Since almost all of our food choices were based on Chowhound recommendations, I thought I'd give a report. See below for an outsiders' view of our Philly dining experience. I've tried to format it so people can skip down and pick out names quickly.
We mostly ate at the Reading Terminal Market (except for the horrible egg-like sandwich at Dunkin Donuts on Sunday before the Market opened!).
DUTCH EATING PLACE
I have to admit I wasn't as impressed as I thought I'd be. I'm not much of a pancake person (though I have driven from Columbus to Pittsburgh largely so I could eat Pamela's pancakes, but they're in a category of their own!), but I ordered them based on the recs. They were ok. I actually was more impressed with the omelets and the fresh-tasting sausage. So it was good, but not as great as I expected.
CREPE PLACE in Reading Terminal Market
We went here more than once for breakfast. We typically would get one savory and one sweet crepe, and share them. Fun combos and very good.
RICK'S in the Reading Terminal Market
Cheesesteak. I know there's lots of debate over who is best, etc., but I really like the cheesesteaks here.
GEORGE'S at Italian Market
I've heard there's two different ones. We were at the one in the middle of the market on 9th. The cheesesteak was so-so. The roasted pork with onions and hot sauce was excellent.
I'll go ahead and put this here, as we ate here for a 4:00pm early dinner after hitting the art museum and before heading for the airport.
This place is great! I highly recommend it. They have a mussels menu, and we got the small, which was still a nice-sized bucket for the two of us. They were nicely prepared and very fresh-tasting. They also come with wonderful fries and bourbon-mayonaisse. We also ordered burgers and some additional fries, as they were too good not to have more. I got the burger with goat cheese, a nice twist on the cheeseburger. The meat was well-seasoned and tasty. Excellent food for the price. None of the items we got was more than $8-$9.
And the beers! There's so many it makes your head spin, but our server did a great job of figuring out our likes and making great recommendations, which led me into two of the best glasses of beer I've ever had.
I highly recommend this place.
They called us the night before to bump our reservation back by over an hour, but they offered us a free round of drinks as a "thank you" for cooperating.
We like small-plates restaurants, and this place is very good. The tuna confit special was somewhat disappointing, but everything else was very good. We especially liked the paparadelle with snails. I also appreciated that the wine list was very reasonable--several nice choices in the $30's.
This came highly recommended on chowhound, and did not disappoint. The service was a bit uneven--they could have used a couple more servers in the room--but that was the only negative. My wife got the halibut with a lobster sauce, and it was excellent. I had the hanger steak, which was nicely seasoned and cooked perfectly. It was served with fries with truffle and parmesan. I almost didn't order it because of the fries, but boy was I wrong: the truffle and parm with the perfectly cooked potatoes was incredible!
The only disappointment wasn't their fault: the wine place close to our hotel ("Wine & Spirits" on 12th or 13th) had a very poor selection, and we weren't very happy with what we ended up with. But nonetheless, a highly recommended restaurant as well.
RANGOON (Burmese in Chinatown
)We went here on Sunday night. We started with the thousand layer bread. It reminded me of a cross between naan and the fried bread my grandma (in W Va) used to make. It was excellent. For our entrees we got the Pagan Beef and the Rangoon House Noodle. Unfortunately, after discovering that the supposedly spicy noodles weren't the least bit spicy, we discovered that they had essentially made it "caucasion style" for us. They were much better after we added some chili paste.
It didn't knock our socks off, but it was good, and interesting.
Well, what can I say: Wow! I don't know the general chowhound view of this place, but it might have been the best meal I've ever had. We started with the foie gras and the sweet onion crepe with white truffle fondue. Both were excellent. I love onions, and the crepe took onions to a new level.
We loved that we could order half-portions of the pasta, and we ordered two each (not all at the same time) so we could taste more. All of them were fantastic. We got two different kinds of gnochi, and they weren't even in the same league of any gnochi I've ever had. The gnochi special with had fresh porcini mushrooms might have been the best dish, but I also loved the one I had with venison ragu. All in all everything was fantastic. I think this place is a must-visit.
Special thanks to the person who added "desserts" to my listing of categories so this place could be added. You have to taste it to appreciate it! Columbus has a couple good local ice cream places you should visit if you're here (Denise's, Jeni's), but this place is in a class by itself. I'm only sorry that it only worked out for us to go there once. There are so many more flavors I want to try!
Thanks to everyone for their recommendations. We had a great dining experience.