So you are coming to Philadelphia for the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting and want to get some great meals and drink some fantastic beer, wine, and cocktails? You are in luck. Philadelphia is one of the best eating and drinking cities in America. No joke. However, in the words of Philly food critic Craig Leban, “Can I please save you the disappointment of wasting precious meals on tourist traps and faded legends?”
In what follows, I lay out a Google Map with top choices, link to a a sortable spreadsheet with all of my favorites, and provide links to even more!
Here is a map of some of Philadelphia’s top locations.
Want more than this? Click here for detailed information on every restaurant on this map, sortable by:
- Type of food
- Drink options
- Food options
- Large outdoor seating possibilities (given the weather)
Some places and Philly food/drink concepts just stand out, however, and I want to mention them here in particular.
Roast Pork Sandwich: I have lived in Philadelphia for the better part of a decade, and it was shortly after moving here that I realized that the cheesesteak was not, in fact, the most important sandwich in Philadelphia. The roast pork sandwich (complete with brocoli rabe and sharp provolone) is the secret sandwich of Philadelphia. And no place does it better than John’s Roast Pork (14 E. Snyder Ave). John’s doesn’t look like a place that has won a James Beard award (it has), but yes it is that good. It is a drive or long cab/uber to get there (it’s down in South Philly by the Target), but it is worth it.
Can’t make it to John’s? Well close to the Philadelphia Convention Center in Downtown Philadelphia is a roast pork sandwich so good that Alan Richman of the Travel Channel named it the “Best Sandwich in America.” I’m talking, of course, about DiNic’s, a mainstay of Reading Terminal Market (for you Monopoly fans out there, like Reading Railroad, it’s pronounced REDing, not READing).
And if you want the new-school version of the roast pork sandwich, and a whole lot more, check out Paesano’s (original location: 1017 S. 9th Street).
Cheesesteak: I have a better idea – go get a roast pork sandwich! Or the roast beef at DiNic’s or Nick’s Roast Beef (2149 SO. 20th St.). Or a hoagie at Fink’s (132 S. 8th Street, just a 10 minute walk from the Convention Center) or Primo’s or somewhere else. If you insist on having a cheesesteak, LeBan has a good guide.
Italian Food: There is so much good Italian food in Philadelphia. If you are going to have multiple dinners in Philadelphia, I absolutely recommend going to an Italian place. In the Google Map and embedded spreadsheet, there are several recommendations. Some of my favorites include:
- Amis (412 S 13th St): More affordable, pasta-focused restaurant in the Vetri empire. And pasta is what Vetri does best. You won’t be disappointed.
- Brigantessa (1520 E Passyunk Ave): Down in the fun East Passyunk neighborhood (15 minute cab from the Convention Center), which you shouldn’t miss while you are in Philly, is this new’ish place. New and interesting takes on Italian favorites, as well as excellent pizza.
- Le Virtu (1927 E Passyunk Ave): Also in the East Passyunk neighorhood, it’s a really good Italian meal and they have an extensive wine list.
Beer: Philadelphia is an outstanding beer city. Home to one of the original American bars with extensive Belgian beer offerings (Monk’s: 264, S. 16th Street), this is a great place for craft beer. Practically every place you go to will have a solid selection of craft beer, especially including The Cambridge (1508 South Street), City Tap House – Logan Square (2 Logan Square), and Jose Pistola’s (Also get the nacho’s, they are great: 263 S. 15th Street). But really, it’s hard to go wrong when it comes to beer in Philly. What’s more important is *what* you drink. And you will have a wide variety of local options, including Philadelphia Brewing Company, Victory, Yards, Troegs, and others.
Cocktails: The craft cocktail revolution came to Philadelphia long ago (for info on some of my local favorites, see here) in the form of Southwark (701 S. 4th Street). Southwark is still going strong, under new ownership. There are a number of other great options. Right by the Philadelphia Convention Center is speakeasy Hop Sing Laundromat (1029 Race Street), which is eccentric and makes fantastic drinks. Just Google the dress code. Other great upscale cocktail options in Center City writ-large include The Franklin Bar (112 S. 18th Street), 1 Tippling Place (2006 Chestnut Street), and The Ranstead Room (2013 Ranstead Street). Underrated for cocktails and just a few blocks from the convention center is Pennsylvania 6 (114 S 12th St).
Don’t forget to check out the map and spreadsheet, and there will be more here soon on Philly food and drinks. . . . .
In the meantime, here are some additional guides from, you know, people who do this for a living and know a lot:
Top 50 Philadelphia Restaurants (Philadelphia Magazine)
Late Night Philly Eating/Drinking during the DNC (Philly.com)
Drinking in Philly past 2AM during the DNC (Billy Penn)