I was in Philadelphia for work all last week. The weather was perfect fall weather, cool and crisp. I also ate pretty well there. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures to share, but here’s the rundown of where I ate:
Q BBQ & Tequila: I went there for lunch. Ehhh, is my feeling on the place. I got a pulled pork sandwich with cole slaw on top. It was just okay. None of the three bbq sauces were very good either. On the plus side, they pour on the fries, literally, my entire tin plate was covered in french fries.
Aqua: A bunch of friends and I went to Aqua for dinner, I was in the mood for some good Thai/Asian food. The restaurant was nicely decorated although completely empty besides our party. It is a BYOB (a big thing I totally love about Philly is the proliferation of BYOB restaurants). I would say if you go to Aqua, skip the dumplings, and order the Beef Chow Fun. The dumplings were a play on soup dumplings but the pork was not so tender. The chow fun on the other hand was delicious, the beef was tender, and it wasn’t too greasy.
Salento: We had a girl’s night out at Salento (another BYOB). Again, the restaurant was almost empty but the service was fantastic. They have a $27 prix fixe menu that most of my friends went with. I would say that the food is consistently good and the portions are very generous. A couple of my friends ordered mussels and calamari and they were super happy with those as appetizers. I ordered an arugula salad with a balsamic vinaigrette and it was exactly what I wanted, light and fresh. For an entrée, I had the spaghetti Bolognese, which was good, although a bit on the salty side. Overall, a great experience, and it kind of puzzled us that there weren’t more people at the restaurant.
Pat’s King of Steaks: We couldn’t leave Philly without eating a cheese steak or two. So we headed to Pat’s. My friend and I split a cheese wiz with onions cheese steak. It was very good. The meat was tender and all of the flavors melded together. My friend tried a Geno’s cheese steak (the two restaurants are directly across from each other and have a hard-core rivalry going on). My friend declared Pat’s the better sandwich, and while I didn’t try Geno’s, the meat was kind of gray looking.
Alyan’s Restaurant: A good friend of mine is kind of obsessed with falafel so a group of us headed to Alyan’s to get our falafel on. We split a large plate of their home-made french fries. They were so good. They were obviously double fried, hand cut, and they cooked them with onions and spicy peppers. Yum. For my actual meal, I ordered the chicken shish kebab sandwich while everyone else smartly went with the falafel. My sandwich was underwhelming, the chicken pieces were too large, the yogurt sauce lacked flavor, and overall it was kind of lackluster. But everyone declared the falafel to be delicious.
El Vez: El Vez is a trendy Mexican restaurant and by far, my favorite of the bunch. It had great atmosphere and awesome decor. It was packed with people and had an old fashioned photo booth that my friends and I took advantage of (I absolutely love those). We split an order of the nachos and they were really delicious, cheesy and packed with flavor. The guacamole was pretty good, they had a bunch of different varieties of guacamole that you could order. I ordered a salad with steak. The salad itself was crunchy and delicious with a chipotle ranch dressing, but the real star was the steak. It was cooked perfectly and very well marinated. Each one of my friends was very happy with their meal. I feel that El Vez is one of those restaurants where it’s hard not to have a great time.