Welcome, hungry Philadelphians, to a new weekly feature on Billy Penn. Each week, we’ll be introducing you to a handful of great dishes to seek out and try across the city.
They’ll come from a wide variety of restaurants — including some you’ve never heard about, others that are brand new, those that transport you to far-away places and those that make you feel right at home. Call it curated comfort food.
Now sit back, relax, and take notes. You’re gonna want to follow up.
6548 Haverford Ave. (West Philadelphia)
At Haverford Grill and Soul, customers don’t visit over and over and over again to bask in the tiny spot’s ambiance. They come for the food. A standout is the baked chicken leg and thigh platter with sugary sweet yams and collard greens — plus a complimentary piece of cornbread. The whole meal is around $11 and you’ll eat like royalty for at least two days. This is one of those hole-in-the-wall soul food spots that you bookmark, a relative rarity for a city in the Northeastern U.S.
1311 Sansom St. (Gayborhood)
Wrapped in layers upon layers of paper-thin filo dough, sprinkled with nutty nigella seeds and drizzled with “rose spoon sweet” (a classic Greek preserve), the kaseri cheese pie at this Midtown Village taverna is satisfying $10 snack that’s perfect with a cocktail or wine. The restaurant suffered a year of construction blockades thanks to recent the Center City water main break. On its return, brother-and-sister owners George and Vasiliki Tsiouris took over the kitchen and introduced a new menu steeped in their Hellenic heritage.
310 S 48th St. (Walnut Hill)
Sweet and savory seafood and sides; that’s what 48th Street Grille is serving up with their special salmon dish, which comes drenched in a pineapple-sweet chili sauce next to green beans and sweet potato mash for $22. A Jamaican DG Kola Champagne won’t get you buzzed, but order it anyway to wash everything down. This Caribbean sit-down establishment on a modest strip of shops just west of University City boundaries opened about five years ago after getting its start at the nearby Enterprise Center. It features a menu that combines nouveau and traditional American dishes with classic Jamaican flavors.
1019 Spring Garden St. (Callowhill)
A handful of tables and lots of paper towels are all you need to enjoy the serious platters offered by the family running this low-key ‘cue and catering joint. Pit master Craig Martin terms his BBQ “Philly Style” — and one of the best iterations is on giant slabs of beef ribs. Get it by the pound or go for the platter ($19), which comes with your choice of sides. Among the selection, the candied yams are not to be missed.