Food & DrinkFebruary 14, 2013 at 5:00 am

I Love You, Friend(s)

In the U.S., Valentine's Day is all about love, romance and gag–inducing frilly pink hearts—but around the world, February 14 is also a time to celebrate that other kind of love: friendship. Here at Street, we really dig that idea, so grab your BFFs and treat yourselves to a fun night out. Pro tip: candlelit Italian restaurants are full of couples. Get more creative.

If you’re a lazy bunch…

Try: Ethiopian fare in West Philly

If you’re in the mood for something spicy and exotic, but don’t want to walk more than a few blocks, try one of the several Ethiopian restaurants in University City. All of the dishes, including many vegetarian options, are served on a large platter, with nothing but injera (spongy flat bread) to scoop it up. Order your dishes family–style for some extra bonding and get dirty, too. Local favorites Ethio Café (225 S. 45th St.) and Abyssinia (229 S. 45th St.) are on the same block!

If your group has a lot of picky eaters…

Try: Manakeesh (4420 Walnut St.)

This family–owned Lebanese restaurant specializes in a wood oven–fired flatbread with a variety of toppings that include spicy shrimp and spinach and cheese. Enjoy some delicious baklava for dessert, or go next door to the conveniently–located smoothie bar for some fresh–squeezed juice and frozen yogurt. Take your time dining with your friends here and enjoy the Middle Eastern interior and ambience, complete with Moroccan–style lanterns hanging from the ceiling.

If you want to get far, far away from the Penn love–fest…

Try: E Mei Restaurant (915 Arch St.)

Gather together eight or nine of your friends and head down to Chinatown: make sure to reserve one of the traditional round tables with a rotating center, designed for family–style sharing. E Mei specializes in hot dishes cooked with red chili–oil, perfect for spicing up your night. Just be sure to order a large bowl of white rice to share with your group—these spicy dishes aren’t for the faint of heart.

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