Philly’s Food Scene

Happy Monday everyone! We are super excited to see you all at Preview in just a few days. As you are preparing to make your journey to Philly, and thinking about its potential as your future home, you’re probably wondering, where are the best places to get food? Luckily, MS1 Olivia Bernal has these great recommendations. 

As you prepare to move to Philadelphia and settle into this great city for the next 4+ years, one of the many things you should start getting excited for is the amazing restaurant scene Philadelphia has to offer! Having lived here for six years, I can honestly say that the food in Philly is one of my favorite things about this city. In addition to boasting a diverse variety of cuisines, there are also countless affordable options that spare the bank without sacrificing quality.

Furthermore, and arguably most importantly, Philadelphia is home to the BYOB restaurant. Short for “Bring Your Own Bottle”, BYOs (as they’re fondly called), allow you to bring your own bottle of wine (and sometimes beer and liquor) to enjoy with your meal, usually without any additional fee.

While I am certainly no expert or critic, I will provide you with some of my favorite places to eat in Philly. And as I continue to eat my way through this city, I am always willing to offer a suggestion or take a recommendation for a new place to try!

Favorite brunch locations:

Honey’s Sit N’ Eat: Conveniently located on 21st and South, Honey’s offers the best early morning breakfast eats. Come between 7-9 am on weekdays, and for $5 you’ll get your fill of 2 eggs any style, toast, potatoes (latkes, grits, or home fries), and unlimited coffee. Get the latkes with applesauce. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you. Additionally, Honey’s is BYO, so bring some champagne and friends for a boozier brunch experience.

Pub and Kitchen: For a classy, casual brunch experience, I’ll go to Pub & Kitchen. Located on 20th and Lombard, Pub & Kitchen offers fresh and flavorful food options. On warm, sunny days, I opt for their outdoor seating along 20th street. Their sausage and scallion biscuit redefines breakfast sandwich.

Favorite BYOs:

Giorgio on Pine: Located on 13th and Pine, Giorgio is my go-to BYO. In my opinion, you will find the best, most-authentic Italian food here. As an added treat, Giorgio himself will almost certainly stop by your table to say hello.

So Crepe: I stumbled upon this gem last year while strolling down South Street. With a simple menu and delicious ingredients, I was smitten immediately. I brought my French roommate with me, and she too loved the crepes and attested to their authenticity. With a bottle of wine, enjoy their savory crepes and indulge in their “So Simple” sweet crepe.

Favorite “Parents are in town, let’s go to town!” Restaurants:

Garces Trading Company: Owned by Chef Jose Garces, Garces Trading Co. serves dishes that feature Spanish, Italian, and French influences. First recommended to me by a Philly friend, I took my family to Garces Trading Co for one of my college graduation dinners. It immediately became a family favorite. Dare I say it’s my favorite restaurant in the city?

Jamonera: This small, trendy tapas and wine bar offers a hip atmosphere and amazing tapas. With mouthwatering vegetarian and meat-lover options, everyone will leave satisfied. Personal anecdote: I am notoriously known to refuse to eat olives…I couldn’t get enough of Jamonera’s olives.

Best Restaurant Week “bang-for-your-buck” Restaurants

Every winter and fall during restaurant week, restaurants that may typically be out of the budget range of a medical student offer three-course dinners for only $35 per person. In addition, many participating restaurants also offer a three-course lunch for $20.

Amada: I love tapas and Chef Jose Garces. Amada combines both of my loves in this beautiful Old City restaurant. I recommend coming here with a group so that everyone can order and share Amada’s impressive selection of tapas. For my fellow cheese-lovers, order the aged manchego with truffle lavender honey.

Alma de Cuba: Alma de Cuba features some of the most aesthetically pleasing décor in the city. Step inside and you’ll feel as though you’ve been whisked away to Havana. Their food does not disappoint either. The ceviche was perfect, and the coffee with coconut milk will make even the most stubborn coffee snobs rave.

I hope this sampling of restaurants gets your mouth watering for Philadelphia! Med school is great, but life is not fulfilled without good food.

Olivia Bernal is an MS1 from Northern California. She graduated from Penn in 2012 with a degree in Biological Basis of Behavior. In her free time she enjoys napping, sipping tea, listening to music, and frequenting Philly’s BYOs with friends.

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