Fish Meets Dish

Exploring the food scene in Fishtown

Article and photos by Victoria Wu

As my freshman year is coming to a close, I thought I had integrated myself into the city of Philadelphia. But, little did my naive self know, Philadelphia is a big city–it spans past Center City.

On one of those rare occasions, when it was not freezing cold and slushy on the roads, when it was sunny and warm outside, I decided to take a run through the neighborhoods of Philadelphia. I ended in my favorite Philadelphia neighborhood by far: Fishtown. It’s a hipster-esque foodie paradise that I completely fell in love with. Philadelphia’s hidden gem.

Fishtown has long been a working class neighborhood and a hub for the fishing industry on the Delaware River. But over the last few decades, the neighborhood experienced an influx of young urban professionals, giving the neighborhood a new, hip vibe. Like any other neighborhood in Philly, Fishtown is an extremely walkable neighborhood: no cars necessary.

That Saturday morning, bright and early, running 4.5 miles up to Fishtown, I decided to treat myself to a bagel from Philly Style Bagels, located on the corner of East Columbia Avenue and Sepiva Street. When I arrived, the line stretched outside the door. Philly Style Bagel’s Classic Lox Bagel Sandwich was rated the best sandwich in the United States in 2016 by Bon Appétit, and I can attest to how delicious it was. Maybe it was the crazily flavorful, beer-boiled bagels? (Philly Style!) Maybe it was the house-cured salmon that was fresh and perfectly seasoned? As I walked into this small intimate bagel shop, I watched the owners personally hand make the bagels one by one. I saw the bagels come out of the oven and end up in my hands. That’s what I call fresh.

As I walked around more, passing by the seaside inspired murals and the fish-shaped mailboxes, I came across the La Columbe Flagship cafe. Not only does it serve coffee, but it also has an on-site distillery. That Saturday, the coffee shop was packed. People bustling in and out; people studying and catching up with crafted coffee drinks. I personally ordered the classic draft latte served in a Italian ceramic cup.

What a morning well spent! I spent an entire morning in this historic neighborhood and still have much more to explore. For the next three years, I can’t wait explore Philly even more.