MLT Eats: Four Hidden Gems to Try Right Now

Looking for an undiscovered restaurant with great food? The Philly Snack Queens have you covered.

by Maura and Sam, aka The Philly Snack Queens, contributing editors

Love hot, new restaurants? So do we. And we love undiscovered eateries with great food, drink and people. Everyone in the neighborhood knows and loves these places, but if you don’t know what to look for, you won’t find them. Want to take a culinary trip off the beaten path? Here are four hidden gems to try right now.

Bahn Mi and Bottles

We’ve loved this authentic Vietnamese restaurant for years. The vibe is mellow and romantic, the drinks are creative and varied (lavender daiquiri, Ho Chi Minhattan, sour guavatini), and the menu features favorites like shrimp and mushroom pho, tamarind tofu banh mi and fried turmeric and dill catfish vermicelli. Happy hour specials feature street bites – bao buns, grilled beef short ribs and papaya salad among them – and this is a great spot for a date night, although going solo is also fab. 712-14 South St., Philadelphia

Bing Bing Dim Sum

Here, matzo turnip cake and Jewish chicken wonton noodle soup share the menu with  cheesesteak bao, caterpillar bread (barbecue pork, caramelized honey, sesame), and scarlet dumplings (Swiss chard, tofu, crispy garlic). Consistently delicious, creative, and with a fab ambiance, Bing Bing Dim Sum is one of our South Philly favorites. There are many new additions to this stretch of Passyunk, but there’s a lot to be said for places that remain consistent, reliable and delicious. 1648 E. Passyunk Ave., Philadelphia

Dript Coffee Co.

Queen Village’s newest café is open only on weekends, but this is the perfect place to spend a Saturday or Sunday morning. We were blown away by the genuine, kind service – and Jezabel’s Empanadas. These delicious, authentic, Argentinian-style empanadas are handmade by Jezabel Careaga in her Philadelphia shop. We will definitely be returning to this café and cannot wait to see how this new café blossoms. 806 S. 6th St, Philadelphia

Salam Café

Whether you’re new to Ethiopian fare (like we are) or not, you’ll love this new spot in Germantown. The food is out of this world; everything is cooked to order, fresh and filled with rich flavors and complex tastes. Try the chicken kabob, sambusa (lentil, chicken or beef in a fried pastry with a potato filling) and spicy hummus. We especially loved the spicy beef stew special. Hayat, the owner, is always bringing new specialties to the menu. Salam is a must try, and we cannot wait to taste new dishes. 5532 Greene St., Philadelphia

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