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CLOSED: Basic 4 Vegetarian Snack Bar

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 23 reviews )


Contact 215-440-0991

51 N 12th St (at Reading Terminal Market), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, 19107

Vegetarian snack foods and meals. NOV 2012: moved out of Reading Terminal and re-locating.

Category: Vegan-friendly, American, Fast food, Take-out, Bakery

Reviews (23)

First Review by jkohler2

Ok visit - Edit

Tried the Philly cheesesteak. Wasn't good to me after trying "Citi Marketplace's. The "meat" was soggy and didn't taste cooked. Next had their homemade veggie burger topped with chicken salad. Now this is something that should be tried. It was delicious. Tried their peach smoothie which was sweet, but not blended well and whatever frozen mix they used had hard flake like pieces in it. It also had too much soy milk for the little cup which was 4.95. It wasn't worth it. Overall it was ok. The woman was sweet and understanding that I was short in change because I only had a Visa. I plan to go back when in Philadelphia and will try their vegan cakes and stay along the line of their veggie burgers.

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Yummy - Edit

I love their Philly Cheese steak. I lived in Philly most of my life and never tried one so I was really excited when I tried this place. I keep meaning to have other items but I get the cheese steak every time. I got the chili once and it was also very good. I tried their fries and wan't that impressed. The main drawback is the service is really slow. Don't go if you are in a big rush.

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Good for Reading Terminal Market - Edit

Definitely your only choice in the slaughterhouse known as "Reading Terminal Market." Since a lot of people just end up at the Market as a result of Center City business or conventions ... don't miss Basic 4 if you find yourself here. I've tried the sandwiches (OK) and a few other menu items. The dairy-free "cream" of broccoli soup is a stand-out. On a cold day, I highly recommend this for "take out" soup. The veg chili is also good. One drawback is service/atmosphere -- but this really only is a take-out window anyway.

Pros: Oasis in Reading Market

Cons: Atmosphere non-existent

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Meh - Edit

After leaving a conference across the street, we wanted to get a quick lunch and I had heard about this place and wanted to give it a try. Even though every other booth in the place was packed, I should have wondered why this one wasn't. My hubby and I ordered 2 Philly "steak" sandwhiches and sweet potatoe fries. It took about 20 minutes to order and get our food. Odd since we were the only ones she was working on and everything is premade.

The subs were ok. Not a lot of flavor. The fries were good, like a lot of other places. And sadly, the cost wasn't up to par with what we ordered.

It was good in a pinch. But I wouldn't go out of my way to go back again. However, around the corner the sushi bar has GREAT vegetarian sushi for cheap!

Pros: fair portions, close to the convention center

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best vegan steak in philly - Edit

I have tried vegan cheese steaks at Gianna's, Govinda's and Mi Lah, and while they are all decent (Mi Lah's being the best of the three) this one tops them all at an equal if not lower price. I have never had bad service here, though I haven't been while it's crowded. In fact the lady behind the counter has always been very courteous and helpful. If you want to try a veg cheese steak in philly then this is the place you must visit.

Pros: veg steak supreme, friendly staff, good price

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Great Vegan Philly CheeseSteak! - Edit

I am only in Philly for 24 hours and was told about the Reading Market. I happened upon Basic 4 and was thrilled to see a vegan cheessteak on the menu. I've always wanted to try one because the "real" ones look delish. I was also happy to see that they had sweet potato frys. i got the hoagie fully loaded and i also ordered a ginger beer.

the service was AWFUL. there was one woman working. she kept forgetting what people ordered, was extremely slow and kept giving people the wrong orders. i dont know how many times i had to tell her what i wanted.

the potato frys- pretty good. not the best, and id probably try something else next time.

the ginger beer- delish! if you LOVE ginger. it was liked drinking fresh ginger, and burned my throat a little. but id get it again!

the hoagie- heaven! it was as ive always imagined it should be. would definitely order it again!

if youre at the market, want something vegan, and have a lot of time and dont care about the lack of customer service, this is the place!!!

Pros: delish food!, good variety

Cons: horrible service, a little pricey

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It was okay - Edit

The service was slow, which I understand, it's a busy area and the only vegetarian place in Reading Terminal Market I think. It was expensive, but again, it's Philadelphia, but the food really wasn't that good. I got the fake tuna, and it was messy and watery and really not worth the price. If it's the only option, it's okay, but I wouldn't rave about it or probably go back again.

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Disappointed - Edit

I was really excited to try a vegan Philly cheesesteak during my first visit to the city. My omni friends and I trekked over so that I could buy mine and carry it over to Gino's, where they were going to get the traditional meat sandwiches.

Upon arrival, I was so disappointed to see that the vegan version of the cheesesteak has no cheese on it. The cheese they use isn't vegan, which eliminated a lot of the tasty-looking options on the menu. On the plus side, they did clearly mark which items weren't vegan on the posted menu.

The service was extremely slow, and the woman behind the register didn't know what vegan meant (?). The menu indicated that some of the desserts were vegan, and I asked the woman which ones were, and she told me that all of them were. However, some of them were clearly not. I felt like she was trying to tell me what I wanted to hear, like a previous reviewer said.

I got a hoagie, which actually turned out to be delicious. It was a huge amount of food for what I paid (around $7 or $8). I don't want to slam the place, but if you're vegan and are searching for a cheesesteak, this isn't the right place to go unless you're bringing your own cheese.

Pros: Good hoagie, Most non-vegan items noted, reasonable prices

Cons: Slow service, employees don't know what vegan means

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Good veggie place inside a raging market, nice.... - Edit

I've only been here once as a tourist. I ate a "bacon burger" it really tasted like one. It was very pricey for what I got, the good was alright. This market is a good idea for the tourist, or visitor, especially with meat eating friends, because you can really get what ever you want in this market. So, if you are in a hurry or just want to enjoy the craziness of the environment, you'll do fine here. There are a lot of vegan options here, though the pause before my questions about what was vegan, did worry me a bit, like they were just going to tell me what ever they thought I wanted to hear. The place is a little funky, but most everyone around me seemed to be enjoying their lunch and enjoying the market experience. I have no real desire to go back, I think personally unless you're in a real hurry, just go a little north to China town, there are lots of good veg*n options there.

Pros: the market is great, lots of vegan options, nice staff

Cons: price for what I got

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ALL the reviews were right - Edit

I researched veg restaurants because I live in Arkansas and actual vegetarian food, let alone restaurants are rare. I read reviews and decided on Basic 4. The Philly cheese steak was really good. Not a bit of that weird seitan flavor. I also was very happy with the large selection.
The service was good until they screwed up my order. The lady seemed to not want to telll the order filler I had not gotten what I ordered. I wanted tofu cheesecake but got the potato pie. It was good. Just not what I ordered. I would highly recommend this restaurant. The Market has lots of veg options. So if you are dining with meat eaters this restaurant and all the options would work.

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Great Veg Option in a Meaty Town - Edit

I come to Philly a few times a year for business and it isn't always very easy to find vegan options. I have been trying to go to Basic 4 Veg for 2 years but I could never seem to make it there during their opening hours. Today was my first visit and I wasn't disappointed. The staff were very friendly and made great suggestions. I had the Veg Philly Steak and it was great but I would have it on pita next time (too much bread for me). I got the Veg Chicken on a pita, a mango smoothie and sweet potato pie to go as I was working the night shift later on. Everything kept beautifully - even the smoothie! They packed the sandwich unassembled so it would be fresh - very thoughtful. I will certainly be back.

Pros: Food, Prices, Drinks

Cons: Hours

1 Response

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kindlizard 03 Mar 2009 - I encourage you to look at the page for Philly. It is a surprisingly veg-friendly town. Lots of places to go. Next time you go, be open-minded, I think you will have a fun time. PM me if you want ideas of where to go.

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Philly Cheese Steak - Edit

I ordered a Vegan Philly Cheese Steak and got a foot long sandwich with onions, "cheese", and "steak" that was greasy and delicious. I took it to our hotel and ate it while waiting for our airport shuttle...I fit right in, as it appeared to be the real thing. There were only 4 inches left for my husband. This was a great experience for us, as it allowed us to truly experience Philadelphia by immersing us in the Reading Terminal Market, and allowing us to enjoy a traditional menu item!

Pros: Location, Food

Cons: Long Wait

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Convenient - Edit

I ate the Philly Cheese Steak sandwich and it was good, I wouldn't say I was very impressed, but it was good. Bear in mind that this place is CASH ONLY and they charge you for toppings like Vegenaise, lettuce, tomatoes, etc. - - this is something I was not aware of and she failed to tell me this fact. I also got a Vegan cookie, and it was very delicious.

This is a good and convenient place to go, it's in a deli/farmers market type area. So if you're with a carnivore friend that doesn't want to eat Vegan/Vegetarian, they can go to the next stand over and get their meat [yuck] - my friend did this.

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OK when you're in a rush. - Edit

I only had the opportunity to try Basic 4 once and I had the Veg chicken salad sandwich. It was good. I wouldn't say it was the most exciting sandwich I've ever had, but in a market full of meat it was nice to find a vegan option. The sweet potato fries were delicious but few for the $3.50 I paid for them. As for the service the woman at the counter seemed very nice.

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Very Good! - Edit

I was a little concerned after reading the poor customer service reviews but decieded to try out this spot anyway - The staff was very friendly! The guy was up beat and lively.

Had the vegan philly cheese steak and it was great! I was still on the search for the perfect cup of veggie chilli and this hit the spot ... very good with just the right amount of spices. Two thumbs up.

Would defiantly return here my next visit to philly.

Pros: Good Veggie Chilli! (Hard to find) :), Friendly Staff, Decent Selection

Cons: A little slower to take your order.

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Great Vegan Cheesesteak! - Edit

I ate here while in Philadelphia recently. I ordered the vegan Philly cheesesteak. It was a huge sandwich - enough for 2 - for around $7. I spoke to the woman who opened the snack bar. She was very kind and friendly. Definitely recommended!

Pros: good value, friendly staff, great location

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great food, crappy service - Edit

I have been to Basic 4 on numerous occasions because it's a convenient lunch spot to where I live. The food is fabulous and I've never had anything that was bad. However, the customer service leaves a lot to be desired. Most of the time, they've gotten my order wrong. The owner is often there taking orders and has a bit of an attitude with the customers unless you catch him on a good day (which is rare). They are also incredibly slow. But the food is top notch. I love the veggie burger so much that I rarely get anything else.

Pros: great food, vegan

Cons: grouchy owner, frequent wrong orders, slo

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Well...they were nice - Edit

I was around the area, so I decided to give this place a try. I had half the "carrot tuna" and "chicken salad" on pita, and a thing of chili to warm up. The soup was mostly cold (it was scooped out of a plastic tub and microwaved) and the sandwiches were not satisfactory. I couldn't finish any of it and it actually give me a stomachache afterwards. With a bottle of water, I think it cost me about $15 bucks.

Pros: They were nice ...sort of, Maybe the other food is better?

Cons: Expensive or not worth the price, Not satisfying

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Veggie burger ok, treatment abrupt - Edit

Arriving in Philadelphia today, October 4, 2007, we went straight from our hotel to the Basic 4 Vegetarian Snack Bar in the Reading Terminal, a "food court" similar to many commercial malls. The person taking the order said "What do you want?" as if he were doing us a favor. We asked for a veggie burger, and chick'n sandwich the former with everything, the latter without mayo, tomatoes or onions. We asked for tap water, to which he replied, "We sell water, we don't give it away." I took that to imply that we were there simply for him to collect money from us. If the Supreme Court in 1962 was right, "Good will is the tendency of a customer to return where she has been well treated," Basic 4 lost a little bit of good will today.

The veggie burger was thin and barely warm. The bun was cold. Green leaf lettuce was plentiful, tomatoes and onions were stingy.

Pros: vegan island in carnivore land

Cons: abrupt attitude

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faux chicken for all! - Edit

I don't think life is worth living until you've have their faux chicken salad sandwhich in a pita. Even better with hot peppers. I have introduced countless people to this little stop in the Reading Terminal Market and none have been disappointed. I've tried other things, all decent, but the faux chicken is where it's at. For the record, I have no idea what people are talking about in regards to rude staff. They are really busy!!!

Pros: delicious food

Cons: long lines

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Good, but not Great - Edit

Oh Philadelphia, 4th fattest city in the country, and proprietor of the gorgeous artery clogging sandwich that is the cheese steak. Dare I say it, when I was an omni I never liked cheese steaks. But after hearing a lot of hype about the vegan ones at Basic Four, I decided to try it. It was beautiful. Dare I say, EPIC. Mind you, the people who work there aren't exactly the friendliest, and keep in mind you must repeat over and over that you want CASEIN FREE cheese you are in for a deliciously sloppy sandwich. If you are looking for a sandwich that tastes identical to that of it's fatter older brother you are going to be disappointed because it really doesn't taste like a true to form cheese steak, but in my opinion that's because they are better and actually taste good. Healthy it is not. Delicious it is.

Pros: Quick Service, Generous Portions

Cons: Surly/Rude Staff, Greasy

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