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Food & Drink

Top Creative Dips In Philadelphia

January 4, 2014 8:00 AM

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(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

Spicy, salty, sweet, creamy, chunky — dips are always a crowd-pleaser. They’re easy to share and a great dish to munch on with a drink or enjoy as an appetizer before the main event. A sweet dip can even be a dessert! So grab some chips, pita, laffa or even a churro. With these scoopable Philadelphia dips, you won’t want to waste any time digging in.

El Vez
121 S. 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 928-9800
www.elvezrestaurant.com

Stephen Starr’s Midtown Village hot spot offers innovative Mexican dishes such as Mexican fried chicken and crispy mahi-mahi tacos. But a meal at El Vez wouldn’t be complete without starting with a bowl of guac or salsa. Order the original guacamole with tomato, jalapeno, onion, lime and cilantro, or go with something more unique. The “Bazooka” Limon features pistachio, goat cheese, roasted tomatoes and chile flakes. As for salsa, you can’t go wrong with the traditional Mexican salsa, but it’s the more creative options like cactus and crab that make El Vez stand out.

Related: Top Tacos In Philadelphia

Katie O’Donnell’s
4501 Woodhaven Road
Philadelphia, PA 19154
(215) 637-5151
www.katieodonnells.com

Located in Northeast Philadelphia by the Franklin Mills Mall, Katie O’Donnell’s is a full-service restaurant, Irish pub and sports bar all in one. In addition to Irish favorites like shepherd’s pie, Katie O’s is best known for its housemade potato chips and prime rib specials. The prime rib fondue is great for sharing with the table. A bit like the favored Philly cheesesteak, this rich dip features thin slices of prime rib, sautéed onions and peppers and a velvety cheese sauce. Dig in with house-made pita chips for $10.50.

Max Brenner
1500 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 344-8150
www.maxbrenner.com

Max Brenner is obviously known for its chocolate concoctions, but it doesn’t skimp on the savory apps either. In fact, there’s a whole section of the menu with great things to dip. The spinach and artichoke fondue is rich and creamy — perfect for scooping up with warm chili tortilla chips. For variety, try the Mediterranean dip trio, which includes hummus, babaganoush and Spanish eggplant dip. Served with spicy pita chips, it’s $13.75 for a sharable portion or $7.95 for one. Or, to satisfy your sweet tooth, order one of the many chocolate fondues, all available in single servings or for sharing between two. The selection ranges from classic fondue with bananas, strawberries and marshmallows for dipping to more creative options like sugar churros. With warm toffee sauce, muddled raspberries and your choice of white, dark or milk chocolate, this is a treat worth splurging on.

Three Monkeys Café
9645 James St.
Philadelphia, PA 19114
(215) 637-6665
www.3monkeyscafe.com

Offering three different dining areas, Three Monkeys Café is a unique Northeast Philadelphia spot. In the pub area, you can get cozy in a booth or table, or grab a seat at the beautiful hand-carved, restored bar and enjoy whatever game is playing that day. For something a little more elegant, the Risdon Ferry dining room has an antique Victorian feel. And then there’s the outdoor Monkey Court, distinguishing Three Monkeys as one of the few Northeast Philly restaurants offering al fresco dining. Whatever habitat you choose, you’ll enjoy friendly service and tasty American dishes. The fresh-cut potato chips with a variety of toppings and sweet dessert monkey bread are two favorites, but the crab fondue is a great way to start your meal. A crock full of lump crab meat in a creamy cheese sauce is served with grilled pita for $14.

Zahav
Society Hills Towers
237 St. James Place
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 625-8800
www.zahavrestaurant.com

Chef Michael Solomonov of Zahav is known for his creative dishes made from simple foods. While he lives in Philadelphia, he was born in Israel and returns often for menu inspiration. The hummus at Zahav is a crowd favorite, with the hummus-masbacha being the most popular. This nutty dip is rich and creamy, with flavor from garlic and fresh lemon juice and studded with warm tahini-coated whole chickpeas. It’s served with housemade laffa, a thick soft flatbread. A small serving is $8 and a large is $12.

Related: Top Bars With Holiday Drinks In Philadelphia

Michelle Hein is a copy editor for a women’s fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. If the writing gig doesn’t pan out, she constantly dreams of owning her own bakery…perhaps connected to the restaurant/bar that her lawyer boyfriend would love to open.
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