NFT Philadelphia Bella Vista / Queen Village

Bella Vista / Queen Village

Essentials
Anyone who bought in early is a lucky duck, and anyone who rents just got here too late. Home to everything from the delicious Italian Market to the testosterone-engorged horror that is South Street, it's hard to believe that if you head south of Washington, the housing is actually affordable. Really, it's true.

Sundries/Entertainment
At night, feast and quaff at one of the more in-the-know Philly treasures, the Royal Tavern. There is good beer at Bainbridge Barrel House, and Garage has skee-ball. Tattooed Mom is another great spot, even if the pool table is taken (and it probably will be). See also the eponymously named See more.

>The Dive Bar or Ray's Happy Birthday Bar, where dirty hipsters and old neighborhood men break bread.

Get your Schwinn on at Via Bicycle. Sabrina's poofs up pancakes with fruity oomph, and they've got killer omelets, too. Villa di Roma embraces the red sauce while Federal Donuts "elevates" doughnuts and Korean fried chicken--there's plenty of room for all of it, waistbands notwithstanding. And then there's the vortex of cheap meat and whiz at Jim's, Ishkabibble's, Pat's, and Geno's.




         


This Neighborhood Featured in...
Gayborhood Watch

By Alex Morales
Other than being dubbed NYC’s sixth borough, Philadelphia’s also been called a “small town masquerading as a big city.” The local queer scene is no exception. Everyone knows everyone or knows someone who hooked up with someone who you used to date, and OH MY GOD there he is standing across the bar chatting up your other ex. Now if you’re going to plunge headlong into this sordid world of loud music, strong drinks, and heavy drama, there’s some stuff you ought to know. But I ain’t one to gossip, so you ain’t heard it from me.
Read More...
The City of Brotherly Bargains

By Lisa Franklin
Philadelphia has the reputation of being a cheap city, but it’s still hard to find a bargain. Sure, we’re obese and wear long crewneck sweatshirts, but chi-chi restaurants and boutiques are rebranding our image and forcing out our ingrained frugality. Where to turn when we’re hankering for an inexpensive lunch or a used CD that’s rightfully cheaper than its shiny new twin sister? Gems, finds, and steals exist throughout our fair city. The destinations below will ensure that, at the end of the day, we can enjoy a soft pretzel and a 6-pack of Yuengling without a gaping hole in our collective pocket...
Read More...
Black Lung Special

By Caren Beilin
Philly is the last hip city in this generally po-dunk America where you can smoke inside public places. Before the inevitable smoking ban takes effect, celebrate some of Philly's hottest spots to light up and fill your lungs with a black lung special.
Read More...

On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Krista Apple
Photo:  Krista Apple

Sweet Tooth
It seems the northwest corner of 5th and Bainbridge was born under a saccharine star. The corner storefront vacated by the defunct (and truly missed) Pink Rose Bakery has been quickly inhabited, this time with sugar of a more packaged flavor. At Sweet Tooth, the new corner store devoted to fixing your sugar jag, bin after sugar-laden bin lines the walls, carrying everything from chocolate covered pretzels to Lemonheads, Red Hots, and Root Beer Barrels. Mix n' match bins of Jelly Belly flavors let you concoct your own jelly bean cocktail. Diabetic candy lovers are not neglected; the sugar-free section lines the front window. It's all self-serve, and you can buy as much or as little as you want. It seems like a sugar-lover's dream come true; but there's something vaguely cold and impersonal about it all, and the locavore in me only wishes that Pink Rose's legacy would have been left to better hands.



Posted By:  Krista Apple
Photo:  Krista Apple

Dmitri's
My partner and I love concocting wild travel plans, and he dreams of returning to the tiny Greek island of Paros. He arrived in Paros by accident during his European wanderlust; it was off the beaten path, and he was the only tourist there. In Paros, he claims, the food was salty and delectable, full of the sea, and undeniably Mediterranean. At Dmitri's--a tiny, unassuming BYOB in Queen Village--a similar intimacy and authenticity awaits. Arrive early at this dinner-only establishment, or plan to wait; unlike Paros, this place has been totally found out. You could easily make a meal of their small plates if you chose--hummus, avocado citrus salad, or octopus (to name a few). But Dmitri's real treasure lies in its whole-fish entrees. Bluefish is a menu standard, as is a daily fish special, both accompanied by heaps of rice and steamed vegetables. (Other entrees include seafood fettuccini, salmon and squid.) Dmitri's may no longer be the undiscovered country, but it still tastes of a tiny island, full of salt air and far from the madding crowd.



Posted By:  Krista Apple
Photo:  Krista Apple

Fante's Kitchen Shop
Whether your culinary piece de resistance is Beef Bourguignon or Chef Boyardee, Fante's is your one-stop kitchen shopping destination. You can pick up your Le Creuset Dutch Oven and your avocado saver all at once, assisted by the Fante's staff--who are knowledgeable, friendly, and refreshingly laid back. Even if you're not in the market for a canape bread mold, it's worth a wander through Fante's aisles, where you'll find a bevy of gadgets you never knew you needed. (But you do! Six-in one garlic press and meat tenderizer...letter-shaped ice trays...need we say more?) The back room is this baker's personal favorite, where you'll find a grandmother's ransom in cake molds, springform pans, and specialty muffin tins. From pasta makers to pots de creme, from aprons to apple bakers, Julie & Julia won't have nothin' on you once you've outfitted your inner chef at Fante's.



Posted By:  Krista Apple
Photo:  Krista Apple

Gleaner's Cafe
The Italian Market's carnivorous tendencies find fair balance at this vegan-friendly hipster haunt. It's got everything you want in a local coffee klatch (cozy tables, tasty treats) and nothing you don't (loud music, snarky staff). Most of the goodies are vegan; many are also gluten-free. Choose from ginger molasses cookies, chocolate peanut butter cake, or Jewish apple cake; then snag yourself a free cup of joe by guessing who penned the daily quote, written on the blackboard behind the counter. And be sure to check out the local artwork on the walls, exhibited in regular rotation. Then sit back, relax, and give thanks for your friendly neighborhood vegans and coffee enthusiasts.



Posted By:  jaimie KREMS
Photo:  jaimie KREMS

Anastacia's Antiques
Who doesn’t need a demon-shaped inkwell? Or the front half of a wall-mounted taxidermy goat? Maybe a genuine antique chastity belt? Maybe you can't put any of these treasures to good use, but they're the real deal. You can hunt them out alongside vintage jewelry, some snazzy cigarette holders and other ephemera at Anastacia's Antiques. The reasonably priced shop is a magnificently curated cornucopia. Everything you wish you had the luck to happen upon at those estate sales you never remember to go to ends up here. Photos, furniture, medical oddities, animal skulls, scorpion paperweights, creepy kids' toys? Check. Peep them if you dare--there are some puppets in the shop that I swear watch me browse and I believe that, one day, they'll follow one of us home.



Posted By:  Meg Favreau
Photo:  Meg Favreau

The Dive Bar
Do you like smoking? The Dive is a bar where you can smoke. The clientele is pleasant, a combination of regulars and the hip folks, and many of them smoke cigarettes. Want to buy food? Psh! This is a smoking bar, son--less than 20% of their annual sales can be in eats. Don't think that the Dive is going to leave you hungry, though--that's free pizza in the corner. Sometimes the bar has events--DJ nights, fiction readings, etc. At all of these events, people smoke. I don't want you to think that I'm trashing the Dive just because there are usually more cigarettes in the place than people: the beer selection is good and cheap, and the atmosphere is down-to-earth and friendly. But when most bars in the city don't allow smoking, the ones that do tend to be defined by that, whether it's something you like or you not. Smoke smokity smoke smoke.



Posted By:  Meg Favreau
Photo:  Meg Favreau

Phileo Yogurt
When you Google "Phileo," two things come up on the first page: links to South Street's frozen yogurt joint, and links to Bible studies sites that explain that the word "phileo" is a Greek word meaning "a friendship kind of love" (not "a combination of the words 'Philadelphia' and 'yogurt.'") The Bible studies sites also discuss "agape," a divine and unconditional love. None of my cursory skims of the Bible sites include the word for "put it in my mouth" love. Philadelphia's answer to the Pinkberry trend (down to a similar green-and-pink color scheme), Phileo offers a wide variety of tart and sweet self-serve frozen yogurts, from classics like vanilla and chocolate to zippy lychee and cool green tea. Then come the toppings--including fruit, coconut, chocolate AND carob chips--and finally the weighing, because that's right buddy: you are paying by the ounce. But dammit, don't think I'm "hating" on the place--as much as I hate paying that much, as the days hover close to 90 degrees, a cup of Phileo (say, a mix of vanilla and tart peach...?) can be worth it.



Posted By:  Jamie Papoutsis
Photo:  Jamie Papoutsis

Latest Dish
As you walk in the door, the metallic glare off of the copper-topped tables makes you feel like you've stepped into a sepia-toned photo. Once my eyes adjusted, I set my sights on the mini grilled cheese sandwiches floating in a bowl of tomato soup. The service needed some adjusting as I had only taken a few bites of my soup before my entree was served, but the lobster macaroni and cheese was so good that I didn't mind. For my dining entertainment, the table beside me was carefully navigating through their first date; at least they had picked well in choosing comfort food to accompany the rough waters.



Posted By:  Allison Lowrey
Photo:  Allison Lowrey

Termini Brothers
Winter is the season to overindulge! Maybe you hunker down all February to play some excessively-competitive Scrabble with the family. Or perhaps your neighbor is hosting a booze-fueled open house to warm everyone up. Whatever the case, you don't want to show up empty-handed. Money tight? Don't despair. You can always buy that special relative/neighbor/coworker/friend those silver-plated monkey salt and pepper shakers next year. This year, stand apart from the rest of the crowd who arrived bearing a generic bottle of vino. Show up with a platter of Termini Brothers cookies and canolis, sit back, and enjoy watching the baked goods fly off the tray. If a picture is worth a thousand words, the taste of a Termini treat is worth a million. Made fresh and with natural ingredients, even people who say they don't like sweets will have a tough time refraining. If you're Grinching it up and avoiding all things festive this winter, go buy yourself a box of Termini cookies, put on your roomiest sweat pants, and park it on the couch for a few hours. Mmmmmm.



Posted By:  Abby Baker
Photo:  Abby Baker

Sarcone's Deli
At Sarcone's, their motto is: "It's all about the bread." Order any of their hoagies, and you'll see why. Seriously, this place is a carb-lover's dream. As I devoured one of Sarcone's "Ultimate Veggie" hoagies, my face was dripping with gooey goodness. The only drawback here was the hot peppers, which were spicy enough to bring tears to my eyes. Thank goodness I had lots of fluffy bread to soak up some of the hotness. Although the inside of this hoagie heaven is best suited for take-out, two tiny tables are perched outside in case you want to brave the chilly air. So, forego your Adkins or whatever low-carb, no-carb bullshit diet you're trying and head to the place that received the "Best of Philly 2008" award. Just go easy on the hot peppers.



Posted By:  Allison Lowrey
Photo:  Allison Lowrey

Vesuvio
The economy's got everybody down. Long gone are the days of reckless take-out from Buddakan. Say hello to your old friend Miller Light and kiss those fridges stocked with micro brews goodbye. And forget about those weekend sojourns to Delilah’s--go-go bars and strip clubs will probably put a major dent in your wallet. On the flip side, subscribing to Cinemax for some late-night titillation might be more affordable, but it’s so anti-social. So, what’s a fella to do in these tough times? Get your fix of cheap thrills and cheap drinks at Vesuvio on Feburary 7th, where you can soak in a good old-fashioned oil wrestling tournament. There will be enough scantily clad, oil-slicked ladies to make you feel like you’re starring in a rap video. And $2 PBR beers will make you feel like a financially savvy individual who can afford to eat more than just Ramen noodles for the rest of the week.



Posted By:  Abby Baker
Photo:  Abby Baker

Sabrina's Cafe
While there are many scrumptious cafes in Philly, nothing compares to Sabrina's. First of all, the cozy atmosphere is as welcoming as your relative's house around the holidays, minus your drunk and belligerent uncle Eddie. As Ella Fitzgerald plays softly in the background, you realize that figuring out what to order is more difficult than a teenage girl choosing a prom dress. All of the items look so darn tasty! If you absolutely love bread (and really, how couldn't you?) then I recommend the "Stuffed Caramelized Challah French Toast." This enormous meal is topped with bananas and vanilla bean syrup and smashed together with heaping amounts of cream cheese. If you can eat the entire thing in one sitting, you are my hero. Since I know you can't wait to try this place out, I must advise you to do so on a weekday, especially if you’re one of those people like me, who tends to eat alone and avoid happy couples brunching on the weekends. Ick.



Posted By:  Nikki Volpicelli
Photo:  Nikki Volpicelli

Sarcone's Deli
Their hoagie rolls are famous throughout the city, but their hoagie fixins don't get the credit they deserve outside the South Philly 'hood. Order a medium or up and your hoagie will be hugged by the painfully crunchy sesame seed rolls (smalls aren't respected). Being the talk of the Italian market doesn't come easy; only the best ingredients, sharp chunks of hard provolone, the spiciest of Geneva salami and HOT red and yellow peppers adorn almost every sandwich. Sides include olives overstuffed with garlic, prosciutto or red pepper.



Posted By:  Meg Favreau
Photo:  Meg Favreau

Woolly Mammoth
Let me begin with what I hope will become a classic Philadelphia blessing: "Proud and weary citizens of Philadelphia/May you never find your car overturned in a sports riot/May you eat well, and often/And may you never, ever find yourself on South Street." Okay, okay, I know: South Street has its uses. Pearl is a great art store, the TLA (sometimes) and the Philly Improv Theater (quite often) have good shows, and the clearance area at Bare Feet Shoes has good finds (if you can get back there). But when I think about free-time activities I enjoy, 'forcing my way through gaggles of New Jersey teenagers' is last on my list. Still, sometimes the best of us find ourselves on South Street, and sometimes we have needs: drinking. Specifically: grabbing a six pack. Thus I recommend to you Woolly Mammoth, which has a lovely selection of bottled beers and will gladly mix them into a take-out six-pack for you. I don't necessarily recommend drinking here--every time I've gone, the music has been astonishingly loud, and Tattooed Mom's is right up the street--but let them fill all of your brown-bagging needs.

 




Posted By:  Meg Favreau
Photo:  Meg Favreau

Connie's Ric-Rac
Citizens of Philadelphia: There comes a time in each and every one of our lives when we have to make a choice to stand up to the injustice of boredom, or else waste away at home alone on a Friday night. It is not always an easy choice to make--the nights are long and cold now, and the blankets on our beds are warm and inviting. But do not go gentle into that good sleep! No, instead, stand up for all that is decent and funny at the new bimonthly comedy evening Steal This Show (starting November 28). Combining the best in local comedy, mariachi (and other) music, and slight anarchy, Steal This Show looks to be an upstanding addition to Philadelphia's comedy scene. Hosted by the revolutionary pillar of manhood known as Corey Cohen (who is also a member of the sketch troupe The Sixth Borough), and taking place at the recently reopened BYO palace Connie's Ric Rac, Steal This Show promises to do all it can to fight boredom in our city--all it needs is your help.



Posted By:  Jamie Papoutsis
Photo:  Jamie Papoutsis

Geno's Steaks
Although everyone knows THE sign that clearly demands that customers order in English, my friend thought it would be a good idea to try out his French. Perhaps this genius idea was padded by the extra hour of drinking tolerated just one night a year on the eve of daylight savings. I thought the self-proclaimed owner was going to break through the window and strangle my friend as he barked, "well buddy, when you order in another language, I can't guarantee what you're going to get." He then proceeded to direct the making of another kind of sandwich, which my friend quickly refuted in English. Later, my friend later asked me if I wanted a bit, but I declined. I was sure that his had to be flavored by a "special sauce."



Posted By:  Nikki Volpicelli
Photo:  Nikki Volpicelli

South 9th Street Italian Market
Over 100 years of tradition packed into a little section of 9th street; the Italian Market really needs no introduction. No bells and whistles; I give you the facts: Di Bruno Bros. Cheese, with cheese wheels the size of a large toddler; Sarcone's Deli, the most sought-after bread in the city; fresh meats-hanging-from-the-ceiling at Esposito's; Isgro Pateries, with wafting, sweet smelling scents that seduce market patrons for blocks; and Anthony's Italian Coffee House specializing in eye-opening espresso. The market is, hands down, the best reason to pull yourself out of bed on a Saturday or Sunday morning.



Posted By:  Abby Baker
Photo:  Abby Baker

Anthony's Italian Coffee
A trip to the Italian Market isn't complete without a cup of joe from Anthony's. In fact, don't just settle for plain coffee when you're here because the lattes are just too mouth-watering to pass up. Depending on the season, Anthony's offers a variety of warm espresso beverages, with names similar to those you would find at any old Starbucks--only Anthony's drinks actually live up to the names. That pumpkin spice latte will actually taste like pumpkin while simultaneously making you feel like you're on a hay ride out in the 'burbs. As the froth hovers close to the rim of your warm mug, you might even temporarily forget that it's cold as shit outside. If the coffee isn't enough to warm your bones, walk a few steps down the block and you'll find Anthony's Chocolate House. We all know chocolate can cure anything, even bitter Philly days.



Posted By:  Meg Favreau
Photo:  Meg Favreau

Shubin Theatre
At this point it's a little ironic that the name of Kent Haines' show is "Why Am I Not Famous?!?" As the winner of the 2008 Philadelphia's Phunniest Person competition and the star of the web-TV series "That Guy," Kent's about as famous as a comedian can get in Philly. But "Why Am I Not Famous?!" isn't just a name. Oh, no. On the Wednesday of the first full week of the month at 10 pm, Kent details why he thinks he should be famous, and then he brings in fantastic music and comedy guests to show how, in comparison, he is much more talented. The cheesy and obvious end to this write-up would be that when you're done with the show, you'll wonder why Kent isn't well-known. But Kent is so good at picking guests, you'll wonder why everybody up on that stage isn't famous. Yet.



Posted By:  Jamie Papoutsis
Photo:  Jamie Papoutsis

Little Fish
Finally, a restaurant that takes specialization to heart and does it with perfection. Offering strictly scaly fair, this is not a viable dinner option if you're in the mood for something "moo-ing". The menu changes daily, and your server will probably orate each dinner choice to you since he probably didn't feel like writing them down for everyone at the table to read. It makes you feel like you are back in time before the invention of the printing press. I strongly discourage repeat ordering among your dining party as all dishes are beautifully prepared and worth sharing a taste. As you take in the surroundings of marine blue, you can't help but think of that tetchy crab, Sebastian singing Under the Sea. This is both a perfect date spot and a BYO; so don't diminish your chances of scoring by being unprepared. Perhaps you'll hit the jackpot and be able to order oysters!




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Nightlife (22)
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