University City not only has an eccentric personality from its local shops and architecture, it also provides an array of restaurants. Within just a few blocks, University City provides ethnic cuisine ranging from Japanese and Italian to American and Mexican.
Zavino (pictured above) is a Southern Italian cuisine restaurant located at 3200 Chestnut St. that specializes in Naples-Neapolitan style pizza. Zavino’s menu ranges from hand-made pastas to gnocchi and tortellini with everything hand rolled, made in-house and with ingredients from the Philadelphia area. While Zavino has many students and faculty come throughout the day, their busiest times are Monday through Friday for lunch and happy hour.
For Japanese cuisine, CoZara is located next door to Zavino at 3200 Chestnut St. as well. The restaurant is right on the campus of Drexel University and is the prime location for students, faculty and locals to grab Japanese food that isn’t just sushi. The restaurant focuses on grilled meats such as chicken and pork rather than rolled up fish.
CoZara is set up similar to an American pub for people to socialize, however, the Japanese culture is noticeable within every room. On the second floor of the restaurant there are private rooms with wall paintings of Japanese streets, Samurai warriors and other pieces from Japanese society.
“For someone coming for the first time, I would definitely suggest the UPenn or Drexel Dragon roll,” restaurant manager Andrew Foti said. “It’s definitely our most common dishes.”
One block down from CoZara at 3180 Chestnut St., stands another unique restaurant. Wahoo’s is known for exactly what it is named after, a fish in the South Pacific. The restaurant is a fusion between Mexican, Asian and Brazilian food while also having the feel of a sports bar. While the emphasis is certainly on food, Wahoo’s is typically busy during the week between Tuesday and Friday and on the weekends if there is a big game to watch.
The New Deck Tavern
The New Deck Tavern is an Irish pub and restaurant that is located at 3408 Sansom St. The pub specializes in Irish dishes such as bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, fish and chips and Irish curry. With the pub being on the University of Pennsylvania campus, many students go to the pub to sit back and relax.
Baby Blues BBQ
Baby Blues BBQ at 3402 Sansom St. is famous for their baby back ribs, but, the restaurant is considered a hybrid of American barbecue due to the variety of the different type of ribs. Baby Blues offers Memphis-style pork ribs, Texas beef ribs and Carolina-style pulled pork to name a few. The restaurant also runs on wheels. The Baby Blues food truck is featured at Philadelphia Union soccer games.
-Text and images by Serenity Bishop and Naderah Brooks.