Eating while abroad may sometimes get difficult, but here in the United States, it has become increasingly easy to do so. Most places I go in Philadelphia, short of a cheese steak place, has an option or two for vegetarians and many even accommodate vegans as well.
Indian - Karma or New Delhi
Indian food has fast become a favorite of mine. Indian culture an cuisine is very heavily based on incredible spices, and stewed dishes. Much of Indian cuisine comes from a heavily vegetarian culture. As such, Indian food is always a great option when visiting any city.
In Philadelphia, our favorites are New Delhi, and Karma in that order. I'm listing two here because Karma is in Old City and very accessible to any visitor that comes to see downtown and the history of Philly. New Delhi on the other hand is located in University City, not well known for its tourist attractions, mostly an area of the city that is full of different college campuses. While we prefer New Delhi, it's location is not the most convenient, and often can take 30-45 min just to get there from the Old City area which attracts most visitors.
If you are new to Indian food, my suggestions are Vegetable Samosas, a pastry filled with curry, peas, potatoes, and more. Samosas are always a go to appetizer for me, though the potatoes make them quite heavy and might make a better pain course if you like them. My main course of choice is a paneer, usually a palak paneer. Paneer's are a cheese dish, don't picture a melted cheese, these are more of a cheese cube in an Indian based sauce. In the case of palak paneer, the sauce is a spinach and tomatoes gravy with lots of Indian spices. This is my go to dish if I'm eating Indian and don't know what else to try.
Sushi - Kisso
Located in the Old City district of Philadelphia, Kisso is a bit off the beaten path for where tourists tend to visit. Kisso is a well known little establishment on the corner of Race Street and 4th. Locals frequent this establishment because their food is fantastic.
If you visit Kisso, there are a few vegetarian rolls that you can choose from, but I personally would suggest what they call the Yasai Sushi Platter. The platter consists of a whole range of different veggie sushi quite a few with avocado which I love in my sushi.
Personally, vegetarian sushi has become a major and easy go to when I need something quick and relatively healthy. Kisso is a mainstay in our neighborhood and it will be much missed when we move in a month.
Mexican - Lucha Cartel
This is hands down my favorite restaurant to date. There are a few reasons for this making my top position, first is amazing food, second is a fantastic atmosphere. Walls are covered in purple wallpaper with luchador mask print., where they found that I do not know. Hanging from one wall is a recreation of the last supper, on skateboards, with all of the table attendees wearing luchador masks. Ceilings are covering in bottle caps, and the bar has an sacrificial alter kind of feel. This is a unique place, but be warned that it gets loud in here when it is full.
If you come for the decor, you certainly stay for the food. While there are a couple of vegetarian options on the menu, my absolute favorite is the avocado salad. This salad comes with a fantastic lime agave dressing, but the avocado is the star here. While salads tend to focus a lot on the lettuce, here the star is the avocado and my love of the fruit is showing a bit here but I love this thing. An entire avocado is placed on this salad, you can take a big chunk of avocado in every bit and barely eat the entire thing before running out of lettuce to accompany it.
While Sushi, Mexican, and Indian are our favorites and often become a go to for us, there are many options to try in Philadelphia and exploring the menu's has been a wonderful experience. Here is a roll up of some of my favorite restaurants that have vegetarian options.
Farmacia - Lots of options here located in Old City, a farm to table sort of place
National Mechanics - Wonderful architecture, an old converted church now a pub, with a pretty decent veggie burger.
Snap Kitchen - This is a chain prepared food store, but has lots of vegetarian and vegan options. A little hit and miss, often needs heating, but a quick stop and if you don't mind cold food, it's perfect.
Don't be shy, Philadelphia is well known for it's food and there are very few capable of disappointing me here. Much of my food experience is centered around Old City because of where we live, but trust me, the entire city has a lot to offer. If you are visiting, you can't go wrong with many places, so get out and enjoy what is offered in the city of brotherly love.