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30 Must-Try Dishes And Drinks In Philadelphia

Sample some of the city’s lesser-known culinary treasures

Already sampled Philly’s iconic cheesesteaks, hoagies and pretzels?

Then go beyond these local delicacies to sample some of the city’s lesser-known culinary treasures.

From the signature bloody beet “steak” at The Farm and Fisherman and the plantain-crusted fish tacos at La Calaca Feliz to the twice-fried chicken at Resurrection House and the butterscotch budino at Barbuzzo, flavor-seekers will find plenty to explore in the Philadelphia region.

Below are 30 dishes and drinks for any visitor’s must-try list. Be sure to Instagram your delicious-looking dishes and drinks in Philadelphia with the hashtag #VisitPhilly.

Appetizers

Rangoon

Not many American cities can boast a Burmese restaurant, but Chinatown’s Rangoon has been going strong for 20 years with authentic homestyle fare, like the Thousand Layer Bread, a delicate, griddle-spotted pancake that gets dipped in a spicy potato curry sauce or a dal-like puree of yellow vatana beans. MORE >>
Details: 112 N. 9th Street, (215) 829-8939

Garces Trading Company

Known for his inventiveness across cuisines and restaurants, celebrity chef Jose Garces wows with his outstanding cheese presentation. Garces Trading Company is no exception, with condiments like garlic dulce de leche, fennel apricot mostarda and truffle lavender honey brilliantly complementing cheeses both foreign and domestic. MORE >>
Details: 1111 Locust Street, (215) 574-1099

Zahav

At Zahav, Michael Solomonov takes Israeli cookery to biblical heights, and his silky hummus (the menu offers four different varieties) proves unforgettable. MORE >>
Details: 237 St. James Place, (215) 625-8800

The Farm and Fisherman

It takes a certain kind of chef-ly panache to make a vegetarian dish seem decadent, but locavore bring-your-own-bottle spot The Farm and Fisherman does exactly that with its bloody beet steak, a signature dish that matches giant beet slices with aged balsamic, tangy yogurt and red Russian kale—with the end result far more powerful than the sum of its parts. MORE >>
Details: 1120 Pine Street, (267) 687-1555

American Sardine Bar

Considering there’s a giant Sardine Can sculpture hanging above the entrance to American Sardine Bar, the sardine starters ($4) — whole sardines prepared four ways: fried, grilled, roasted and a la plancha — at this Point Breeze corner bar are definitely worth sampling. Also, do not skip the massive beer-battered Onion Rings with special sauce or the Salt & Pepper fries with a dill dipping sauce. These items perfectly demonstrate the gastropub’s approach to cooking: simple, unpretentious and inexpensive. MORE >>
Details: 1800 Federal Street, (215) 334-2337

Dim Sum Garden

Those who need a soup dumpling fix head to Dim Sum Garden, the unassuming Chinatown hideaway and the city’s best bet for savoring delicately pleated dough wrapped around evenly spiced balls of pork or crabmeat and a swirl of rich broth.
Details: 59 N. 11th Street, (215) 627-0218

Entrees

La Calaca Feliz

To taste the fish tacos at Fairmount’s La Calaca Feliz is to develop an ongoing craving for them: Tilapia filets are wrapped in a delightfully crunchy plantain tortilla crust, slathered slathered in lemon vinaigrette and topped with a bright tangle of slaw. MORE >>
Details: 2321 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 787-9930

Resurrection Ale House

The twice-fried chicken with cornbread, green salad and spicy honey is such a sought-after item at Resurrection Ale House that the chef can’t seem to take it off the menu. MORE >>
Details: 2425 Grays Ferry Avenue, (215) 735-2202

Vetri

There’s simply no way to prepare for the exquisite experience of sampling the spinach gnocchi with shaved ricotta salata and brown butter at fine dining mecca Vetri. The airy pockets of heaven are alone worth the admission price. MORE >>
Details: 1312 Spruce Street, (215) 732-3478

Ela

Diners find all manner of culinary triumphs on display at Queen Village’s Ela, but the tender and sweet diver scallop noodles, which have seasonally changing accompaniments, may just be the most remarkable. MORE >>
Details: 627 S. 3rd Street, (267) 687-8512

Vedge

Vegans have every right to gloat about the braciole at Vedge. The dish wraps delicate eggplant slices around a smoked eggplant, cauliflower and rice stuffing for a surprisingly hearty, wonderfully satisfying result. MORE >>
Details: 1221 Locust Street, (215) 320-7500

Sides

Han Dynasty

Outside of the Sichuan province of China, Han Dynasty may well be the best place to source traditional dandan noodles. Thankfully, the restaurant’s multiple locations means they’re easily in reach when the urge strikes. MORE >>
Details: 108 Chestnut Street, (215) 922-1888; 3711 Market Street, (215) 222-3711; 4356 Main Street, (215) 508-2066; 260 N. Pottstown Pike, Exton, (610) 524-4002; 70 Buckwalter Road, Royersford, (610) 792-9600

Grace Tavern

Inside the unassuming Grace Tavern lies one of the city’s best bar snacks: crispy-spicy blackened green beans with remoulade sauce—just the thing to accompany the excellent beers on tap. MORE >>
Details: 2229 Grays Ferry Avenue, (215) 893-9580

Honey’s Sit ‘N Eat

The local latke award goes to Honey’s Sit ’N Eat, which serves crispy wedge-shaped potato pancakes for brunch and lunch at both of its locations and for dinner at its South Street outpost. MORE >>
Details: 800 N. 4th Street, (215) 925-1150; 2101 South Street, (215) 732-5130

500°

The burgers are well worth the hype at newfangled fast foodery 500°, but it’s the truffle french fries that make repeat customers jump in line over and over. MORE >>
Details: 1504 Sansom Street, (215) 568-5000

Pizza & Sandwiches

Paesano’s

It’s hard to go wrong with brisket, two fried eggs, horseradish mayo, roasted tomato, peperoncino and sharp provolone, but the namesake sandwich at Paesano’s makes every bite of this shockingly delicious concoction well worth every calorie. MORE >>
Details: 1017 S. 9th Street, (215) 440-0371; 152 W. Girard Avenue, (267) 886-9556

DiNic’s

It’s already been named the best sandwich in the country, so the secret’s finally out about DiNic’s roast pork (thin-sliced, layered with broccoli rabe and sharp provolone), even though Philly residents have been savoring it for years inside the famous Reading Terminal Market. MORE >>
Details: 1136 Arch Street, Inside Reading Terminal Market, (215) 923-6175

Village Whiskey

At $26, it’s a bit of a splurge, but Village Whiskey’s Whiskey King Burger (topped with foie gras, thick-sliced bacon, rogue blue cheese and maple/bourbon-glazed cipollini onions) makes diners feel like instant royalty. MORE >>
Details: 118 S. 20th Street, (215) 665-1088

Santucci’s

The square pizza at Santucci’s is the stuff of local legend, spawning family spinoffs and a swarm of devotees who crave its cast-iron crisped crust and unique layering of cheese under sauce. MORE >>
Details: 901 S. 10th Street, (215) 825-5304

Hot Diggity

The surf and turf (fishcake-wrapped hot dog topped with pepper hash and brown mustard) is actually a traditional if obscure Philly concoction, and South Street favorite Hot Diggity has resurrected it deliciously for a new generation of eaters. MORE >>
Details: 630 South Street, (267) 886-9253

Desserts & Sweets

Barbuzzo

Not content to simply graze on Marcie Turney’s magical salted caramel budino (butterscotch pudding topped with gooey caramel and crème fraiche and lined with chocolate cookie crust) in-house, diners now buy it to go or by the six-pack at her Mediterranean eatery Barbuzzo. MORE >>
Details: 110 S. 13th Street, (215) 546-9300

Federal Donuts

With two locations and counting, Federal Donuts single handedly changed the donut game in Philly with their hot-out-of-the fryer cake rings amped up with fancy glazed donuts in flavors like cookies and cream and sticky bun and sugar-crusted piping hot donuts in flavors like strawberry-lavender and cinnamon-brown sugar (and that’s not even mentioning the fried chicken). MORE >>
Details: 1219 S. 2nd Street, (267) 687-8258; 1632 Sansom Street, (215) 665-1101

Jones

A visit to kitschy comfort-fooder Jones during brunch hours is incomplete without an order of the shareable Monkey Bread as a starter—the warm, gooey pull-apart loaf spiced with cinnamon is a cult fave. MORE >>
Details: 700 Chestnut Street, (215) 223-5663

Little Baby’s Ice Cream

With a quirky flair for promotion and even quirkier flavors, Little Baby’s Ice Cream has quickly made a name for itself in the city’s frozen sweets scene, and flavors like the Earl Gray sriracha and chocolate salt malt are worth a trip to Kensington or Cedar Park (or flagging down one of the shop’s mobile tricycles). MORE >>
Details: 2311 Frankford Avenue, (267) 867-8567

Kanella

Though the savory Cypriot cuisine at Kanella satisfies in a big way, the house-made desserts here should not be slept on — particularly, the baklava topped with date ice cream. MORE >>
Details: 1001 Spruce Street, (215) 922-1773

Drinks

Bob And Barbara’s

Drinking doesn’t get more down-home Philly than The Special (also known as the Citywide Special) at South Street institution Bob and Barbara’s. It’s a shot of Jim Beam and a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon for a mere $3.50, or $3 during happy hour. MORE >>
Details: 1509 South Street, (215) 545-4511

La Colombe

The original first-wave coffee roaster in Philly, La Colombe presaged the current crop of cafes by a good decade and a half, and its Italian-style espresso makes for one of the city’s best. MORE >>
Details: 130 S. 19th Street, (215) 563-0860; 1414 S. Penn Square, (215) 977-7770

Stateside

As the name suggests, Stateside pours American-made craft beers, wines and spirits, with a focus on whiskeys and bourbons. Saddle up to the bar, which looks out on a vibrant East Passyunk Avenue and a gorgeous Singing Fountain, and order a bourbon or a bourbon cocktail. Our favorite: the immensely refreshing Stateside Boulevardier, made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, a house-made Aperitif and sweet Vermouth, served on the rocks. MORE >>
Details: 1536 East Passyunk Ave, (215) 551-2500

Hop Sing Laundromat

The speakeasy cocktail experience flourishes at Hop Sing Laundromat, but the real reason to visit is the impeccable drinks, including the very simple Henry “Box” Brown, fresh-squeezed grape juice and El Dorado rum. MORE >>
Details: 1029 Race Street

Forest & Main

In a beer-obsessed region, Ambler newcomer Forest & Main has distinguished itself from the pack with European-style ales, among them the bestselling Kinch, an India Pale Ale served at cellar temperature. MORE >>
Details: 61 N. Main Street, Ambler, (215) 542-1776

Hall of Fame

Cheesesteak

If you’ve made your way through this list and your still hungry for a cheesesteak, click here to check out our top 10 spots for an authentic Philly cheesesteak.

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