Pappardelle with portabella mushrooms at Audrey Claire — Moist and meaty mushrooms join bitter arugula join nutty sunflower seeds join salty-sharp locatelli join eggy pappardelle for a perfectly balanced forkful of food.
276 South 20th Street, 215-731-1222.
Tater tots at North Bowl — North Bowl is so confident in its execution of the deep-fried spud that it’s devoted an entire section of its menu to ’em. (We like them all.)
909 North 2nd Street, 215-238-BOWL.
Gallette de crabe at Le Bar Lyonnais — Screw Maryland. This is the best crabcake you’ll ever eat. Bonus: No plastic bibs.
1523 Walnut Street, downstairs, 215-567-1000.
Chicken tacos at Taqueria La Veracruzana — If I were a chicken and able to choose how it would all end, I would ask to be placed in a warm tortilla, sprinkled with cilantro, squeezed with fresh lime juice, and served here.
908 Washington Avenue, 215-465-1440.
Cheese fries with scallions and chipotle ketchup at Silk City — To quote Britney Spears: “Gimme gimme more, gimme more, gimme gimme more.”
435 Spring Garden Street, 215-592-8838.
Red curry del general at Chifa — King crab reigns at Chifa, where sweet morsels of the shellfish royalty sit atop a throne of fragrant red curry spiked with coconut milk and studded with hearty bits of tofu and eggplant.
707 Chestnut Street, 215-925-5555.
Chicken lemongrass soup at Smile Café — Go on, keep fishing for the hunks of chicken and still-crisp veggies to ease the pain — make that pleasure — of soup this spicy.
105 South 22nd Street, 215-564-2502.
Molletes at Cafe Con Chocolate — It’s Mexican garlic bread — but on steroids, and for breakfast. A long roll is split in half, smeared with butter and then refried beans, sprinkled with cheese, and broiled to toasty, chewy, melt-y perfection.
2100 South Norwood Street, 267-639-4506.
Brisket hash at Café Estelle — The cure for the common hangover.
444 North 4th Street, 215-925-5080.
Stuffed cabbage at Famous 4th Street — We crave these huge sweet-and-sour balls of meat and rice all year round.
700 South 4th Street, 215-922-3274, and 38 South 19th Street, 215-568-3271.
Beer-battered kosher dills at Memphis Taproom — They’re hot — they took a dip in the fryer only seconds ago. They’re ugly — an unsightly stack of spears dimpled with beige batter. But neither of these things should stop you from grabbing hold of one (fingertips be damned!), plunging it into the creamy-cool horseradish dip, and crunching straight to the sour/briny/garlicky heart of the dill.
2331 East Cumberland Street, 215-425-4460.
Roti canai (Malaysian pancake) at Banana Leaf — This fried/doughy/crispy/chewy flatbread and its accompanying sweet/spicy curry potato dipping sauce are far better than any flapjack and syrup you’ve ever tasted.
1009 Arch Street, 215-592-8288.