The Best Food at the Reading Terminal Market

Best food at the Reading Terminal Market Philadelphia

The Reading Terminal Market is the expected result if a mall architect, historian, and foodie collaborated on the design of a food court. With approximately eighty vendors under one roof, selling everything from locally grown produce to baked goods to some of the city’s best sandwiches, the market is Philadelphia’s most important institution. (You can’t eat a Constitution.)


On a busy weekend, lines from Dinic’s, which serves a roast pork sandwich that puts the city’s signature cheesesteak to shame with its combination of provolone and garlicky broccoli raab, extends down one lane of the market, blocking access to a Soul Food joint and hooking a left toward the lunch counter of Pearl’s Oyster Bar.


Reading Terminal Market Philadelphia Dinic's


Across from the fraternal chatter at Pearl’s, bakers at the 4th Street Cookie Company weigh out stacks of chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies for one customer, who receives his bag, takes a bite, and decides to order a few more of the same.


There are creperies and cheese shops, butchers and fishmongers, homemade jerky and one store that sells all things honey. Farmers unload their produce and baristas perfume the air with freshly ground coffee. The floor in front of Beck’s Cajun Kitchen sparkles with the powdered sugar that had sprinkled from the sweet and greasy beignets as patrons sip down chicory coffee. In the seating area, patrons waiting for tables encircle the seated like impatient linemen, armed with boxes of Chinese takeout, plates of tacos, foil-wrapped gyros. They are ready at any moment to spring into action at the slightest of movements, to sac anyone on the move for the seat that they had eyed.


Reading Terminal Market Philadelphia Beignets


Still there are a few respites–a small seating area closer to Arch Street that is often forgotten, even though it’s serenaded by a piano player, Molly Malloy’s Bar, a few tables at the Blue Mountain Cellar and Vineyards, and the greatest breakfast fare in the city at the Down Home Diner. How a place strives to be organic and locally sourced, but manages to remain inexpensive and delicious seems to be a paradox; but Down Home does it. Try the blueberry pancakes and “Corned Beef Hash with Two Eyes Wide Open.” As the menu makes clear, nothing comes from a can.


Best Breakfast in the Reading Terminal Market


If there’s one way to sum up the market, Down Home’s mascot is the symbol for the terminal: a farmer and pig stand in embrace, where the less fortunate of the two offers one thumb to the sky and extends a content and overstuffed belly.


Muffaletta Reading Terminal Market Philadelphia

The Best Food at the Reading Terminal Market:

Down Home Diner: corned beef hash with two eyes wide open

Beck’s Cajun Kitchen: chicory coffee and beignets

Dinic’s: roast Pork, provolone, broccoli raab

4th Street Cookie Company: chocolate chip cookies with macadamia nuts

Blue Mountain Cellar and Vineyards


Where to Stay:

On our weekend trip to Philadelphia, we spent the majority of our time at the Reading Terminal Market. We would visit for breakfast, head to a museum, and then return for lunch. This pattern of sightseeing continued until we left for home. And since we were traveling with our newborn, who needed to be changed, nursed, and played with, it was great to have a hotel one block away. We stayed at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel.


Our room, on the 32nd floor, offered incredible city views and included the three Cs: comfort, centrality, and coma-readiness (food-coma-readiness, that is). Besides being able to shuttle our child back to the hotel after a dirty diaper instead of having to change her in a public restroom, we were also fortunate to be able to sleep off a Dinic’s sandwich before ingesting a few 4th Street cookies. Not to mention, Loews had a lap pool and a gym, allowing me to burn off some calories or make space for new ones.


Note: The above link is an affiliate link. It will take you to a site that offers you a discount on your stay and gives me a small percentage of the sale, with no additional cost to you. If you enjoy my blog and do plan on booking this hotel (or any other), please do so through my link. I’ll get a small commission, you’ll get a deal, and you can attempt to claim the transaction as a tax write-off. Just say “I was supporting my global blogger.” (Additional note: That won’t work.)



Posted on by Noah Lederman in I Ate What?

3 Responses to The Best Food at the Reading Terminal Market

  1. Mrs. Gross

    Yum! We have family in Philly courtesy of our daughter, who married a Philly boy. HE never told us about this amazing place. He is in trouble!

    • Noah Lederman

      After you try the food he’ll be in even bigger trouble. Sounds like he should treat.

  2. Sam

    “all things considered” ……….i’m sure WC Fields would agree that Philly is a pretty good place to visit.

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