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Over the past few years, Philadelphia’s culinary scene has exploded into what has now become a major foodie destination. No longer limited to cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, or hoagies, the range of cuisines in Philly’s different neighborhoods has the power to transport the diner to almost any corner of the world without having to leave the city. Highlighted below are a few of the city’s best neighborhoods and streets for those interested in a cross-cultural culinary adventure.
Washington Avenue- Bella Vista
In Bella Vista, most visitors tend to flock to the storied Italian Market on Ninth Street, famous for its traditional 19th-century Italian roots. The often-overlooked Washington Avenue, however, offers a veritable selection of international offerings from immigrant-run eateries. It is anchored at Washington and 12th Street by Wing Phat Plaza, a Vietnamese shopping center with plenty of authentic restaurants, and the street is intermixed with down-and-dirty taquerias as well as higher-end sit-down restaurants.
Phở & Cafe Viet Huong, located at 1110 Washington Avenue, is a great wallet-friendly option with piping-hot bowls of phở starting at $6 and banh mi starting at $3. Bibou, on 1009 S. 8th Street at Washington Avenue, is a more elegant and upscale French option. Taqueria La Veracruzana is one of the many authentic Mexican eateries on the street, located at 908-18 Washington Avenue, satisfying the Mexican food fix for vegetarians and carnivores alike.
Known as a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood, diners can stroll down Washington Avenue and follow their noses, and will likely find themselves at the door of one of the many authentic dining options.
Second Street- Northern Liberties
In recent years, Northern Liberties has undergone a complete transition from a former manufacturing district into a hip and quirky neighborhood, earning itself the nickname ‘NoLibs.’ It offers some of the city’s most authentic international cuisine and best nightlife spots, and is considered one of the go-to brunch neighborhoods in Philly. Come August, NoLibs hosts the Second Street Festival- a giant block party that promotes the neighborhood by combining local art and live music with food from the area.
For tapas or a great brunch, head to Bar Ferdinand at 1030 N. Second Street for a delicious meal that won’t break the bank. If you’re craving Thai food, check out Circles Contemporary Thai Cuisine at 812 N. Second Street, where you can choose your spice level, ranging from mild to Thai hot. For a nighttime option, consider Standard Tap at 901 N. Second Street, which is considered by many to be America’s first gastropub.
With its more unconventional and adventurous flavors, Northern Liberties has quickly established itself as a foodie neighborhood and Second Street as the place to be.
East Passyunk Avenue- East Passyunk
A neighborhood that attracts tourists and locals alike, East Passyunk is where old-school meets new-school in a collision of culinary offerings. Home to both of Philly’s rival cheesesteak mainstays, Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks, it now also houses more exotic options ranging from gastropub fare to authentic Southeast Asian eateries.
Nick Elmi, a competitor representing Philly on the current season of Top Chef, recently opened his first restaurant, Laurel. Located at 1617 East Passyunk Avenue, it will operate as a BYOB serving French and American- influenced seasonal dishes. A few doors down at 1734 East Passyunk Avenue is Marra’s, a family owned and operated Italian restaurant that has been in business for over eighty years.
Named one of Food & Wine’s Ten Best Foodie Streets in America, it is clear that East Passyunk has solidified its standing among foodies- it will be hosting its second annual Restaurant Week in late February of 2014 and continuing its annual Flavors of the Avenue event in April.
While the Philadelphia food scene is constantly growing and changing, it is clear that one thing remains the same: the quality and diversity of dining options. Whether you’re craving a classic cheesesteak or an upscale dining experience, diners will be faced with a plethora of possibilities. The only problem with all these choices? Figuring out exactly where to eat.
For more to fill up your day (and your stomach) in Philadelphia check out Zerve’s listings: http://www.zerve.com/d/philadelphia/food-wine
Brittany is a member of the Content Team at Zerve. Ironically, she has never had a real Philly cheesesteak before (only a frozen one from Costco at a friend’s house after school). When she is not guest blogging for PhillyGrub, she is usually eating, watching baseball, or looking for bad movies on Netflix.
Basically, you create a board, find a place, write something about it, find or upload a picture and add it to your board. Then it creates a map with pins in the location of those places. Such a brilliant idea; such a handy way of highlighting your favorite places or places on your to-go list.
It made sense for us to start using this new feature by spotlighting various Philadelphia restaurants. A handy pin-guide to good eats in Philly by cuisine, type of restaurant and whatever else we can think of. I see lots of Philly food place boards in our future.
Since this is a new feature it’s very much a work in progress for us, but feel free to follow along and let us know if we’re missing anything.
Are you using Place Pins yet? How do you think you will use them? Show us YOUR Philly food place boards on Pinterest!
Basic 4 Vegetarian Cafe is offering up a delicious Thanksgiving feast for Philadelphia vegetarians. Consider the age-old question of “What do vegetarians eat for Thanksgiving?” answered. Check out their Thanksgiving catering menu below & get your order in ASAP!
Has anybody tried the carrot tuna? Would love to hear what that’s like!
Fine Wine & Good Spirits reached out to tell us about some great holiday cocktail ideas they’ve put together and asked to share with you. Good booze is equally as exciting as good grub. And quite frankly, Thanksgiving isn’t complete without libations. Cheers!
Pumpkin Pie Cocktail
- 1 oz. vodka
- 3/4 oz. sweetened pumpkin pie filling
- 1/2 oz. coffee liqueur
- 2 oz. milk
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and pour into a martini glass. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Scotch Whisky Sour
- 2 oz. scotch
- 1 oz. simple syrup
- ¾ oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 maraschino cherry
- ½ slice lemon
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake, then pour into an old fashioned glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and a lemon slice.
Perhaps one of these fall-themed alcoholic concoctions? (Yes please! *hiccup*)
We recently attended the Philly Weekly Taste of Philly 2013 held at the Crystal Tea Room on Wednesday, November 13. It was a spectacular culinary event showcasing an impressive cross section of Philadelphia restaurants as well as mostly local breweries who were prominently setup in the middle of the room, quaintly dubbed “The Beer Garden.”
The event was well attended; hundreds of foodies seeking the latest sensational flavors of Philly’s hottest restaurants. Food and beer lovers stood in long food lines and mingled as they noshed on the various food offerings—snacks, hors d’oeuvres, entrees, desserts—and sampled alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages alike. There was live entertainment for our pleasure, too; a DJ, live band and even a photo booth compliments of Photobot 3000.
We didn’t get to try everything, but there were certainly some stand-outs: succulent triple meat on a stick Brazilian-style by Chima, a spicy curried pork dish by Fire & Ice Restaurant, well-seasoned wurst by BrÜ Craft & Wurst, and zesty Fire Roasted Chili by Sum Pig Food Truck. All of the brews we tried were great; we especially enjoyed the selections from Yards Brewing Company and Triumph Brewing Company.
Muir Glen furnished the Fire Roasted Chili recipe that uses Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Green Chiles so we could try it at home.
So excited to make this for ourselves at home, we embarked on procuring all of the ingredients and got to work on this tonight.
Here’s our version simmering away in a dutch oven sans the cilantro and garnish. We decided to add about 1 lb. of ground beef which the recipe doesn’t call for. Feel free to add your preferred meat or make it vegetarian style.
The finished product: a close facsimile of what we had at Wednesday’s event. Very tasty and we recommend trying this recipe at home with your own modifications.
Kudos to Philly Weekly, the restaurants, the breweries, and all of the sponsors for an incredible food-and-drink lovers event. Special thanks to Muir Glen Organic for supplying the tickets to attend so we could review it. Looking forward to next year!
Cherry Hill Mall will debut its own Restaurant Week this summer. It will run July 14th through July 20th.
100 percent of the restaurants are participating. They include:
- The Capital Grille
- Seasons 52
- Grand Lux Cafe
- California Pizza Kitchen
- Maggiano’s Little Italy
- Bahama Breeze
- Bobby’s Burger Palace
- Nordstrom Marketplace Cafe
- The Bistro at Cherry Hill
All nine restaurants will offer special menus and pricing during the week-long promotion. Guests are encouraged to make reservations at their favorite restaurant during Cherry Hill Mall Restaurant Week.
We’re excited about the deals at Grand Lux Cafe and Maggiano’s Little Italy.