Bars, Restaurants & Dining
At the doorstep of University City is 30th Street Station, which, while a hub for travelers, is a treasure trove for residents as well. The Porch at 30th Street is an outdoor lounge but also a seasonal food truck pad; Bridgewater’s is a pub ripe for burgers and casual bar banter; and a variety of international food options dot the mid-section of the station.
Elsewhere in the neighborhood, Spread Bagelry is a Montreal-style hotspot for bagel sandwiches, La Colombe Coffee and even a full bar for evening indulgences. Joe Coffee is an extension of the New York City original with plentiful two-floor seating and lovingly crafted espresso; Saxbys on Drexel University’s campus is ideal for sweet lattes and people-watching; and Green Line Cafe, with organic coffees, features a home-recipe chai latte that pairs well with the sweet potato burrito.
Sabrina’s Cafe at Powelton makes for a hearty breakfast, meanwhile, as does Lebanese bakery Manakeesh Cafe. For a light bite, head to Dottie’s Donuts for a vegan donut or Federal Donuts’ University City location at 34th and Sansom streets.
The Farmacy at 45th and Spruce streets is the place to be for brunch, boasting everything from s’mores French toast to shrimp ‘n’ grits mixed with maple syrup. Honest Tom’s Taco Shop is beloved in the neighborhood, with simple but well-executed tacos and burritos – and a seasonal parklet outside its doors in the springtime.
White Dog Cafe offers a spicy lamb bolognese for lunch, plus a mushroom cheesesteak for vegetarians. Among international offerings: Sang Kee Noodle House for slightly more upscale Chinese food, plus Hummus Grill, which is perfect for a quick bite. Allegro Pizza is a favorite for affordable Neapolitan pizza takeout. And, patrons can’t go wrong with Walnut Street Cafe for breakfast, lunch, dinner or drinks, though the fried porgy is a particular delight for lunch.
Dinner is served at Jose Garces’ Distrito, where ceviche and other Mexican specials are on the menu. Culinary darling Stephen Starr, too, has a restaurant in the neighborhood with POD, a stylish and sumptuous sushi and dim sum eatery. Other dinner options include the small plates and wine pairings of Zavino, the spice of Han Dynasty, Abyssinia Ethiopian dishes and, for ribs and other comfort foods, Baby Blues BBQ.
City Tap House is a central meeting ground for brews, housed out of a cavernous space with a rooftop patio lined with fire pits. Copabanana is the spot for margaritas, while Local 44 is a craft-beer bar staple with an accompanying bottle shop.
For dessert, Little Baby’s is a premium ice cream shop with creative flavors – see: cucumber dill and balsamic banana – that also serves vegan ice creams. Metropolitan Bakery is an optimal choice for picking up pies and sweet breads.