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The Hangry Games: 10 Best Quick Meals in Philly

From Pennsylvania Dutch diners to lobster rolls, these are the fastest meals in town
November 16, 2015
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by Caroline Russock

You know what "hangry" means — that mash-up of "hungry" and "angry" that means you need a good meal, and the sooner the better. Since lunch is prime time for quick eats and fast turnaround menus, here’s a look at spots in Philly that will have you in and out and very nicely fed in record time, with an emphasis on lunchtime specials.

Zama

This Rittenhouse sushi favorite is just as comfortable during daytime hours as it is at night, but during lunch they offer some serious lunch sets that will run you $15 to $21 for a selection of sushi and sashimi plus edamame, house salad and udon soup with shrimp tempura, all served in a timely fashion.

128 S. 19th St.; 215-568-1027

Dizengoff

Lines might be intimidating at this Israeli-inspired hummus spot but with a staff that works like a finely tuned machine and a super-hot oven constantly firing fresh pita you can be in and out with your green tomato–, radish- or beef-topped hummus (pictured below) and Israeli salad in a flash. Pro tip: check their Instagram before heading in to survey the daily changing menu.

1625 Sansom St.; 215-867-8181


Mama’s Vegetarian

When it comes to lightning-quick (and amazingly affordable) eats, no one beats this kosher vegetarian lunchtime favorite. For just $4 you can get a filled to order falafel with hummus, housemade hot sauce, pickled shredded cabbage, fresh chopped tomatoes and cucumbers finished with a squirt of tahini. Whether you’re staying or going, be sure to hit the gratis pickle bar for sides of cumin carrots and pickled eggplant.

18 S. 20th St.; 215-751-0477

Lo Spiedo

Thanks to plenty of offices within walking distance, Marc Vetri’s Navy Yard outpost does booming daytime and happy-hour business. The staff here is happy to have you in and out as needed or accommodate more leisurely dining experiences. But either way, the menu made up of small bites, sandwiches (think brisket with horseradish and Italian coleslaw and eggplant parm) and hearty pastas are all well done and served super-quick.

4503 S. Broad St.; 215-282-3184

Dutch Eating Place

This Pennsylvania Dutch diner in Reading Terminal has limited counter seating that turns in a flash, thanks to an experienced kitchen putting out bowls of hearty ham and bean soup and weekly specials like chicken and waffles and pork and sauerkraut with mashed potatoes.

51 N. 12th St.; 215-922-0425

Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House

With noodles pounded out in the back and boiling pots of broth bubbling all day long, it’s not uncommon for your bowl of lamb noodles or house special meatball soup to hit the table before your beverage order arrives.

1022 Race St.; 215-923-1550

Stargazy

You have to thank chef Sam Jacobson for bringing a British favorite quick meal stateside with his newly opened pie and mash shop. Whether you’re going with the traditional beef and onion pie served with mashed potatoes and parsley liquor (pictured above) or daily specials like beef tongue with cabbage or a vegetarian pie of mushrooms, beets and Brie, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a more satisfying lunch in the city.

1838 E. Passyunk Ave.; 215-309-2761

Schlesinger’s

When it comes to quick meals, the Jewish deli is way up there on the no-nonsense, serious eats scale. With prices slightly lower than another notable deli, this Center City spot is always packed and has some pretty great specials for those who can’t quite finish an over-stuffed corned beef special. Instead, they offer a half sandwich and soup combo that’s perfect for pairing pastrami on rye with a side of matzo-ball soup for a cool $9.95.

1521 Locust St.; 215-735-7303


Luke’s Lobster

This New England seafood spot is perfect for days when you’re looking for something that feels a little upscale even if you don’t have time to sit down for a multicourse meal. Here you can grab a fresh lobster, crab or shrimp roll (pictured at top) and beef it up with extras like clam chowder, Jonah crab claws and craft sodas from Maine.

130 S. 17th St.; 215-564-1415

Oyster House

This Philadelphia raw bar and restaurant opens at 11:30 AM and serves a serious menu of seafood throughout the day. Prompt service (even during busy lunch hours) means that you can go big with a spit-grilled whole lobster and a bottle of Sancerre or make it simple with a plate of Southern fried oysters and a scoop of chicken salad.

1516 Sansom St.; 215-567-7683

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