Took a stroll on Locust Walk on UPenn's campus. 20 October 2009.

Home sweet home. From my undergraduate days to today, I’ve been taking in everything that Philly has to offer and enjoying all my experiences be it with friends, family, part of a social event, or happy hour. And lately I’ve been trying to push outside Center City as my schedule will allow. Next goal is some of the hole-in-the-walls of Queen Village.

One thing I would like to add, being vegetarian, I will never touch a cheesesteak. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve responded “none of the above” when asked “you prefer Pat’s or Geno’s..or Abner’s or Jim’s on South or Tony Lukes?” Sorry folks, I don’t do cheesesteaks. I will say this much, I know amongst my family, and especially my brother, everyone’s favourite by far is Geno’s. But that’s about all I can really say.

Philadelphia, PA

Alma de Cuba | Cuban | Rittenhouse Square
Another Starr restaurant – the fare here is alright, but I argue there is better Cuban food in Cuba de Libre (even if pricier) and certainly Mixto.
Review | Website

Amada | Spanish | Old City
Jose Garces’ take on tapas is quite expensive, but worth it. Ate here for Philly Restaurant Week on my last day at one of my former employers – didn’t regret it at all.
Review | Website

Banana Leaf | Malaysian | Chinatown
Affordably-priced and incredibly tasty Malaysian food. Very much reminds me of Sri Lankan food and is clearly my family’s go-to venue when they visit me downtown.
Review | Website

Beau Monde | French | Bella Vista
Solid, reliable, affordably-priced French food and nightclub upstairs. Have always loved their crepes.
Review | Website

Bistro St. Tropez | French | Rittenhouse Square
Southern French cuisine that doesn’t disappoint. Had stingray here for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Review | Website

Buddakan | Asian Fusion | Old City
My mother hated (yes, I’m quoting her on that) this place due to the small portions. It’s all relative, in my opinion, I thought the portions were just fine and hit the spot just fine.
Review | Website

Byblos | Mediterranean | Rittenhouse Square
If they’d only lighten up on the oil on some of their dishes, I’d be more inclined to eat here. It’s just a bit too obvious.
Review | Website

Caribou Cafe | French | Midtown Village
Laid-back French restaurant (is that an oxymoron) serves up solid food near Jefferson U’s campus. Salmon and cheese crepe that I had during Restaurant Week gets a 10/10.
Review | Website

Carluccio’s | Italian | South Philly
Italian food with a homemade touch, and whilst the atmosphere is simple, the owners are very warm and welcoming.
Review | Website

Capogiro | Gelateria | Multiple Locations
Artisanal gelato and sorbetto…and whilst it’s the best, it comes at a price. Pints are sold in the city at specialty stores as well.
Review | Website

Continental | Eclectic/Fusion | Old City, Rittenhouse Square
Ate at both locations, prefer the roomier Rittenhouse location. Food is excellent, even if tapas-sized.
Review | Website

Dark Horse | Irish | Society Hill
Ate here a few years ago just before I turned vegetarian. The shepherd’s pie was fantastic then and when I went more recently with friends, they still loved it.
Review | Website

Davio’s | Italian | Rittenhouse Square
After several happy hours and a dinner here, while I think the food is good, there’s better Italian to be had – especially in South Philly.
Review | Website

Effie’s | Greek | Washington Square
Small intimate Greek restaurant that delivers every time. Hours are extremely limited and I’m not sure they have carryout…but don’t quote me on that.
Review | Website

El Vez | Mexican | Midtown Village
Loved their fish tacos, although this is more mexican fusion/mexican eclectic than authentic Mexican. But to be expected of a Starr venue here…
Review | Website

Fado | Irish | Rittenhouse Square
Decent food, but some of the others have a leg up I think.
Review | Website

Fat Salmon | Japanese | Washington Square
Used to be Shinju Sushi on 11th and Locust, moved to 7th and Walnut and the sushi is even better. Was and still is my go-to sushi spot.
Review | Website (not yet)

Giwa | Korean | Business District/Rittenhouse
Hot or cold rice or noodle dishes prepared with any choice of meat for reasonable prices. A go-to for a number of the business community in Center City. This place is always packed during lunch hours.
Review | Website (coming soon)

Greek Lady | Greek/Sandwiches | University City
After 10 years, the UPenn jury is still out on this place, personally I think they put way too much oil in their subs. WAY too much.
Review | Website (coming soon)

Jones | American | Washington Square
The monkey bread was killer, their brunch is good, but I’m not so crazy about their other meals. Then again, comfort food is generally something I don’t go for.
Review | Website

Joy Tsin Lau | Chinese | Chinatown
Hands down the best dim sum in Chinatown say Philadelphians across the board, and at approximately $8-9 per person (last I checked anyhow) you can’t go wrong. Located at 1026 Race Street.
Review | (no website)

Kabul | Afghan | Old City
This is another venue on my top 5 in the city. The spices and seafood make the dishes here but so do the friendliness and attentiveness of the staff. Dishes are reasonably priced and ambiance is a plus.
Review | Website

Konak | Turkish | Northern Liberties
Striped pan-seared bass here was insanely good and at the restaurant week price, it was just that much better.
Review | Website

Lee’s Hoagies | Sandwiches | University City
Always the freshest ingredients, every time I ate a hoagie or sandwich here, I was never disappointed. Service is excellent. I will have to say this clearly beats Greek Lady anyday.
Review | Website

Lemongrass Thai | Thai | Powelton Village
Food and peanut dishes were very strong, unfortunately I wasn’t digging the fact that these guys are closed Sundays. Recently they’ve expanded their hours though.
Review | Website

Mad-4-Mex | Mexican | University City
Margaritas make this place a go-to for the lot of UPenn students.
Review | Website

Mama Palma’s | Italian | Rittenhouse Square
Gourmet pizza place that some may argue is overpriced, but I don’t know too many mom-and-pops that serve anything so fresh as this place, either.
Review | Website

Mexican Post | Mexican | Old City, Love Park
Food is more on the pub grub side, but absolutely no complaints about their margaritas.
Review | Website

Mission Grill | American Southwest | Logan Square
The food and drinks don’t stand out to me here, but I’m not too big into this type of food either. Most people I know that have come here don’t complain.
Review | Website

Mixto | Cuban/Colombian | Midtown Village
One of my favourites in the entire city, all around solid for brunch, lunch and dinner, reasonable prices and ample portions to boot. Oh yes, and the drinks are excellent too.
Review | Website

National Mechanics | American | Old City
General bar/gastropub food, but I did hear their brunch was solid. We went in here after the NERR Half Marathon, and whilst the food was good, it took nearly an hour to get our food after we had ordered. There were six of us, and the restaurant was not packed at all for Sunday brunch. Would hate to think what it would be like for dinner.
Review | Website

New Deck Tavern | American | University City
Pretty decent pub fare and a mean night of Quizzo every Wednesday to boot.
Review | Website

New Delhi | Indian | University City
Food is on par with Tandoor India, but the buffet selection here is a lot more vegetarian friendly.
Review | Website

Patou | French | Old City – note closed in 2009
Most people I talked to really did NOT like this restaurant – my guess must be the service. The food was fantastic, the portions weren’t bad, but servers were quite snooty here. The escargot here was a bit on the oily side but I’ve had worse.
Review | Website

Penang | Malaysian | Chinatown
Noodles are a bit thinner but I think Banana Leaf is better since I’m more biased towards spicy dishes – these folks are a bit more milder on average. And apparently my colleagues feel the same way – consensus, Banana Leaf is better.
Review | Website

Philly Cupcake | Cupcakery | Midtown Village
To make the $3 cupcake worth it, I went for the more ecelctic flavours – green tea and honey, sweet potato, etc.
Review | Website

Pietro’s | Italian | Old City, Rittenhouse Square
Servers are a bit more attentive in Old City than they are in Rittenhouse Square, but you can’t go wrong with the pizzas in either location.
Review | Website

Public House | American | Logan Square
Good happy hour specials, drinks and the like. Go-to for the business crowd. But this place dies down past that, although Saturday night specials are pretty good.
Review | Website

PYT | American | Northern Liberties
Burger Joint in NorLibs. Good fries, servers took forever to come out.
Review | Website

Rangoon | Burmese | Chinatown
I love their style of noodles here, very affordably priced. Unfortunately my mother didn’t care for Burmese spices – not her thing.
Review | Website

Rouge | French | Rittenhouse Square
Good food, better drinks, small portions are to be expected…servers were a bit…uppish. Welcome to Rouge? Or maybe the fact that it was a French venue in Rittenhouse…but we’re not all snooty here in the square.
Review | Website

Rum Bar | Carribbean | Rittenhouse Square
Food isn’t quite as strong but this bar easily tops just about everywhere else in the city with their rum selection. You want it, you got it here. Enjoyed their mint chocolate mojitos the most here.
Review | Website

Sazon | Venezuelan | North Philly
Fried hot chocolate and killer arepas make your day here. 10th and Spring Garden location makes it harder to get to unless you take the 47 bus northbound up 7th Street, or the 23 up 10th itself.
Review | Website

Scoop deVille/Maron Chocolates | Creamery | Multiple Locations
Choose your own flavours, toppings and all the like at this creamery. You can never go wrong here.
Review | Website

Slainte | Irish | University City
Slainte is a drinking toast in Ireland and Scotland. The food here is in my opinion among the stronger pub fare in the city. Located across the 30th Street Amtrak station.
Review | Website

South Street Diner | American | South Philly
Reasonably priced diner food that has something for everyone. A go-to if you want a good sandwich, steak or gyro cheap. Located at 140 South Street.
Review | Website (none yet)

Su Xing House | Chinese/Vegetarian | Business District/Rittenhouse Square
Seriously? Insanely good cheap Chinese food in this part of Center City? And it’s all vegetarian but still! Tofu dishes across the board were very good – my favourite was a spicy eggplant dish with tofu, onions and peppers and brown rice. Also portions were huge and leftovers reheat well.
Review | Website

Sweet Ending | Frozen Yogurt | Midtown Village, Rittenhouse Square
It doesn’t compare to the Pinkberries and other heavy hitters in other cities, could use a few more innovative flavours, but it still works just fine.
Review | Website

Table 31 | American/Italian | Business District
Drinks were good, never to miss during happy hour, but goodness help you if it rains and you’re outdoors. Food, well, it’s alright, doesn’t stand out to me.
Review | Website

Tandoor India | Indian | University City
Very good tandoori (clay-oven cooked) chicken (again this is before I became vegetarian though I hear opinions have not changed) and overall buffet is solid. A go-to for a lot of Penn students and locals in the area.
Review | Website

Tir Na Nog | Irish | Logan Square
Drinks and salmon dishes don’t disappoint. Pretty reliable overall.
Review | Website

Tria | Wine Bar | Washington Square, Rittenhouse Square
I give the WSW location props for the 5 for 5 specials they have during the week, but their cheese selection is very nice and the waiters are able to distinguish to the point I can decide which selections to go for. Oh yes, and the German beer I had my last visit was insanely good.
Review | Website

Waterworks | Mediterranean Tapas | Art Museum
Quite expensive, attended a banquet function here, but the food probably I’d imagine would be worth it if I came for dinner.
Review | Website

White Dog Cafe | American | University City
Contemporary American cuisine with an emphasis on buying and supporting local businesses/farmers/suppliers.
Review | Website


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