Any D.C. and Philly dining tips?

Lan Zhou, Chinatown
It must be travel season, because I’ve been getting a lot of requests for tips on places to eat in NYC. I’m going to list a few must-trys for people who like “cheap eats,” but I’m seeking some dining tips too! I’ll be in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia next week, and I need some foodie suggestions. So if you’e got any ideas, please post a comment. I’m very into food trucks and cart food, and basically anything that isn’t already on the most popular list in the local Zagat guide. For NYC, first up is Lan Zhou. I’ve raved about it before, and I’ll rave again. They’ve got amazing hand-pulled noodle soups, and it’s fun watching the guy stretch your noodles at the other end of the restaurant. But it’s the fried dumplings that always astound me. You might get other tips about where to get dumplings like these in NYC — ignore them all, because nothing else comes even close.
Xi'an, Chinatown
Next up, Xi’an, another place I’ve raved about before. The address is listed as 88 East Broadway, but this is a standing-room-only shop on Forsyth Street, around the corner. Get a pork burger and a lamb burger, but don’t forget about the noodles. I’ve tried at least eight of the dishes, and they are always astounding. Watch them make your food right before your eyes (like rolling out your noodles by hand), and assume you’ll be standing on the street to eat your meal (although there is some seating downstairs in the 88 East Broadway building). Important Update: If you’re more of an East Village person, you’re in luck — this weekend Xi’an is opening a new location on St. Mark’s just west of 1st Avenue in the space that used to be Seoul Station, and they actually have seats!
Num Pang, NYC
Finally, Num Pang. Yes, I’ve raved about this one before too. NYC has a lot of banh mi shops, but I say skip them all and head straight here instead for Num Pang’s Cambodian-style sandwiches. The catfish is always a winner, although I think they changed the recipe recently. I suggest going with friends, ordering 2 or 3 varieties, and sharing. And note, there is a small seating area upstairs.

So there you have it — three great tips. Again, if you’ve got any D.C. and Philly dining tips, please post a comment!

16 thoughts on “Any D.C. and Philly dining tips?

  1. You MUST have the crab cake eggs benedict in DC at Old Ebbitt Grill. Do not leave without trying it. It's the absolute best. and forget about a Philly cheesesteak. Head over to the Redding terminal market to have a sub from DiNic's and you won't be diappointed.

  2. Those dumplings are amazing! In Philly, my boyfriend swears by the pork & greens sandwich at Tommy Denick's in Reading Terminal Market. And I like Vietnam, but I'm sure there are a ton of great Vietnamese hole in the wall places I haven't heard of.

  3. Yum! Thanks for the NYC dining tips! I'm looking forward to reading the comments for Philly tips too, because I'll be there in October and on the hunt for some good eats! Perfect post for me.

  4. You can't go to DC without getting Ethiopian Food. The ones on U Street are the famous ones, and they're very good. Lalibela is a bit off the beaten track and I really like it and Dama is across the river in Arlington but I LOVE it. And Ethiopic is new but everyone is raving about it.Also, The Tackle Box in Georgetown is great. The same owner owns Hook (fancier sit-down place) and Tackle Box. Both have sustainable fish, but Tackle Box is cheaper and in my opinion more fun: you go up and order at the counter and share communal tables and they just slap everything on the grill or in the fryer and it's delicious.

  5. Hmmm … you don't need Minneapolis/St. Paul dining tips? Land of Thai! In NYC, I go to Tang Tang for the cold sesame noodles. They don't exist in the Twin Cities.

  6. Hmm, I see my link isn't complete. You can google Tyler Cowen's DC Ethnic Guide and find his opinions. The link I had was from his publication in the George Mason University, where he teaches.

  7. eliana: okay, thanks for the tips. i love the redding terminal market, and i'm sure i'll want to eat everything there.baconista: yum, thanks for that sandwich tipann: ha, rightkrista: yeah, i thought you'd like this post if you like cheap eatslele: oh, cool. i definitely want to get some ethiopian food there.claudia: ha, not this time, but i've been there! and i like tang tang too, but i literally haven't had their sesame noodles in about 15 years. that was the first place i ever had sesame noodles, and i've been addicted ever since.rebecca: oh, don't worry, the link works just fine. thanks so much!

  8. Thank you so much for the tips! I am just learning my way around Philly since my daughter now goes to school in the area. I am excited to see what you come up with. I do love the 9th Street Italian Market and can recommend Isgro's Bakery on Christian Street for an awesome cannoli! An Italian pork sandwich also is a must! Enjoy!

  9. a few recommendations, one of the best soup dumplings is right near reading terminal, Dim Sum Garden. if you can drive into the philadelphia area, there's a great restaurant Nam Vang, perhaps the best vietnamese food I've had..

  10. The 'Thai Place' on Pennsylvania Avenue between 21st and 22nd is this hole in the wall that has amazing drunken fried rice, panang and pretty much everything else. La Madeleine in Georgetown is a really cute French bistro with great sandwiches and amazing french onion soup. Kafe Leopolds in Georgetown is super cute too: in Dupont circle is a really cute cafe bookstore that has THE best apple pie you will ever find with cinnamon ice cream. They are open 24 hours on weekends and will give you a good feel for the DC/dupont vibe.

  11. saira: thanks for the tip about the thai place in philly. and i think i know that bookstore with the cafe in dupont circle (how many bookstores with cafes can there be?). and my hotel is pretty close to dupont circle, so i'll definitely be in the area.

  12. another place to try in a fun area is bar ferdinand, close to the navona at the piazza, kind of a european feel.. it's a tapas restaurant located in the northern liberties part of philadelphia. there's several restaurants owned by jose garces scattered in the city, such as amada, garces trading co, tinto, chifa, and districto. all fun places but pricey for what you're getting.. tria is a very nice wine bar to check out in the rittenhouse area if you need something walking distance. they have a great selection of wines and beers, along with a variety of small plates, cheese and meats. (

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