Jose Garces' Top 5 Places to Eat in Philly

Iron Chef Jose Garces reveals his favorite Philly dishes to Food Network Magazine.

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Photo By: Trevor Dixon

Photo By: Trevor Dixon

Photo By: Trevor Dixon

Photo By: Trevor Dixon

Photo By: Douglas Keith

Jose's Must-Have Dishes

We can't fault Jose Garces for choosing one of his own restaurants as a top spot in Philadelphia: The guy has opened seven places there in the past 6 years. But after living in the city for 11 years, he knows some other great finds, too.

Middle Eastern Combo From the Sahara Grill

When Jose is really hungry, he goes to this no-frills Lebanese restaurant. According to him it’s small, but the platters aren’t. The Middle Eastern combo includes hummus, baba ghanoush, marinated carrots and mushrooms, tabbouleh, eggplant salad, feta and olives. “It’s enough for 4 people,” he says. 1334 Walnut St.; 215-985-4155

Spinach Gnocchi From Vetri

Diners wait up to 2 months for prime reservations at Vetri, but Jose swears the gnocchi, part of a tasting menu, is worth the trouble. Chef Marc Vetri replaces potatoes with spinach to make his extra delicate dumplings, then tops them with brown butter and shaved ricotta. “It’s outrageous,” Jose says. 1312 Spruce St.; nevetriristorante.com

Chicken on a Stick From Dim Sum Garden

Jose loves this hole-in-the-wall Chinatown spot. In fact, he has trouble choosing just one dish as his favorite, but the Chicken on a Stick is definitely up there. It’s marinated in sweet-and-sour sauce and then fried. 59 N. 11th St.; 215-627-0218

Deep-Dish Pie From Garces Trading Company

Jose, a Chi-town native, was tired of waiting for trips back to the Windy City for authentic Chicago-style pizza. “I was like, ‘Forget that — I’m going to bring it home,’” he says. When he opened his sixth restaurant in Philadelphia in 2010, he put this deep-dish pie on the menu. He orders his topped with sausage de Toulouse and wild mushrooms. 1111 Locust St.; garcestradingcompany.com

Old Fashioned From Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.

This pre-Prohibition-style bar is Jose’s favorite place to grab a drink — specifically, an old fashioned made with Pappy Van Winkle’s 20-year-old bourbon and served over a big chunk of ice. A standing-room-only marble drink rail adds to the old-time feel. 112 S. 18th St.; thefranklinbar.com