How to: Eat Your Way Through Philly Like the Locals Do

by  Lisa Hubner | Sep 17, 2014
Philadelphia skyline
Philadelphia skyline / pabradyphoto/iStock

For a city mostly known for its cheesesteaks, Philadelphia has recently caught up with the nation’s most famous food capitals, offering a range of culinary experiences in its diverse neighborhoods. On a recent trip, we chatted with Kristin Huxta, a Philly native and a communications pro at Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, to get the inside scoop on where the locals wine and dine.

Here are her suggested (and tested) tips for great foodie finds, taking you beyond the popular downtown area into up-and-coming neighborhoods in North and South Philly:

Brunch: North Philly
On unassuming Fairmount Street near the Art Museum, you’ll find Sabrina’s, one of the city’s most popular brunch spots. Try the huevos rancheros or the rich stuffed french toast. Like many other restaurants in Philadelphia, Sabrina’s is BYOB. Other locations can also be found in University City and the Italian Market. Honey’s Sit ’n Eat in the Northern Liberties neighborhood is worth the journey to get there. As a South Philly alternative, Honey’s opened a second location in Fitler Square 2013. For all of the above, arrive early to avoid long lines.

Lisa Hubner

Lunch: Center City
If you’re in Center City -- perhaps after standing in line to see the Liberty Bell -- here are a couple of options to consider:

High Street on Market has received plenty of accolades this year: Named one of Bon Appetit magazine’s Hot 10 Restaurants 2014, chef Eli Kulp also found himself on the cover of Food & Wine magazine’s July issue as one of their Best New Chefs. Despite the recent fame, prices for lunch main courses range from just $9-14. The filling ancient grains salad and the duck meatball salad do not disappoint.

New on the Philly dining scene and open seasonally, Independence Beer Garden is a rustic 20,000-square-foot establishment serving hearty mains and snacks from $5. For beer lovers, there are 40 different regional and domestic beers on tap.

Anytime Snack: Multiple Locations
Reason enough to head to Philly is the small local chain called Federal Donuts that opened its first location in South Philadelphia in 2011. Now well represented with five locations across the city, this popular joint serves donuts, Korean-style fried chicken, and P.T.’s Coffee.

Lisa Hubner

Dinner & Dessert: South Philly
A couple of stops from downtown on the SEPTA subway system, East Passyunk is home to some of the city’s most famous cheesesteak establishments. However, walk a few minutes south on East Passyunk Avenue and you’ll find a totally different dining scene with new restaurants, cafés, and boutiques.

Grab a pre- or post-dinner drink at Garage, a garage-turned-hipster-bar featuring an extensive beer list and food truck fare provided by rotating local restaurateurs.

Stateside serves up small plates made from locally sourced ingredients and also features an extensive whiskey list. Head to Capogiro for post-dinner ice cream and coffee specialties. Fun fact: The family-owned store is home to the only Victoria Arduino Venus Century coffee machine on the East Coast, one of 100 limited editions, the first of which was given to the Pope.

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