Philadelphia restaurants are causing a stir on the American foodie scene. First there was the Philly cheesesteak, and now the city has come into its own to offer a variety of gourmet options in a delightful atmosphere. Picture yourself staying at a charming bed and breakfast and walking to a restaurant in Center City with a fireplace and an enticing menu. Dining in Philadelphia has become one of the most popular reasons to visit, and with the development of food tours in the city, there is even more to see and taste in the birthplace of America.
One of the most exciting events of the year in Philly is restaurant week. A concept that is gaining popularity across the country, more than 100 restaurants in Center City are joining a program to offer a prix-fixe three-course dinner. Taking place over two weeks in January, restaurant week lures locals and visitors alike into some of the best Philadelphia restaurants, allowing them to taste what chefs can create at an affordable price. Diners can expect a few choices for each course, though not an entire menu, and usually options to accommodate vegetarians as well. Some restaurants have expanded from dinner to include lunch during restaurant week as well.
Despite all of the fine dining in Philadelphia, you still need to try the original Philly Cheesesteak. Head down to South Philadelphia, the neighborhood where the sandwich is said to have originated. A culinary trip to Philly can be an exploration of the neighborhoods and the people who settled there. After you stop at Geno’s or another local restaurant for a cheesesteak, head over to the Italian Market to see what is on display. From Italian pastries to cheeses and pastas, food lovers will all be tempted to bring some treats home.
Part of the charm about food in Philadelphia is that it is all-encompassing. Whether you are craving seafood or steak, Chinese or Italian, you’ll find top-notch options throughout the city. Chinatown is located in Center City, and if you aren’t going for a meal, at least take a stroll through and stop for a drink. Another favorite aspect about dining in Philadelphia is the presence of BYOB (bring your own bottle) restaurants. Visitors to the city who are unfamiliar with this concept are thrilled to not have to pay the extravagant cost of alcohol in restaurants, and bring something along instead. From that nice bottle of wine you’ve been saving to a few cold beers from your hotel room refrigerator, you can enjoy a gourmet meal without paying too much for a glass of wine.
Philadelphia restaurants also participate in developing food tours. You can learn right from the mouths of the best chefs what some of their secrets are, where they buy their products, and what makes their restaurants so special. Food tours are designed around all sorts of cuisine, and even chocolate, wine, and cheese, too. The options for great dining are endless, from Restaurant Row to upcoming trendy spots to tried-and-true special occasion choices. You may come to the city to try the Philly cheesesteak, but you’ll leave having tasted a variety of new, classic, and upscale flavors.