Six of the best places to eat and drink in Philadelphia


CHEESESTEAKS 

OK, so, vegetarians and anyone on a health kick should probably avert their eyes. The famous Philadelphia cheesesteak is, as one local described it, "greasy and oozy and not meant to be healthy". And by golly it isn't. According to legend, this moreish concoction of chopped beef, grilled onions and melted cheese on a slightly salted Amoroso baguette was invented in Philly in the early 1930s by Pat and Harry Olivieri​. Today, Pat's King of Steaks, Geno's and Campo's are the go-to places for authentic cheesesteak. The jury is still out on the best cheese to accompany your heart attack but provolone and, gulp, Cheese Whiz top the list. See patskingofsteaks.comgenosteaks.comcamposdeli.com

ART IN THE AGE

This nifty shop in the Old City cultural district started life as an artists' collective and morphed into a one-stop-shop for everything boozy. Nip in and pick up a bottle of Eau de Musc whiskey. One of the ingredients is castoreum, found in the anal sac glands just below the tail of a beaver. It's less "beavery" than you might expect. With its drink books, cookbooks, mixology equipment and odd alcoholic concoctions (chicory root vodka?) in beautifully designed bottles it's a Willy Wonka factory for grown-ups. See artintheage.com

READING TERMINAL MARKET

All you can possibly want/need/eat under one historic roof, this vibrant, clattering, bustling market is a must-see. The history goes way back to the origins of the city but the current market dates from 1893 when it took shape under a new train terminal. Today, it's a huge covered gastronomic bazaar full of places (more than 80 at last count) to shop, eat and drink. I can attest to the amazing pork sandwich (have it with the hot peppers) at Tommy DiNic's (there since 1954). See readingterminalmarket.org

PRETZELS

"Our pretzels are better than New York's," one local told me proudly. "Ours are soft and doughy and have to be eaten fresh, within 24 hours. And the best bit is the knot in the middle." Pretzels, it seems, are to Philly what bagels are to New York. Their origins date from the 1800s when the region's German immigrants began recreating the bretzel of their homeland. They're pretty much everywhere here and mostly eaten with a blob of spicy dipping mustard.

FETTE SAU

Oh. My. God. I have died and gone to heaven. Meat bought by the kilogram, locally sourced, dry rubbed, smoked, hot Italian, sausages, roast organic chicken, a few vegetable-y side dishes (beans, coleslaw), excellent bourbons, ciders and a host of craft beers poured from beer taps topped with knives and meat cleavers. Fette Sau is German for "fat pig" and is a collaboration between local uber-restaurateur Stephen Starr and New York restaurateur Joe Carroll. There's great music, too. See fettesauphilly.com

FRANKFORD HALL

This German-style beer hall is in Fishtown, an old working-class industrial area gradually emerging from the doldrums thanks to places such as Frankford Hall and Fette Sau (which is right next door). Think big communal tables, Jenga games, ping-pong tables, giant pretzels, sausages and lots and lots of really rather excellent "trinken", as they are known on the menu. Try a tasting paddle or take some advice from the knowledgeable staff. Stay away from the beer cocktails, which are the work of the devil. See frankfordhall.com

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