Posted this a week ago to the Pax FB group, figured you’d all make use of it too. The full thread is here with some additional suggestions by other locals, and some more by me (GF, vegan, paleo) in the comments.
Okay, as a Philly native and Center City resident, here’s a short walkable food list. I have NOT included anything in reading terminal because a) many people recommend already and b) it’s packed as hell during cons. Ditto for Panera, Maggiano’s and BurgerFi across the street from the center.
Everything listed is 20 minute walk or closer from con center.
Federal Donuts (doughnuts and fried chicken) (13 min walk)
Great yeasty doughnuts. I like the Oreo ones but they’re a special, so they won’t always have them.
1632 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Green Eggs Cafe (9 min walk)
Cash only and a bit pricey but their breakfast will probably fill you all day. Crab cake Benedict is a personal fave, and my mother swears by the steak and eggs. Expect a massive line on weekends after 830 AM so go when it opens if you want to get in and out quickly.
212 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
J’amie French Bakery (10min walk)
Buttery. French. Croissants. Enough said.
212 S 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
IHOP (9 min walk)
It’s ihop. It’s open 24 hours all weekend. If you want pancakes at 3am they gotchu fam.
1320 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Chinatown Square (7 min walk)
Actually about 10-12 little counter stalls (like reading terminal) serving only Asian and middle eastern fare with large seating space in the back (so your group can all order from different places and still sit together) There’s a poke place, bao (basically mini Chinese sandwiches), yakitori, Korean tacos, shawarma, khmeri grill, and more. Karaoke upstairs. My personal favorite is the sweet Japanese curry tonkatsu from Curry Corner. Happy hour specials on Thursdays.
1016-18 Race St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Dim Sum Garden (7 min walk)
Cash only. Soup dumplings. Fast service. Expect stupidly long lines on weekends as half the city waits for a table. I have friends who will come from 2 hours away when I say I’m going here for lunch. They don’t take reservations and they don’t need to with the hungry customers lining out the door. They do offer takeout but not delivery- though Uber Eats might be able to get it to you.
1020 Race St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodles (7 minutes)
You might have noticed these last three restaurants are all next door to each other. I like to call 10th and Race the best foodie corner in the city, and Nan Zhou rounds it out. Big noodles with meat, seafood, or veg. Meatball is by far my favorite and everything is fresh and cheap. Cash only.
1022 Race St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Hatch and Coop (9 min walk)
Not everyone likes Chinese food (s h a m e). This place is good quick service egg and/or chicken sandwiches with hekking good curly fries. Most of the guys working here are gamers, and they KEEP. TAKING. THEIR. POKEMON. GO. GYM. AWAY. FROM. ME. They are all team instinct and it drives me bonkers.
122 S 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
I normally would never recommend a hot dog place as somewhere to go, but here we are. DD really is just that good. Everything is made in house and their cocktails are also superb (and they use lobster roll style split rolls instead of hot dog buns, a major plus in my book). Personal favorite is La Poutine- a duck sausage topped with gravy, fries, and cheese curds. And as a Jewish girl I have to sadly concede that their latkes are better than mine.
1111 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Additional honorable mentions:
Su Xing (Chinese, vegetarian and vegan)
Smokin’ Betty’s (BBQ and cocktails)
Charlie was a sinner. (Vegetarian and vegan tapas and desserts, cocktails)
Capogiro (gelato and coffee)
Tom’s Dim Sum (I cant vouch, but commenters are saying good dim sum. Also takes card)
A La Mousse (Chinese bakery, and green tea house)
Paris Baguette (Korean bakery (yes, I’m equally confused), good croissant sandwiches)
HipCityVeg (vegetarian and vegan burger joint, take out only)
Bareburger (farm to table burgers, lots of vegetarian options)
Rooster Soup Co (farm to table diner, very small seasonal menu, nonprofit restaurant)
ALSO: If you like Amish pastries, go to Reading Terminal around 4-4:30 on Saturday. Beiler’s Bakery (not the doughnuts, just the bakery) sells its remaining stock in large batches for $5 since they’re closed Sunday’s. If you want a cart load of rhubarb pie, go then.
I’ll add more, feel free to post below too.