The University of Pennsylvania or UPenn is one of those places that has what I like to call the "Penn Draw" in other words; it has a certain Je ne sais quoi that brings students in droves to Philadelphia, and ultimately to the college, year after year. And with students enrolling in the college by the tens of thousands, it backs up my claims. With that said, the first factor influencing most students' decisions to attend the University of Pennsylvania is UPenn's rich history.
And since Upenn is considered America's first University, with enrollment dating back to as early as 1740, we can see why both new and current college students have such a strong desire to attend. Because how cool is it to say that you were a student at the first-ever University? Plus, the University of Pennsylvania is in one of the world's most vibrant and populous places at that- which is Philadelphia.
The second thing that draws students to the University of Pennsylvania is the prestigious representation on campus. With only an eight percent acceptance rate and current standing as one of the top ten universities in the US and one of the top twenty universities globally, one thing for sure, prestigious, is their middle name. Because let's face it, only the brightest and best will be fortunate enough to attend the University of Pennsylvania.
According to the UPenn website, the academic life at Penn is unparalleled because its award-winning faculty and staff ensure students are successful. In other words, The University of Pennsylvania is one of the places you want on your resume because its Ivy League status sets you apart from other candidates, which is what employers look for in the workforce.
Finally, it's important to note that a university rich in history has to offer a rich dining experience, right? If you said yes, you would be correct. While most people would assume that an Ivy League school such as the University of Pennsylvania would focus more on their academics and neglect the diversity in students' food options, but this is far from the truth. Drexel University, Walnut Hill College, and the University of Pennsylvania are on shared turf in Philadelphia.
This turf is known as University City. And with a plethora of students in one area, you need things to see and plenty of places to eat. With that said, University City Philadelphia has a vast array of fine dining restaurants, marketplaces, cafes, brunch places, and everything else between, guaranteed to suit any pallet. So, regardless of if you're a picky eater looking for specific food places or a new student learning about all of the campus's hot eating spots.
How about if you're a recent transfer to the city looking to explore the places to eat in West Philadelphia's culinary scene, or what if you're none of the above and you're simply looking for a place where you can eat something cheap and good? You're guaranteed to find all of the above in Philadelphia. Believe me, when I tell you, there's something for you here.
Below is a list of our picks for the best restaurants near the University of Pennsylvania. The restaurant suggestions are in no particular order. So there's no pressure you can eat in whatever order you please. Just do yourself a favor and try at least some of what this area of Philadelphia has to offer.
3408 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Are you looking for places to unwind and grab a quick and cheap bite to eat after a long day of class? Can you envision an ice-cold beer in one hand and a slice of BBQ Chicken Pizza in the other? Well, we've got you covered. The New Deck Tavern Philadelphia is one of those restaurants where you can grab both.
They have simple menu items to eat, such as the ever-so-popular New Deck Grilled Chicken Sandwich topped with Monterey Jack Cheese and Honey Mustard and their classic Angus Beef Burger done your way. In addition to good eats, you can also choose from an assortment of draft beers to help you wash down all of that Philadelphia goodness.
3401 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Franklin's table is a non-traditional cafe, communal food hall for University of Pennsylvania students. It's one of those places that house several popular local vendors, giving students a choice of more than one eating spot on campus. Students and locals can eat everything from Pitruco pizza to the vegan falafel at Goldie inside this dining hall.
That way, students are not limited to the traditional dining hall cuisine but still near everything on the University of Philadelphia campus, so you would have little to no traveling involved when you want a quick bite to eat.
3420 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
On those nights when parents are in town, and you're looking to eat dinner at a splurge-worthy restaurant, this is the place to eat. Or, if you're looking for a semi-upscale restaurant to eat dinner with work friends, this is the place to eat. Since the early 1980s, White Dog Café has been one of the most pivotal restaurants at the heart of University City.
And I think it has a lot to do with their slogan "Farm to Table: Local, Seasonal, Sustainable," which symbolizes how fresh each meal is. They serve delicious dishes such as their Spicy Lamb Bolognese, their Thai Steak Noodle Salad, or their Chicken Tandoori that are guaranteed crowd-pleasers. So reserve your table now and take your taste buds on an unforgettable ride.
125 S 40th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
A cold day on campus at Penn? In the mood to grab a hot bowl of ramen that has a lot more pizazz than those flavorless 99 cent bricks of prepackaged noodles you load up on at the grocery store? Then you can bet your bottom dollar that Terakawa Ramen near campus has all of the authentic Japanese flavors you want inside of your bowl. See what I did there.
They are most known for their spicy ramen bowl, consisting of handmade egg noodles in spicy pork, chicken, and seafood flavored broth. Atop the noodles is Charshu (Roasted Pork), Kimchee, Kikurage mushrooms, Bean Sprouts, Scallions, and a seasoned soft-boiled egg. Are you drooling yet? Don't worry; we are too.
But if you're not a fan of eating noodles, don't count out Terkawa Ramen just yet-This is one of those places that has a little bit of everything. From Pork and Chicken Buns to Pork Cutlet Curry dishes.
227 N 34th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
If you're looking for a festive brunch item to eat this November, then Sabrina's Café is one of the best places in Philadelphia to eat at if you're in a holiday mood. Their Pumpkin Pie French Toast says, "Fall has arrived" with every bite. Thick Challah bread slices filled with Pumpkin Marscapone and topped with warm caramel sauce and whipped cream make this dish reminiscent of Thanksgiving dessert but for breakfast.
But don't worry, if you're not a pumpkin eater, they offer other lunch items to eat such as Chicken and Waffles, Shrimp and Grits and even popular Mexican brunch dishes like Huevos Rancheros.
214 S 40th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Of course, it is traditional to come to Philadelphia of all places and try a Philly Cheesesteak-I mean; it's a Philadephia staple. But, for those with dietary restrictions, such as a dairy allergy or a strict vegan or vegetarian diet, the thought of eating a Philly Cheesesteak loaded with meat and cheese may be unsettling. And the idea of finding places in Philadelphia near campus that offer something similar, and vegan friendly, may seem entirely far-fetched.
Well, that is, until they visit Hip City Veg. A less than five-minute walk from the University of Pennsylvania will land you at this innovative plant-based spot right off South 40th Street.
They offer everything from Vegan Philly Steaks and Sweet Potato French Fries to loaded Vegan Burgers and Milkshakes. Sounds good, right. Yeah, I know.
Hip City Veg allows you to indulge in all of the local Philadephia eats and treats without an overload of guilt. Because after all, good food doesn't have to be heavy and healthier options do not have to be limited to salads and green juice.
4403 Chesnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
If you're looking for places near the University of Pennsylvania with Vietnamese options? Chesnut Street Café has you covered. They offer a quaint and straightforward menu with great lunch options like Roasted Pork or Chicken Bahn Mi and iced Bubble Thai Tea.
Another plus about choosing to eat at Chesnut Café is that all menu items are under twelve dollars. And what this means is each bite to eat at this Philadelphia food spot gets prepared with affordability in mind.
3520 Spring Garden Street Philadelphia, PA 19104
At Lee's Market near Drexel, they specialize in grab-and-go items. Lee's Market is only about a three-minute car ride or an eighteen-minute walk from the University of Pennsylvania. They offer things like $6 side platters of wings and even $7 pancake platters that come with either turkey or regular bacon and cheese eggs. And the best part is that none of their menu items are over $7 bucks, which is a steal and perfect for the student and professional on a tight budget.
1109 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19107
No meal is complete without dessert, which is why Scoop DeVille Icecream shop was a no-brainer when compiling this list. A short drive from the University of Pennsylvania will land you at this sweet spot that has been "Keepin' it, Philly, since 1989." Scoop DeVille offers various treats like cookie dough pops, cupcakes, slushies, sundaes, and even ice cream cookie sandwiches.
Need a treat after a stressful week at the University of Pennsylvania? Well, my friend, this is the place you want to be.
121 S 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
In the mood for some authentic Mexican food? Well, El Vez is one of the best places to visit in Philadelphia. It's only an eight-minute car ride from the University of Pennsylvania; it's nothing for you to grab your friends, pile up in the car, and take a short ride to one of the places that many residents regard as heaven on earth.
At El Vez, they offer you the option to build your own tacos, or you can order preset items such as the Seabass Tacos, Tostadas, Burritos, and Nachos guaranteed to wow your tastebuds.
So make sure to look beyond the UPenn dining hall and take a short stroll outside of the neighborhood of your new apartment at The Chesnutor if you live in upenn off campus housing, courtesy of Tripalink, so that you can explore and eat at as many restaurants near the University of Pennsylvania campus and restaurants near Drexel university as possible.