My beloved Philly has got something for everyone. Whether your idea of the perfect vacation is stuffing your face, bar hopping, shopping like crazy, sightseeing at historic landmarks, or taking in the scenery, Philadelphia is the perfect place for you. Best of all, Philly is remarkably affordable, so you won’t spend a fortune on your trip.
Bru did such a fantabulous job with her profile of Philly last year that I’m not even going to try to compare. Check out her post for hotel info, shopping, sightseeing and more. I’m going to expand upon my favorite thing about my city and about any city: the food and drink.
Get ready to drool!
In my opinion, Philly is a foodie’s paradise. I could easily write ten blog posts full of my restaurant recommendations, so narrowing it down to just a few will be difficult.
Iron Chef Jose Garces owns several restaurants in Philly, and they are all fantastic. I especially recommend Amada and Tinto for tapas, and Distrito for the mouthwatering Mexican.
If you like mussels and/or beer, you absolutely have to check out Monk’s Cafe, a casual Belgian bistro that specializes in both. Get a pot or two of their tasty mussels (with a side of the best frites you’ll ever eat), and marvel at their beer list, which is the size of a phone book.
For a trendy night out, check out the Continental Midtown. The decor alone is worth the trip but the food, Asian-inspired small plates, is delish as well (I recommend the lobster grilled cheese). People always say that this place looks like something out of Sex and the City.
Philly also has a great selection of gastropubs. If you’re looking for some high-end pub food and a frosty brew, check out Standard Tap, Johnny Brenda’s, the Sidecar Bar, the Royal Tavern, or Devil’s Alley.
I’m a huge sushi fan, and the best sushi I’ve ever eaten is actually outside of the city. About 10 minutes away, over the river. Sagami in Collingswood, N.J. is out of the way, in a strange area, and doesn’t have any ambiance, but the food is spectacular. If you don’t feel like heading into Jersey, or you want something much more upscale, I recommend Morimoto (owned by the Iron Chef). For something less expensive than Morimoto but still both yummy and trendy, try Haru.
I could go on forever, but instead, I’ll just give you a list of some of my other favorite places to eat:
If you’re the type of person who likes to dance till dawn or hang out in luxurious lounges with bottle service, well, I’m not going to be much help. I’m a dive bar girl through and through. And I don’t feel comfortable giving the Official Sloth Endorsement to places I’ve never been. Sorry, guys.
But. If, like me, you enjoy dark little places with cheap booze and good jukeboxes, I’ve got you covered.
Mere words can’t describe how rad Bob and Barbara’s is. They’ve got the $3 Philly Special (a can of PBR and a shot of Jim Beam). They have weekly porn bingo, drag shows, ping pong and, on the weekends, a jazz band comprised of men in their 80s and 90s.
Sugar Mom and Tattooed Mom are both great little places with a lot of character. Both offer silly little toys and crayons to play with and cozy couches to chill on. Tattooed Mom is definitely the grittier of the two, but it’s a worthy experience.
More of my favorite divey dives:
Shop ‘Til You Drop:
If you like to cook, definitely check out the Italian Market and Reading Terminal Market, where you can grab lunch or pick up cheap produce, pasta, spices, and basically any other culinary treat you can think of.
And it wouldn’t be a Philly food post without Cheesesteaks:
But if you ask any Philly native, they’ll tell you that there are three top cheesesteak competitors: Pat’s, Geno’s and Jim’s. I’m no connoisseur, but I think that I prefer Jim’s the most. But, if you want the full cheesesteak experience, you need to go to Pat’s or Geno’s, across the street from each other down in South Philly, just so that you can wait in line surrounded by tacky neon signs and tourists. Order a “cheesesteak whiz wit” which means with cheese whiz and “wit” onions.
I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface here, but I think this is enough to give you a mouthwatering culinary adventure here in Philly.
Philly bees – what are your favorite restaurants in the city? Are there any biggies that I missed?
See all the posts in the Honeymoon in my Hometown Series here!