Quick list: Loew’s Philadelphia Hotel, Reading Terminal Market, MeltKraft, Molly Malloy’s, Sampan, Charlie was a Sinner, Time, and El Vez.
I just returned from a three-day work trip to Philadelphia, PA. Since I was traveling for work, I knew I would have limited time to wander the city. Therefor, my ventures outside the historic Loew’s Philadelphia Hotel were few and far between. I still have a few recommendations for you though—and trust me, they are MUST-visit establishments.
Firstly, I stayed at the Loew’s Hotel, a famous landmark in the heart of Center City. The Loew’s is located in the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society (PSFS) Building, which is regarded as the first International Style skyscraper in the U.S. It was completed in 1932. The hotel is rated as 4-star and in an incredible location, right across the street from Reading Terminal Market and many restaurants, bars, and historical sites. It also houses an indoor pool, which I unfortunately didn’t get the chance to check out.
Any local will tell you to visit Reading Terminal Market for an unbelievable variety of food options. The market is home to more than 80 vendors and has been around since 1893. It offers an impressive selection of locally grown and exotic produce, locally sourced meats and poultry, plus the finest seafood, cheeses, baked goods, and confections around. Fun fact: one-hundred-thousand people pass through the market every week!
Personally, I was craving a grilled cheese. So I did my Google search, “Grilled cheese near me”. MeltKraft came up and was highly rated. I got the Ave D, an original style grilled cheese, with tomato. I thought it was delectable. Just the right amount of cheese, quality bread, and ripe tomato dices made it mouth-watering! The sandwich came with an unexpected side of potato chips, which were pleasantly devoured. I also visited Molly Malloy’s and ate chicken tenders and fries—apparently I was in an American food mood. Despite the fact that my meal didn’t look pretty, it was really fresh and tasty, and everything was made in-house. The honey mustard and barbecue sauces were also delicious, with really original flavors!
After dinner, or for dinner if you’re Vegan, head to Charlie was a Sinner for a speakeasy atmosphere with top-notch cocktails! I had the Gershwin, which consists of Beefeater gin, ginger, lemon, and rosewater. Scrumptious. I’m big on gin and citrus, not so much on sweet. Rest assured though, this place has a little something for everyone.
I probably should have opened with this next one, but I’m going chronologically here! This is seriously some of the best food I have ever eaten in my life… Sampan. That’s it, I don’t need to say anything else. Just go there, and go now! Sampan offers modern Asian fusion tapas-style plates. I don’t normally do tapas because it seems to get pricey. However, this place has an incredible happy hour every day from 4-7pm that includes food and drinks.
Here’s what I recommend:
- Edamame dumplings (I don’t even like edamame, but these were amaze)
- Crab Rangoon
- Korean BBQ beef satay
- Vietnamese chicken
- Kobe slider
- PORK BAO BUN (BEST THING EVER, SERIOUSLY)
- Hot chicken bao bun
- Kim chee fried rice
- BRUSSELS SPROUTS
- Sushi ice cream (no, there’s no fish in it)
If you couldn’t tell the pork bao and brussels were my favorites, followed closely by the Korean BBQ. If you’re mouth isn’t watering right now, I’m not quite sure what’s wrong with you. I’m not the most adventurous eater, but this shit was ridiculously delicious! Don’t forget to try dessert too… it was all amazing.
To finish your evening, check out Time for some live jazz music. This place was really cool. I loved that the guy playing trumpet that night looked like Dennis from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. This place has soooo many whiskeys to choose from, even though I’m not much into whiskey. I had a great gin cocktail, and my friend had plenty of draft brews to choose from. If you like jazz or open mic, this is a great place with no cover.
I’ll end on my last lunch spot in Philly, El Vez. Talk about delicious, fresh Mexican food! My group ordered guacamole, salsa, and house-made chips. I ordered chicken tacos, which were loaded with zesty flavor. So delish! Everything tasted incredibly fresh, and the chicken was crispy, but still juicy. Side note: I didn’t find a single place in Philly with lackluster drinks, but maybe I was just visiting highly-rated establishments. My Cilantro Gimlet had Tanqueray, fresh lime, cilantro, and agave nectar. If you’re into tequila, this is definitely the place for you. I think El Vez has about 100 different kinds, and I’m not exaggerating. Check the menu online! Finally, the concierge at the hotel said this place turns into more of a club atmosphere at night. So stick around and check it out in the evening. However, be sure to make a reservation if visiting at dinner time. We tried to go on a Tuesday night around 8 pm and the wait was an hour and a half. Lunch on Wednesday was no problem though.
Thanks for reading and be sure to check out future weekly posts about other fun destinations. Cheers and Travel or Else!