Philly Eats: UNIVERSITY CITY

Posted on: December 19, 2013

Philadelphia has always been a world class city. For many years it has thrived in the areas of arts and culture, historical significance and architecture. However, until recently, Philly has never been known as a culinary hotbed.  Sure, there were a few heavy hitters, but nothing like it’s current offerings. These days, it seems Philadelphia gives cities like Chicago, New York and San Francisco a run for their money in edible excitement. We are a city of neighborhoods filled with BYOB’s, Iron Chefs and Ethnic Delicacies.

West of Center City lies University City, the hub of higher learning in our fair city. People from all over the world come to Philadelphia’s prestigious colleges, and with many of them come appetites for more than learning. Thankfully there are a plethora of delicacies available for any taste.  From the hip upscale gastropub to the hole in the wall falafel shop, University City has it all! So much, in fact, that there is no way to list every restaurant in the area. So, we’ve centered in on a bunch that will keep you busy for quite some time. Enjoy!

ETHNIC:

Abyssinia Restaurant and Bar: (African) The authentic Ethiopian cuisine served at unbelievably affordable prices (most entrees under $10)!

Pod: (Japanese) Philadelphia’s futuristic sushi establishment!

Aksum: (Mediterranean) A bright Mediterranean menu that focuses on simple and fresh ingredients, with accents from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

Vientiane Cafe’: (Thai / Lao) A small family run business serving authentic Lao and Thai cuisine and vegetarian friendly menu.

Aloosh Hookah Bar: (Middle Eastern) Middle Eastern Cuisine, Hookahs and cocktails.

Koreana: (Korean) Quick, tasty, and affordable Korean food.

Arabian Breeze BBQ and Grill: (Indian) Indian food and Hookah bar near Drexel University.

Kabobeesh: (Indian, Middle Eastern) The oldest Pakistani restaurant in Philadelphia. Serving the students, families, and workers of University City for over 10 years.

Beijing Restaurant: (Chinese) For over 25 years, Beijing Restaurant has been making every dish from scratch. In additional to the traditional menu, they make Chengdu Sichuan cuisine with authentic imported spices.  For health conscious and gluten sensitive customers, they have a Gluten-free menu.

Greek Lady: (Greek) Solid Greek cuisine. Serving University City Since 1982.

Pattaya Grill: (Thai) Authentic Thai cuisine with a hint of French influence.

Dahlak: (African) Renowned Eri- Ethiopian Restaurant & Bar feeding the community by hand for over 25 years.

Cafe Renata: (Mediterranean) Cafe, restaurant, BYOB. Gourmet Mediterranean cuisine, fresh squeezed juice, gourmet coffees and teas, homemade baked goods and cheeses.

Lemon Grass Thai: (Thai) A wide variety of authentic Thai specialties.

Pho Cafe Saigon: (Vietnamese) Vietnamese soup, appetizers and entrees.

Wah- Gi- Wah: (Pakistani) Wah-Gi-Wah means ‘spectacular’ and that is the taste experience aimed for. They specialize in bringing authentic Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi Cuisine to West Philadelphia.

Tandoor India: (Indian) Traditional Indian, Eat in, take out and buffet.

Han Dynasty: (Chinese) One of CNN’s Top Chinese Restaurants in the nation! Come taste what all the buzz is about. Dan Dan Noodles are amazing and spicy, so watch out!

Kami: (Korean) No list of University City cuisine would be complete without the mention of at least one food truck. Kami serves up traditional Korean food on Drexel’s campus. Try the Korean Taco!

Gigi and Big R: (Caribbean) Caribbean and Soul Food in West Philadelphia. Gets high marks for the Jerk Chicken.

Mad Mex: (Mexican) They spin an American food mashup of Mexican, Southeast Asian, and Spanish. Made fresh daily with great drinks.

GASTROPUB:

City Tap House: With a focus on Craft Beers in the bar & creative American pub fare in the restaurant, City Tap House is one of the best bars for Craft beer in Philadelphia.

Drinker’s West: Pub grub, DJs and beer.

Smokey Joe’s Tavern: Smokey Joe’s is “the Pennstitution.” It is the Premier Penn Bar, serving Penn’s residents for more than 60 years

PIZZA:

Allegro Pizza: Brick oven pizza. Serving University City since 1982.
Claims to have the largest beer selection in University City.

Enjay’s Pizza: Lots of specialty pies and sandwiches.

Axis Pizza: Pizza and famous for their 80 ingredient salad bar.

California Pizza: Pizza, pasta, and meats are prepared fresh daily.

Pizza Rustica: Nice selection of pizzas. The margherita is a clear favorite with reviewers.

MISCELLANEOUS:

Hip City Veg: (Vegan) Awesome vegan quick serve hot spot!

Abner’s: (Cheesesteaks) According to many reviewers, gives the time square of grease (pats and geno’s) a run for their money.

Baby Blues: (BBQ) Tons of BBQ, sandwiches, seafood and sides. Combination selections are plentiful.

Distrito: (Mexican Upscale) Distrito is a vibrant celebration of the culture and cuisine of Mexico City, with a menu focused on the diverse street foods served in what is known by locals as the “Distrito Federal (D.F.)”

Green Line Cafe:  (Cafe’) The first Green Line Cafe opened in 2003 at a the corner of a major intersection in West Philadelphia’s vibrant University City neighborhood.  Co-owners and brothers-in-law Daniel Thut and Douglas Witmer transformed a neglected historic storefront property into a bustling community hub. Since then they have transformed two more West Philadelphia storefront properties into neighborhood coffeehouses. In 2011 they opened a coffee kiosk inside the Ryan Veterinary Hospital at The University of Pennsylvania, and in 2012 established a coffeehouse in Center City. As a local, family-owned business they strive to be a positive presence in the community where they live and work. The Green Line name comes from the trolley systems that fan out through the West Philadelphia neighborhood.

Harvest: (Organic / Farm to Table) A high quality, farm fresh menu created with the healthiest ingredients local farmers and purveyors have to offer. For discerning families who have become increasingly educated in food and very health conscious. An upscale-casual, welcoming atmosphere to relax with friends and feed the family.

Landmark Americana: (American) American finger foods and a late night happy hour.

White Dog Cafe:  (American Contemporary) Award-winning American contemporary restaurant, specializing in environmental sustainability and community interaction. A legendary University City establishment.

There are also dozens of coffee shops, sandwich shops and other food options too numerous to list, and many new restaurants pop up almost daily. Bon Appétit!