10+ Best Restaurants in Philadelphia for You to Check Out
Did you know that Philly has more dining places per capita than New York? That being said, discovering the best restaurants in Philadelphia would be a pleasure for every foodie that decides to move to the so-called City of Brotherly Love.
With over six hundred places where you can have a meal, there are going to be plenty of choices to explore. Gourmets love Philly because here, you can take a walk downtown and grab some tasty burgers or sandwiches along the way. Or plan a date night in a fancy and romantic establishment and charm that special someone. Center and University City are the places most densely packed with dining options, but Fishtown is not trailing far behind. Remember this when you first start looking for a place to eat.
If you’re planning your moving budget and thinking about the cheapest way to move out of state before moving to Philadelphia, you’ll want to explore its vibrant dining scene as soon as you settle in. We’ve selected the ten prime venues where you can enjoy the most delicious meals and a few others after you’ve checked out our top ten selection.
#1 Zahav Is One of the Best Restaurants in Philadelphia
Checking out Zahav should be one of the mandatory things to do in Philadelphia. After all, this establishment was named the most outstanding restaurant at the 2019 James Beard Awards, which recognize culinary professionals in the US. That was the first time the award went to Philly, and if you stop by this Old City spot, you can see for yourself why it received this prestigious title.
At this 11-year-old Israeli eatery, you can have some tasty steak or chicken, but what makes this place unique are dishes with duck hearts and hummus.
Zahav is not the only place from Philly that was running for the award; some other joints were on the list as well, so let’s take a closer look at them.
Other James Beard Award Finalists From Philly
Several chefs and restaurants have been nominated for the 2019 James Beard Award. If you want to check out some of them and see what’s all the fuss about, begin with Vetri Cucina, whose co-owner Marc Vetri was nominated for outstanding chef. This place has been in the business of feeding Italian specialties to Philadelphians for over two decades.
Nicholas Elmi, from Laurel, was nominated for the best chef in the Mid-Atlantic category. Laurel serves French-influenced cooking, and it is focused on simplicity. Check it out if you are in the mood for black trumpet mushrooms, roasted skirret, and glazed scallop.
#2 Taste New American Food at Friday Saturday Sunday
Fans of unexplored tastes love the fusion of spices and flavors that New American cuisine brings. With mixed cooking techniques and foreign gastronomy additions, this is one modern pallet of meal choices that is very popular with Americans. New American cuisine uses sauces and seasonings from France, Asia, and the Mediterranean. If you are a fan of those types of menus, check out Friday Saturday Sunday.
If you are moving for a relationship, pick up the phone, make a reservation for two, and enjoy stylish wood paneling, classic elegance and a romantic glow that the restaurant boasts with. Here you can have a few sips of cocktails, wine, and beer. Or order pasta, chicken, vegetables, and raw specialties.
This type of cuisine can be found in many establishments all around the country. If you can’t stop by Friday Saturday Sunday, there are many other places in town where you can try it.
Philly Has Many Modern American Restaurants
Friday Saturday Sunday might be the most popular place when it comes to the taste of Modern American cuisine, but it is not the only option. If you take your time and explore the town, you will find some less known places with a tasty and diverse list of meal offers.
Check out Cadence, an establishment that is always evolving and offering innovative eating choices. Here you can have herb dumplings with mustard, pork, lamb, and some kombucha to top it all off.
Also, Hearthside has an open kitchen, rustic aesthetic, and entrees that will leave you coming back for more.
#3 Oyster House Is a Joint That Has Everything Seafood Related
Oyster House has been serving Philadelphians for over 40 years, and it is the go-to spot for anything seafood-related that you may desire. Three generations have been running this family business, making it what it is today.
A daily offer of fresh shellfish and fish is what attracts customers to come back again and again. Have a taste of cocktails, craft beers, and a surprisingly broad offer of gin.
If you want to mix it up a bit and try something other than Oyster House, there are several establishments you can visit.
Seafood Choices Throughout the City
Stop by the Little Fish in Queen Village, and check out the menus that are handwritten by employers, on a slip of paper. Writing specialties by hand on paper gives Little Fish a personal touch that Philadelphians seem to like. Here you can discover some delicious seafood and enjoy some octopus or oysters.
While a crew that provides you with packing services takes care of your belongings, you can take a walk around the city center and discover some interesting joints. Estia can offer you fresh fish with a Greek twist, but also calamari and crab cake.
#4 Vedge is Shaping Philly’s Culinary Scene
Vedge is a place that offers its customers an exciting food experience that is inspired by seasonal vegetables. This vegetarian spot was opened in 2011, and it is located in Center City. With elegant brownstone, intimate setting, and tasty vegetable cooking, this is the place for all fans of vegan cuisine. With natural wines, cocktails, craft beers, and desserts, Vedge is open to its customers seven nights a week.
Chefs Richard Landau and Kate Jacoby are native Philadelphians that take great pride in shaping the culinary scene of the town.
Remember, Vedge is not the only animal-friendly place you can check out. If you ship your car, you will be able to drive from one part of the town to another and indulge in a variety of vegetarian meal options.
There Are Plenty of Vegetarians Joints for Philadelphians
There are a number of farmers’ markets in town, so if you are moving with kids, and you want to prepare a healthy meal for them, there are many places to get fresh fruits and vegetables. But when you are done thinking about how to pack dishes for moving or whether you left your pots and pans in the storage, put on some nice clothes and go out.
Visit Mama’s Vegetarian, and have some of the tastiest falafel in town. This Middle Eastern eatery is famous for pitas, hummus, and eggplant dishes. If you are in the mood for sandwiches, you can find HipCityVeg on multiple locations around the city. Charlie Was a Sinner is a lounge with a catchy name and excellent cocktail menu with veggie ingredients such as wheatgrass, lemons, and rhubarb.
#5 Res Ipsa Is the Next Big Thing at Rittenhouse
Located in the affluent neighborhood of Rittenhouse, Res Ipsa is a cafe serving breakfast and coffee by day, while in the evening, it transforms into a real Sicilian spot. Chef Michael Vincent Ferreri is in charge of making spaghetti, gnocchi, or octopus. Many traditional Italian meals with a modern twist are the reason why many consider Res Ipsa to be the “next big thing.”
If you want to make friends in the new city, we suggest that you check out Res Ipsa and get to know each other over some extraordinary Italian meals. And when you get tired of Italian cuisine (if that’s possible at all), you can check out other places located in the Rittenhouse.
Rittenhouse Fine Dining Establishments
This prestigious neighborhood is home to many hotels, dining and drinking venues, as well as museums and galleries. And while you are researching the cost of living in Philadelphia, and calculating whether you can afford it, keep in mind that it’s not all about the money. Rittenhouse gives its locals a chance to have a very high standard of life, so consider this while you are out there house hunting.
Abe Fisher is one of those spots that is a blend of traditional and modern. Here you can have tacos or $19 skirt steaks. Townsend is also there, with its expansive french cuisine and plates of roasted fish, escargots, or grass with grapes.
If you are moving with kids, know that there are plenty of places close by where you can have a great family meal. Marathon Grill has multiple locations throughout the town, and one is near Rittenhouse. Your children can have smoothies, pasta, and hummus here, while you can order salads and sandwiches. Another venue popular among children is Max Brenner, a chocolate-themed place with a playful offer for your young ones. Here you can treat them with mud cake, ice cream, toffee, and candy bees.
#6 Feel the Holiday Vibe at McGillin’s Olde Ale House
If you happen to be moving during the holidays, you might not only get stressed by the relocation process but also because you are missing out on holiday festivities. Let a trustworthy company relocate your belongings while you indulge yourself with a good meal at one of the finest places with holiday settings.
Check out McGillin’s Olde Ale House, which puts up shiny and bright holiday decorations every year since 1860. The place is decorated with 3,000 lights, hundreds of ornaments, and 1000 garlands. It takes 15 people and 5 hours to set it all up. You can stop by and have some of the holiday drinks just before Christmas shopping. The holiday season might not be the best time of year to move, but with places like McGillin’s, it surely can be festive.
Winter drink menu at this place includes pumpkin martini, white Christmas sangria, candy cane martini, and many more holiday-style drinks. McGillin’s is not only a place with festive drinks, but there is also a Christmas-themed open mic night to look forward to, as well as an ugly sweater Christmas karaoke.
You Can Enjoy Festive Meals at Many Locations
There are so many ways you can get into the holiday spirit. One of them is checking out establishments across the town that are covered with ornaments, candy canes, and Christmas lights. Let yourself bask in festivities, and when you get hungry, you can check out spots other than McGillin’s, like Moriarty’s. This pub is one of the top-rated places in town, with numerous awards and recognition for its service. Order some beer, fish and chips, or potatoes, and relax.
Take a breather at British-inspired The Dandelion, and have some tea, macaroni, and cheese, or roast beef. This place paints a perfect picture of a British Christmas celebration.
#7 Kanella Grill Offers a Sunny Vibe and Tasty Greek Food
This Cypriot-Greek place is a prime corner that every foodie should check out. The bright style of the place is completed with a sunny vibe and a lot of natural light, and you also have a view of the busy streets of Philadelphia. Here you get to try lamb shawarma, pita, and gyros.
Take advantage of moving alone to a new state or a city, and call your colleagues or neighbors over for lunch. At Kannella, you can find dishes for everybody; there is also a range of vegetarian options.
Kanella Is the King of Kebab
Kanella is the place that takes the process of preparing kebabs pretty seriously; that is why this is one of the favorite spots among locals. Here you can have pork kebabs that are sliced from whole loins or try lamb and chicken kebabs. The fact that this joint is influenced by Greek culture means you can order Greek salad, rice pudding, or baklava as a desert, and the list of tasty foods just goes on.
#8 High Street on Market Is an All-Day Neighborhood Spot
You can stop by High Street on Market in the morning, during the day, or in the evening hours. The place has some of Philly’s favorite meals, like breakfast sandwiches, seasonal salads, or freshly baked bread.
If you decide to employ professional movers to handle your household belongings, take the time to check out the home of Outstanding Restaurateur Ellen Yin.
Star Management of One of the Best Restaurants in Philadelphia
There is no doubt that every time you have a meal at High Street on Market, it will be a pleasant experience. Opened in 2013, this place has been on nearly every “where to eat” list ever since. The management and employees and the main reason for this. People like the baker Alex Bois, chef de cuisine Eli Kulp, and the co-owner and outstanding restaurateur Ellen Yin are there to make sure the restaurant gives its customers the finest service.
#9 Hiroki’s Omakase Is Traditional and Modern at the Same Time
Hiroki is an establishment where you can get the finest Japanese specialties. Located in Fishtown, this is a place famous for omakase, a traditional dining experience that builds a trusting relationship between the cook and customers.
If you are too far away from Hiroki, or you want to try something different, there is a spot for Japanese food that is home to a rising star chef.
Stop by Royal Izakaya and Try Food Made by a Rising Star Chef
James Beard Award had plenty of nominees among Philadelphians. One of them is Jesse Ito, who cooks at Royal Izakaya. Ito became famous for the ten-seat omakase sushi bar, which earned a four-bell rating from the Inquirer. Royal Izakaya’s chef has also been honored with Eater’s Young Guns Award, and he made Zagat’s 30 Under 30 list.
#10 Lolita Is a Top-Notch Spot for Mexican Cuisine
Lolita is located in Midtown Village, and it was opened in 2004 by Chef Marcie Turney. Here you can find a Mexican street food menu and plenty of liquor. The place was renovated in 2014, adding a bar and outdoor seats, as well as an open kitchen.
With dinner, lunch, and dessert menu, you can find a meal for every hour of the day. Order traditional guacamole, chicken taquitos, coconut tres leches, or tiramisu, and the list continues.
You should also check out the drink card at Lolita’s. There you will find some sweet riesling, whiskey, or Mexican crafted fernet amaro.
If you are on your way to drop off your kids in one of Philadelphia public schools, or you are going to work and Lolita is not nearby, there are other joints that serve delicious Mexican food that you can check out.
Enjoy the Finest Offer of Mexican Cuisine in the City of Brotherly Love
Most of the best places to live in Philadelphia have plenty of restaurants, and some of them will probably be Mexican. If you’re thinking about how to make friends in a new state or city, inviting colleagues or neighbors to grab a spicy bit can be a great start.
If you choose to live in one of the best neighborhoods in Philadelphia, such as University City, you will be within walking distance of Distrito. This is a taco serving spot, where you can enjoy your meal in a brightly colored space and a pleasant atmosphere. Honest Tom’s Taco Shop is close by as well, and it is an affordable local favorite place where you can get plant-based tacos. El Primo Taqueria is a joint that is stocked with Hispanic products and groceries, where you can have tacos, enchiladas, and carne asada. El Rey is for those who like to spend the night drinking, and then end up craving some marinated steak, tortillas, and salsa to reenergize themselves. Trying Mexican cuisine might inspire you to try other international tastes because Philly is home to many.
Living in the City of Restaurants
Philly is a place with a long history and many famous landmarks that earned it another nickname – the Birthplace of America. If you find a home here, you will be staying in the second largest town on the East Coast, and fifth largest in the country.
This is the place of creative spirits, which can be seen on the streets that are decorated with over 4,000 massive murals. The vibrant cultural scene is reflected in the diverse restaurant scene, making Philly a foodie paradise. It has been ranked as one of the greatest eating cities in America by Bon Appetit. Also, Fodor Travel’s Go List name it as one of the 25 incredible destinations from across the globe.
Even the pickiest eaters can find a favorite joint to have lunch in. If you’re not into cooking, feel free to move into a smaller home with a basic kitchen, because you won’t be using it a lot here. With everything from international and traditional diners to famous and rising chefs, boring and average dining days are not something that you can expect when living in this Pennsylvania metropolis.