The warmer it gets, the more incentive there is to broaden your horizons and venture outside of the Penn bubble for better food options. We picked four Penn favorites and found even more delicious options downtown. So if (read: when) you get bored of eating the same things at the same tired places, try these picks:
1. HubBub–>La Colombe
No seats at HubBub? Try La Colombe. There are locations in Rittenhouse square, Fishtown, Old City and Center City. Heads up that there’s no wifi, but what La Colmbe lacks in internet connection, it makes up for in literally everything else.
HubBub’s coffee is regularly bitter, but La Colombe’s is consistently expertly brewed. It has even launched an incredibly creamy draft latte, which, when paired with a prosciutto leek biscuit, is honestly unparalleled. The smaller locations in Center City restrict their offerings to drinks and smaller pastries, so head to their headquarters in Fishtown for full breakfast and lunch menus.
2. Ramen Bar–>CHeU Noodle Bar
CHeU Noodle is the Ramen Bar you didn’t even know you needed. CHeU prides itself on offering boldly inauthentic Asian food. From pork pizza dumplings to a ramen dish with brisket, matzo ball, kimchi, and red chile broth, CHeU offers an exciting alternative to Ramen Bar’s standard fare.
CHeU is an small and intimate space located in Old City. It has an open kitchen, and its walls are lined with magazine cutouts and twinkly lights. P.s. CHeU is opening a second location in a converted stable in Fishtown, and we couldn’t be more excited.
3. Distrito–>Jose Pistola’s
Distrito is only good because there are no other legitimate Mexican options on campus (we’re talking about you Qdoba and Mad Mex). Think about it: the guac portions are tiny and usually subpar while the tacos are average at best. Enter Jose Pistola’s (and its sister restaurant Sancho Pistola’s in Fishtown). It is the best Mexican we’ve had in Philly – we know we’re making a bold statement.
The pitchers are plentiful and strong, and the menu is extensive and delicious. The nachos are cheesy and perfectly spicy, and the spicy tuna guac beats the sushi at any other place in Philly. Plus, the casual bar atmosphere makes Jose Pistola’s the perfect stop for drinks and food before a fun night out. Seriously, please do yourself a favor and never go to Copa again where you will only burn your money on overpriced margs and cardboard chips.
4. Renata’s Kitchen–>Ants Pants Cafe
At its location on 22nd and South, Ants Pants Cafe is within walking distance from campus – not that much farther than the renovated Renata. This brunch spot is Philly’s take on Sydney’s cafe culture, and it is not to be missed. Standouts dishes include the sweet potato hash (served with bacon, sunny side up eggs, Italian sausage and garlic aioli), the brie stuffed french toast (drizzled with apricot glaze) and the maple bacon sandwich (on foccacia).
Its breakfast drinks far surpass Renata’s limited menu. If you’re feeling healthy, Ants Pants offers several fresh juices as well as a green smoothie with mango, pineapple, banana and spinach. But if you’re not feeling so healthy, you should definitely order an iced coffee or an iced chocolate, both of which are served with ice cream instead of ice. Plus, the inside is charming, there’s patio in the back for when it heats up, and (did we mention?) it’s BYO!