🙂 = Cool interior, fun taxi car to sit in, high chairs available, delicious guacamole and chips, and overall very flavorful food. Unless something is happening on campus, there is metered parking within a block or two that isn’t too difficult to find (we parked right in front of the restaurant at peak lunch time).
🙁 = Didn’t find a changing table, at least not in any of the first floor bathrooms (there are 2 floors). Not having a kids menu could be a downside, yet this is clearly not the kind of place that would have a kids menu.
Notes: They are open Monday through Friday from 11:30AM to 10:00PM. They are open from 11:00AM until 10:00PM on Saturdays and Sundays. Another side note – at the entrance, there are racks of bottles behind the hostess stand. In reality, it is really a door that takes you to a really cool secret room! This room is for adults to use when hosting parties and has a big TV and a karaoke machine with lots of music to choose from. It seats about 15-20.
After a busy morning at the Philadelphia Zoo, we drove for less than 10 minutes and ended up in University City (right on UPenn’s campus) at Distrito. Distrito is a modern Mexican restaurant run by Chef Jose Garces, who won the Iron Chef competition several years back. Since then, he has opened quite a few restaurants in Philadelphia, including Tinto, Amada, Village Whiskey and others. Since Distrito was close to the zoo, we made a reservation and ventured over.
The first thing we noticed was the really fun interior! It was pink and playful! While we reserved a table with high chair on the side, we quickly noticed the Taxi car inside the restaurant with a table directly inside it, and so, we requested to sit there instead. We felt pretty cool! BUT, we were a bit too short to reach the table and ended up eating with the plates on our laps (which wasn’t so bad!). Distrito does not have a kids menu, but the waiter did mention the kids typically like the more basic choices like chicken tacos and guacamole.
The chips and salsa (complimentary) arrived the moment we sat down. The salsa was a bit spicy, but we dipped the chips in anyways and just tried not to get too much. We opted for the lunch menu called the Blue Demon Express. It’s a $15 menu that allows you to choose 2 courses and a drink. We got 3 of these menus to share. For our first round of courses, we opted for the guacamole (with cotija cheese shredded at the top), an “ensalada de jicama” (a salad with galia melon, orange, pepitas and mango), and a ceviche de camarones (spicy shrimp ceviche with plantain chips). We LOVED the guacamole and did a lot of double dipping! Mom liked the salad, but we were happy picking the pieces of mango and orange out – the rest of the salad wasn’t as tasty for our palates. The shrimp ceviche was way too spicy – but we got plantain chips out of it! It was a good portion of shrimp though and quite refreshing. Another kid-friendly option out of the first round of dishes would have been the nachos with black beans, tomatoes, and cheese (minus the jalapenos).
Although the options for the second course included chicken and pulled pork tacos and sandwiches, we chose to be more adventurous and ordered the mahi mahi tacos instead (our fault for not asking for the chipotle remoulade on the side – mom had to wipe it all off before we could eat them!). We also ordered the huarache de costillas (which was a flat bread served with a mixture short ribs, 3 chile bbq, mixed cheese and shredded radish) and a queso fundido, a cheesy, gooey queso with duck barbacoa (shredded duck) and poblano peppers. We blame mom for ordering 3 spicy entrée options! The duck barbacoa queso came with tortillas (they were SO good that we asked for extras), and we happily munched on that and finished off the guacamole while the grown-ups enjoyed the spicier alternatives.
Overall, the location was great as it was close to the zoo, parking was simple, and the food was good (though a bit spicy, but it is Mexican food after all). We have been here before and will happily come again!
3945 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104