West Philly has about a bazillion places to eat, and many of them are friendly to vegetarians, vegans, people with a variety of dietary restrictions etc. Some members of our family eat fish, but most of our meals are plant-based. Luckily, finding great, kid-friendly restaurants close to home is easy. In no particular order, here are some of our favorite places to eat without even needing to jump into the car.
1. Honest Tom’s
Honest Tom’s is consistently delicious and fresh, and perfect for eating outside at the parklet. My favorite $10 meal? 2 sweet potato burritos from Honest Tom’s ($6.50) with a popsicle from Lil Pop Shop (usually coconut hibiscus) for dessert. Honest Tom’s black bean burritos (which run about $8) are belly bombs (in the best way)-you won’t even need dessert!
My kids love manakeesh-their favorites are the egg and cheese and the nutella manakeesh (explain manakeesh). If you head over on $2 Tuesday, you can also grab a smoothie and the whole meal will still be less than 10 buckaroos. Joe and I also like the gluten-free platter, with hummus, babaganoush, falafel, and salad.
3. Practically anything from a food truck
It’s pretty difficult to spend more than $10 at a food truck. My current faves: a gluten-free bagel from Schmear It (French-toast style), a giant fruit container from one of the fruit stands, or any of the yummy offerings from Magic Carpet.
4.Veggie side sampler from The Greek Lady
Oddly, I rarely ate from The Greek Lady when it was a food truck. As an undergrad, I usually ate ma po tofu from Kim’s or bella donna wrap from magic carpet. Anyways, the veggie side sample from the Greek Lady is an awesome deal for lunch or dinner, with a spanakopita (which gets donated to another family member as it’s not gluten-free), a little salad, and three of their yummy sides (such as spanakorizo, mushrooms, roasted potatoes, those yummy tomato-y green beans, etc). Their salads are also huge and totally delicious.
5. Hai Street Kitchen burrito
I am a sucker for rolled-up food, and Hai Street Kitchen fits the bill: it’s basically a giant Asian burrito. I like the salmon with brown rice and pickled red onions, pickled jicama, and green papaya salad, but there are all sorts of yummy fillings and toppings including a portobella mushroom (which I really wish wasn’t panko-crusted-gluten-free fail).
6. Mizu’s “smart lunch” special
Mizu’s smart lunch special is pretty awesome-16 pieces of a big variety of different types of sushi rolls, plus miso soup for less than $9.00. This is one of Elijah’s favorite lunch date spots-he keeps trying to top himself by ordering progressively more daring sushi rolls, but their selection of vegetarian ones is great.
7. Early bird specials with Asian flavor
Vientiane is my favorite restaurant in West Philly, and probably all of Philly, actually. I rarely order the same thing twice in a row, even though pretty much everything is so delicious-and I am never NOT in the mood for their naam salad. This cash-only BYOB has an early bird special that’s not to be missed-depending on what type of protein you order, you may go over $10, but it’s worth it. Thai Singha (in their new location) has a similar 3 course early bird special that is also quite delicious.
8. Milkshake and fries
The Five dollar shake and an order of sweet potato fries at Hip City Veg is delish. An order of Shake Shack fries and a milkshake will set you back just about $10. I’m not advocating that this is actually a real meal, but sometimes, you (or ahem your children) just aren’t in the mood for anything else. For a slightly more well-rounded meal from HipCityVeg for 10 bucks, I often get the Caesar side salad and the sweet potato fries. Most of their burgers, salads, and sandwiches are under 10 dollars as well.
8. Rice noodle and rice bowls from Pho Cafe Saigon and Tampopo
When we want really, really fast food we come to Pho Saigon. It’s like they know what we are ordering even before we ordered it. My kids like the shrimp rice vermicelli bowl, I like the curry tofu and the rice flake roll with veggies. All under $10. We also often eat at Tampopo-either the bi bim bap, the rice bowl with veggies and tofu, or the jap chae with tofu.
10. Veggie combo from Abysinnia
Abysinna is conveniently located next to a semi-random Chinese place that my kids love (it has fake meat there). They prefer Han Dynasty, but that definitely doesn’t fit in the under $10 range (although their portions are very generous). So when they get Chinese or pizza from nearby, I usually order the veggie combo from Abyssinia. Unlike at Dahlak, another great Ethiopian restaurant in West Philly, you don’t really get a choice of your combo’s contents, but it is a filling and flavorful meal for 10 dollars. And it’s two blocks from my house, which is crucial.