Philly restaurants

American/Bistro/Gastropub

  • Iron Hill – Chestnut Hill, various other locations
  • Grain Exchange – Mt. Airy
  • Lucky’s Last Chance – Manayunk
  • Manayunk Brewery – Manayunk Update: We loved this place for its beautiful riverside outdoor seating, until my son got his foot stuck on a mousetrap under our table, and on the same night my husband and I both got violent food poisoning after eating the slow-roasted short rib. We contacted management about it and there was no response whatsoever. So, buyer beware.
  • Marathon Grill – Center City (multiple downtown locations)

Asian

Cheese Steaks – A uniquely local* Philly favorite

*I say uniquely local because only Philly Cheese Steaks are real Cheese Steaks. If you’ve had them elsewhere, you were mistaken. They truly only exist here.

For my international readers unfamiliar with cheese steaks, they are not what they sound like. They are a type of sandwich wherein steak is chopped with cheese and various vegetables and topped with peppers and hot sauce (if desired). It is impossible to explain how good they are, because they don’t sound remarkable. In fact, I thought they sounded terrible until I had one. Adding to that perception is that you seriously can’t find decent ones anywhere but Philadelphia, though elsewhere you might find sandwiches marketed under the same name. Those are impostors.

As for where to find the best one … just as all Mexican food in San Diego is good, and all barbecue in Kansas City is good, all cheese steaks in Philadelphia are good. But there are a couple famous restaurants that are embroiled in a feud, and people are very divided on the subject of Pat’s versus Geno’s. I have personally conducted a side by side taste test with a group of friends and we voted. Pat’s won, but I personally prefer Geno’s. But honestly I’d rather go to one of these because they’re not as busy and they’re closer to my house.