Philadelphia Foodie Favorites: Must Eats

Food tasting during your Philadelphia visit is just as important as running up and down those “Rocky Steps” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The City of Brotherly love is famous not just for its scrumptious Philly cheesesteaks but also for a variety of other sandwiches and hoagies, authentic ethnic cuisines and down home comfort food. For a city that dedicated an entire city block to house over three dozen food stalls and fresh market stands, as a result, it’s easy to see why sampling Philadelphia foodie favorites ought to be part of your vacation itinerary. The first part of this series focused on the Philly must eats on Reading Terminal Market street foods. This continuation will explore the remainder of the city’s other neighborhoods, in particular, Old/Center City, Philly’s famed South Side and the beloved Italian Market.

Philadelphia Foodie Favorites

Philly Cheesesteak

Cheesesteak at John's Pork Roast. Philadelphia Foodie Favorites
Cheesesteak at John’s Pork Roast

The proverbial cheesesteak is definitely one of the Philadelphia foodie favorites for both locals and tourists. Arguably, the most famous ones come from the competing eateries of Geno’s and Pat’s, but locals will caution you to avoid those tourist traps and seek the tastier ones from places like John’s Pork Roast or Dalessandro’s instead. The former remains a local fave, as a result, attracting plenty of South Philly loyalists. Located in an unassuming shopping plaza in Snyder Avenue, John’s secret is the freshly made sesame toasted roll. Dalessandro’s on the other hand, is where you’ll want to go to indulge on this true Philly classic. Dripping with flavor on every bite, the cheesesteak favored by late-night show host Jimmy Fallon will leave your tummy full and supremely satisfied.

Note: In order to avoid sounding like a tourist when ordering a cheesesteak, come prepared. Let the cashier know the quantity, type of cheese and fixings you want in one sentence. For example, “one American with” will get you one cheesesteak with American cheese and fried onions.


John’s Pork Roast: 14 Snyder Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148 (South Philly)

Dalessandro’s: 600 Wendover St, Philadelphia, PA 19128 (Roxborough)

Old and Center City

Dan Dan Noodles at Han Dynasty

Dan Dan Noodles Han Dynasty. Philadelphia Foodie Favorites
Dan Dan Noodles Han Dynasty

Philadelphia’s Chinatown is nowhere near as popular or large as those in New York and San Francisco, but it houses one of the best affordable and tasty eateries in Old City. Han Dynasty and its signature Szechuan-style dish, dan dan noodles, is the perfect combination of salty and spicy. The hand-made noodles are easily one of the Philly food favorites and a staple order on almost every table.

Address: 123 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA

Fried Chicken and Strawberry Lavender Donut at Federal Donuts

Fried Chicken and Honey Donut, Federal Donuts. Philadelphia Foodie Favorites
Fried Chicken and Honey Donut, Federal Donuts

The idea of sweet and salty is not exactly a new concept, but visitors staying in Philadelphia can take that saying onto a new level of deliciousness. Stop by Federal Donuts and indulge on crispy fried chicken with a honey donut on the side. If you still have room, make sure to get an order of their signature strawberry lavender donut, considered one of the Philadelphia foodie favorites. The donuts at this beloved establishment are so popular, locals even request them as centerpieces for weddings and other celebratory events.

Federal Donuts has several locations around the city.

South Philly

Italian at L’angolo Restaurant

Spaghetti Scoglio. Philadelphia Foodie Favorites
Spaghetti Scoglio

When visiting Philadelphia, a trip couldn’t possibly be complete without trying Italian cuisine. South Philly is home to a number of Italian immigrants and, as a result, is where you’ll likely find some of the city’s best Italian restaurants like L’angolo. This family-owned establishment has been serving authentic Italian dishes such as spaghetti scoglio and pappardelle all’anatra for decades. The former is just one of the Philadelphia foodie favorites and is made with mussels, clams, shrimp and calamari, in a choice of red or white sauce. The latter, considered one of the restaurant specialties include braised duck, white wine, thyme, and shaved grana. Bring your own wine, a healthy appetite and, at the same time, enjoy the inviting atmosphere at this beloved restaurant.

Address: 1415 W Porter St Philadelphia, PA 19145

Italian Market

Santucci’s Original Square Pizza

Santucci's Square Pizza. Philadelphia Foodie Favorites
Santucci’s Square Pizza

Tourists staying in Philly might wonder what is the big deal about Santucci’s square pizza, in fact, considered by locals as one of the definite Philadelphia foodie favorites. Is it the crust? The sauce? Perhaps it’s the combination of simple ingredients and lots of cheese. Purists will stick with one meat, sauce and cheese, but you can also create your own with toppings such as broccoli rabe and prosciutto available to choose from.

Address: 655 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA

About Iris A


Born in the Philippines, but grew up in Texas, Iris has been traveling and writing about her experiences for well over a decade. Her work has been published on well-known travel sites like Hipmunk (#hipmunkcitylove) and D Magazine Online Travel Club. She has been all over Europe, the US, and has recently started exploring Latin America. She loves trying local cuisine and visiting UNESCO deemed World Heritage sites. Her favourite city is New York, with London, following a close 2nd. You can follow her on Twitter @sundeeiris or through her travel blog, Traveling With Iris.

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