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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In 1976, University of Pennsylvania psych professor Paul Rozin 
raised a question that would eventually become the basis for Michael Pollan’s thorough (and thoroughly enjoyable) tome The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Rozin (and Pollan, subsequently) wondered what happens when geographical, seasonal and technological factors cease to regulate our diets. 
In other words, when we can eat anything, anytime, anywhere —what should we eat? 


On a small scale, Philadelphia is an incubator for another kind of omnivore’s dilemma. There are so many delicious things to consume here, the choices can be paralyzing. It’s a happy problem to have, but one that requires instruction. 


So PW has compiled a list of the 50 best things to eat and drink in Philly rightthisverymoment. We’ve included—in no particular order—some entrenched favorites (Osteria pizza, Cape May Salts) but mostly illuminated the new and newly discovered: everything from offbeat beers (Alehoof Grut) to cheeses with stories to tell (Mancuso ricotta). They might just become your next favorites. They’re already ours. 


Dilemma solved.


Duck Montadito

It’s hard not to get sick of the praise heaped upon Jose Garces. In the words of PW contributor Jacob Lambert, it’s as if “pure, radiant sunshine pours from his glorious asshole.” That said, there’s only a few things in this world that make our toes curl, our eyes roll back and leaves a smile on our face and a viscous sheen on our lips. One of those is Tinto’s duck confit montadito with black cherries. Huge bursts of cherry goodness cut through the tender slow-cooked-in-its-own-fat duck meat while the Serrano ham adds a gamey, salty node. The La Peral cheese spread brings a pungent olive flavor and creamy finish to the whole earth-moving experience. Tinto, 114 S. 20th St. 215.665.9150. 
tintorestaurant.com

Waffle Fries

Surrounded by a gastropub pantheon that includes Standard Tap and North Third, Liberties is a workingman’s pub complete with real, live Teamsters. It lacks the hand-pumped ESAs and house-made ketchups of its neighbors, but serves a damn good sirloin burger accompanied (on request) by the best waffle fries this side of Chik-fil-A. (That’s not even a little sarcastic; we love the cow-
appreciating chain.) The spuds are also an app in their own right, piled high and smothered with warm, gooey cheese sauce that pours down like lava and leaves pint glasses streaked with orange fingerprints. And that’s okay. At Liberties, no one’s reproached for sullying glassware. Liberties, 705 N. Second St. 215.238.0660. libertiesrestaurant.com


Whole Roasted Lamb Shoulder

Zahav’s chef/owner Michael Solomonov once confessed his favorite way to eat the whole roasted lamb shoulder was standing drunk in his kitchen at 3 a.m. wearing nothing but boxers. We’d happily eat the charcoal-roasted, slow- and low-braised, pomegranate-lacquered, falling-off-the-bone ode to lamb any time of day in any kind of way. No word if partial nudity actually enhances the experience. Zahav, 237 Saint James Place. 215.625.8800. zahavrestaurant.com


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COMMENTS

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

“@tsarstruck

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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