1405-07 Locust St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Located just steps away from the Academy of Music, Estia is a pre-theater favorite. The atmosphere is set with vaulted deep blue ceilings, an indoor courtyard, hand-woven rugs and other special touches that make guests feel like they’re visiting a Mediterranean home. The menu features authentic Greek specialties such as lamb chops with tzatziki, stuffed grape leaves, spanakopita, fresh whole fish and saganaki. Saganaki is a type of Greek dish that is prepared in a small frying pan, the most popular being made with cheese. Estia offers cheese saganaki as an appetizer for $13. It’s made with kefalograviera (a hard sheep’s milk) that is lightly dusted with flour and then pan fried in an olive oil blend. When it’s ready to serve, it gets a douse of brandy and ouzo and is set on fire to flambé. The result is a rich and salty dish with a crispy edge that’s reminiscent of a cheesy casserole.
Related: Top Spots For Grilled Cheese
Bud & Marilyn’s
1234 Locust St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Bud & Marilyn’s opened at the end of August as Chef Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran’s newest restaurant in Midtown Village. The restaurant is named after Turney’s grandparents who owned a restaurant called The Spot from 1950-1990. Bud & Marilyn’s is a tribute to that Wisconsin restaurant with mid-century decor and plenty of throwback dishes with modern touches. And since you can’t have a Wisconsin-inspired spot without cheese curds, you’ll want to try the $8 appetizer. Little balls of Wisconsin cheddar are beer battered and fried and served with sides of garlic ranch and chile salsa.
The Quick Fixx
1511 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
The Quick Fixx proves that fast and affordable food can also be high quality. The mozzarella sticks are a popular option on the “Quickies” menu. Made in-house from whole milk mozzarella, they’re deep fried and served with the housemade tomato and garlic sauce for $6. Order after 10 p.m. (closing is 11 p.m.) to save $1 on any Quickie item.
Beck’s Cajun Cafe
Reading Terminal Market
12th St. & Arch St.
Cajun Cafe opened in the Reading Terminal Market in late 2009. Here, Chef Beck focuses on the type of food he loves the most – New Orleans-inspired dishes like jambalaya, gumbo and po’ boys. Equally as important are the specialty sides with the fried mac and cheese being a standout favorite. For $4.50, you receive two balls of baked macaroni and cheese that are rolled in panko breadcrumbs, deep fried and served with a spicy marinara sauce. They’re crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside and delicious through and through.
The Cow And The Curd
Traveling Food Truck
Fulfilling a need Philadelphia didn’t even know it had, The Cow and The Curd entered the Philly food truck scene in 2013 and was named “Philadelphia’s Best Food Truck” by PhillyMag that same year. The traveling cheese curd mobile is on a mission to make the Wisconsin staple as well known on the East Coast as it is in the cheese curd mecca. The antibiotic and hormone-free cheese is shipped directly from Wisconsin weekly. It’s hand-coated in a proprietary beer batter and fried for a snack that’s the perfect blend of crunchy, gooey, light and flavorful. Follow The Cheese and The Curd on Twitter and Facebook for updates on where you can find the truck.
Michelle Hein is the social media 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 husband would love to open.