Just moved to Philly? This is your food and drink bucket list

25 great dishes to seek out and try.

DiNic's pulled pork with rabe and provolone

DiNic's pulled pork with rabe and provolone

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

By this point, Philadelphia has solidified its reputation as a great food city. The scene here five years ago might’ve still be classified as “rising,” but these days it’s a given.

It’s hard to go wrong when choosing a place for dinner — just ask Bryce Harper — but if you’re new in town, what should you seek out to set a good baseline and get familiar with the lay of the land?

The question has a gazillion possible answers, of course, all dependent on taste. I answered it recently for a friend who moved here from Pittsburgh (which is certainly having its own “rising” culinary moment), and came up with an assortment of of tried-and-true classics mixed with lesser-known gems and personal faves.

Drawing a near-decade of experience as a food and drink writer, here’s a quick slate of don’t-miss menu items around the city.

What’s on your Philly food and drink bucket list? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or email. We’ll compile the answers and share them soon.

Babka at Essen Bakery

Swirls of chocolate and sweet sesame halva beg you to pull them apart in the thick, layered slices of this Jewish cakebread. East Passyunk

Martini at The Saloon

A big triangle of chilled clear booze just tastes better at this Italian supper club, a South Philly fixture in since 1960s. Bella Vista

Egg and cheese at Hungry Pigeon

Pick up croissants here and save them for later, but start with this mustard-spiked upgrade of a breakfast classic. Giant square of hash brown optional. Fabric Row

Bún bò huế at Cafe Diem

You won’t even care about the line of sweat along your lip as you revel in the umami-rich pleasures of this ultraspicy noodle soup. Bella Vista

Budino at Barbuzzo

One of those dishes that lives up to the hype, Marcie Turney’s not-too-sweet, perfect-portion pudding will bring you as close to orgasm as you’ll want to get in public. Midtown Village

Escargot at Royal Boucherie

In a new barroom that feels like it’s been around forever, succumb to French decadence with Nick Elmi’s chartreuse-hazelnut snails, dripping in garlicky butter. Old City

White grape water ice at Siddiq’s

Best introduction to the most Philly of frozen treats is this West Philly shop where the slush comes in exotic flavors that actually taste like fruit. Cobbs Creek

Hot roast beef at Cherry Street Tavern

Kaiser rolls were made to hold these dripping piles of sliced-to-order beef, which disappear faster than you can say “side of horseradish, please.” Logan Circle

Ho Chi Minhattan at Banh Mi & Bottles

Scotch is swapped in for bourbon to create a surprisingly beguiling twist on the classic Manhattan at this cocktail house with bangin’ Vietnamese food. South Street

Hummus at Dizengoff

Another dish that lives up to its reputation. Dare you to find a creamier chickpea whip anywhere, plus the toppings are a riot of flavor and texture. Ask for an extra pita on the side. Rittenhouse

Lumpia at Lalo

Filipino street food is slowly becoming easier to find in this region, and these crispy, finger-size rolls at the Bourse stand make an incredible first impression. Historic District

Pretzel stick water ice at John’s

Go here for a more traditional take on the cooling dessert, where your brimming paper cup is best attacked with a pretzel rod instead of a spoon. Italian Market

Potstickers at Baology

These hand-folded Taiwanese dumplings are distinguished by their satisfyingly crunchy golden-brown bottoms paired with delicately translucent tops. Financial District (not really a neighborhood, but a good description of the area nonetheless)

Cocktail at Hop Sing Laundromat

Read up on proprietor Lê’s quirks and prepare to pass the gauntlet at the gate, because the drinks here — especially those with juiced-to-order produce — are entirely worth it. Chinatown

Pulled pork at DiNic’s

There’s enough must-try dishes at RTM to take up an entire article or more, but this alternate version of the market’s most famous sandwich — ask for pulled pork, not roast pork — rises to the top. Reading Terminal Market

BLT at Middle Child

Only available when tomatoes are in season, this pedestrian sandwich is transformed by this tiny shop into a food memory that stays with you for days. Washington Square West

Mussels at Monk’s Cafe

Even if you’re not a beer geek whose eyes pop at the world-famous selection here, go for the giant heaps of Belgian-style mussels, best in the city. Rittenhouse

Fennel pretzel at Metropolitan Bakery

Get familiar with regular Philly soft pretzels wherever you want (even Wawa), then delight in this very unique take that has enough flavor to be a meal in itself. Rittenhouse

Cheesesteak at John’s Roast Pork

Instead of the namesake sandwich at this tiny shack — whose third-gen owner vows never to expand — find one of the best versions of the Philadelphia signature. Pennsport

Blackened green beans at Grace Tavern

This pub was frying up spicy green spears before it was trendy, and still does the satisfying veggie snack better than most. South Street West

Drinking chocolate at Sazon

Careful sourcing of cacao beans and a light hand with the sugar makes this thick Venezuelan liquid one of the best hot drinks in the city. Spring Garden

Lamb tacos at South Philly Barbacoa

The slow-roasted barbacoa here deserves all its recent fame. Just go on a Monday instead of the weekend to skip the long lines. Italian Market

Coconut curry noodles at Cheu

Available at either of the sister locations, this sambal-spiked tangle of thick noods proves hearty meals can be refreshing. Wash West or Fishtown

Bread basket at Parc

You’re not allowed to pay for the city’s best gratis bread service, but if you order a drink and promise a good tip, chances are you’ll be treated to a basket. Rittenhouse

Fried chicken sandwich at Federal Donuts

This pile of crackling skin, juicy meat, gooey cheese, tangy sauce and soft potato roll adds up to the golden ratio of sandwiches. Multiple locations

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