Jose Garces’ Top 5 Places to Eat in Philly

by in Food Network Magazine, August 3rd, 2012

Jose Garces

We can’t fault Jose Garces for choosing one of his own restaurants as a top spot in Philadelphia: The guy has opened seven places there in the past six years. But after living in the city for 11 years, he knows some other great finds, too. Here are his top picks:

Middle Eastern ComboMiddle Eastern Combo from the Sahara Grill

When Jose is really hungry, he goes to this no-frills Lebanese restaurant. It’s small, he says, but the platters aren’t. The Middle Eastern combo includes hummus, baba ghanoush, marinated carrots and mushrooms, tabouli, eggplant salad, feta and olives. “It’s enough for four people,” he says. $11 for lunch, $12 for dinner; 1334 Walnut St.; 215-985-4155

Spinach Gnocchi

Spinach Gnocchi from Vetri

Diners wait up to two months for prime reservations at Vetri, but Jose swears the gnocchi, part of a tasting menu, is worth the trouble. Chef Marc Vetri replaces potatoes with spinach to make his extra-delicate dumplings, then tops them with brown butter and shaved ricotta. “It’s outrageous,” Jose says. $135 for six-course tasting menu; 1312 Spruce St.;


Chicken on a StickChicken on a Stick from Dim Sum Garden

Jose loves this hole-in-the-wall Chinatown spot. In fact, he has trouble choosing just one dish as his favorite, but the Chicken on a Stick is definitely up there. It’s marinated in sweet-and-sour sauce and then fried. $4.50 for four pieces; 59 North 11th St.; 215-627-0218


Deep-Dish PieDeep-Dish Pie from Garces Trading Company

Jose, a Chi-town native, was tired of waiting for trips back to the Windy City for authentic Chicago-style pizza. “I was like, ‘Forget that — I’m going to bring it home,'” he says. When he opened his sixth restaurant in Philadelphia in 2010, he put this deep-dish pie on the menu. He gets his topped with sausage de Toulouse and wild mushrooms. $38; 1111 Locust St.;


Old FashionedOld Fashioned from Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.

This pre-Prohibition-style bar is Jose’s favorite place to grab a drink — specifically, an Old Fashioned made with Pappy Van Winkle’s 20-year-old bourbon and served over a big chunk of ice. A standing-room-only marble drink rail adds to the old-time feel. $30; 112 South 18th St.;


(Food Photographs: Trevor Dixon; Drink Photograph: Douglas Keith)

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Comments (4)

  1. Sharon says:

    I receive FoodNetwork magazine monthly, in the past year I made a shrimp appetizer that was on the cover of one of the issues. It called for shrimp, dill, and bisquits(to be put into small cupcake tins, and there were some other ingredients in it too. I NEVER throw out my FoodNetwork magazines, but for the life of me cannot find this issue with that recipe, and cannot seem to locate it on their site. Can somebody email me that recipe. Sharon

  2. Rob says:

    Dim Sum Garden is out of this world. The Soup Dumplings are some of the best things I have ever eaten. It truly looks like a dump of a restaurant but don't let that stop you from going in.

  3. maria beck says:

    jose me facino tu comida muy delicioza ,para mi opinion fue lo mejor que probe esa noche en septiembre 29 en ny city , rrealmente heres un orgullo ecuatoriano me encanto tu sencillez . te deseamos lo mejor a ti y tu familia .Jeff y maria giler de beck…. y igualmente tío paco y ena ,, gracias ,, te queremos

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