Philadelphia Has Influenced Gastronomy Globally: More Than Just Cheese Steaks

Philadelphia is a perfect case study for anyone interested in gastronomy, the study of food and culture. The city’s cuisine is about more than just cheese steaks—top-quality restaurants and food markets offer all sorts of delicacies.

Philadelphia is known around the world for a number of attractions, such as its sports arenas, the “Rocky Steps,” and the Liberty Bell. But it is most celebrated for being the home of some really great foods, namely the cheese steak. Philadelphia cuisine, however, is about so much more than just cheese steaks. The city is home to many fine restaurants recognized around the globe and is a cynosure for gastronomists from far and near.

Gastronomy is the study of food and how it relates to the culture of an area. Philadelphia food culture ranges from greasy hole-in-the-wall cheese steak joints to jacket-and-tie-only restaurants on Broad Street. Here are a few of the city’s food centers that attract the attention of discriminating food lovers from all over the world.

Reading Terminal Market

At 12th and Market in Center City Philadelphia, you will find Reading Terminal Market, a marketplace for all sorts of foods. You can order up fresh cuts of meat from a butcher or sit down for lunch with a friend at Tokyo Sushi Bar. The place is usually buzzing with activity from sunrise to sunset. If you are not sure what you feel like eating, you will have plenty of options from which to choose at Reading Terminal Market.

Broad Street Restaurant Row

The strip of restaurants on Broad Street near the theater district (also called the Avenue of the Arts) offers many selections of fine cuisine for you to enjoy while taking in the sights of Center City. You will find restaurants such as Ruth’s Chris Steak House, where business people often come to enjoy premium steaks; and McCormick & Schmick’s, which serves delectable seafood dishes. Go a little farther down to South Street to visit Ms. Tootsie’s Soul Food Café, well known for serving authentic soul food.

The Italian Market

The Italian Market is another hot spot for foodies. This outdoor market, located at 9th and Washington Avenue in South Philadelphia, is a place where you can buy and eat all types of delicious foods; from freshly baked goods to farm-grown vegetables, to that morning’s catch of sea fare. Chefs like to shop here for their ingredients and to discover new and striking options for their menus.

Lunch Carts

Philadelphia is one of those major cities that takes its cart food very seriously. Common foods that you will find on the carts include cheese steaks, hot and mild sausages, and bacon-egg-and-cheese soft-roll breakfast sandwiches that are sheer perfection. Some larger carts sell seafood and soul food platters. You can find most of these food carts in Center City and the surrounding areas.

Philadelphia gastronomy is an overflowing cultural and culinary cornucopia from which every palate will find something to savor. No matter in what end of the city you find yourself, you are likely to find good eats to study and devour as well.


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  1. Thanksgiving Dinner to Go: A Guide for Philadelphia’s Non-Cooks | Joseph-Roland Joubert's Blog
    November 21, 2014

    […] advanced past making toast? In Philadelphia, that’s no big deal. A number of the city’s renowned restaurants and markets offer either dine-in meals or Thanksgiving dinner to go. Celebrate all you have to be thankful for […]


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