Food for Thought: Green Papaya Cafe

This quaint little eatery is located at 7933 Bustleton Avenue (between Borbeck and Loney).  A very small, plain restaurant with a continental food variety that is open for lunch and dinner. Parking is difficult as it is usually on the street or in the small lot out front of the restaurant, which is located in a tiny strip mall.

Upon entering through the door and inside curtain you are greeted by a friendly server who will seat you at one of the few white-tablecloth-clad tables. The restaurant is very plain with not too much décor, and the dining area is small. The silverware and flatware were kept clean and the glasses were full of fresh ice water. The lights are dim to help set a more intimate dining experience.

The menu selections range from Vietnamese spring rolls to Hawaiian chicken and even garlic shrimp pasta. Green Papaya attempts to cover a wide variety of foods from the various continents. I began my meal with an order of Green Papaya Salad, which consisted of Romaine lettuce tossed with spinach in a champagne vinaigrette dressing. The lettuce was washed, but did not consist of the choice parts. The spinach seemed fresh, and the dressing was a different blend of flavors. All in all the salad was typical with a slightly altered dressing, which complemented the dish.

For my entrée I sampled the paella, which consisted of seasoned rice with chicken, sausage, clams, mussels and shrimp. The rice was very lightly seasoned, and the chicken didn’t seem to have too much flavor, although it was cooked thoroughly. The mussels were a tad tough, but that is to be expected sometimes with mussels. The shrimp and clams were steamed and tasted fresh. Overall the meal and prices were average. The quantity of food is sufficient and most of the food appeared to be fresh.

There are also a small array of dishes to accommodate vegetarians, including the tofu and mixed vegetables dish (be sure to ask for no shrimp) and any pasta dish that you wish to have without meat or seafood.

Green Papaya café also offers a takeout menu for those looking to dine in. Overall, the restaurant was clean and plain. The dishes offered were diverse but unadorned, and the prices were about average. This is a quant little eatery that offers friendly service with sufficient quantity.

Food For Thought is a NEast restaurant review column written by Donna Ward that runs every other Thursday on See all of Donna’s reviews here. Read other NEastPhilly columns here.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal