Tampopo Japanese Restaurant
104 S 21st St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
11:30 am - 2:30 pm
- Mon - Fri
11:30 am - 2:30 pm
12:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Primary Phone: (215) 557-9594
Phone: (215) 546-8080
Cuisines: Japanese, Korean, Asian, Family Style, Sushi, Seafood
Price Range : Below Average
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If you enjoy sauteed beef over rice then tampopo will become your favorite place to eat. If you like Japanese specialties, be forewarned; they do not do it right. First, the unagi (fresh water eel) tasted like it was baked. It would be fine if they cut off the skin and fat, but they didn't, so I was left with a very fatty piece of low-grade eel that didn't have a very appetizing sauce. The skin should have been toasted! At least it wasn't chewy... They even served Gari with my eel-don which was hilarious. Its obvious you serve Daikon. Their gyoza was deep fried, not pan fried, and had a conventional filling although it was nice you had a choice between shrimp, pork, beef or chicken. The small roll plates were too expensive for the type of quality they were pushing. While tampopo may be good for some simple grill favorites, it fails at everything else that basically is the essence of any Japanese restaurant. I know I should have been weary of cheap Japanese, however places have done it very well and Tampopo's price point isn't too far away from a quality, value based Japanese restaurant. If your looking for sushi or Japanese delicacies, steer clear. You kind sushi of the same quality at much lower prices.
My brother recommended Tampopo to me so I tried them out the other day and I'm looking forward to going back again soon. The menu is short and simple but offers a nice range of selections at reasonable prices. I was most impressed with the quality and fresh taste of the ingredients. A word of warning though, if you don't like your spicy food to kick too hard then stay clear of the spicy dishes. Tampopo doesn't hold back on the kick! The atmosphere was cozy with good music playing at a good volume level (not too loud). They're also open pretty late (9:30 if I remember right) for dinner, so I'll definitely be stopping in again soon.
I just happened to stop in Tampopo one Thursday evening, and I was pleasantly surprised! I had the chicken breast bento box, and my fiance had the eel rolls. We were so happy! It was a very nice alternative to fast food. We were in and out in under 45 minutes. I could eat there every night!
I ate at the 21st Street location last night and had Bi Bim Bop, a popular Korean dish. It was exactly what I had hoped for: excellent steamed vegetables and perfectly cooked rice, an egg cracked into the center of the dish, and hot chili sauce on the side. I tried the tofu edition which was very good: firm and very tasty with the chili oil. I also ordered a side of shumai (small shrimp dumplings in a thin wrapper). The shumai were just OK. I noticed some Gyoza at another table and they looked good. At approximately $7 per person this is one of the best healthy fast food deals in town. If you, like me, lament the sale of the Korean food truck at 38th and Walnut to people who mean well but don't cook like David did, you'll really appreciate Tampopo.
As a quick lunch establishment, Tampopo is great. Food turnaround is rarely outside of 5 to 10 minutes, and the average meal price circles around 6 dollars - which is almost food-truck cheap, especially this close to Rittenhouse Square.
I personally have to recommend the Spicy Chicken Rice bowl ($5.25) - very simple, just rice and chicken, but it kicked my taste buds into next week. The Gyoza dishes are also tasty additions.
Other Pros: They often have good music, usually with the CD case of the music being played on the counter. This way you can enrich your mind with new musical knowledge while you enrich your stomach with spicy chicken. Your entire body wins in this experience.
Also, the staff has always extremely friendly to me.
Con: Sushi. For good sushi, I recommend Fuji Mountain, less than half a block away.
this is a cute little place with really great food. they are fast enough that you can park illegally across the street while you run in and pick up dinner (LOL). the people are always nice and if you have time you can thumb thru their magazine rack which has some neat Japanese pop magazines.
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