For residents of certain cities, dining envy is a real thing. In Philly, we’ve got killer sandwiches, classic red sauce joints and Italian pastries that would make a nonna cry — enough to make anyone jealous. Which isn't to say our dining scene doesn't have a few holes. Without further ado, here’s a look at five of last year’s national trends that we’d like to see touch down in our fair city.
Philly loves a bacon, egg and cheese on a roll, but could certainly do with a little inspiration from (let’s just call them) progressive breakfast spots like Sqirl in L.A. and El Rey in New York. Food cart breakfasts and creamy coffees have their place, but there’s something about beginning the day with an egg-topped grain bowl or toast (pictured above) that seems like such a better way to start the day.
There are lunchtime lines at a certain design-you-own burrito spot for a reason — everyone loves to customize their own meal. This year we’d love to see a Philly take on Santa Monica’s Sweetfin Poke, where you can build your own poke bowl (pictured above) with albacore in ponzu-lime sauce over a bed of bamboo rice for under $10.
Center City Korean
The good news is that Philadelphia has a pretty solid Korean dining scene. The bad news is it’s a bit of drive from Center City — an investment if you choose to Uber. We’d love to see some Korean spots migrate south, particularly something with the shaking lunchbox showmanship of a Baekjeong (pictured at top) or the shiny, gold grilling action of Hanjip (pictured below).
Next up on this list is a tricky one. Pennsylvania wine laws are tough, and importing the good stuff can be a bit of a challenge. But these days (with the exception of a trio of Tria locations) the best wines in the city are found exclusively at restaurants — this makes us feel obligated to sit down for a full meal, rather than just grab a glass or two at the bar. Although the folks at the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board might not be on board, we’d love to see a handful of bars geared towards wine drinking.
High End Deli
Being such a sandwich-friendly city, Philadelphia has a definite taste for Jewish deli. But what if (stick with us) instead of the overstuffed pastrami, rye bread and smoked fish, Philly went the way of Sadelle’s — a place that’s basically like Famous Fourth Street reimagined as a genteel fantasy (with top notch bagels, like the one above)? A mix of that — plus the smoked fish friendly drinks menu from New York’s Russ & Daughters — would do wonders to bring the appeal of deli back to a crowd of younger Philadelphians.