Neal Santos, food and travel photojournalist

Santos beautifully documents the Philly food and drink scene for publications including Edible Philly, Food & Wine, Saveur and Lucky Peach, and tends to his urban farm in his spare time (think four dogs, three cats, 20 chickens and thousands of bees). Here, he shares his favorite local eats brought to you by the makers of PEPCID®, helping food lovers explore great tastes without the fear of heartburn, including a behind-the-scenes look at Cheu Noodle Bar.

  • Philly’s Best Ramen

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① Hungry Pigeon

Nestled in the “Fabric Row” section of Queen Village is this bright, locavore-driven restaurant with a creative approach to comfort food. Whether you are stopping in for a quick coffee and croissant, or hosting a family-style dinner for 10 people, dishes like Goat Stroganoff and the One Hundred Dollar Chocolate Cake ($10 a slice)—made with Counter Culture Coffee and Mast Brothers Chocolate—guarantee a uniquely satisfying experience.

Photo: Neal Santos

② Porky’s Point

In deep North Philly, off of North 5th Street, is a Puerto Rican roadside destination called Porky's Point where you can get take out of all things pork. Slow-roasted and tender, the pork is served with a variety of hot sauces and sides; I love the fried plantains and mofongo.

Photo: Neal Santos

③ Vernick Food & Drink

Go to Rittenhouse’s Vernick Food & Drink if you want to be well taken care of (and who doesn’t?). This place shines in every detail, from the friendly, knowledgeable staff to the upscale American dishes. Chef Greg Vernick certainly has a way with food—and everyone from Zagat to the James Beard Foundation and Bon Appetit agrees. Get anything on toast and the uni with warm scrambled eggs.

Photo: Vernick Food & Drink

④ Reading Terminal Market

This is Philadelphia’s hub for great food, produce, gifts and an endless list of delicious things to try. Some notable favorites: DiNics pork sandwiches (winner of the Travel Channel’s “Best Sandwich in America ”), Beiler's doughnuts, whoopie pies from Flying Monkey and bratwurst sandwiches from Wursthaus Schmitz.

Photo: Neal Santos
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⑤ South Philly Barbacoa

Head over to South Philadelphia, just a little off of Philadelphia’s hot Passyunk neighborhood, for some amazing authentic barbacoa. Partners Ben and Cristina Miller work as a team in this cozy storefront serving slow-cooked lamb barbacoa tacos with traditional toppings and flavorful drinks to wash everything down. Pro tip: The rich consomme made from lamb drippings is a must.

Photo: Neal Santos

⑥ Pizzeria Beddia

Some of the best pizza in Philadelphia can be found at Fishtown neighborhood spot Pizzeria Beddia where owner Joe Beddia takes sourcing high-quality, local ingredients seriously. If you are adventurous and love spicy food, get the arrabbiata. Just keep in mind that they are pretty old school. Translation: no phone and cash only. Open Wednesday through Sunday evenings from 5:30 to 10:30pm, they make just 40 pizzas each night, so be sure to join the line that starts forming around 4p.m. to avoid disappointment.

Photo: Neal Santos

⑦ Stargazy

Head over to Philadelphia's Passyunk section and stop in at Stargazy, a British pie and mash shop serving baked pies, both savory and sweet. The menu changes frequently, but at the hands of chef Sam Jacobson you are guaranteed a hearty meal with dishes like traditional beef and onion pie, mash and parsley liquor.

Front Photo: Neal Santos
Back Photo: Stargazy

⑦ High Street on Market

If you're hungry from visiting the historic Liberty Bell, Constitution Center and Independence Mall, check out High Street on Market. The sandwiches are killer, all stacked on house-made breads from baker Alex Bois. I love the roast pork with fermented broccoli rabe, long hots and sharp provolone, topped with chow chow—a chopped pickle relish originating from Lancaster, Pennsylvania—for an extra kick.

Photo: Neal Santos

⑧ Dizengoff

From Mike Solomonov and his hardworking team comes Dizengoff, a hummusiya serving a rotating menu of chickpea purée creations with unique toppings like chicken, horseradish tehina and pickled red cabbage or egg, almonds and amba (check Instagram for the menu)—served with chopped salad, Israeli pickles and fresh pita. Consider a frozen mint lemonanna or a draft beer while you're there, too.

Photo: Dizengoff

⑨ Kanella South

This Greek Cypriot eatery is located by the waterfront, and chef Konstantinos Pitsillides serves really good food with no ego, fuss or frills. The space is bright and spacious, with attentive and friendly staff, and the portions are generous. Try the Armenian lamb dumplings with spiced butter and yogurt sauce, octopus with giant beans or the stuffed eggplant.

Photo: Neal Santos