Traveling Solo in Philadelphia: Where to Eat and Drink

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Philly Cheesesteak Called "The Block" from Cleavers in Philadelphia, June 2016

Philly Cheesesteak Called “The Block” from Cleavers in Philadelphia, June 2016

Planning on traveling solo in Philadelphia? The City of Brotherly Love is a great foodie city and here a few of my favorite places to eat and drink.

Service with a Smile at Cleavers, Philadelphia, June 2016

Service with a Smile at Cleavers, Philadelphia, June 2016

Take a Bite Out of Americana
As cliché as it is, if you’re traveling to Philadelphia you need to have at least one cheesesteak sandwich. During this recent trip I bypassed the Cheez Wiz-topped variety and noshed on a tender, flavorful sandwich at Cleavers on South 18th Street.

I had The Block which is ribeye steak, Portobello mushrooms, fried onions, green peppers and sharp provolone. This sandwich oozes with finger-licking goodness. If beef isn’t your thing, order a chicken or veggie sandwich. The Spinach Balsamico with raw baby spinach, raw onions, plum tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and balsamic glaze sounds tasty. Wash it down with a craft beer or one of their boozy shakes. (108 S. 18th St.; Tel: 215-515-3828)

Vietnamese Pork Sushi Burrito from Hai Street Kitchen, Philadelphia, June 2016

Vietnamese Pork Sushi Burrito from Hai Street Kitchen, Philadelphia, June 2016

Mexican Meets Asian?
I’ll always have Vietnam on the brain and when I saw Hai Street Kitchen advertising a Vietnamese pork sushi burrito, I knew that creation needed to be in my belly. This place is not fancy and seems like an Asian version of Chipotle, in that you tell the person behind the counter what you want in your burrito (or bowl or salad) while he makes it in front of you. Although there is limited seating, I grabbed my bulging burrito, bag of chips with wasabi guacamole and bottle of water and sat on a street bench people watching. Based on the looks I got, I’m pretty sure those walking by were watching me. I suppose you can say Hai Street Kitchen is a small chain but for this small-town gal, it was something special. (32 S 18th St.; Tel: 215-964-9465)

Met Charles Cannuli Jr., Owner of Cannuli Bros. Quality Meats & Poultry during Urban Adventures 9th Street Italian Market Tour, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 29, 2014

Met Charles Cannuli Jr., Owner of Cannuli Bros. Quality Meats & Poultry during Urban Adventures 9th Street Italian Market Tour, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 29, 2014

Burn Calories as You Go
City tours with culinary themes are my kinda tours and Intrepid Travel’s Urban Adventures offers a handful of food-centric walking tours, one of which explores the 9th Street Italian Market where I met a butcher, baker and candlestick seller. Another tour focuses on Philly’s beer and another on street food.

Federal Donuts, Philadelphia, June 2016

Federal Donuts, Philadelphia, June 2016

Sweet and Meat
Word has it Federal Donuts serves up the best Korean-style fried chicken in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, I haven’t tasted their delectable-sounding poultry but I have tasted one of their sweet donuts. The Strawberry Lavender sugared deep-fried treat was simply perfect and is one of the traditional flavors along with Vanilla Spice and Cinnamon Brown Sugar. There are five locations in Philly and tend to sell out of donuts and chicken so arrive early.

Yumola! Insomnia Cookies, Philadelphia, June 2016

Yumola! Insomnia Cookies, Philadelphia, June 2016

Sink Your Teeth Into Something Gooey
Maybe it’s because I’m part of Generation X or maybe because I live in a small town, but mention Insomnia Cookies to a Millennial and their eyes widen, mouth salivates and they’ll tell you these are the best late-night food you can put in your mouth.

You know what? Oh. My. Goodness.  Now I understand.

These are THE BEST cookies I have ever eaten. If you are not familiar with Insomnia Cookies, they are served warm and they are the gooiest, sweetest and flavorful cookie ever. They have traditional cookies such as chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin and snickerdoodle but I went for the deluxe cookies with a S’mores and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup. Yumola! Insomnia Cookies is open until 3 a.m. (Two locations in Philly, 135 S. 13th St. and 108 S. 16th St.)

Home-style Cooking Without Doing the Dishes
Historic Reading Terminal Market is perfect for the solo traveler and if there’s one place you should visit it is Dutch Eating Place, a Pennsylvania Dutch restaurant. They serve breakfast and lunch but my fave are their delicious and generous apple dumpling. (Reading Terminal Market, 51 N 12th St.; Tel: 215-922-0425)

#BlogHouse - Contemporary Jazz and Classical Guitarist Dave Baker at the Art Bar at Sonesta Philadelphia, June 2016

Contemporary Jazz and Classical Guitarist Dave Baker at the Art Bar at Sonesta Philadelphia, June 2016

Sip and Nosh with a Little Culture
Sonesta Philadelphia Rittenhouse Square is home to the Art Bar, a chic eatery celebrating Sonesta’s “Food is Art” & “Liquid Art” culture by serving craft cocktails and savory, mouthwatering bites of food. The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating, which was recently added. If you enjoy people watching, this is the place to sit, sip and eat. The Art Bar offers live music during Happy Hour, 5 – 7 p.m., and during my visit, contemporary jazz and classical guitarist Dave Baker performed. He’s toured with Hall and Oates. (1800 Market St.; Tel: 215-561-7500)

#BlogHouse - 2nd Story Brewing Company, Philadelphia, June 2016

2nd Story Brewing Company, Philadelphia, June 2016

Drink Some Barely Water
Philadelphia has been recognized as a top beer city in the world by Frommer’s it’s only appropriate to sip a bit of craft brew during your visit. Two places I enjoyed raising a glass were 2nd Story Brewing, where I met brewmaster John Wible and learned a bit about the operation. My favorite glass of beer brewed there that I tasted was the Hefewible, a refreshing wheat beer. The Declaration IPA, one of the brewery’s standard craft beers, gets a thumbs up from me, too. (117 Chestnut St.; Tel: 267-314-5770)

#BlogHouse - Mahi Tacos at Independence Beer Garden, Philadelphia, June 2016

Mahi Tacos at Independence Beer Garden, Philadelphia, June 2016

Across the way from the Liberty Bell and Independence National Historic Park is Independence Beer Garden where I grabbed lunch and an extremely delicious Ma! The Meatloaf! brewed by Evil Genius Beer Company. It’s a light, sweet mango wheat beer. IBG serves 40 regional and national craft brews. The 20,000-square foot eatery features casual American cuisine such as burgers, salads (try the kale salad made with raisins, Parmesan cheese and sherry vinegar) and my favorite, the Mahi Tacos with creamy guacamole and salsa verde. To pass time, sit at your picnic table stacking the Jenga pieces or admiring the interior decor which includes distressed metals and reclaimed timber. (100 South Independence Mall West; Tel: 215-922-7100)

Need more beer-spiration in the “Cradle of Libation”? Follow the Philadelphia Craft Beer Trail for additional breweries.

Honey Bud (Drink in tumbler) Served at Liberte Urban Chic Lounge at Sofitel Philadelphia, June 2016

Honey Bud (Drink in tumbler) Served at Liberte Urban Chic Lounge at Sofitel Philadelphia, June 2016

Bee Different
Check out the buzz at Liberte Urban Chic Lounge at Sofitel Philadelphia. Chef Luke Rogers is incorporating herbs from the hotel’s rooftop garden and honey from the bee hives into food and beverage items. Taste the Honey Bud cocktail, a sweet nectar made with Gosling’s dark rum, ginger, orange, lime and honey. [Learn more about my visit to the Sofitel Philadelphia’s honey bees in the roof garden.] (120 S 17th St.; Tel: 215-569-8300)

The Volcano Being Made at RIM Cafe, Philadelphia, March 2014

The Volcano Being Made at RIM Cafe, Philadelphia, March 2014

Sip a Volcano
Chocoholics need to plan a visit to RIM Café for a legendary hot chocolate Volcano. Not only is this an over-the-top indulgent drink, watching it being made by the barista is beautiful. Whipped topping is placed in the bottom of a glass followed by hot chocolate then topped with shavings from different flavors of chocolate as the beverage oozes over the rim. RIM Café has a quiet, Zen vibe perfect for solo travelers to chill.

Urban Adventures 9th Street Italian Market Tour, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 29, 2014

Urban Adventures 9th Street Italian Market Tour, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 29, 2014

There are so many tasty places to eat and drink in Philly and the above list is a small sampling of what’s available when traveling solo in Philadelphia.

Read about where to stay and things to do in Philadelphia.

Are you a foodie like me? Then you may enjoy one of these culinary adventures with Intrepid Travel.



Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to support my traveling habit and this blog. I was a guest of Visit Philadelphia during my June 2016 visit to the City of Brotherly Love however, opinions are my own.

Author: Solo Travel Girl

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led Jennifer Huber, aka: Solo Travel Girl, to a career path in tourism. She has worked in the tourism industry for more than 20 years including 10 years with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley and Everglades National Park. She currently lives in Southwest Florida, and maintains this travel blog with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely.

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