August 15, 2013
Philadelphia Neighborhoods: Our Guide To The Restaurants, Bars, Markets And Cafes In The Queen Village Neighborhood Of Philadelphia
[This spring, Visit Philly launched an effort to promote 14 different neighborhoods surrounding Center City Philadelphia. With our new complementary "Philadelphia Neighborhoods" post series, Uwishunu is teaming up with Visit Philly to promote all the awesome dining, shopping, arts, nightlife, events and more within Philly's many exciting neighborhoods.]
The tree-lined South Philadelphia neighborhood of Queen Village holds considerable charm — as well as a bevy of excellent restaurants, bars, markets and cafes.
Directly south of Society Hill, Queen Village consists of the blocks between Front and 6th streets and Lombard Street to Washington Avenue. Neighboring the ‘hood, Bella Vista is also home to a wealth of dining options.
With Night Market Philadelphia bringing thousands and thousands of hungry visitors to the streets of the neighborhood tonight, we known many will want to stick around or make a return visit to experience more of the eclectic dining offered up Queen Village.
For those who crave more than just a taste of the neighborhood that the Night Market offers up, read on for our guide to the Queen Village neighborhood, below, and check out our Bella Vista guide.
Restaurants and Bars
• Bainbridge Street Barrel House: This handsome seven-days-a-week pub credits craft beer with its existence (with 25 brews on tap, 180-plus bottled options, plus wine and classic cocktails) and lists smothered fries, pickled veggies, stuffed sandwiches and hearty mains as its staples. The owners of the Barrel House are the guys behind Bella Vista Beer Distributors on South 11th Street.
• Bibou: Charlotte and chef Pierre Calmels — she runs the dining room; he, an alum of Philly’s Le Bec-Fin and New York’s Daniel, the kitchen — helm this edgy French BYOB near the Italian Market. The bistro’s loyal following ensures all 30 seats at Bibou are booked weeks in advance.
• Bistrot La Minette: This twinkling, just-like-Paris brasserie is as authentically French as you’ll find in Philly. Chef-owner Peter Woolsey’s duck leg confit, coq au vin, escargots, tarte tatin — even simple green salad — are uniformly authentic and delicious.
• Blackbird Pizzeria: An operation completely free of animal products, Blackbird specializes in takeout fare — pizzas, sandwiches, wings, fries — so rarely available to those who practice a vegan diet.
• Blue Belly BBQ: Across the street from elder sister restaurant Cochon, this minute joint offers meat a bit more casually — international barbecue-style. Sandwiches at Blue Belly come stuffed with slow-roasted pig, Korean beef, lamb barbacoa, jerk chicken, homemade “double dogs” or grilled falafel.
• Bridget Foy’s: This South Street standby has fed a grateful grown-up crowd since 1978. Most famous for its brunch – the bloody Mary bar is legendary and the burgers set a high standard — Bridget’s is a family-friendly spot that also offers great gluten-free and kids menus.
• Cafe Fulya: The warm owner who lends her name to Cafe Fulya, a quaint Second Street shop, does all her own cooking — meaning you’re never far from a fresh-brewed mug, a flaky pastry or an authentic Turkish breakfast plate.
• Catahoula: Cajun fare — crawfish bisque, barbecue shrimp, jambalaya and that mighty red gumbo — in a barroom atmosphere make this Queen Village spot feel like a neighborhood joint in Nawlins. Brunch at Catahoula happens daily, and includes shrimp and grits, po’ boys and hush puppies.
• Cochon: French for “pig,” Cochon is a one-room, open-kitchen BYOB and justly known for its hearty fare, emphasis on the pork. Must-tries include bacon mashed potatoes, grilled spare ribs — and, from the Sunday brunch menu, deep-fried oysters with bacon mayo.
More dining in Queen Village, below.
• Creperie Beau Monde: Chic yet cozy, this corner bistro serves up Brittany’s finest flapjacks (crepes), in endless savory or sweet combinations. Goat cheese salads, French onion soup and traditional ciders round out the menu at Beau Monde,and just upstairs is a late-night cabaret and nightclub, L’Etage.
• Dmitri’s: One of Queen Village’s very first BYOBs, this first-come, first-served, cash-only Greek seafoodery still packs ‘em into its tiny tiled dining room, and is justly famous for its grilled octopus, shrimp pil and baba ganoush. This is the original Dmitri’s; the business has second and third locations in Fitler Square and Northern Liberties, respectively.
• Ela: Chefs Chip Roman and Jason Cichonski preside over this rustic urban American eatery — Roman also runs noteworthy Blackfish and Mica; Cichonski came from Rittenhouse Square’s Lacroix. The dinner-and-Sunday brunch menus at Ela feature deliciously esoteric ingredients: Huckleberry, pumpernickel spaetzle, whiskey pears have all been known to make appearances. Note: Get here soon; with Cichonski’s upcoming appearance on Top Chef New Orleans, we imagine the reservation books may fill quickly this fall.
• Famous 4th Street Delicatessen: For more than 80 years, this classic Jewish deli has occupied the corner of 4th and Bainbridge streets. Today, it’s known for mammoth portions – from huge omelets to baseball-sized matzoh balls to Frisbee-esque black-and-white cookies — and its Election Day popularity, when politicians and politicos gather to backslap and glad-hand.
• For Pete’s Sake: An underrated beer-drinker’s bar, Pete’s enjoys a strong reputation as a go-to guzzle spot for happy hour or late-night.
• Ishkabibbles: Quick service is the hallmark of this long-running South Street walkup window, considered the innovator of the chicken cheesesteak. Don’t forget the jalapeno-covered Spanish fries on the side.
• Kennett: Craft beer, wood-fired pizzas and smallish plates in a candlelit barroom have established this unobtrusive eat-and-drinkery as an upscale yet low-key neighborhood favorite. Brunch at Kennett remains somewhat of an undiscovered secret: Loyal patrons swear by the Italian breakfast with egg-topped homemade gnocchi.
• Las Bugambilias: Quick with tasty, authentic apps and entrees and even quicker with stiff margaritas, Bugambilias does everything well, but their calling card is the seafood of Veracruz, chef Carlos Molina’s hometown.
• Lil’ Pop Shop: A West Philly-born popsicle shop, Lil’ Pop Shop now serves up its sweet treats on the other side of town, bringing flavors like mango-chile pepper, coconut hibiscus and chocolate with salted caramel brownie to 4th and South streets.
• Little Fish: The menu changes with the (fish) market at this one-room, seafood-dominated BYOB. Catches of the day at Little Fish range from familiar — King salmon, striped bass — to less so — kampachi, cobia.
• New Wave Cafe: This longstanding neighborhood sports bar was among the first Philly pubs to realize its patrons wanted more than great drinks — they wanted good food, too. To that end, the New Wave offers beer specials during local games, and Niçoise salads, organic salmon burgers, and lamb tacos all day and all night.
• Pizzeria Stella: Stephen Starr’s Headhouse Square restaurant focuses on gourmet pies and friendly service. Located in historic Society Hill at the corner of 2nd and Lombard Streets, Pizzeria Stella serves twelve signature wood-fired pizzas that are a cross between classic Neapolitan and New York style pizza.
• Redwood: From the team behind the nearby Copabanana comes Redwood, a smart wine bar that serves a specialized selection of small plates and vino-friendly bites.
• Reef Caribbean Lounge: Just off South, Reef serves island-inspired cuisine and cocktails, but also hosts a wide variety of dance nights, from reggae and soca to Tuesday-night salsa.
• Serpico: The highly anticipated opening of Serpico by New York’s Peter Serpico (of Momofuku Ko fame) and Philadelphia’s own Stephen Starr has been met with incredible acclaim. To Philly foodies, the one-room, 59-seat project represents a culinary renaissance for South Street, via dehydrated country ham and Brussels sprouts and oxtail consommé with shaved raw daikon ravioli.
• Southwark: A burnished mahogany bar greets patrons of this romantic, neighborhood-y bistro. The couple-owned spot — she’s the chef, he’s the bartender — features refined seasonal fare, a well curated wine list and some of the city’s best Manhattans.
• Tattooed Mom: One of Philly’s best-loved dive bars, T-Mom’s is known for its oddball atmosphere, cheap drinks and even cheaper weekly food specials (Taco Tuesdays and Pierogi Thursdays!).
• The Twisted Tail: A “juke joint” on historic Headhouse Square, The Twisted Tail offers live music multiple nights a week, with plenty of beer, whiskey and charcoal-grilled food making things all the merrier.
• Ulivo: It can be hard for an Italian BYOB to standout in a neighborhood full of them. But chef Joe Scarpone’s rustic corner spot, Ulivo, where the pasta’s handmade and the rabbit in the cacciatore is sustainably raised, does just that.
• Village Belle: One of the rare spots with a view of the Delaware, this cozy creation is a coming-home for chef-brothers Joey and Louis Campano, who grew up down the street. The Mediterranean menu at Village Belle stars homemade crespelle, meatball sliders and, at brunch, eggs Bendetto.
Cafes and Markets
• Cookie Confidential: Crave your cupcake in a mason jar? In the mood for a buffalo wing-flavored cookie or beer-infused cake? Melissa Torre satisfies your oddest cravings at her quirky undercover bakery, Cookie Confidential.
• Cups and Chairs Tea Cafe: Cups & Chairs carries upward of 50 types of international teas and provides cute and comfy digs in which to savor them.
• Essene Market: Since 1969, this locally-owned grocer has been supplying shoppers with fresh tofu, organic produce and all manner of all-natural victuals. Today, Essene is especially beloved for its backroom hot buffet replete with yummy vegan baked goods. 719 South 4th Street, (215) 922-1146, essenemarket.com
• Philadelphia Java Company: The southernmost outpost of two Java Cos is a bright corner spot serving Philadelphia’s own La Colombe coffee, and great little salads, sandwiches and French macaroons to go with. Outdoor seating makes it dog-friendly.
• Red Hook Coffee: It might be named after a neighborhood in Brooklyn, but Red Hook is a Philly cafe all the way, with friendly baristas and cozy seating inside and out.