Philadelphia Journals

Philadelphia - more than cheese steak

A travel journal to Philadelphia by Laalasa

Philadelphia Flower Show, 2005 Photo, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania More Photos
Quote: I work in Philly downtown and I love food, so Iam always looking for cheap lunch spots. These are my two cents...

Philadelphia - more than cheese steak

Overview

Quote:
Philly has some really good dining spots. These are the little places you wish you knew about...

Quick Tips:

Restaurant week in January is a good time to hit the upscale places.

Best Way To Get Around:

Take public transport only. You can walk, too. Even though downtown is an almost perfect grid and well laid out, forget the car.

Portofino's Restaurant

Restaurant | "Portofino"

Quote:
This is my lunch-to-impress place. Where else can you get made-after-you-order fresh lobster ravioli prepared by an Italian chef who cooked for the pope for under $10?? Lunch at Portofino is an elegant affair and cannot be hurried - dishes are made after you order. To get a table at the height of lunch hour, you must call ahead and reserve. It is open for lunch and dinner Monday to Friday and for dinner only on Saturday and Sunday. Dinners are pricey, but their lunch menu is amazingly affordable, with soups and salads starting at $3 and entrées at $7. A word of caution - if you are a gourmand, then maybe this isn't exactly for you on a hungry day. Their portions tend to be ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 7, 2005

Portofino's Restaurant
1227 Walnut St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
+1 215 923 8208

Portofino's Restaurant

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Ritz Carlton - Chocolate Buffet at the Rotunda"

Quote:
I never thought the day would come when I would be sick of chocolate... actually, it lasted a week. The chocolate buffet at the Ritz Carlton Rotunda will humble even the mightiest of chocolate eaters. The buffet is offered from 8pm to midnight on Friday and Saturday only and is a sweet $17.50 (as of October 2004). They accept only walk-ins. The Rotunda is an informal grouping of sofas, love seats, armchairs and regular and bar tables around a circular area. Walk in and seat yourself, and someone will come by to take your drinks order. There is everything from chocolate cookies to fondue and chocolate pastries to chocolate ice cream, fudge, chocolate mousse... There is even a waffle co...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 7, 2005

Portofino's Restaurant
1227 Walnut St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
+1 215 923 8208

Minar Palace

Restaurant

Quote:
Minar Palace is the second-best Indian food I've had so far (the best is in Lincoln, Nebraska... I know--Lincoln, Nebraska?). This is a no-frills, mom-and-pop place where all they've got goes into the food. It's tiny, with a few tables near the pick-up counter and a dining area in the basement. You order, wait right there, pick up your food, and seat yourself. The food is piping hot, spicy, healthy, AND cheap--the tikka masala is not covered with a layer of red-colored grease. They have daily specials, and you can get a platter (a meat dish, a vegetable curry, lentils, and rice) for 5 bucks, and the vegetable platters are even cheaper! Their curries ordered a la carte (starting at $4.50) come w...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 7, 2005

Minar Palace
1605 Sansom
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103
215.564.9443

Penang

Restaurant

Quote:
Penang is an excellent place for good Asian food. They have a mishmash of Malaysian, Indonesian, Indian, and Chinese food. In the end, this fusion works - and very well at that. The portions are enormous and tend to be on the spicier side.

Their appetizers, like roti canai and roti telur, are especially good. A word of caution - some of their fish dishes are served whole (fins, skin, and all), so check with the wait staff if you'd rather have fillets.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 7, 2005

Penang
117 North 10th St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
+1 215 413 2531

Indonesia Restaurant

Restaurant | "Indonesia"

Quote:
Indonesia is another overlooked gem in Chinatown. The food ranges from bland to spicy. The various rijitsafels (a "rice table," the Dutch-Indonesian invention of rice surrounded by various side dishes, anywhere from 6 to 20) are a good way to sample the fare. The soto ayam (coconut-based soup), any nasi goring (fried rice), and anythingsatay (grilled skewer) are really good. When I read the dessert description - molasses, brown sugar, and soy sauce topped with crushed peanuts - it turned my stomach. It came with the rijitsafel as the last course, and my husband took a tentative bite and insisted that I try it. It turned out to be one of the best dessert sauces...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 7, 2005

Indonesia Restaurant
1029 Race St.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
215/829-1400

Warsaw Cafe

Restaurant

Quote:
At the Warsaw Café, anything with smoked salmon is good. Warsaw Café is well-known for its potato pancakes, pierogis, and stuffed cabbage. It's a small, unassuming place with friendly service. The portions are on the smaller side, but each bite is full of complex flavors.

There is no lunch crowd at all, but for dinner, it's a favorite of the theater crowd--so you must call in advance.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 7, 2005

Warsaw Cafe
306 South 16th St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102
(215) 546-0204

McGillin's Olde Ale House

Restaurant | "McGillans Old Ale House "

Quote:
Established in 1860, McGillan's Old Ale House has soups starting from 99C and sandwiches from five bucks. True to its name, McGillan's offers a variety of beers--both popular ones and locally made. You can even get a beer sampler for $6.

The food is fresh and hearty, with large portions. Although it's not phenomenal, it's no greasy spoon either. This is the kind of place to take your best friend and hang out.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 7, 2005

McGillin's Olde Ale House
1310 Drury St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
+1 215 735 5562

Oasis

Restaurant

Quote:
Oasis is a Korean and Japanese restaurant with a soothing indoor waterfall and minimalist décor. Their hot dishes are nothing to write home about, but you can't go wrong with their sushi, sashimi, and maki. Individually, the little bits of raw fish add up, but their sushi buffet for $12.95 (lunch) is a pretty good bargain.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 7, 2005

Oasis
1709 Walnut St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
+1 215 751 0888

Devon Seafood Grill

Restaurant

Quote:
Devon Seafood Grill is an impressive seafood place. Although it's a bit expensive, you can still manage to get a pretty good lunch for under $15.

A lot of their dishes are also offered grilled or broiled for those counting their calories. Their crab cakes must be eaten to be believed.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 7, 2005

Devon Seafood Grill
225 S. 18th St.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102
215/546-5940

Quote:
Reading Terminal Market is one of a kind--it has everything from fresh produce and meats to flowers, gourmet wines, and cheeses. There are various fast-food restaurants, but none of the chains. Every one of them is local, and you can get anything from cheesesteak to sushi and soy burgers to chocolate fudge. This is not an exhaustive list--actually about half of the eating establishments. Nanee's kitchen--Indian and Pakistani--mediocre service, bland food, and my teeth grated on sand in the daal--twice (hey, I was giving them the benefit of doubt). Chinese Places: There are three or four, and the only consistently good one is Golden Bowl. They do not use MSG in their food and will ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 7, 2005

Reading Terminal Market
12th And Arch Streets
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
+1 215 922 2317

Green Village

Restaurant

Quote:
They have a good and extensive buffet, but be careful what you choose. I don't understand them - they make perfect grilled stuff and then smother it with oil. The buffet usually has hot and cold chicken, beef, pork dishes, vegetarian dishes, pastas, rice dishes, a salad bar (prepared salads and salad materials), and dressed fruits.

Apart from the buffet, they also carry a variety of sandwiches and hearty soups. There are individually packed desserts and an assortment of muffins, bagels, croissants, and whole fruits.

There is a small eating place upstairs where you can eat your food after paying for it.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 7, 2005

Green Village
127 N 15th St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102
(215) 564-2400

Quote:
The portions are of a good size and the staff is courteous, but the cooked food lacked a certain something and just didn't do it for me.

That being said, they do have over 50 (yes, OVER 50) different kinds of oysters, and almost everyone there was shucking them down by the dozen. So, if you love oysters, this is the place to go. The oysters are priced individually, as well as by the half-dozen.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on March 7, 2005

Sansom Street Oyster House
1516 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102
215-567-7683

Le Bec-Fin

Restaurant | "Miel Patisserie "

Quote:
The fine chocolates are fine. I bought them once and they were nice but definitely not worth the gazillion dollars that I paid for them. Their mini cakes and pastries are what keep me going back.

I found this place looking for French macaroons (after the trip to Paris, where we got addicted to them), but the macaroons are dry and hard. (If you must, order them online from Payards in NYC.)

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 7, 2005

Le Bec-Fin
1523 Walnut St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102
+1 215 567 1000

Falafel King

Restaurant

Quote:
The Falafel King (vendor), on the corner of 16th and JFK Boulevard, has tasty, healthy, cheap wraps. Most wraps and sandwiches cost between $3 and $4 and platters (meat, salad, vegetable, and rice) are between $5 and $6.

I went there a few times until I noticed the lady licking her finger to separate the plastic bags for bagging and then going right back to preparing the food - that turned my stomach. She does it all the time and very blatantly, but it doesn't seem to bother anyone, as there is always a long lunch line.

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on March 7, 2005

Falafel King
16th Street and JFK Boulevard
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Reading Terminal Market

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Quote:
Below are some more establishments in the Reading Terminal Market. I haven’t yet touched on the sandwich and Italian places – there really is variety here. A tip: since the market is closed on Sundays, everything goes on sale starting at 4:30pm on Saturday evening – I have found 25 long stemmed roses for $5.99 and 10 oranges for a buck! Famous 4th Street Cookie Company – Okay, these cookies are a meal in themselves. Soft and chewy, they are really large and are not greasy or overloaded with nuts – in short, just perfect. Lancaster County Dairy – Located at the north end of the market, this Amish-run store sells juices like no other. Fresh and with zero additives or preservatives, they...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 2, 2005

Reading Terminal Market
12th And Arch Streets
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
+1 215 922 2317

Philadelphia Flower Show

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Philadelphia Flower Show, 2005 Photo, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Quote:
Listed as one of the top 100 events in North America and as one of the 1,000 places to see before you die, the annual Philadelphia Flower Show lives up to the expectations and more. It should considering it has over 175 years of experience. Held for 9 days in early March each year, it draws an estimated 275,000 people. It is the largest indoor flower show in the world and is held at the Philadelphia Convention Center in downtown Philadelphia. The area is centrally located (a block from City Hall and the city center), and serviced by public transport and has parking garages across the street. Of the 33 acres, about 10 acres are for exhibits. These exhibits range from wildflower meadows...Read More