Despite the manic weather, the year is coming to an end. While we may not be grabbing scarves and gloves just yet, the holiday season brings with it stressful shopping days, family reunions and of course Top 10 lists, best of lists and other year-end roundups.Whether you love or hate them you can’t deny that you read them.
I was debating with my brother about the best place to get a cheesesteak in Philly and he paused and said, “The perfect cheesesteak doesn’t exist—everyone has different specifications for what makes a cheesesteak perfect.” The man does have a point, taste is subjective. That being said, here’s a roundup of my favorite (subjective) eats in Manayunk/Roxborough. The list is not meant to be all encompassing, but rather, highlight some of the best things I’ve eaten this past year.
Start your day off right!
Best Coffee: Café Volo, 4360 Main St.
The beans are La Colombe, the staff is first rate and the vibe is totally European coffee shop. It’s no surprise that you will encounter people of all ages and disciplines here, the coffee and high-quality baked goods appeal to a wide audience. Click for the Meet the Owner.
Best Pancakes: , 6053 Ridge Ave.
When I first ate the pancakes here, it was a transcendent experience. The stack of fresh-off-the-griddle pancakes was textbook perfection. Delicately crisp edges and wonderfully fluffy centers were just the beginning. Having these pancakes is like eating them for the first time. Click for the review.
Best Brunch: , 4351 Main St.
The brunch here takes a decidedly Italian approach to all your favorites. You can still have ham, eggs, toast and coffee but it’ll be in the form of prosciutto, sunny side up eggs over panini, freshly baked breads and cappuccino. The extensive menu has something for everyone from little bambinos to your wise old nonno. Click for the review.
Eat your heart out!
Best Baked Goods: 4409 Main St.
Cupcakes, cookies and wedding cakes are on the menu at this recently opened bake shop. The commitment to premium, all natural ingredients comes through with every bite. Try the red velvet cupcakes or a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie—better than Mom made. Click for the review.
Best Pulled Pork Sandwich: , 4901 Ridge Ave.
The location may not be the most ideal, but risking a collision with a SEPTA bus is a small price to pay for such a fantastic sandwich. The only caveat is that it needs a generous slather of the homemade BBQ sauce. I get a craving for this sandwich monthly… Click for the Meet the Owner.
Best Pad Thai: , 4371 Main St.
Forget the rubbery, bland tan noodles you associate with pad thai, the rendition at this upscale Thai restaurant is worth the hefty price tag. When made well, pad thai is a fantastic combination of flavors and textures. Acidic lime juice, sweet palm sugar, salty fish sauce, char grilled meats and crisp vegetables transform into a sum much greater than the individual parts. Click for the review.
Best Hummus: , 4311 Main St.
Hummus is all the rage as a low fat-high protein alternative to peanut butter (high protein but also high fat). The friendly owner of this café is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to all things Turkish. Hummus is eaten all over the Middle East but apparently originated in Turkey. The chef here knows the secrets to making creamy delicious hummus. Click for the Meet the Chef.
Late nights out---
Best Beer List: , 443 Shurs Ln.
The beer list changes ALL THE TIME. As if that weren’t enough, there is a bona fide parking lot with complimentary valet. My beer-loving friend looked like she was going to cry when she saw the beer list. If it’s a seasonal, local or special brew, you’ll find it at the Ugly Moose. Click for the review.
Best Late Night Spot: , 114 Levering St.
The kitchen is open until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. No need to grab greasy food at a 24-hour fast food drive-thru window anymore, Frak’s Steaks has freshly made steaks and sandwiches available past the witching hour. Click for the Meet the Chef/Owner.
I’m not going to even attempt to name the best pizza, burger or cheesesteak in Roxborough/Manayunk. It’s a suicide mission. Happy Holidays! See you at the gym in January!