One thing you may not know about Philadelphia is that it is a food city. You may think I am only talking about cheesesteaks and hoagies, but Philly is home to some of the finest restaurants in the country. Whether it’s Iron Chef José Garces, Stephen Starr, Marc Vetri, Michael Solomonov or any other world class chef that Philadelphia has to offer, if you swing your arms and point your finger, odds are that you will be pointing at a great choice to sit down and have a meal.
The University of Pennsylvania is an historic campus in the heart of the University City neighborhood, a bustling part of town with lots to offer. Here are some of the very best options, both on and off campus, for dining at UPenn.
For busy students, these on-campus options combine great choice and high quality:
1920 Commons: When it comes to on-campus dining, this facility has a top-notch choice of fresh food. Whether you are looking for soup, salad, sandwiches, pizza or another lunch option, 1920 Commons has it all. To boot, the menu changes regularly, so check back each week to see what’s on it.
Houston Market: Like 1920 Commons, Houston Market has choices that span the spectrum of great lunch food. Add Japanese cuisine as an option and you’ve got lunch waiting for you right on campus.
1920 Commons Retail Dining: 1920 Commons has a few options for those using both cash or a UPenn meal plan to purchase breakfast or lunch. Here, you can find a Starbucks to start your day, pizza, stir fry and a fresh grocer as well.
For those not able to venture into Center City, here is a guide to some of my favorite spots near UPenn.
Sabrina’s Café: Known for their brunch, make sure to check out this Philadelphia favorite. My recommendation: try the Challah French Toast!
Metropolitan Bakery: An absolutely incredible bakery! From breakfast pastries, to fine breads, to great desserts, you can’t go wrong with Metro. My recommendation: call ahead and order a baguette with whatever you get – and eat it on the way to wherever you are going next!
Federal Donuts: Voted one of the top 21 donut shops in the US, this place is a MUST GO! For breakfast, you can’t go wrong with any of their hot donuts or fancy donuts. They do sell out, though, so call ahead if it is any time after 12:00pm. My recommendation: sticky bun donuts! My second recommendation: go there for lunch (see below)!
Federal Donuts: well… while you are here, why not get lunch too! The thing that makes this donut shop so unique is that it is also the best place in Philadelphia to get Korean style fried chicken. You can get a whole chicken, a half chicken or six wings, all dipped in your choice of daily seasoning selections. My recommendation: wings!
Allegro’s Pizza: This is just a go-to pizza shop. If you want a solid slice of New York style pizza, this is the place. My recommendation: if you like pizza, order anything – you can’t go wrong!
Lee’s Hoagie House: From the moment I bit into my first Italian hoagie from Lee’s, I fell in love. This is my favorite sandwich in the world. That is a very serious proclamation, I know. This Philly staple offers the best sandwiches with a hint of Philadelphian attitude. My recommendation: Italian Hoagie with a side of Onion Rings
WaWa: How could a gas station made it into someone’s favorite food list? This Mid-Atlantic staple is the home of the hoagie machine. Order your lunch on a touch screen ordering system and enjoy everything from sandwiches to breakfast beverages and more. My recommendation: Mac & Cheese!
Baby Blues BBQ: A really, really good BBQ joint in the heart of University City! They have a tremendous selection of BBQ sauces as well. My recommendation: Beef Brisket Sandwich, with a whole lot of BBQ sauce poured on top!
SangKee Noodle House: If you are a Peking Duck fan, do not leave Philadelphia without stopping here! In addition to the best duck in the city, they have some incredible dumplings and the pan fried noodles are insane! My recommendation: Peking Duck and Pan Fried Noodles! Expect to be full after this dinner.
Capogiro Gelato: No need to go anywhere else, this Gelato spot has got enough choices that you could try a new combination every day for a year – and they are all good! My recommendation: Hazelnut and Pistachio Gelato – TOGETHER!