Philadelphia, the heart and home of America’s beginnings. Among the beauty of Philly, you’ll find the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and many other sites of the American Revolution.
Home to the infamous “Rocky Balboa,” the magnetic spirit of Philadelphia calls to you, and as the most populous city in Pennsylvania, it’s apparent why.
What magic and mythology surround the great city of Philadelphia isn’t limited to the history of our country, though. With art, music, and a true cultural experience comes a love of food, and the best places to eat in Philly know how to do it right.
As I explored the museums, colleges, and theater, I prioritized trying as many restaurants as possible. What follows are the top spots to eat in Philadelphia.
1754 S Hicks St #2217, Philadelphia, PA 19145
South Philadelphia is home to many great eateries, and Hardena is just one of them. Located on the Corner of S Hicks and Moore St, this incredible piece of Indonesia waits to serve your dinner.
Hardena opened in 2001 thanks to Ena and Harry Widjojo. Ena used her history of serving Indonesian dishes in the Indonesian consulate in New York City and created a family-friendly cantina-style restaurant in Philadelphia. Today, the restaurant is run by their daughters Diana and Maylia.
I tried the Rendang, a six-hour slow-braised beef in coconut milk, herbs, and spices. I ordered the Jasmine rice as my side. Indonesian food was new to me, and Hardena served such a wonderful meal; I highly recommend dining with the family.
Kalaya Thai Kitchen
764 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Located just blocks from South Street on 9th, you’ll find Kalaya. Though it sits in the heart of the Italian Market, Kalaya carves out space for delicious Thai food.
The restaurant is named for the owner, Nok Suntaranon’s mother, Kalaya, and embodies the love behind the restaurant. You’ll see this appear in their fresh seasonal ingredients and welcoming atmosphere.
After a day of enjoying art, I craved something spicy. Kang Pae hit the spot perfectly. Kang Pae has goat curry, stewed for five hours and then served with toasted coconut and shrimp paste with Jasmine rice. It had just the fire I needed!
South Philly Barbacoa
1140 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
On a quaint little corner just South of Washington Ave in South Philly, you’ll find South Philly Barbacoa. Without much of an online presence, South Philly Barbacoa relies heavily on word-of-mouth and its reputation. Community is essential to them, and it becomes apparent in their hearty welcome to this delicious Mexican restaurant.
Of course, if you’re going to a Barbacoa restaurant, you must order their Barbacoa and hand-made tortillas. Every delicious bite was fresh, crisp, and authentic. These were some of the best Barbacoa tacos I’ve ever had!
1221 Locust St, Philadelphia, PA 19107,
As you’re exploring historic areas of Philadelphia, another stop on your list is Vedge, a vegan restaurant in the heart of Center City. This beautiful brownstone home known as the Tiger Building complements the innovative and modern approach to plant-based dining at Vedge.
While other restaurants rely on meat or seafood to set themselves apart from the crowd, Vedge is entirely vegan and serves natural wines, craft beers, and delicious cocktails.
I loved the fresh and crisp flavors of the Fancy Radishes served with yuzu avocado, smoked tamari, nori soil, and shiso. The Eggplant Braciole with smoked eggplant, Italian salsa verde, black olives, and piquillo peppers was so amazing; I didn’t miss the meat at all!
237 St James Pl, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Located in Old City and within walking distance of the Museum of the American Revolution in Penn’s Landing, you’ll find a delicious treat with the award-winning Israeli restaurant Zahav. Dining at Zahav is more than just a meal; it’s an experience.
Chef Michael Solomonov takes his experience working in a bakery in Israel and turns it into the James Beard Award for the “Best Chef” and more. His love for culture and cuisine means every meal served at Zahav is incredible.
I recommend the Haloumi with kataifi, apples, honey, walnut, and pomegranate. I also had the swordfish with zucchini, pilpelchuma, and tzatziki. You won’t want to leave without trying the Pomegranate Lamb Shoulder, served with chickpeas and mint. This transformative meal made me feel like a world traveler!
1528 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
For more world-adventures in food without leaving Philly, look no further than Suraya Restaurant in Fishtown. Suraya isn’t just a restaurant, though. They have an award-winning specialty market and garden, too.
The restaurant offers a full lunch, brunch, dinner, and bar serving Levant-inspired Lebanese food. Their outdoor garden is a beautiful place to relax and unwind. Suraya honors a family legacy of strength and bravery, and that family connection is apparent in everything they do.
I had brunch with a friend here. We started with the Baba Ganoush—charred eggplant with tehina, lemon, garlic, urba biber, and barberries. We then shared the Shish Taouk—yogurt marinated chicken kebab with hummus, charred onion, tomato, and pepper, and the Samke Harra—grilled branzino filet, spicy sauce with red peppers, tomatoes, walnuts, and pine nuts, and parsley and cilantro. It’s a meal worth sharing.
Friday Saturday Sunday
261 S 21st St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Not far from the Schuylkill River in Fitler Square, you’ll find another unique dining experience at Friday Saturday Sunday. Unlike the name implies, the restaurant is open Wednesday through Saturday, and this fancy experience offers no options except whether you’re having dinner at 5:00 pm or 8:00 pm. They serve an eight-course meal in a beautiful dining room, and while the meal was unlike anything I’ve ever tried before, I was glad I tried it.
Amazingly, I loved everything on the tasting menu. There is no menu choice, just sit back and enjoy what the chef prepares. I especially loved the Corn Cappelletti served with tomatillo, bayley hazen blue, and tarragon and the dry-aged New York Strip with sweet onion and comté.
Vernick Food & Drink
2031 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Vernick Food and Drink sits in a beautiful brownstone near Rittenhouse Square and only blocks from the Mutter Museum. Opened in 2012 by Chef Greg Vernick, the restaurant specializes in New American cuisine.
They’ve been recognized by Food and Wine Magazine, Bon Appetit, StarChefs, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. With so many awards and accolades, this is a restaurant you won’t want to miss.
The menu at Vernick changes based on seasonality. I thought the Whole Roasted Eggplant with Calabrian chili vinaigrette, candied hazelnut, and whipped yogurt was delicious and hearty.
52 S 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
In the heart of Old City, near the Museum of the American Revolution, sits the French-inspired Royal Boucherie. When you’re finished touring the art galleries, historic buildings, and Penn’s Landing, stop in for lunch at this cute bistro.
You can eat in their cozy dining room, in their outdoor garden, or if you’re looking for a private spot for a party or intimate dinner, they have a second floor designated just for that.
I loved their octopus, served with butter beans and bresaola. It was just the right amount of tender, savory, and deliciousness. Always a fan of dessert; I tried the Peanut Butter Cheesecake with chocolate and meringue, and it was worth every rich bite.
618 W Collings Ave, Collingswood, NJ 08107
Though technically in New Jersey, Zeppoli Restaurant in the Collingswood suburb of Philadelphia earned its spot on my list. Not far from Newton Lake, Zeppoli has the feel of dining with family, though with a sophisticated twist. Their Italian dishes are heavily inspired by Sicilian cuisine and have graced the community since 2011.
They’re named for the Zeppole, fried dough known as St. Joseph’s Day cakes commonly found in the South of Italy. You’ll love the Coniglio Pizzaiola—stewed rabbit with tomato, fresh oregano, and rosemary with oven-roasted potatoes. Surround yourself with the feeling of Old Italy and enjoy a meal with Zeppoli.
1312 Spruce St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
While you’re shopping in Center City or Washington Square West, take a moment for dinner at Vetri Cucina. One of the most respected and influential Italian restaurants in the entire country, they’ve served the community of Philadelphia since 1998. Chef Marc Vetri, a Philadelphia native, studied cooking in the U.S. and Italy and brought home new and innovative ideas for Italian cuisine.
Vetri Cucina has a dynamic menu consisting of four courses with a few options in each course. While that means a limited menu, it also means more time to perfect the flavors. No matter what you choose, it’s sure to be delicious. I thoroughly enjoyed the Summer Squash Crostata with fresh ricotta and aged balsamic and the Honeynut Squash Agnolotti with gorgonzola, ginger, and sage.
817 Christian St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
One of my favorite parts of exploring historic parts of cities is finding buildings with rich and beautiful stories of their own. Fiorella does just that.
Luigi Fiorella opened the Italian Market sausage shop in 1892 and provided high-quality sausage to the city for over 100 years. When the family went to sell the building after closing the business, they matched up with Marc Vetri, who wanted to open a pasta bar Italian restaurant.
With the family’s blessing, Vetri opened Fiorella pasta, using the family name in their historic building, and maintaining the building’s original appeal. It was one of my favorite buildings in the city. Their Lobster Stuffed Conchiglie with sauce Américaine had just the right amount of flavor and richness to it. Partnered with the Fiorella focaccia, this was one of the best pasta bar experiences I’ve had. Perfecto!
1713 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19146
Pumpkin BYOB has a cute name and adorable style. Their covered outdoor parklet offers colorful seating to appreciate people watching along South Street or enjoy their intimate dining room indoors.
Bring your own wine and let them chill it for you while they prepare your meal. Pumpkin specializes in new American food. Their menu relies on availability from the local farmers and fishermen, so it changes daily. But no matter what they serve up, it’s sure to be a hit.
I started with the Shrimp Escabeche with sweet potato, avocado, and pimenton, followed by the Swordfish with caulilini, bagna cauda, and wax beans. Finally, the Maple Panna Cotta with blackberries and almonds rounded out this divine experience. I could taste the freshness in every bite!
746 S 6th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Little Fish BYOB in Queen Village sits on the corner of 6th and Fitzwater in a quaint little building with sidewalk seating. They’ve adopted a prix fixe menu with five courses, which suits their small dining room. Little Fish’s Asian-influenced dishes use fresh ingredients from local sources.
Guests can see everything that happens in their open kitchen, making diners a part of the entire experience. The staff at Little Fish works hard to ensure that every guest feels like part of the family—and they succeed. Some of my favorite parts of the meal were the Fluke Sashimi with white soy, kombu oil, and peach, and the King Crab with jalapeno crema, chive oil, and pineapple.
Corner of Lee &, Master St, Philadelphia, PA 19125, Philadelphia, PA 19122
On the edge of Olde Kensington and Fishtown, just off the Delaware Expressway, you’ll found Hiroki, a wonderful Asian gem hidden behind a round wooden door. Japanese traditions and techniques lead to an immersive experience by Executive Chef Hiroki Fujiyama.
Omotenashi, or traditional Japanese hospitality, guides your experience by creating your meal Omakase-style. Hiroki serves a 20-course meal of sushi, wagyu, and other Japanese delicacies. It’s an incredible way to spend an evening.
I highly recommend adding the sake pairing, as they’ll present to you a variety of sake choices to complement each course of the meal. By the end, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Japan, and the encounter is different every time. It was incredible.
310 Master St, Philadelphia, PA 19122
Pizza, salad, and fresh foods? Yes, please! Eeva is a pizzeria, bakery, and more located in Kensington. They serve naturally fermented breads and use local products for produce, beer, wine, and more.
This fun little pizza joint sets itself apart from the competition with its focus on fresh ingredients, which also means its menu changes slightly from week to week depending on farm availability.
As the seasons change, so does the food. It makes each visit feel like the first. Their Fresh Ricotta with whole spelt crispbread is richly addictive. I thought the Salami Picante with charlito’s cocina salami picante, tomato, mozzarella, fresh oregano, and local honey was just about the perfect pizza.
780 S 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Royal Izakaya brings Japanese flavor and flair to Queen Village. The atmosphere is dark and moody but reminds me of an old Noir film, and it’s clear the Royal Izakaya has personality.
It’s no wonder this is one of the most popular sushi restaurants in the area. The portion sizes are small here, so it’s a good idea to order three or four items to start with, and you can always get more if you need. Pair it with good sake and enjoy!
My recommendations to start would be the chili cucumber with taberu rayu, saikyo miso, scallion, sesame, and cabbage; the kurobuta hot dog with a house-made milk bread bun, kewpie mayo, Japanese bbq sauce, nori, bonito, and pickled jalapeno; duck buns with duck confit, shiitake mushroom, scallions, and plum sauce; and the Dragon sushi roll with unagi and tobiko, wrapped with sliced avocado and sesame seeds.
1313 N Lee St, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Just north of Girard Ave in Fishtown is Pizzeria Beddia. Cozy is a generous term for this location as the small dining area means limited seating. They offer pizza to-go but also have a clever setup called the Hoagie Room. For a two-hour private Omakase experience, you and up to five friends can reserve the room.
This unique solution to a limited space caught my attention. This special dinner solution comes with several small plates, a variety of hoagies and pizzas, and ice cream. Pizzeria Beddia opened in 2013, and with nearly a decade in business, it’s clear they’ve carved out a piece of Philly for themselves.
I didn’t get to try the Hoagie Room this time but fell in love with the Pizza #5 with shiitakes, asparagus, asparagus cream, mozzarella, lemon dill vinaigrette, and galen’s good old. Their sweet cream soft serve ice cream made an excellent finish with its lightness.
Vernick Fish Philadelphia
1 N 19th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Date night takes on a new look with Vernick Fish in Logan Square. Just blocks from the Franklin Institute, this incredibly stunning restaurant is run by Chef Greg Vernick. Vernick Fish is relatively new, though Chef Vernick is a Philadelphia native and owns another restaurant in Philly.
Opened in 2019, Vernick Fish has already caught the attention of top chefs, and the Chef de Cuisine Drew Parassio brings his Italian training to the Philadelphia kitchen. Their private dining area can fit anywhere from 12-28 guests at a time, so this is an excellent option for engagement dinners or business meetings. For me, date night is best, though, and this beautiful dining room is exactly what I needed.
The pan-roasted whole dorade with spiced basmati rice, pine nut tahini, and herb salad was light and airy with just the right amount of flavor. I had marinated mushrooms with sourdough croutons on the side. I highly recommend anything on the menu at Vernick Fish.
6118 Ridge Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19128
You don’t have to spend seven years in Tibet for this delicious Tibetan experience; only travel to Roxborough-Manayunk in Philadelphia, where White Yak serves up authentic Tibetan dishes. As Tibet sits between China and India, Tibetan cuisine holds on to some of the culinary flair from each region. White Yak is dimly lit and arranged so that your meal is comfortable, peaceful, and tranquil.
Close to the Wissahickon Creek Trailhead, White Yak is an excellent lunch choice for someone looking to experience a relaxing meal while reconnecting to the world. Buddhist vibes lend authenticity to the dining room, and I felt deeply connected to the Tibetan traditions here.
I loved the Sha Palay appetizer of a fried traditional Tibetan beef patty. I was excited to try the Beef with Garlic Chive. The thin-sliced beef stir fry was perfect, though from the incredible aroma throughout the room, I’d bet anything you order will be amazing.
Fiore Fine Foods
757 S Front St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Fiore Fine Foods offers a community experience in Queen Village, not far from the Delaware River. While they have a dinner menu and weekend brunch, they also offer a Family Style Thanksgiving meal, pastries, custom cakes, and more.
For holidays, they make special treats to accompany brunch services, and they take great pride in their cakes for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, or just when you need cake. It’s nice to see restaurants genuinely involved in their neighborhoods, and Fiore does just that.
I stopped here for brunch on the weekend and now insist that everyone try the fried chicken sandwich. It has crispy chicken breast, Calabrian chili aioli, dill, scallions, and pickles made on their house-made milk bread bun. Grab a pastry for the road and enjoy.
306 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Philadelphia is known for the Liberty Bell and the National Constitution Center, but not far from them is the most amazing New American restaurant: Fork. Fork is part of the High Street Hospitality Group and focuses on local food and ethical sourcing. They take pride in fair wages for workers and giving back to the community, and that means they’ve won a spot in my heart already.
In 2020, Fork was named one of the restaurants “America Cannot Afford to Lose” by Esquire and earned accolades from Conde Nast Traveler and the Philadelphia Inquirer. They’ve been a finalist for the James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurant Award four times.
Fork has been in business for more than 20 years now and sports a nature-inspired interior to accompany their incredible menu. I highly recommend the dry-aged bone-in rib eye with fingerling potatoes, chimichurri, and garlic confit. Coconut custard with peaches and coconut caramel reminded me that good food touches the soul.
1617 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Following suit for sustainability, as many restaurants in Philadelphia are, Laurel is the perfect spot for dinner after a long day shopping in Passyunk Square. The quaint dining room reminds me of a sweet French home, where everyone gathers at the end of the day to appreciate the day’s work.
They offer a six-course tasting menu that’s dependent on food availability from local farmers. The menu changes as needed, but the chefs are talented and well-trained to accommodate whatever is in season.
The menu I was lucky to experience included a Poached Maine Lobster with Lancaster sungolds, sauce choron, shrimp rice chip, and milkweed capers, which was hands-down the flakiest and moistest lobster I’ve ever tried. What really blew me away, though, was the Eggplant Miso Crusted Veal with smoked malted barley and blackened cherry.
248 S 11th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
You’ll find Middle Child in Washington Park West, not far from Pennsylvania Hospital and Thomas Jefferson University. This casual, modern restaurant is a throwback to classic diners and delis.
I always look into a restaurant before eating there because I like to know what to expect, and Middle Child struck me with a sense of community and connection. They highlight their business partners, showing that Middle Child isn’t just a restaurant; it’s a movement.
When I saw the So Long Sal!/Bye Felicia! on the menu, I knew I had to give it a go. The So Long Sal! has salami, prosciutto cotto, onion, sharp provolone, house dressing, artichoke spread, and arugula on Sarcone’s hoagie roll. If you want the vegetarian version, ask for the Bye Felicia! And don’t plan on needing a second meal of the day—this one will have you covered.
227 S 18th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Spend the afternoon in Rittenhouse Square, then head over to the French Quarter for dinner with Parc, a delightful French bistro that uses food as a love letter to Paris. This incredible space offers ample room for dining, so unlike some of its contemporaries on this list, you won’t be part of a select crowd dining that day.
From pastries to escargot, café au lait to fine cocktails, Parc has the essence of French food mastered. Their Wednesday night Spécialités du Jour is Lobster Risotto, which is just as heavenly as it sounds. The Steak au Poivre, a New York strip with garlic spinach, is a savory entree that everyone should try at least once in their life. I am so glad I did.
124 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Midtown Village in the heart of Center City is home to Sampan, a Pan-Asian restaurant not far from The Union League of Philadelphia. Sampan has a flair for the dramatic with its beautifully crafted tables and bar and their backlit wall mural with an open kitchen.
The dining room is, well, purple. They also have the Graffiti Bar, where you can order the Happy Hour menu sans purple. From small plates to full entrees, several dining options make it easy to find something for everyone and every size appetite.
The Beef Mandu with sesame, kimchi, and scallions was delicious, as was the Wagyu beef satay with apricot and yakitori glaze. But my favorite by far was the crispy duck with a scallion bun, cucumber, and hoisin.
Wm. Mulherin’s Sons
1355 N Front St, Philadelphia, PA 19122
What do you do when you have an abandoned 100-year old whiskey facility in Fishtown? Open a restaurant and hotel, of course! Wm. Mulherin’s Sons converted the abandoned building on the corner of Front and Master St. into a beautiful restaurant serving wood-fired Italian greatness.
The menu is seasonal at this casually sophisticated restaurant that strives to be the place to go. The restaurant is small, with a cozy bar and an open kitchen so you can see your food prepared while you wait. Original brickwork keeps the historical appeal of the building, and you can sit back and relax with a cocktail while your pizza bakes.
I tried the 22 oz dry-aged Strip steak with grilled hakurei turnips and spigorella, and oh, my. It was incredible. The whole restaurant is everything you’d hope for a casual night out.
1405-07 Locust St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Just south of City Hall, you’ll find the Estia Restaurant and its stylish Greek cuisine. Designed to feel like you’re at home in the Mediterranean, Estia is decorated with hand-chiseled Jerusalem limestone floors, handwoven rugs, and more to create a traditional atmosphere.
Estia turned out to be the perfect choice for a night out with their pre-theater menu, meant to provide a quick yet special meal before heading out. The Papoutsakia was delicious. Roasted eggplant, vegetable souvlaki, roasted tomato sauce, and grated feta hit the spot for a lighter main course.
231 S 24th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Ambrosia Ristorante BYOB sits just east of the Schuylkill River in Rittenhouse Square. Their casual Italian dining is a bring-your-own beverage establishment that opened in 2019. Homemade pasta and classic Italian food is their specialty. Not far from the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts, Ambrosia is worth checking out.
You’ll love the food and the neighborhood. The Crispy Gnocchi was delicious, served with mushrooms, fava beans, pancetta, brown butter, and whipped goat cheese. I didn’t even mind that I had forgotten a drink!
723 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Morimoto is just west of the Liberty Bell in Old City and serves an incredible selection of Japanese creations in their color-changing dining room. Inspired by ancient Japanese tradition and modern culinary techniques, Morimoto offers options from a la carte to omakase, a tasting menu, to provide the most immersive experience.
I love learning about chefs and their skills by letting them choose for me, so I highly recommend the omakase menu. The beverage omakase is a good addition, too. If you like more control over your meal, though, the Kalbi lamb chops with grilled shishito and umami paste take you on a flavorful ride itself. Morimoto is a full event, not just a meal.
1247 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Burrata is a sweet little Italian restaurant in Passyunk. It’s another BYOB, serving pasta, seafood, and so much more. The dining room is filled with small tables, making it a cozy experience.
They search Italian markets each day for fresh ingredients, ensuring that every bite of your meal is shared with love. Nothing is frozen, everything is exactly as fresh as it should be, and the entire experience centers around appreciating modern Italian cuisine.
I ordered the scallops with saffron risotto and parsley. They were cooked perfectly, with just the right amount of tenderness to the risotto, and the scallops were soft and buttery.
1416 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Cheu Fishtown sits beside the nunu sushi and Japanese-style pub in Fishtown. This clever setup allows patrons at Cheu to order specialty drinks from nunu, including Japanese spirits and a full bar. Located in the old Bicycle Stable building, the restaurant design encourages creative dining with unique art and a modern feel.
Sushi, sashimi, and noodles, and I decided on the brisket ramen with a matzo ball, kimchi, and a sesame red chili broth. I enjoyed every drop of this incredible dish.
640 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19130
Critically acclaimed Italian restaurant Osteria opened in 2007 in Spring Garden. In 2010, Chef Jeff Michaud earned the James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic,” putting him on the map alongside Osteria.
Their patio, spacious dining room, and chef’s table offer many ways to experience a meal here, and the beautiful and naturally lit building is both casual and sophisticated.
I recommend the Chicken al Mattone with zucchini, sweet peppers, and salsa verde. Save room for the Mascarpone Cheesecake with lemon curd, meringue, and poppyseed. The entire menu feels like a breath of fresh air.
205 Race St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Spend the day at the Race Street Pier, then wander over to Tuna Bar, a sushi and raw bar. If you have the time, they offer an interactive two-hour sushi class where you can learn how to create your own sushi rolls.
After class, you get dinner and a gift bag, which is a pretty neat concept from a restaurant. The dining room feels like you’re part of the kitchen, with the open concept. I ordered the Hurts Maki with shrimp tempura, spicy Kani salad, avocado, cucumber, and soy in a paper wrap which was incredibly delicious. You’ll want sake with that one!
a.kitchen + bar
135 S 18th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Rittenhouse Square is home to the a.kitchen + bar, a stylish bistro serving seasonal small plates of American cuisine. They received the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator and were named one of 50 Wine Restaurants We Love 2021 by Wine Enthusiast. Their specialty menu has seasonal options from seafood to vegetarian.
I ordered the Octopus “Lyonnaise” for a unique meal, and I’m glad I did. It is served with frisée, bacon lardons, a soft-boiled egg, and trout roe. Savory and salty, I was pleasantly surprised.
2201 Spruce St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
In Fitler Square, Trattoria Carina, this beautiful Italian restaurant stands out with its sidewalk dining and beautiful awnings. Their name means “Little Darling” in Italian, and it suits the restaurant perfectly. The casual dining atmosphere is welcoming, and the open kitchen means you can see and smell everything that’s going on.
I loved the spicy crab with arrabbiata, peaky toe crab, and breadcrumbs. It was a new take on seafood and pasta, and the flavors blended perfectly.
1301 N Howard St, Philadelphia, PA 19122
Theater aficionados will recognize the name Laser Wolf, named for the butcher in the Jewish musical Fiddler on the Roof, Lazar Wolf. This incredible Israeli grill uses a charcoal grill and old-school cooking style common in Hebrew “shipudiyas” or skewer houses.
Everything on this menu is carefully crafted by Executive Chef Andrew Henshaw, who has worked to master Israeli cooking techniques for many years. The dining room feels like an outdoor market, and the incredible craftsmanship of the kitchen is apparent in every dish.
For date night or with a friend, I recommend the Lamb Shoulder Shawarma if you’re dining as two. Every meal comes with salatim, hummus, and pita, and dessert is included.
1601 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148
River Twice sits in Passyunk Square and focuses on connecting diners to the history of the Delaware River Valley. They use local foods and rely on seasonal ingredients, guided by Chef Randy Rucker’s passion for delicious food. River Twice serves a seven-course tasting menu that’s updated daily. For fine dining with culture and history, River Twice is a perfect choice.
My favorite item on the tasting menu was the raw wild rose ranch beef with black garlic, sunchoke miso, fried sunchokes, and onion ash. But the entire meal was perfectly matched.
110 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Midtown Village hosts Barbuzzo, a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant open since 2010. Reservations are encouraged in this highly sought out restaurant with a cozy and modern vibe. It’s small, so you may want to order pick up and take it to a nearby park, but it is worth the wait no matter how you choose to patronize the restaurant.
I thought the Grilled Hanger Steak was incredible. Served with blistered shishito peppers, romesco, manchego, trumpet mushrooms, pickled swiss chard, and olive oil, this was one of the top steaks I’ve ever had.
1838 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148
It doesn’t get more Philadelphia than meat pies, and Stargazy has the best around. You’ll find it in East Passyunk Crossing just waiting to fill your stomach and soul. British breads, sweets, and savory pies highlight the remaining British influence on Philadelphia. Their marketplace carries imported British snacks and groceries like stilton, Marmite, and black treacle.
The short rib pie tasted like old English novels, and if I could, I’d order ahead a beef wellington for later!
The Victor Café
1303 Dickinson St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
If there’s something more iconically Italian than food, it’s opera. The Victor Café settled in John DiStefano’s old gramophone shop as the Italian immigrant sought to merge music and food to create a new kind of entertainment.
When the U.S. repealed Prohibition in 1933, DiStefano turned his shop into a cafe, with the motto “Music Lover’s Rendezvous.” Over the years, the music changed, but as DiStefano’s family carried on the tradition, patrons fell in love with the whole artistic atmosphere.
The best item on the menu is the Veal Saltimbocca with prosciutto, pineapple sage, and wild mushrooms with a marsala wine jus. With performances every fifteen minutes or so, a side of opera is on the menu, too!
217-219 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Spanish bodega Amada sits down the street from Carpenter’s Hall in Old City. Since 2005, Amada has served Spanish cuisine in a beautiful old-world dining room with a chef’s counter at the open kitchen.
Chef Jose Garces opened Amada and has earned many awards in the years since, including the coveted Iron Chef. His skill with food makes this a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience worth every minute.
Everyone should try the Paella Valenciana, a chicken and chorizo paella with mussels, cherry tomato, and saffron aioli.
Lacroix Restaurant at The Rittenhouse
210 W Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Something about the Lacroix Restaurant at the Rittenhouse in Center City puts me to mind of an old passenger ship crossing the Atlantic. Perhaps it is the refined color palate or the style of windows and chairs, but whatever it is, Lacroix just feels like home. The award-winning kitchen serves delicious international fare while you can people-watch across the street.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and The Philadelphian with two eggs, Rittenhouse potatoes, ham, toast, and roasted tomato sets up a winning combination.
325 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Buddha meets the American Revolution at Buddakan in Old City. A hop, skip, and a jump from the Liberty Bell, you’ll be transformed across the globe the instant you see their ten-foot-tall Buddha in the dining room.
Modern Asian is the name of the game here, and you’ll see that they’ve perfectly mixed old and modern flavors for a unique experience in the birthplace of American Democracy.
You might be tempted to order one of everything here, and that’s okay; who would blame you! My favorite, though, was the Dim Sum Sampler, with chicken, shrimp, Szechuan pork, and edamame dumplings served with chili-soy dipping sauce.
Butcher and Singer
1500 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Inspired by 1940s Hollywood, Butcher and Singer brings steaks, seafood, and more to Rittenhouse Square. Sophisticated and brilliant, Butcher and Singer feels like a post-Prohibition clubhouse, banking on all that is good and wonderful from Old Hollywood. They’ve even captured the avant-garde artistry with a mural of anthropomorphic dogs on the wall.
The King Salmon with green goddess was amazing. I’ve never tasted salmon so crisp, flaky, and fresh. You’ll love the green beans amandine, too!
210 W Washington Square, Philadelphia, PA 19106
At Talula’s Garden in Washington Square, I couldn’t tell if I was in a garden, a University library, or a chic cafe. It didn’t matter, though, because this perfectly adorable farm-to-table restaurant pulled me in immediately. The menu is a modern interpretation of traditional Mid-Atlantic foods, updated with sustainable ingredients grown right in the restaurant.
I couldn’t make up my mind for brunch, so I tried the candied bacon and the Apple-Chai Pancakes. The buttermilk pancakes with maple apples, toasted pecans, and chai spiced whipped cream felt like Sunday mornings as a kid. It was brilliant.
1537 S 11th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Fond is a new American-style restaurant in East Passyunk that lives up to its name. Before long, you’ll fall in love with this beautiful location.
Natural elements are incorporated into the decor, including large windows and a singing fountain. This family-owned restaurant uses ideas and dishes from all over the world to combine for new and innovative meals, unlike anything you’ve seen before.
The Pork Belly with corn risotto, spinach, and garlic sherry jus was a vast improvement from my own attempts at pork at home. I savored every piece of this meal.
1046 Tasker St, Philadelphia, PA 19148
For a bit of minimalist flair and a complete deviation from everything else I tried in Philadelphia, Noord offers up incredible house-made Dutch meals in Passyunk Square. A BYOB bistro, they make everything fresh, including smoking and curing their own meats.
Noord uses local ingredients as much as possible, reminding us that shopping local makes a huge difference for the community. The dining room is small, but in the warmer months, you can eat outside.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as I learned to say Gehaktballen, but the Dutch sirloin meatballs with root vegetable mash, sauteed spinach, and lingonberries made certain this is a word and a dish I won’t soon forget.
There’s no doubt about it; Philadelphia isn’t just the heart of America but embodies everything brilliant, delicious, and exciting about the melting pot we’ve come to be.
You don’t need to wonder where to eat in Philly. Whether you prefer Dutch or British cuisine or seek the taste of home with Israeli or Japanese food, Philadelphia truly has something for everyone.
Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment, and we’ll check it out!
Best Restaurants in Philadelphia
- Kalaya Thai Kitchen
- South Philly Barbacoa
- Vedge Restaurant
- Suraya Restaurant
- Friday Saturday Sunday
- Vernick Food & Drink
- Royal Boucherie
- Zeppoli Restaurant
- Vetri Cucina
- Fiorella Pasta
- Palizzi Social Club
- Pumpkin BYOB
- Little Fish
- Royal Izakaya
- Pizzeria Beddia
- Vernick Fish Philadelphia
- White Yak
- Fiore Fine Foods
- Laurel Restaurant
- Middle Child
- Wm. Mulherin’s Sons
- Estia Restaurant
- Ambrosia BYOB
- Cheu Fishtown
- Tuna Bar
- a.kitchen + bar
- Trattoria Carina
- Laser Wolf
- River Twice
- The Victor Café
- Lacroix Restaurant at The Rittenhouse
- Bibou BYOD
- Butcher and Singer
- Talula’s Garden
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