Primary Plant Based
Primary Plant Based makes some of the best vegan food in Philly. Unlike other plant-based spots in the city that settle for serving fake meat burgers you can find in the frozen aisle of the supermarket, this Fishtown BYOB consistently dishes out things like carnitas medianoche made out of jackfruit, kimchi pancakes with chia seed caviar and kimchi sashimi, and comforting bowls of masa ball soup. The fact that they do it all in a space that works for both a nice night out or a cozy solo meal makes it even more impressive.
Since no entree costs over $20, you can bring a large group of friends here for a casual weeknight meal at one of the long wooden tables or cozy padded booths. You’ll find lots of local produce and Philly crowd-pleasers on the menu, like a cheesesteak made with seitan, onions, gooey mozzarella and cheddar, and pickled green tomato ketchup, or a yuba sandwich that’s similar to a vegan version of roast pork.
The large brunch menu also sets this place apart from other vegan spots, as finding a completely plant-based brunch spot is about as rare as getting a ticket for a superhero movie on opening night. If you’re vegan and at brunch, you’re usually settling for a side of home fries, but at Primary Plant Based, you can go for things like a miso-glazed sweet potato sandwich, smoked potato hash with roasted long hots and mushroom chorizo, and french toast topped with a mound of plantain custard.
While Philly has a ton of places serving plant-based versions of bar food, we appreciate that Primary Plant Based goes a different route. Bring your group of friends here for a last-minute hangout or come for an easygoing date night where you’ll probably spend the whole meal trying to figure out how they made their masa ball soup and roast pork so perfect.
Sticky Seitan Flappers
These chewy cuts of crispy seitan wings are smothered in a deliciously spicy and sticky soy glaze. They also come with an unnecessary creamy black garlic aioli that makes the nuggets way too wet. But the accompanying crunchy nam chi cabbage is an addition we can get behind.
Masa Ball Soup
On a cold day, this is one of our favorite things to sip on. Filled with golf ball-sized heaps of corn dough, the garlicky broth is a nice and light way to start your meal. It’s a seasonal dish but when it’s on the menu, order it.
Chickpea Shawarma Hummus
Topped with sumac pickles, chunks of feta, and urfa pepper oil, this hummus is delicious. At the end of the day, it’s a pretty standard hummus though. You can skip it for some of the more interesting dishes.
Jackfruit Carnitas Medianoche
This dish has a perfect blend of sweetness from the jackfruit and a punch of tang from the pickles and guava mustard. It has stacked slices of plantain french toast, melty swiss cheese, roasted cubanelle cream cheese, and gets topped with coconut sugar. And since it has elements that would work for breakfast, brunch, dinner, and dessert, there’s no bad time to order it.
Philly Roast Yuba Sandwich
With good roast pork sandwiches, each bite should be juicy with sturdy bread holding it all together. This sandwich passes that test and then some. It’s lined with yuba, broccoli rabe, provolone, fried longhots, peppadew mayo, and comes with an oniony jus that’s good enough to be a stand-alone soup.