Voted top five in the Best Indian category of the 2011, 2012, and 2013 CityVoter awards, Laxmi's Indian Grille serves a range of dishes?from spicy meats to subtle vegetable stews?designed to please all palates. A perfume of fresh ginger, rose water, and house-made cottage cheese drifts from the bustling kitchen out into the dining room of the Main Street location, where vibrant paintings provide an elegant contrast to walls of rustic exposed stone. At both Main Street and the newly minted Tilden Street eatery, a clay tandoor oven is kept aflame throughout the day, enabling chefs to bake breads, meats, and underripe bananas to a golden patina.
Cute, brightly lit and run by a local husband-and-wife team, Epicure Café at East Falls answers East Falls residents’ need for a casual, low-key spot to grab a coffee or a bite. Open for breakfast and lunch every day and into the evenings on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday, Epicure serves up everything from a simple bagel and lox to omelets, salads, chili and paninis. When it comes to burgers, patrons can opt for a traditional sirloin version, a turkey one (topped with spinach, tomatoes and cranberry-horseradish dressing) or the Woodstock burger, a veggie patty created by co-owner Arlene Leschak with mushrooms, barley, oats and sunflower seeds.
A beloved neighborhood pub and grill, Billy Murphy’s Irish Bar welcomes a host of regulars and newcomers to its casual corner spot in East Falls. A nice selection of beers on tap complement the American fare, ranging from cheesesteaks and chicken potpies to basic cheeseburgers and more adventurous options, like a version topped with jalapeños, chipotle aioli, bacon and fried onions. Weekday specials regularly include Mexican Monday, when basic tacos are only $2 each, and Wednesday Wing Night, when various styles – think spicy, barbecue and more – go for a mere 35 cents each. You might encounter a live Irish band one night, a crowd of Eagles fans on Sunday afternoon or a locals-only vibe inside the cluttered, low-ceilinged space, but the patio always makes for a great summertime sit, especially with a glass of cheap beer.
Franco Faggi knows more than a thing or two about Italian food. The founder of Fiorina, located in the heart of East Falls, Philadelphia, serves some of the best Italian food you’ll find outside of Italy. In fact, all of his dishes are so spectacular that they might even rival the food you find in Italy itself. Faggi offers cooking classes that consistently fill up; they are so popular that participants are asked not to book more than one class with him per season. You can learn the best dishes on Fiorino’s menu for only a small fee that covers the cost of the ingredients (and Faggi says that when there is money left over he donates it to a local food shelf). Fiorino also serves meals for special events, such as the Feast of the Seven Fishes in the days leading up to Christmas. With a cozy, quaint atmosphere, delicious food, a BYOB policy, and friendly, knowledgeable servers, you’ll have to make a reservation to enjoy this true gem of a restaurant.
A neighborhood pizza parlor, Slices Pizza has been turning out hot pies from its no-frills location in East Falls since 2004. A variety of pizzas await customers when they walk in, such as buffalo chicken, a Hawaiian with ham, pineapple and bacon and a garlicky white pizza. The menu extends far beyond the namesake pizza slices, however, offering hoagies, cheesesteaks, strombolis, wings and big salads. Combo specials let patrons feed the whole crew: the “Family Time” special includes a large plain pizza, a steak or hoagie, ten wings and a two-liter soda for around $20. Slices delivers throughout the day and stays open until 3 a.m. on weekends. A neatly maintained park and playground across the street allows customers to grab a slice to go and enjoy their meal outdoors.
Impressively thin and tasty pizzas emerge from the wood-fired oven visible in In Riva’s open kitchen. The pies don’t need to spend a lot of time inside that glowing oven to come out perfectly crisp, and they’re topped with creative combinations: one has Sicilian tuna, San Marzano tomatoes, black olives and arugula; another features fresh burrata cheese, cauliflower, golden raisins and pine nuts. The rest of the spot-on menu of this East Falls eatery shouldn’t be ignored. The eight homemade pastas are just as accomplished as the pies, as are the salads. The pizzeria’s is filled with dark and warm woods that create a homey, yet elegant surrounding, and a wide back deck offers a great view of the Schuylkill River.