The other day my friend Neha asked me which cities I thought had the best food in the US. I quickly blurted out NYC, Chicago and Philly. I think we were both floored when those words came out of my mouth. Really, Philly? While we both understood it, she wanted to hear more.
A few months back, I had gone to Philadelphia for my sister-in-law’s birthday and finally had the chance to really explore the city without other family events and commitments that normally precluded me from checking out the restaurant scene. And since both my brother and sister-in-law are vegetarian, I had my own private, foodie tour guides to take me to some of the best known spots.
These were some of my favorites:
V-Street– From the same owners of Vedge (read what I wrote about Vedge here), comes this more casual spot for vegan food. As I’ve stated before, vegan restaurants aren’t normally my first choice. But, I can’t even begin to tell you how unbelievable and amazing V-Street was. If this is any indication, I loved it so much from my dinner experience one night, that I went back a few days later for lunch. That’s how hooked I was.
V-Street has a wide selection of global street food and the menu is constantly changing (and the lunch and dinner menus were completely different from one another). For dinner we tried all kinds of awesome items like Peruvian fries, Middle Eastern flatbread, Caribbean jerk tofu, spicy ramen and tofu tacos. Talk about all around the world in one dinner; so Vegetarian Tourist(s) of us! ha ha. As for lunch, I was literally in heaven with the Togarashi fries and spicy dipping sauce. I wish I could have brought a whole vat back with me. The point is, if you are vegan or not, this place is a MUST!
Knead Bagels– My sister-in-law told me I had to go get a breakfast bagel sandwich from this local shop. You know I was down, although, I wasn’t quite sure what could be so good about a bagel sandwich with some egg and cheese on it. How could it be so different from any of the other million places that have the exact same thing? Well, here’s the secret; there is an unbelievable garlic aioli on this sandwich which makes an entire world of difference. So much flavor and so, so good. I easily declared this was the best bagel sandwich I have ever had!! I have also found myself seriously craving this breakfast must-have after returning to Chicago. Knead Bagels, please open up in the Windy City. I am already your biggest fan.
Buddakan– I visited this famous restaurant’s NYC location almost ten years ago and finally had the chance to check out the Philly version. While I will say that I prefer the ambiance at the NYC location, the food was equally as amazing at the Philly location as NYC. And since my bro and sis-in-law live not too far from the Buddakan in Philly and frequent it regularly, they knew exactly what to order; Dragon Tofu (this is actually not listed on the menu, but an off-the-menu vegetarian secret to order), wasabi mashed potatoes and vegetable fried rice with coconut cream foam. The Dragon tofu was so flavorful and perfectly lightly crispy on the outside and soft and silken on the inside. I loved it and have not had anything like it elsewhere. The wasabi mashed potatoes were a first for me and I loved them as they were so creamy and flavorful; it was hard to stop eating them. And the fried rice…well, I had that at the NYC location and remembered loving it then and it was no different this time in Philly. Something about that coconut cream foam really brings the dish together and makes it unique from any other regular fried rice. My mouth is watering thinking about all these dishes.
So, as you can see, I really did love my Philly visit for seeing my family and eating amazing food. I actually have a few more special spots to write about, but I can’t give away all my favorites in one post now can I? You will have to stay tuned to hear about more, such as the place to find the gelato that has been rated number one in the world. Yes, in the WORLD, and this gelato lives up to that reputation!
What are your thoughts on the Philly food scene? Do you agree it’s one of the best foodie cities in the US? I’m curious to know if others agree with me…