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Lunch alone midweek?

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Oakland, California
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Lunch alone midweek?

Ok, I have now nailed down reservations for two fabulous sounding dinners. Now, I need to figure out lunch midweek when I am on my own. I was thinking El Vez, but have read mixed reviews, and wonder if a Californian is really going to miss out by not eating Mexican cuisine in Philly. I am fully comfortable eating in style with a book as my date (and peering around people watching), but want to be sure I dont pick a place that will be annoyed with me for taking up a two top as a single.

For breakfast I am planning on hitting Reading Terminal. If anyone has alternate suggestions for that meal as well, Im all ears!

I really appreciate all the help I have received so far!

Philadelphia...
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1. Re: Lunch alone midweek?

I really like El Vez and have been there 3x in the last year, but only for dinner. At night, it is hopping. The decor is very trendy. I almost never recommend Mexican to people from CA because I'm scared it will come back to haunt me...but, with that being said, El Vez is just great. If you like fish, the mahi mahi tacos are to die for (my favorite thing on the menu.) They actually have some really tasty lobster and crab tacos as well. My husband loved their crab quesidilla. They have great guacamole as well. Great margaritas as well.

The two places you have picked for dinner are more romantic, date-like places (assuming you went with Fri Sat Sun and Bistro Romano.) El Vez is not like that at all - very loud in the evening, the bar, which is in the center of the restaurant, is jammed packed with beautiful people (and I'd venture to say most of them are under 30.) I remember once last summer waiting for my husband to meet me from work at the bar when we had dinner reservations and feeling kinda old sitting there (and I'm 35.) I'd say go for it for lunch. Another option, if you like sushi, might be to go to the sushi bar during lunch at Morimoto. It is pricey, but it is delicious. Another place that would be great for lunch would be one of the Continental restaurants (there is one in Old City and one located midtown, near Rittenhouse Square.) Their crab pad thai is yummy!

Part of me says that as a foodie, you should visit one of the Stephen Starr establishments (either on your own or with partner.) Stephen Starr really has put lots of energy and life into the Philly restaurant scene and I've never been disappointed by any of his restaurants - in addition to the others I have mentioned above, Tangerine and Buddakan are great as well. Feel free to ask if you have any questions. You are going to wish you had more time in Philly to eat, trust me!

Insofar as breakfast at the Terminal is concerned, I'd avoid the Down Home Diner that is located right inside the Terminal. I went there last year and had lousy food and extremely slow and lacking service and really dirty silverware, which completely turned me off. I'd go to the Amish place for breakfast (I forget what it is called, but you can't miss it when you walk around the market...and hoards of people will be eating breakfast there.) If you are by yourself, you can sit at the counter and the food is amazing with huge portions.

Hope that helps, feel free to ask questions!

Suzanne

Philadelphia...
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2. Re: Lunch alone midweek?

I agree that the Down Home Diner is not the best option at the Terminal. The Amish breakfast is much better or, if you prefer a light breakfast, get coffee and a baked good at Le Bus or Metropolitan Bakery. The Terminal has seating in various places.

Other Philly foodie activities are the guided tours of the Italian Market and Chinatown. Let me know if you want more info on either of these.

Lynn

Doylestown...
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3. Re: Lunch alone midweek?

Not sure what time of year you're visiting, but why not enjoy some nice outdoor scenery and take a "picnic" into one of Phila's parks, such as Washington Square at 7th and Walnut, or Rittenhouse Square around 19th and Walnut? Lots of park benches and people watching!

Oakland, California
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4. Re: Lunch alone midweek?

Thanks!

I *was* thinking the Amish place at the Terminal, its great to hear that reinforced so strongly!

El Vez is sounding really fun, and I do like the idea of checking out one of Starr's creations.

We are headed your way tomorrow - Im so excited, I cant seem to get any work done!

Oakland, California
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5. Re: Lunch alone midweek?

emwimom: the tour of the Italian market sounds great. Is there info on it online?

Philadelphia...
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6. Re: Lunch alone midweek?

My sister ate at El Vez last week and thought it very mediocre. Another friend, a former Texan, thinks it's awful. It is a place to be seen, but probably not for the food. I lived in Texas for some years, and would say it's just ok. I do like some of the other Starr restaurants, especially Buddakan and The Continental. My vote would probably be Continental Midtown, and suprisingly, the pad thai is good!

If you wanted something really casual, there are many places in the terminal. Great people watching there!

Oakland, California
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7. Re: Lunch alone midweek?

Soooo many choices! Thanks everyone for all the great input!

Philadelphia...
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8. Re: Lunch alone midweek?

For Italian Market tour info go to fantes.com and under "products" hit "Italian Market." The next screen will list the Chef's Tour. If you have trouble finding it, you can call the guide, Louise Cianfero Simpson, at (215) 772-0739. I hope this info isn't getting to you too late.

Lynn