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To-go lasagna awaits at DaMò Pasta Lab.
DaMò Pasta Lab/official photo

Where to Eat Near the Pennsylvania Convention Center

Soup dumplings, burgers, bowls of ramen, and more options within a short walk

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To-go lasagna awaits at DaMò Pasta Lab.
| DaMò Pasta Lab/official photo

The Pennsylvania Convention Center just played a huge part in the 2020 election as the host to the vote count that ultimately made Joe Biden the President Elect of the United States.

Luckily for hungry protesters, the restaurants of Chinatown and the iconic Reading Terminal Market were just steps away. Go another block or two and one can find all-day brunch and friendly neighborhood bars with craft beer and comfort food.

While the convention center itself has been pretty quiet this year due to the pandemic, exciting newcomers like The Wayward, Federal Donuts, and High Street Philly have upped the neighborhood’s reputation as a worthy dining destination. All of the restaurants on this map are within a half mile (about a 10-minute walk) of the Convention Center.

— Updated by Maddy Sweitzer-Lammé

The level of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this map should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns. For updated information on coronavirus cases locally, visit the City of Philadelphia website.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Cafe Lift

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Brunch all day is the draw at Cafe Lift (the day ends at 2 p.m. here). Starting at 8 a.m., the menu includes breakfast fare like eggs Benedict and pancakes alongside sandwiches and salads. Takeout, delivery, indoor and outdoor dining are available.

Terakawa Ramen

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Ramen is always a good idea and Philly has plenty of options for a rich, noodle-filled bowl. Close to the Convention Center, Terakawa makes its noodles in house and spends two days perfecting its broth, which available in pork bone, chicken, and vegetarian varieties. Open for takeout and delivery only.

Dim Sum Garden

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Philly’s Chinatown neighborhood is both close to the Convention Center and full of culinary delights. One good place to start is Dim Sum Garden, which is known for its soup dumplings — servers are happy to teach the uninitiated how to safely attack these broth- and pork-filled treats. The steamed and pan-fried buns are also worth ordering, as are the scallion pancakes. Outdoor seating, takeout, and delivery are available.

Spice C

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Spice C offers a variety of Chinese dishes, but the real star here are the noodles. Try the hand-drawn noodles, thinner and akin to ramen, or the wider-and-thicker shaved noodles that are more toothsome. Order online for pickup.

General Tso’s chicken at Spice C.
Spice C/official photo

There’s a lot to choose from on the massive Malaysian menu at the always-bustling Penang, but you’ll never go wrong starting with the roti canai, a thin, slightly crispy, stretchy bread served with a curry for dipping. Indoor dining is available, as well as takeout and delivery via third party apps.

Reading Terminal Market

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This sprawling, historic food market buzzes with activity every day, though it’s all a little different now. Most merchants, including quintessential Philly picks like DiNic’s Roast Pork and Beiler’s Donuts offer takeout or delivery, as do many of the grocery stands.

roast pork sandwich in a red plastic basket DiNic’s [official photo]

The Wayward

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French-American restaurant the Wayward, located at the new Canopy by Hilton hotel, claims to have the biggest selection of gin in Philly — and there’s a whole section devoted to spins on the beloved French 75. Popular orders include theatrical seafood towers, oysters, corn beignets, and steak frites. There’s outdoor seating on a patio done up with greenery and string lights.

Federal Donuts

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The Federal Donuts crew recently debuted a new location of the popular fried chicken and doughnut chain. Unlike the other Federal Donuts shops, this one has espresso drinks on the menu, including a “donut latte”: espresso with steamed milk that has been steeped in doughnuts and warm spices and finished with a dusting of baharat. Order online for same-day pickup or swing by from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

row of doughnuts on cooling rack Michael Persico/Federal Donuts

High Street Philly

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High Street on Market closed its long-running Old City location and remerged in Washington Square West as a takeout shop selling sandwiches on the excellent bread the restaurant was known for, plus salads, pizza, pasta, and pastries. Order pickup or delivery through the restaurant.

High Street Philly brings all the breads.
High Street Philly/official photo

DaMò Pasta Lab

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This takeout-only spot consistently turns out excellent pastas, as well as salads and sides. The “fine fast-casual” Italian eatery also sells sauces and fresh, uncooked pasta, which is great for stocking in the freezer.

This fast-casual brand by lauded chef Michael Solomonov serves excellent Israeli food, including the ethereal hummus that made Zahav (Solomonov’s fanciest location) famous. Don’t overlook the za’atar rotisserie chicken, which feeds a family nicely. Hours are Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for outdoor seating, pickup, or delivery.

Strangelove's

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This friendly neighborhood bar is known for its craft beer selection, with more than a dozen options on tap, many of which are available to go. The kitchen is open all day, and until midnight on weekends, and slings crowd pleasers like burgers and wings, plus an impressive selection of vegetarian and vegan fare, such as a smoked tempeh banh mi and Buffalo cauliflower bites, for indoor dining or takeout.

Cafe Lift

Brunch all day is the draw at Cafe Lift (the day ends at 2 p.m. here). Starting at 8 a.m., the menu includes breakfast fare like eggs Benedict and pancakes alongside sandwiches and salads. Takeout, delivery, indoor and outdoor dining are available.

Terakawa Ramen

Ramen is always a good idea and Philly has plenty of options for a rich, noodle-filled bowl. Close to the Convention Center, Terakawa makes its noodles in house and spends two days perfecting its broth, which available in pork bone, chicken, and vegetarian varieties. Open for takeout and delivery only.

Dim Sum Garden

Philly’s Chinatown neighborhood is both close to the Convention Center and full of culinary delights. One good place to start is Dim Sum Garden, which is known for its soup dumplings — servers are happy to teach the uninitiated how to safely attack these broth- and pork-filled treats. The steamed and pan-fried buns are also worth ordering, as are the scallion pancakes. Outdoor seating, takeout, and delivery are available.

Spice C

General Tso’s chicken at Spice C.
Spice C/official photo

Spice C offers a variety of Chinese dishes, but the real star here are the noodles. Try the hand-drawn noodles, thinner and akin to ramen, or the wider-and-thicker shaved noodles that are more toothsome. Order online for pickup.

General Tso’s chicken at Spice C.
Spice C/official photo

Penang

There’s a lot to choose from on the massive Malaysian menu at the always-bustling Penang, but you’ll never go wrong starting with the roti canai, a thin, slightly crispy, stretchy bread served with a curry for dipping. Indoor dining is available, as well as takeout and delivery via third party apps.

Reading Terminal Market

roast pork sandwich in a red plastic basket DiNic’s [official photo]

This sprawling, historic food market buzzes with activity every day, though it’s all a little different now. Most merchants, including quintessential Philly picks like DiNic’s Roast Pork and Beiler’s Donuts offer takeout or delivery, as do many of the grocery stands.

roast pork sandwich in a red plastic basket DiNic’s [official photo]

The Wayward

French-American restaurant the Wayward, located at the new Canopy by Hilton hotel, claims to have the biggest selection of gin in Philly — and there’s a whole section devoted to spins on the beloved French 75. Popular orders include theatrical seafood towers, oysters, corn beignets, and steak frites. There’s outdoor seating on a patio done up with greenery and string lights.

Federal Donuts

row of doughnuts on cooling rack Michael Persico/Federal Donuts

The Federal Donuts crew recently debuted a new location of the popular fried chicken and doughnut chain. Unlike the other Federal Donuts shops, this one has espresso drinks on the menu, including a “donut latte”: espresso with steamed milk that has been steeped in doughnuts and warm spices and finished with a dusting of baharat. Order online for same-day pickup or swing by from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

row of doughnuts on cooling rack Michael Persico/Federal Donuts

High Street Philly

High Street Philly brings all the breads.
High Street Philly/official photo

High Street on Market closed its long-running Old City location and remerged in Washington Square West as a takeout shop selling sandwiches on the excellent bread the restaurant was known for, plus salads, pizza, pasta, and pastries. Order pickup or delivery through the restaurant.

High Street Philly brings all the breads.
High Street Philly/official photo

DaMò Pasta Lab

This takeout-only spot consistently turns out excellent pastas, as well as salads and sides. The “fine fast-casual” Italian eatery also sells sauces and fresh, uncooked pasta, which is great for stocking in the freezer.

Merkaz

This fast-casual brand by lauded chef Michael Solomonov serves excellent Israeli food, including the ethereal hummus that made Zahav (Solomonov’s fanciest location) famous. Don’t overlook the za’atar rotisserie chicken, which feeds a family nicely. Hours are Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for outdoor seating, pickup, or delivery.

Strangelove's

This friendly neighborhood bar is known for its craft beer selection, with more than a dozen options on tap, many of which are available to go. The kitchen is open all day, and until midnight on weekends, and slings crowd pleasers like burgers and wings, plus an impressive selection of vegetarian and vegan fare, such as a smoked tempeh banh mi and Buffalo cauliflower bites, for indoor dining or takeout.

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