Vegetarian? Vegan? Tired of eating french fries while your friends enjoy full meals in Center City? Sunwishes, a new “health supportive” restaurant a few blocks from Rittenhouse Square, is there for you.
Every item is less than $10, a rare find in Center City if you don’t want to eat in a diner.
Sunwishes’s menu covers all the bases – appetizers, salads and entrée size sandwiches, plus a soup of the day. The menu mixes vegetarian and vegan dishes, with influences from around the world. This is not boring rabbit food.
Their take on the Philly cheesesteak is a wild mushroom steak sandwich. The tasty chopped mushrooms are covered with a garlicky mix of spinach, fried onions and a soy cream sauce that has none of the nastiness of soy cheese products. No need for thousands of napkins either – the light, crusty French bread stays crispy, unlike the greasy, meaty original version.
When Sunwishes does do the rabbity thing with garnishes and salads, they do it very well. The produce used always looks and tastes good, and is never wilted or brown like a sad diner salad. Many of the vegetables used are organic, which usually adds to the price of things, but is worth it.
One highlight is the sprouts and spinach salad. It combines tender, baby spinach with crunchy sprouts, under a little pile of shredded carrots, raisins and toasted nuts. On the side comes a little cup of light green, creamy wasabi vinaigrette dressing, which pulls all the salad’s flavors together.
The innovative dressings are delicious, but need to be used sparingly because of their richness.
The appetizers are a little less interesting. Mostly a variety of Mexican-influenced dishes, there is nothing here you couldn’t get somewhere else. The quesadillas are made with a wheat tortilla that is too papery to be good. The only difference between these and other Mexican fusion dishes is the use of soy cheese, which doesn’t always add to the flavor. The injera wrap is hearty, but lacks the spice you would get in an Ethiopian restaurant.
Also offered are a nice selection of vegan desserts, juice-based drinks and smoothies.
The desserts tend to be rich and dense, like most egg-less sweets. This works well for the chocolate cakes and provides the perfect excuse to order some tea with dessert and savor the combination.
The fresh fruit combinations of the smoothies could make you give up Slurpees forever. Unfortunately, the portions are too small for the price, which goes for the sparkling juices as well.
The building itself is a beautiful rehabbed parlor of an old row house. The bi-level seating areas offer a view of Walnut Street that is perfect for people watching.
The wait staff is knowledgeable and friendly, perhaps a little flighty. Waiting for water or the check can be really annoying if you are in a hurry, so don’t be afraid to be assertive.
The menu changes every so often so repeat visits offer a chance to find new favorites in a place where you can eat everything.
Sunwishes is located at 2027 Walnut St., and is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Credit cards are accepted and take-out is available.
Carrie Jones can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org