On a recent weekend getaway to Philly with bae, we HAD to stop at one of our favorite restaurants. Located in the Gayborhood area of Center City, Philadelphia, lies a hole-in-the-wall-ish Asian Fusion restaurant named Sampan. Thanks to Yelp, I found this restaurant on our first visit to Philly back in May. I can’t really remember what it was about this place that I wanted to dine here so bad. All I knew was that it was date night and I was just crossing my fingers in hopes that this place would be good cause I knew if it wasn’t, I would never hear the end of it.
Fast forward to our trip in September, Sampan has made such a great impression on us that I made it vocal I wasn’t leaving Philly until I ate here. First off, I highly recommend making a reservation, especially if you plan to eat here on a weekend. I tried making reservations on Open Table a week before and there were no dinner time slots! So like most things, you just gotta pick up the phone and I was lucky to get us an 8:30pm reservation on a Saturday night. SCORE!
When you walk into the restaurant it is very dim, which I don’t really mind because I think it makes the mood more intimate. There is a host stand with a bar next to it for those waiting to be seated or just simply getting their drink on. Once seated, a waiter/waitress greats you and immediately asks you if you’ve been to Sampan before. They’ll give you a run down on the place. Things to know: it’s best to order 3-4 plates for a party of 2 to feel satisfied and Sampan has an open kitchen, which means things come out as soon as it is ready.
Once we were settled in, we were ready to order. We order the Tequila Scorpion Bowl, which actually came in a fish bowl and is more than enough for 2 people. It also happened to be Restaurant Week, so we did the Chef’s Tasting Menu. You choose 2 plates from the small plates section of the menu and 1 plate from the rest of the categories. Total plates: 7 for $35. Regular price is $45. Still not bad but I was happy to save ten bucks!
The Pork Bao Buns
Vietnamese Chicken Satays
The Crispy Rock Shrimp
Glazed Chilean Sea Bass
Kim Chee Fried Rice
Each dish is accompanied by a server who explains pretty much each ingredient the dish contains. By the fourth dish, my stomach was telling me to chill out! It is so easy to get full here, even though the plates are small. Along with the Chef’s Tasting Menu, they also offered teeny, tiny ice cream cones. 2 cherry flavored and 2 chocolate flavored. I almost NEVER have desserts at restaurants since I get full really easily but these ice cream cones were so light, it didn’t feel like anything!
On a scale of 1 to 10, this place is an easy ten. In my opinion, it’s easy to find a place with great food. It’s easy to find a place with a great ambience or great service. But Sampan has all of the above! If you’re ever in the Philadelphia area, I definitely recommend this place!!!
What are some of your favorite restaurants in your city? Comment down below!