marie gehret and i love food. i mean, we really love food. happily, philly has a lot of it. we’re going to break things down for you with a little “she said, she said” action, starting first with marie’s favorites. look for mine next week.
Admittedly, I have the epicurean tastes of a 5-year-old. I don’t eat haute cuisine. Don’t like fancy sauces or dishes whose names I can’t pronounce or translate. Hold the hummus and arugula, please. I like traditional American comfort foods.
As a Jersey girl born on the South Jersey side of the Betsy Ross Bridge right outside of Philadelphia (please, no Snookie jokes!) and a decade-long Philly resident, I can tell you that I’ve visited many of the city’s finest restaurants (although I can’t really say that I’ve tasted the food at all of them – alas, the harsh reality of a picky eater). In the end, I still prefer the lesser-known around-the-way spots that define the uniqueness of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods and provide hearty, down-home cooking.
Here are my personal Philly fare faves:
Beef & Beer: The Ten Stone (2063 South Street, just south of Center City) has an amazing, melt-in-your-mouth filet mignon cheesesteak plus draughts for any beer enthusiast. The New Deck Tavern (3408 Sansom St./University City) has juicy burgers and chicken fingers (mom says fish & chips platter is excellent as well). Also, the Dark Horse Pub (421 South 2nd St./Society Hill) and Thomas Restaurant (4201 Main St./Manayunk) have delicious charbroiled burgers and fries.
Pizza & cheesesteaks: Both Wolf Street Pizza (2135 Wolf St./South Philly) and Celebre Pizzeria (1536 Packer Ave./South Philly) offer delicious and perfectly greasy and flavorful pie, and the cheesesteaks at Wolf Street are better than any cliché, touristy place in the city. Tip: Everything tastes better with extra cheese!
Steak: If you prefer to eat in downtown Philadelphia, try the Capital Grille (1338 Chestnut St./Center City) for consistently flavorful steaks. Now, if you’re adventurous enough to cross into New Jersey, I highly recommend The Pub, located in Pennsauken, NJ just minutes outside of Philly, which offers steaks more delectable than Morton’s and Ruth’s Chris combined. The Porterhouse is my personal favorite.
Pasta: La Stanza (2001 W. Oregon Ave./South Philly) has a chicken parm to die for, plus a great South Philly vibe.
Best diner: Penrose Diner (2016 Penrose Ave./South Philly near sports stadiums) is a Philly landmark and all-around great American diner serving a tasty hot open-face roast beef sandwich.
Overall romantic ambiance: Love the Rose Tattoo Café! Located at 19th & Callowhill streets – not far from the Art Museum steps and Four Seasons.
Dessert: White Dog Café (3420 Sansom Street/University City) has a sweet lineup of tarts, cheesecake and pies, plus a charming atmosphere.
So, there you have it – from the woman with simple tastes. If you’re looking five-star restaurants, please be sure to Google Steven Starr, Georges Perrier or Marc Vetri or consult Philadelphia Magazine.
— Submitted by Marie Gehret Williams, CCM Board member
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