University City Dining Days

We live in the University City area of Philadelphia, named for the plethora of colleges and universities within a couple mile radius. While each school offers it's own line up of programs, the University City District as a whole coordinates a series of events throughout the year. The summer features some of my favorite events, like the Dollar Baltimore Stroll, Awesome Fest outdoor movies, 40th Street concert series and University City Dining Days, which are happening right now through July 27th. Restaurants in the area offer three course meals for either $15, $25, or $35. The meals typically cost less than their usual prices and are much cheaper than restaurant week which happens in Center City in the fall.

You can check out the full line up of restaurants participating here, but I've listed my favorites for each category below.

$15 Category

The front runner: New Delhi - seriously the best Indian food in the city. I'd go for the vegetable samosas, paneer makhni served with dal, raita, and naan, followed by kulfi (ice cream with nuts and rose water) for dessert.

Runner Ups: Vietnam Cafe; Copabanana (the marinated, smoke-roasted, half chicken with jerk spices is included!)

$25 Category

Way to many good options to choose from at this price point.

Farmacy Rx - these are the new kids on the block, having been open less than a year, but I've heard great things about their food and I appreciate the farm to table style. My selections would be the roasted vidalia onion soup, house made ravioli, and seasonal fruit creme brulee.

Han Dynasty University City - any time a restaurant has alcohol for dessert, I'm happy, but when it's combined with spicy authentic Chinese food at a $25 price point, I'm in love. Every option here is incredible, but I would go with the spicy crispy cucumbers, garlic sauce tofu, and a heavenly country cocktail (Southern Comfort, sparkling wine, Pama Pomegranate, cranberry juice, peach puree, and lime).

Doc Magrogan's Oyster House (no oysters included, but plenty of crab options); New Deck Tavern (Irish pub food, yum!); Sabrina's Cafe ( a lot of seafood options)

$35 Category

More money, means more expectations and I wasn't as impressed by the offerings in this category.

White Dog Cafe would be my fav, which offers four courses. I would order the New Jersey corn chowder, Romaine hearts, and the roasted stuffed eggplant entree, followed by dessert.

Distrito gets a strong nod for second, because they also offer a 3 course beverage pairing for $15. Hello margarita heaven.

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