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Where Should I Eat at NCTM in Philadelphia?
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TOC: Near Convention Center | Other Restaurants | Maps
Beverages | Dining Out for Life, Thursday, April 26th

Philadelphia is a wonderful town for eating and drinking. Here's how to find great locations near the Convention Center--or even elsewhere.

The Convention Center is near three splendid food destinations:

  1. Reading Terminal Market, 12th and Arch, was originally a station for the Reading Railroad but now approximately N (a very large number) stands await you with lovely food from many origins, not only restaurants but also super sources of fruits and other good convention snacks. The Philadelphia Inquirer's restaurant critic, Craig LaBan, writes:

    Regarded as the best farmers' market in America (at least by Philadelphians), the Reading Terminal Market is a terrific place to sample all the culinary grandeur Philadelphia has to offer. Experience the traditional cheesesteak, a custom-made deli sandwich, or an authentic Pennsylvania Dutch hearty home cooked breakfast prepared by Amish farmers.
  2. Philadelphia's Chinatown is also right next door and great for Chinese and some other Asian cuisines.

    Philly.com writes about dumpling heaven
    USA Today writes about favorite Chinatown restaurants

    Craig LaBan writes:

    ...a handful of favorites - humble Nan Zhou for hand-stretched noodles with soy sauce pork and ethereally thin wontons; trusty Lee How Fook for chicken-asparagus hot pots, scallop fried rice, and Buddha's delight; Sakura Mandarin for wondrous broth-filled soup dumplings; Ocean City forgood-enough dim sum (especially the filled barbecue-pork pastries), and tiny coconut tarts at the Mayflower Bakery for dessert...
  3. And if it's nice out at lunchtime, LOVE Park is just a couple blocks away (15th and Arch). It has some amazing food trucks (a new(ish) food phenomenon that's hitting a number of big cities). There are several other good food truck locations, including Drexel and Penn and Temple, but they're more of a hike. For details, read Craig LaBan's relatively recent article.

Finding Other Restaurants

But suppose you want to go for a Big Splurge or just a pretty good resto at non-all-consuming prices? Well, Philadelphia's wonderful restaurant reviewer, Craig LaBan, grades restaurants as super-high quality 4 bell restaurants, high quality 3 bell restaurants, 2 bell restaurants that are good enough for most of us, etc. Here are some of his favorites: http://www.philly.com/philly/food/4Bell_Favorites.html?c=r.

Maps

If you are interested in dining in a particular area of Philadelphia, or come across the name of a restaurant you might be interested in, go here: http://www.philly.com/philly/restaurants/134619373.html. This gives you a map of restaurants with links to LaBan reviews (color-coded by ratings).

How about Beverages?

Important note: a number of the restaurants referred to above are "BYOB" = Bring Your Own Bottle--we have many quaint Prohibition amusements remaining (e.g. the "normal" way of purchasing beer for home consumption in Pennsylvania is by the case). Fortunately, near the Convention Center you can find a good source of wine bottles to purchase (the state Wine & Spirits Shoppe at 1218 Chestnut) and also for single bottles of beer (The Foodery at 10th and Pine).

However, Philadelphia is also one of the country's best locations for imbibing beer. There are a number of places within staggering distance of the Convention Center, with impressive collections of craft beers on tap. Check out The Beer Advocate's Guide to Philly for breweries, bars, eateries, etc. There are some disputes here. For example, Monk's is a perfectly respectable overcrowded splendid destination, but some of us know that its claim to have the best Belgian mussels is wrong--some of us think that goes to Teresa's Next Door, which alas is in the suburb of Wayne, PA, not within easy hiking distance.

Dining Out for Life

The Thursday of NCTM, April 26th, is "Dining Out for Life," an annual dining fundraising event raising money for AIDS service organizations. Participating restaurants donate as much as 33% of their proceeds on April 26th. To find out which restaurants are participating, visit the Dining Out for Life website. Old City and Center City-East are both within walking distance of the convention center.


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