There comes a time in every freshman’s life when the idea of another dining hall dinner loses a bit of its luster. And when you hit that milestone, don’t despair — Philadelphia is home to a vibrant food scene, which you can sample right on Penn’s campus.
You can get your fix at familiar chains such as McDonald’s and Chipotle, but you’ll soon discover the enticing range of unique off-campus eating opportunities that flavor University City.
Whether you’re looking for a quick bite between classes or planning a fun night out with friends, Philadelphia offers options for every budget.
Food carts offer some of the cheapest and tastiest food on campus, perfect for a quick meal between classes. Penn favorites include Magic Carpet (across from the Lower Quad and on 34th and Walnut streets) for Middle Eastern vegetarian fare, Hemo’s (across from the Upper Quad and on 38th and Walnut streets) for cheesesteaks and chicken sandwiches and Bui’s (corner of 38th and Spruce streets) for famed breakfast sandwiches. Other food trucks like Tyson Bees, a Korean and Thai-inspired truck on 33rd and Spruce streets, and Sugar Philly, a dessert truck that moves around the city, have brought more gourmet options to campus.
The diverse options around 40th Street between Chestnut and Spruce streets are diet staples for many students. Here you’ll find New Delhi and Pattaya Grill, serving up Indian and Thai food, respectively. Nearby, you can also try Mizu for sushi and Mexicali for burritos and other Mexican favorites. Also on 40th Street, you’ll find Greek Lady and Allegro Pizza, two Penn favorites that draw huge crowds.
Traveling down Walnut Street, you can stop into Hummus for Middle Eastern fare, like falafel, Capogiro for gelato, sandwiches and New York-style bagels, Sweetgreen for salads and soups made with local, organic ingredients, and Bobby’s Burger Palace, renowned chef Bobby Flay’s restaurant for burgers and shakes. City Tap House, located on the terrace level of the Radian, is a bar and grill with a slightly more upscale atmosphere and price.
Your eating adventures can continue down Sansom Street, which is home to White Dog Cafe, known for its community activism and locally sourced cuisine. Nearby are New Deck Tavern, Baby Blues BBQ, Mexican-food favorite Mad4Mex and Asian-fusion Pod, one of Philadelphia’s posh Stephen Starr venues.
Past 40th Street, West Philadelphia offers many hidden treasures. Spend some time sipping coffee off the beaten path at Green Line Cafe (at 42nd and Baltimore streets and 45th and Locust streets) or Lovers and Madmen (at 40th and Ludlow streets). For an authentic Jewish deli experience, Koch’s Deli at 43rd and Locust is a must-visit. A few blocks beyond that is Abyssinia, a fun place to try your hand at Ethiopian cuisine. Manakeesh, on 45th and Walnut streets, is a new Lebanese cafe offering authentic fare, such as hummus and baklava.
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