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

Share this Story:

Photo by Michael Persico

At Butter’s Soul Food to Go in Brewerytown—the epicenter of Philly soul food—they’re smoking more green than Michael Phelps on 4/20. Call ahead to pick up an order of some of the best soul food in the city and don’t forget an extra side of the rich, smoky collard greens. They’re silky and smooth like butter, baby. Butter’s Soul Food to Go, 2821 W. Girard Ave. 215.235.4724.


There was once a time when a dude couldn’t sip a brightly colored beverage with a salted rim in front of his homies without being called out. When your michelada arrives at the bar at Xochtil, you can confidently tell your bud, “It’s beer, brah.” The name itself is the contraction of Mexican slang “mi chela helada,” or “my cold beer.” The drink itself is cerveza de barril (draft beer) on ice in a chili-and-salt-rimmed glass with lime juice and a bit of spicy tomato sauce. Think bloody beery and you’re close. Xochitl, 408 S. Second St. 215.238.7280.

Apple Cider

Though Saisons and gin spritzes are still dominating our drinking repertoire, we’d be lying if somewhere in the corner of our brains we weren’t thinking of autumn and the cider it will bring. And not just any cider, but the virgin-pure, intensely apple-y cider crafted by Ben Wenk with the Jonagold, Jonathan and Summer Rambo heirlooms grown on his family’s Three Springs Fruit Farm in Adams County, Pa. Wenk, a Penn State agro-ecology grad, once took a cider-making lab there, and the skills stuck. He presses the cider in small batches that are flash-
pasteurized with UV light instead of flavor-destroying heat. Because there are no preservatives, the shelf life is a mere two weeks. Not that it ever lasts that long. Three Springs Fruit Farms, 1606 Bendersville-
Wenksville Road, Aspers. 717.677.9553.


Take Fiorella’s ground pork and fennel sausages stuffed with provolone cheese to your last Eagles’ tailgate and be the envy of the parking lot. Grilled with peppers and onions on a good Italian roll, these sausages don’t disappoint (even if your team sometimes does). Fiorella’s, 817 Christian St. 215.922.0506


If you want eight-legged eats, try the tender grilled Spanish octopus at XIX in the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue. It’s served on a warm paper-
thin potato and leek salad and tossed with a bright, earthy truffle and preserved lemon vinaigrette. The Spaniard in you will be truly satisfied. XIX, Hyatt, 200 S. Broad St., 19th fl. 215.790.1919.

Counter Culture Idido Misty 
Valley Coffee

“It tastes like blueberries,” the floppy-haired barista at Newbold coffeehouse/beer box Brew says when asked about the single-origin 
Ethiopian blend called Idido Misty Valley. Dude looks like a CW tween soap star, not a joe pro, so we’re skeptical. But there they are: blueberries, sure enough, a whole Hammonton meadow of them rolling across our tongues like ball bearings. Organic, shade-grown and sun-dried in the traditional Ethiopian method, the coffee beans are roasted by North Carolina’s Counter Culture and delivered to Brew, where the fresh grinds are brewed individually in Bee House’s pour-over drippers for a clear, pure coffee that really sings. Voluptuous body. Dazzling acidity. It’s the best cup poured in Philly. Brew, 1900 S. 15th St. 215.339.5177.

Prev| Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 |Next
Add to favoritesAdd to Favorites PrintPrint Send to friendSend to Friend


Comments 1 - 18 of 18
Report Violation

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.”

Report Violation

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.”

Report Violation

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.”

Report Violation

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.”

Report Violation

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?

Report Violation

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

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

Report Violation

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!”

Report Violation

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.”

Report Violation

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...”

Report Violation

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

“Buy the paper? It's free!”

Report Violation

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.”

Report Violation

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!”

Report Violation

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.”

Report Violation

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

“BItars falafel is so much better!”

Report Violation

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.”

Report Violation

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

“BTW, none of the links work.”

Report Violation

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.!

Report Violation

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

“Philadelphia BEST SPOTS TO EAT...”


(HTML and URLs prohibited)

Related Content

50 things you must eat in Philly
By PW Staff

Here’s what we love about food in Philadelphia: everything. No, seriously. From the street vendor’s commonest cheesesteak to the most subtly spiced French-Asian hybrid delicacy, it’s all good. But some of it? Some of it is awesome. So here are 50 suggestions for dishes, ranging from sophisticated to speedy, that you’ve just got to try—whether you’re in town for the day or here for keeps.

Related Content

The Food Issue: 50-Plus Things You Must Eat & Drink
By Cristina Perachio, Tim McGinnis, Brian Freedman, Brian McManus, Nicole Finkbiner and a few foodie friends.

People, you may have noticed, are fat. Real fat. And getting bigger every day. But lost in the endless conversations about the no-longer-new obesity epidemic that threatens to sink our country into a pit of health-care debt we can never pay is a very real and glaringly obvious fact: We’re all a hell of a lot skinnier than we could be.

RELATED: The Food & Drink Issue: Soul Food

Related Content

Philly's 50 Must-Eats: The Contest
By PW Staff

The first PW reader to document they've had all 50 items on our list wins $100 in gift certificates to fabulous Philly restaurants. It's that easy, and that delicious.