The restaurant landscape is changing in this city in a very good way. Unique restaurants are popping up everywhere and the creative process from start to finish seems shorter. That’s a very good thing given my lack of patience once I’m tipped off. Cuisines and locations are encouraging residents to explore areas of the city that may be unfamiliar and visitors to, well, visit at all. Philly isn’t trying to imitate anything out there, but instead to make its own way. The food here is original, honest and ridiculously good and comparable to any meal I’ve had anywhere.
These two spots opened up over the course of the past month: Stock first, then Dizengoff last weekend. Both are wholly unique-one minimalist and zen, the other bold and energizing. But both share that authenticity and affordability I seek out when looking for a casual restaurant at home and away.
the location Smack dab in the middle of the city-a few blocks from both Walnut Street shopping and city hall-this place is going to kill it at lunch time. It is on the 1600 block of sansom street. You will come across an open garage door. Walk inside and you will find an industrial spot with semi-communal seating and an open kitchen.
the meal Described as a hummisiya, this restaurant serves seasonal variations of Zahav’s famous hummus and salatim all on a platter for $9-$11…that’s it, and that’s all you need. We tried the hummus topped with ground lamb as well as the one topped with a tomato compote and egg. Both bowls were wiped completely clean with the house-made pita. For beverages you have the choice of lemonata (frozen lemonade) or beer. What else do you need?
the mood Perfect for solo dining or a quick bite, as it’s loud and busy and calling for a quick turnover (i.e.: don’t linger. The staff certainly does not show you the door, but people waiting with their trays of hummus require a little courtesy on your part).
Open daily at 10:30am
1625 Sansom Street
the location Fr those of us south of Center City, getting here takes a little bit of effort. But that didn’t stop us from walking there (we really like to walk). It’s located in Fishtown (east of the Girard stop on the Market-Frankford line) among other hip shops that look to be worth a visit. The restaurant is beautiful on the outside and perfectly minimalist on the inside. More on that later.
the meal The goal of this restaurant is to serve local, grass-fed meat and bone broths (stock) in the form of pho and bahn mi and even tartare. This honest, hardworking crew does just that. Take note: there are also beautiful vegan options in the form of salads (one of which, the pea leaf salad, we were given to try on the house- it was incredible). We had both the beef pho and pork sausage bahn mi and both were exceptional.
A word on portions: A few reviews I’ve read comment on how the portions are tiny… I don’t agree, but I suppose they are more modest in comparison to the traditional pho restaurants scattered throughout the city. In my opinion, this is to be expected when the restaurant uses such high quality ingredients.
the mood Another spot perfect for solo dining but also wonderful for a night out. There is a bar for eating (this restaurant is BYOB) and a few tables, making this spot pretty cozy. It’s painted in whites and grays with white subway tile and an open kitchen.
M,Th, F 5:30-10:30
308 E Girard Avenue