dissuade you from visiting DiBruno's, also. But if you have time on Friday or Saturday, a stroll through the 9th St. Market (the blocks from Washington Street to Christian are the busiest), that's worth a detour, too. Have a tripe sandwich at George's. And visit the original DiBruno's, and Claudio's, too.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bring a cooler! If you make it to all of the fine suggestions you've gotten here you'll find stuff you want to bring home with you too. Zabar's be damned! There's definitely stuff here that's unique that you'll make edible souveniers of.

Don't miss having a Fisher's soft pretzel at Reading Terminal, try some fresh mozzerella at Claudio's Caseificio in the Italian Market and definitely avail yourself of some of the fine sandwich culture we have here with either a Roast Pork Italiano or a tripe sandwich on one of those food gathering missions.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You want that, head over to the Reading Terminal Market.  Unfortunately, it's not convenient to Rittenhouse Square, but this is a great town to walk around, and it's not all that far a walk.

I will echo Sandy here. The terminal market is worth the walk. I routinely walked there weekly when I lived on the square - even in the dead of winter.

just to clarify time-wise here: rittenhouse square is at 18th street and walnut. the terminal is at 12th street and just above market. that's 6 blocks down and 2 1/2 blocks over, less than 3/4 of a mile of nice walking through town--shouldn't take you more than about 20 minutes max if you don't shop your way down there, although there's plenty to see and do along the way.

Edited by mrbigjas (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all for the wonderful tips and suggestions. They are much appreciated. The reception here is much better than what I would have expected given my previous experience with Philadelphians, but then again that is just from attending Flyers-Rangers games at the formerly appropriately named F-U arena.

It is especially difficult shopping for the right ingredients if you're either new to an area or just visiting. I have noticed though a proliferation of "gourmet" type shops opening up in several cities. When I was in grad school in Chicago, Fox & Obel (http://www.fox-obel.com) had just started. Not that it's really gourmet, but a manifestation of this is Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. Who would have shopped at these places ten years ago!?!?!??!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The reception here is much better than what I would have expected given my previous experience with Philadelphians, but then again that is just from attending Flyers-Rangers games at the formerly appropriately named F-U arena.

Never judge us by our fan behavior at a sporting event.

This is the town that booed Santa Claus. :raz:

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you go overboard with your shopping at the Reading Terminal Market (which is easy to do), and find yourself weighed down with too many shopping bags, you can always cab it back to Rittenhouse Square.

You can flag one down on Market Street, or catch one outside the Marriott Hotel, which is across from the market's 12th Street entrance. The driver will complain that you're not going to Atlantic City; just ignore him.

Maria Gallagher

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all for the wonderful tips and suggestions.  They are much appreciated.  The reception here is much better than what I would have expected given my previous experience with Philadelphians, but then again that is just from attending Flyers-Rangers games at the formerly appropriately named F-U arena. 

It is especially difficult shopping for the right ingredients if you're either new to an area or just visiting.  I have noticed though a proliferation of "gourmet" type shops opening up in several cities.  When I was in grad school in Chicago, Fox & Obel (http://www.fox-obel.com) had just started.  Not that it's really gourmet, but a manifestation of this is Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.  Who would have shopped at these places ten years ago!?!?!??!

WF and Trader Joes are close to Rittenhouse, also.

Whole Foods, 20th and Callowhill Streets and 929 South St.

Trader Joe's, 2121 Market St.

BTW, Zabar's has no butcher nor seafood counter, either. And, yes, New York is unique, but so is Philly-- the Raading Market is unique, as are the left turns on red, and the preserved historical buildings and neighborhoods. None of that in NY.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all for the wonderful tips and suggestions.  They are much appreciated.  The reception here is much better than what I would have expected given my previous experience with Philadelphians, but then again that is just from attending Flyers-Rangers games at the formerly appropriately named F-U arena. 

We've also been named one of the friendliest cities in America by Condé Nast Traveler. Go figure. Certainly the response you've gotten here reflects the latter attitude more than the former--but then again, you weren't asking us, "How about them Iggles?"

It is especially difficult shopping for the right ingredients if you're either new to an area or just visiting.  I have noticed though a proliferation of "gourmet" type shops opening up in several cities.  When I was in grad school in Chicago, Fox & Obel (http://www.fox-obel.com) had just started.  Not that it's really gourmet, but a manifestation of this is Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.  Who would have shopped at these places ten years ago!?!?!??!

Most of those places, however, have a certain, um, preciousness about them; some of them even stray into the category "purveyors of food porn." Others of them seem mainly to sell food to customers who buy it because of the status it confers on them rather than because it's good.

And, as you point out, many, even most, of these are of relatively recent provenance.

The Reading Terminal Market is none of the above. People shop there for the same reasons they've been coming there since 1893 (and prior to then, to the vendor stalls that gave Philadelphia's Market Street its name): because they know they can get real food from real people who know what they're selling (and in some cases grow it themselves). No pretense, no trendiness (well, precious little trendiness)--just honest value on good meats, produce and specialty items.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

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

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, there's nothing like Zabar's anywhere else.  Quite a store. 

But here's the good news:  Di Bruno's, after a zillion years in the Italian Market section of South 9th, has opened a satellite store near Rittenhouse Square. 1730 Chestnut Street, a terrific Italianspecialty/gourmet/cheese/meats/Salumeria-type store.  Open 7 Days. 

Web Site:  http://www.dibruno.com/contact.html

However, if you are specifically looking for a Zabar's smoked fish-type experience, you'll just have to wait until you get back to NY!

just don't expect Zabar's prices at DiBruno's. Expect to pay at least 1/3 more for cheeses (and everything else). Kind of like the price difference between Zabar's and Eli's, or Fairway and Dean and DeLuca. But the cheesemongers at DiBruno's are much friendlier and more helpful than at Zabar's (and give bigger tastes) and there's rarely a huge crowd, let alone a bloodthirsty horde like at Fairway.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to share some of the food experiences from my weekend in Philadelphia, I took the advice provided and headed over to the Reading Terminal Market on Friday around noon. It was a chilly but sunny day so the walk over from Rittenhouse Square down Walnut was actually enjoyable. When we arrived the place was packed with it seemed both locals and tourists alike. Whoever said we in New York have nothing like it was exactly right. How jealous I am such a market exists in a city not my own! After walking around a bit my girlfriend and I decided on Tony Dinic’s (sp?) for both a roast beef and roast pork sandwich. When you’re waiting on the line you can see them scoop out the simmering slices of meat onto the bread and I have to admit, it didn’t seem too appealing when they were prepared. While they were better tasting than I would have thought given the preparation (and I preferred the roast pork to the roast beef), I thought it was a decent hero but nothing to go out of my way for. The meat was a bit on the gummy side and the roast beef didn’t have any distinct flavor. Maybe because I enjoy typical Italian deli rare roast beef thinly sliced, but the “braised” roast beef there wasn’t very flavorful.

We picked up some shellfish from the seafood vendor right next to Dinic’s (the shrimp turned out fabulous) and some produce from Iovine’s (sp?). I would have liked to have tried the seafood frying stall on the south-west corner of the building but seating there was limited. Seating was also a tough deal everywhere it seemed and if possible, additional seating areas would greatly enhance the market.

On Sat, we went over to DiBruno’s and I thought it was a pretty nice place. One quick note, On 18th Street I believe, we passed by this boarded up store that had a DiBruno sign and I thought I had been had by some clever egulleters who were trying to play a prank on the New Yorker! But it turns out they had moved around the corner. As advertised, they had a fantastic cheese counter and their salumeria and prepared food counters rival anything I’ve ever seen. One slight criticism though, It was hard figuring out which line was for what being how crowded the market was. So I got stuck behind this one guy and other people began cutting me. Add into this the salumeria guys really do…let’s just say: “take their time.” I understand the pace of life I’m used to is much quicker in NY but with a store full of people, you would think they could put the pedal to the metal. Would it hurt to put a number counter up either?!??!! Also, by the time we got there on Saturday they had run out of bread so that was annoying. I guess on New Year's eve you can't expect exceptional service or quality, so this might be an outlier observation.

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend and all the suggestions came in quite handy. Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tommy DiNic's typically earns raves, though I've only had his pork sandwich. Did you order yours with greens and aged provolone? If not, a repeat visit is called for. That's what makes the sandwich.

Fridays and Saturdays are always crazy at RTM. More so before a holiday weekend. But during lunch time, especially when it's cold outside, seating is always a challenge.

You can be envious of RTM. I'll balance things out wishing Philadelphia had a Union Square Green Market, and, even more, a Shake Shack.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

Twitter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

there was limited.  Seating was also a tough deal everywhere it seemed and if possible, additional seating areas would greatly enhance the market. 

believe it or not, seating is significantly better than it was--over by the other fish place, where there are tables now, used to be a fourth vegetable vendor.

Add into this the salumeria guys really do…let’s just say: “take their time.”

haha i was in there on saturday morning (or was it friday afternoon? or sunday? i can't remember, i was in there like five times this weekend, it's embarrassing) and this crazy ole lady was leaning over the charcuterie counter yelling to anyone that would listen MY GAWD HE'S GOING SO SLOW IT'S DRIIIIVING ME CRAAAAZY. i couldn't stop laughing.

incidentally i also noticed that they are now carrying a bunch more specialty olives than they used to, mostly from spain. i picked up some mantequillas and some that were cured with preserved lemon. the latter tasted so much like the lemon that i couldn't taste the olive, but the mantequillas? delicious. i had a moment of panic that they're no longer carrying the spicy catalan olives that are my favorite, but i think i did see them.

I guess on New Year's eve you can't expect exceptional service or quality, so this might be an outlier observation. 

i don't know about new year's eve later in the afternoon, because i wasn't there, but on christmas eve at least, i don't think i've ever seen dibruno's at such a high level of activity. the store was packed with people--and equally packed with employees. if i hadn't dawdled around trying to decide what i wanted i could have been in and out in 5-10 minutes. it rocked.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OOPS, forgot to add one interesting thing. Could someone confirm for me whether or not there are open container laws in Philadelphia? On New Years day there was a clown parade and it seemed like Bourbon St or the Las Vegas Strip, the only two other places I know of where open alcohol is permissable. Is it that there are public alcohol laws and the city just turns their head for this particular event or are there no laws to speak of.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

there are definitely open container laws. there are about seventy-leven laws about every aspect of alcohol in every shape and form, from where and when you can sell it, to where and when you can drink it...

but on new years all bets are off. what you saw was the mummers parade, the oldest folk parade in the US, dating back to the early 1700s or before. go to the mummers website to learn more about it if you're interested. it's a great drunken time, and the city turns its head to a whole pile of everyday laws for that day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

there are definitely open container laws.  there are about seventy-leven laws about every aspect of alcohol in every shape and form, from where and when you can sell it, to where and when you can drink it...

but on new years all bets are off.  what you saw was the mummers parade, the oldest folk parade in the US, dating back to the early 1700s or before.  go to the mummers website to learn more about it if you're interested.  it's a great drunken time, and the city turns its head to a whole pile of everyday laws for that day.

And after the Mummer's Parade comes the Two Street Parade, where the bands (by now quite <ahem> festive) march down 2nd Street to the Mummers Museum for the last of the partying. I might add that my house is right on the 2 Street parade route and the revelry was so loud and intimidating that my little cat Dulcita was sitting on her haunches like a Meerkat in the window of my office and GROWLING at them. :shock: It was the strangest thing I've ever seen her do. I wonder if all the feathered costumes looked like giant birds or something? :blink:

Yes - all bets are off on New Year's Day in Philly.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh man, be careful, you could SO get your ass kicked by a dockworker wearing a dress if you call it a "clown parade" in the wrong company!

The Mummer's Parade is a profoundly weird thing, I've been here over 20 years now and I still can't quite get my head around it. But for better or worse, heavy drinking is an integral part of it, on both sides of the curb. There's just not enough room in the jails, or even paper for citations, if they decided to enforce open container laws.

I've noticed that they're very laid-back on New Year's Eve at Penn's Landing too, I didn't go this year, but previous years I've had open champagne right in front of police, and they didn't seem to care. But then again, don't blame me if they decide to crack down all of a sudden, it IS officially illegal.

As for the speed of service thing, Philly's odd that way. In most cases we go at a typical brusque, in-a-big-freaking-hurry east coast pace, but many delis, cheese shops, etc. are working on a different clock, they just slice stuff at their own pace, chat, give samples... I suspect it has something to do with the spinning of slicer blades creating their own gravity, therefore a wrinkle in the fabric of time and space. I'm pretty sure.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On New Years day there was a clown parade ...

Huh?

Were you watching people exit the southbound Metroliner at 30th Street Station?

Actually, I've heard that some marchers aren't musicians, so they pursue their post-parade partying prematurely.

Charlie, the Main Line Mummer

We must eat; we should eat well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...