The Best Places to Eat in Old City Philadelphia

There’s one thing every trip has in common: Travelers have to eat! My #1 rule of food when traveling is not to eat anywhere I can eat at home. My #2 rule is, don’t eat at the same place twice (unless it’s really good or the only place in town). Number 3 is, try the local food. When in Philly, right? Here are the best places to eat on your trip to Philadelphia, especially in the Old City!

Franklin Social

Would I order a cheesesteak and fries at home? Probabaly not. But it was the first thing I ordered in Philadelphia! I needed a break from the heat and the smells outside, so I opted for an indoor dining experience that was maybe a little fancier than I would normally choose. But when I saw the restaurant’s own upscale version of a cheesesteak on the menu, what they called a “Philly Jawn,” I knew that’s what I had to get! They use their own sauce, which was possibly a homemade Cheese Wiz.

But you know I’m really a sucker for the sweets, right? I saved half of the cheesesteak just to make sure I had room for flourless chocolate cake! It was worth it!

Philly Jawn and Fries
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Fuel your journey: Everything You Need to Know to Visit Independence National Park

Menagerie Coffee

I’ll be honest, it was a bit challenging to find “non-touristy” restaurants in the Historic District! Many small businesses had closed during COVID, and it had been 10 years since I last visited. Thankfully, I stumbled across this little gem! Menagerie Coffee was absolutely a local’s place, and while their food menu was limited, my breakfast sandwich tasted awesome! I’m a fan of their iced mocha, too.

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich and Iced Mocha
Also nearby: How to Visit the Betsy Ross House

Talula’s Daily

Okay, this was the one place where I found truly healthy (and tasty!) food in Philadelphia! It’s not all cheesesteaks, y’all! This is another local spot offering grab-and-go options, as well as freshly-made tea and coffee. They’re open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and there is a sister restaurant called Talula’s Garden that’s more upscale. Their ingredients are often local, which is something I absolutely love to find!

Three Bean Salad, Mediterranean Shrimp and Orzo, and Alpine Berry Tea
Read next: The Ultimate Guide to Solo Travel in Philadelphia

Shane’s Confectionary

Okay, I love this nostalgic little shop! Started in the 19th century, this chocolate and confectionary shop has all the charm to go with all its delicious chocolates! They make absolutely everything in-house, and they even make things for other local businesses, too. I’m a huge fan, and you will be delighted that you stopped in for a sweet or two on your trip!

My Boxed Assortment
More here: The World’s Best Desserts

Mei Mei

Okay, I know Philadelphia is an all-American city, and I should be eating hamburgers and hot dogs and cheesesteaks the whole trip, but there’s only so much of that I can take! I’m an absolute sucker for Asian food, so when I saw this Taiwanese restaurant just a few blocks from my hotel, I had to try it out!

The Kung Pow Chicken was amazing, and the service was actually better than I remember most service being at restaurants pre-pandemic. My server was attentive without being annoying, and she was nice to me. Please support this restaurant because they are doing it right when so many others around the country–and the world–have forgotten what good service is!

Crispy Wontons with Duck Sauce
Kung Pow Chicken!
Keep eating on my World Foods Page!

Vanderwende’s Ice Cream

Did I need ice cream when I got this? No. I was full from dinner. But I was also kind of having a bad day, and this place smelled like absolute Heaven! I got the salty caramel flavor, as well as the Strawberry Pretzel Jell-o Salad flavor. I do not regret my choices. They were smooth, they were creamy, and while I only asked for two scoops (one scoop each), the nice scooper girl appeared to have given me two scoops OF EACH. Bless her, but I had a bellyache before I even finished… But I’m no quitter, so I did finish.

Such yummy ice cream!

Want more? Check out everything you need to know about Philadelphia on my United States Page!

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3 responses to “The Best Places to Eat in Old City Philadelphia”

  1. […] More here: Where to Eat in Old City Philadelphia […]

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