Philly's 50 Must-Eats

Tongue tacos, Italian milkshakes, candy-coated flapjacks and 47 other delicious foods and drinks you should be tasting right now. 

By Adam Erace, Tim McGinnis and Brian McManus

Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 18 | Posted Aug. 4, 2009

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Bloody Mary

The Bloody Mary, done right, is a meal. And one way to do it right is to use fresh horseradish. That’s the secret of the Mary at Royal Tavern: Tiny chopped bits of fresh horseradish float generously throughout the tomato juice, Worcestershire and vodka for a serious, chewy kick. Add to that a garnish of fat olives, lemon and lime, and voila! Dinner is served. Royal Tavern, 937 E. Passyunk Ave. 215.389.6694.

Bacon, Egg and Cheese Sandwich

Sometimes you just want something simple: toasted bread, fluffy scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, gooey cheese, salt, pepper. At Justin’s they’ve mastered the breakfast sandwich and it’s a thing of beauty. It also happens to be the perfect hangover food. Order two. Justin’s Snack Corner, 601 S. 52nd St. 215.474.3509 

Shrimp Pho

Food groupies like The Guardian ’s Joshua Stein hold Washington Avenue’s Pho 75 in the highest esteem—from eye round and skirt steak to brisket and tender quenelles of forcemeat, it’s the place to get your beef on. We’re partial to Chinatown’s Pho Cali and its shrimp pho—the intensely savory batch of aromatic beef broth isn’t redundantly full of more beef but rather sweet shellfish. Crisp mung bean sprouts, Thai basil, fresh lime wedges and slices of jalapeños brighten up the dish. Pho Cali, 1000 Arch St. 215.629.1888

Brawler Pugilist Style Ale

Beer geeks get all hot and bothered these days over high-alcohol beers. If you fall off your stool after a couple Belgian heavy hitters, Yards has the brew for you. The up front malt of the Brawler is “crafted in the style of English session ales.” This means that theoretically you can drink it all day at your next family picnic without getting wasted and sticking your dick in the potato salad (again). Yards Brewing Company, 901 N. Delaware Ave. 215.634.2600.


Known in inner circles for its 
righteous red velvet cake and unusual 
James Beard 
Award-winning chocolates (absinthe, Chianti Valley saffron) from Tuscan artisan Andrea Bianchini, La Golosa flies largely under the dessert-lounge radar. That’s good, since two’s company and three’s a crowd at this bonbon-sized boutique decorated with dramatic black-and-white safari photos and couture chocolate bars displayed on bookshelves like rare first-editions. If you’ve never thought of milkshakes as Italian, let owner Fabio Scarpelli spin you one of his thick, frothy frullati. Blended with 56 percent or 70 percent cacoa dark chocolate and smart additions like white pepper and cardamom, fresh bananas, cinnamon or chili, the mainstay of American malt shops takes on a distinctly European sensibility. 
 La Golosa, 806 S. Sixth St. 215.925.1003.

Seasonal Canapés

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Comments 1 - 18 of 18
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1. Rob Pugliese said... on Aug 4, 2009 at 11:29PM

“This list is fantastic...If food is your life, it's good to be alive in Philly. I have had the pleasure of serendipitously sampling some of the goods on this list in the past however this list will be my guide for where I'll be eating for the next few months. First stop is Zahav. I have been meaning to go there for some time and now I know what to order. And I may just have to reserve some of that lamb to enjoy it in the fashion of the Chef Solomonov (in the unlikely scenario that there is some left over). Cheers PW.”

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2. tsarstruck said... on Aug 5, 2009 at 08:45AM

“I don't know if they serve bisuits or not, but Golosa is on 6th street, not 8th. Good list, though.”

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3. Erica said... on Aug 5, 2009 at 09:19AM


You're right! We've changed it in the online document. Thanks for catching it.”

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4. cereal said... on Aug 5, 2009 at 10:49AM

“"Few things are as satisfying as a freshly made Vietnamese hoagie known as Banh Mi—that sexy mix of Vietnamese culinary know-how on warm Italian bread."

Maybe in Philly all they can get are squishy Italian rolls, but Banh Mi are normally made with French bread, i.e. small baguettes. Since it was the French, not the Italians, that colonized Viet Nam, you see.”

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5. Jonathan said... on Aug 5, 2009 at 11:27AM

“Your site's Print functionality is messed up for multipage articles. When you go to the Print link, you get a printer-friendly version of just the current page - one of 10. Is the whole site like this?

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6. Dan said... on Aug 5, 2009 at 12:32PM

“Great list. The Bahn Mi at Royal Tavern should be required eating.”

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7. Jackie said... on Aug 5, 2009 at 01:33PM

“one of the best top 50 lists I've seen in a while.... awesome job!”

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8. Luke said... on Aug 5, 2009 at 01:54PM

“Very lame that you cannot view or print this article as a single page and instead need to wade through ten different pages.”

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9. kcbill13 said... on Aug 5, 2009 at 09:37PM

“Hey, print freak demands, BUY the damn paper if you want a printed list, ya cheap bastards...”

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10. Art said... on Aug 6, 2009 at 07:46AM

“Buy the paper? It's free!”

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11. kiwijen said... on Aug 6, 2009 at 12:56PM

“Great list. It'll be a pleasure to work my way through it. Shame the photos online aren't labelled or next to the item they go with. It would be nice to know where to find the item whose photo I'm drooling over.”

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12. Anonymous said... on Aug 6, 2009 at 07:10PM

“Excellent list. The fact that Chickie's Italian Deli was included totally legitimized the list for me. Their tuna hoagies are a phenom. Ask for long hots on it for an extra jolt!”

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13. Wayne Penglase said... on Aug 7, 2009 at 10:40AM

“In quest for a great place to eat, you neglected to mention a great place on Grant Avenue known as Theda Kauffman's. Their food is fresh and fantastic, the staff is second to none. Mike and Nate Kauffman has a diamond of a place down at 1710 Grant Avenue and I feel you shopuld check them out.”

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14. rachel said... on Aug 7, 2009 at 02:48PM

“BItars falafel is so much better!”

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15. Gene De Lisa said... on Aug 11, 2009 at 07:20AM

“No mention of the best sandwich in the city: Roast Pork Italian from either TL or John's?

No mention of the best dessert in the city: Capogiro?

Also as has been pointed out: Epic fail on your "print view" displaying only the current page. Poor website programming.”

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16. capecodphillyfan said... on Aug 14, 2009 at 10:15AM

“BTW, none of the links work.”

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17. Hungry Vandal said... on Aug 17, 2009 at 02:25PM

“TACO LOCO, is amazing. An authentic taco stand (albeit a tripped-out RVEE) that sells killer tacos at dirt cheap prices. It is between 4th and 5th on Washington Avenue, in South Phila. The burritos are ginormous and amazing too.!

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18. cecilia said... on Sep 11, 2013 at 08:46AM

“Philadelphia BEST SPOTS TO EAT...”


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