Center City Restaurant Week, the two–week–long foodie event popular among Penn students, is starting tomorrow, so getting a last–minute reservation might be difficult. Add a friend who’s sworn off dairy, meat, or gluten into the equation, and it can feel nearly impossible to reach an agreement over where to go. But with nearly 110 restaurants to choose from, options for the dietary–restricted aren’t all that grim. We’ve gone through all of the tasting menus so that you don’t have to. Here are the best places to go for your dietary restrictions:




For the Vegan:

Farmicia Restaurant

Located in South Philly, this farm–to–table restaurant is known for creating eclectic ingredient combinations and making vegetables the stars of their dishes. Be sure to try the pan–seared tofu, served with chickpeas and a tomato jam, or the English pea risotto croquettes for a main course. Ditch the sorbet for dessert—an overdone vegan option—and instead opt for the lemon ginger cake, served with avocado coconut ice cream. Open for lunch and dinner.

Indeblue Restaurant

An Indian fusion restaurant and bar, Indeblue opened in 2013 and has been serving modern, veggie–friendly spins on classic Indian recipes ever since. You can’t go wrong with the vegetable samosas appetizer, but the crispy cauliflower, served in a tomato chili chutney, might just change your life. Many of their vegan options are also gluten–free, ideal for the especially limited eater. Open for lunch and dinner. Their weekend brunch is not included in Restaurant Week.

For the Gluten–Free:

Veda

At this Indian bistro, it’s unclear what’s prettier: Veda’s plating techniques or their industrial space, complete with massive overhead chandeliers. It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly to get, because every single item on their menu is gluten–free with a few vegan options thrown in as well. Go for the tandoori lamb chops and the walnut and mandarin orange salad. Veda is one of the few restaurants offering four courses for dinner, so make sure to save room for the white chocolate and raspberry shrikhand and the Indian yogurt dish, or the beignet served with rose water infused vanilla ice cream. Open lunch and dinner, and serving Restaurant Week cocktail specials for an additional charge.

Bellini Grill

An Italian restaurant might not be one’s first choice when avoiding gluten, but Bellini Grill, a cozy, old–school Italian restaurant, has managed to include wheat–free options across the board. Any of the soups, salads, or antipasto plates are safe bets for appetizers, and the restaurant states that any of their pasta dishes can be made with gluten–free pasta. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for their desserts, so bring a hungry friend who will eat yours too. Open for lunch and dinner.

BYOB Options:

Audrey Claire

This cash–only spot stakes its reputation on its elegant Mediterranean cuisine, along with its minimalist style and open kitchen set–up. Everything sounds, looks, and tastes amazing, so you can’t really go wrong, but be sure to try the brussel sprouts roasted in garlic chili oil and the smoked chickpea ragout. Lots of the dishes are vegetarian by nature, given the cuisine, but with a bit of customization, most can be made vegan. Same goes for the gluten–free options, though those tend to be more meat–based. Order anything that is seasoned with za’atar, trust me. Open for dinner only.

Entrée

The only American restaurant on the list, Entrée is known for its simple dishes and urban space. With a seasonally rotating menu, you can be sure that the ingredients are fresh and locally sourced. Again, while there are many vegetarian options, you’ll have to make some customizations to have a fully vegetable–based meal. Get the arugula, grapefruit, and roasted beet salad, along with the fried oreos, a truly American (and vegan!) dessert. Not much going on gluten–free wise, but stick with the meat and fish dishes, as well as the flourless chocolate cake, and you should be fine. Open for dinner only.   




From September 23 to October 5, Philadelphia residents can eat lunch or dinner at some of the most popular upscale restaurants in the city, at a flat rate of $20 or $35 a person, respectively. Don’t let your lifestyle choices, allergies, or restrictions stop you from getting that deal at participating restaurants.


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