5 great hidden dining gems in Philly

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Lumber, garden tools, hot sausage? Rocco's outside Home Depot.

Everyone is always talking about "out of the way" restaurants.

How about some places that are so "hidden," many people probably don't know they serve food there, let alone tasty food.

Here are five finds:.

Rocco's Sausage at Home Depot

While you might not think to head to Home Depot for lunch, you'll be happy you did because of Rocco's sweet and hot sausages. The 4-1/2-star-Yelp-reviewed "hole in the wall" outside the Depots at 2206 S. Columbus Blvd., at 22nd Street and Oregon Avenue, and at 4640 Roosevelt Blvd. hands out samples.


North Bowl

Who would think that a hipster bowling alley would have outstanding food? The Northern Liberties establishment is known for its creative tater-tot preparations,. But dig deeper on the menu for Thai Lettuce Wraps, Zucchini and Wild Mushroom tacos, and even a pan-seared salmon burger made fresh from a butchered whole salmon. Arguably the best overlooked "restaurant" in the city.


Kitchen Gia at Perelman Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Normally going to the hospital is something one would try to avoid, especially a children's hospital, but go with the sole intention of seeking out Kitchen Gia and you'll find a killer bowl of soup. Even though chicken soup is supposed to be the "cure-all," try Gia's "Hale and Hearty," and I guarantee you've never felt better. Kitchen Gia - which has a second location at 3716 Spruce St. - is the companion to University City's popular Gia Pronto.

 

Liberty Choice Convenience Store

Liberty Choice seems likes your typical bodega-style convenience store in Kensington where you can pick up groceries and snacks, but it's definitely worth a trip for the Middle Eastern foods, notably the falafel sandwich. Pick one up in the back and take it upstairs to eat, or grab one to go. Liberty Choice also hides what I think is some of the best hummus around. Just make sure you purchase a pack of gum on your way out.  

 

Ikea

The food at the restaurant inside Ikea stores is similar to the furniture it sells…looks great and an incredible value.  And carries Swedish names. This is not the typical fast food. The cafeteria line stops for such hearty fare as delicious broiled salmon and signature Swedish meatballs. Everything is reasonably priced, substantial and set in a family friendly dining room with polished concrete floors and Ikea tables and chairs. If you like the meatballs and certain other foods, you can buy them frozen in bulk to take home.


Adam Elbaum is an entrepreneur, magician, and foodie who lives in Northern Liberties with his wife, Sarina Kaplan, and their daughter Anna Elbaum.

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