The 12 Best Places To Eat & Drink in Philadelphia
Philadelphia has long been renowned for the cheesesteak and soft pretzel, and while visitors to the City of Brotherly Love should definitely give these a go (along with a hoagie, a roast pork sandwich, tomato pie and a tasty cake of course!), there's a whole lot more to the Philadelphia food scene than these tasty classics. From browsing the food hall in the Bourse Building, to sampling the 90 breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs in the area, the Philadelphia food scene has something for everyone. We've searched across every cuisine and budget to bring you our pick of the 12 best places to eat and drink in Philadelphia.
Walnut Street Café
Flavoursome comfort food in an airy, light-filled venue, on the fringes of the University of Pennsylvania campus. Choose from French onion soup, buttermilk fried chicken sandwiches, and sweet potato gnocchi for starters. Hearty mains include roast acorn squash with wild mushrooms, tomato chutney, farro, and parmesan, or braised pork shoulder with chanterelle mushroom, chestnut, and cider jus. Saturday brunch focuses on eggs and French toasts, with a special mention for the home made pastries. There is a good choice of wines, cocktails, beer and soft drinks.
Boasting an inventive cocktail/mocktail list, a tempting Mediterranean inspired menu, and stylish contemporary décor, this hip restaurant in the upscale Rittenhouse district is a popular choice for dinner and Sunday brunch. Enjoy lamb kebabs, peri shrimp, and chilli chicken, served alongside flatbreads, tabbouleh and baba ganoush. Sunday brunch offerings include pancakes with orange blossom maple syrup, toasted nuts, and whipped cream.
A bustling burger and whiskey institution in the upmarket Rittenhouse Square district. Village Whiskey serves traditional American fare (think burgers, steak frites, BLTs, and salads) complemented with classic and contemporary cocktails, and an impressive 200+ varieties of whiskey. With seating on a first come first served basis, this compact, atmospheric bar is great for couples and small groups.
A vibrant, traditional Italian eatery in Philadelphia’s Center City neighbourhood. The menu boasts popular appetizers such as house meatballs and arancini (fried risotto and cheese balls in a marinara sauce). Mains comprise classic pizza and pasta dishes, along with house specials such as truffle mushroom ravioli, or salmon, cherry tomato and spinach orecchiette in vodka sauce. Portions are generous, and gluten free options are available. Bring your own wine.
Good Dog Bar
This lively, Rittenhouse district bar is sprawled over three floors, and features a games room and walls adorned with cute photos of man’s best friend. The eclectic American menu ranges from staples such as burgers and empanadas, to duck confit salad, mussels steamed in garlic and white wine, or pork chops with fennel sausage stuffing and apple shallot compote. Non-meat options include parmesan gnocchi and a vegan take on the Phillysteak.
Ants Pants Café
A lively, Australian influenced breakfast and brunch cafe in the city’s residential SWCC/Graduate Hospital neighbourhood. Inspired by Sydney café culture, Ants Pants offers a cosy, informal ambience and dishes ranging from healthy to hearty. Choose from spinach salad with feta and walnuts, sausage or veggie hash, or opt for a mighty beef brekkie burrito. Wash it down with excellent coffee, smoothies and shakes.
Tria Wittenhouse and Tria Wash West are a duo of wine bars located in the centre city Rittenhouse district. Interiors are sleek, intimate and humming with conversation, with diners guaranteed a TV-free environment. The innovative, European-tinged menus reflect a collaboration with small scale, artisan food and wine producers. Seasonal dishes include lavender honey bruschetta with pistachio herbed ricotta, and roast duck salad with spinach, pistachios and gran padano. The ever-popular charcuterie board boasts cured Italian meats, provolone-stuffed peppadews and cornichons, or plump for the admirably diverse cheeseboard. An extensive wine list is offered, along with tap beers and cocktails. Knowledgeable friendly staff are on hand for recommendations.
Real Food Eatery
A small chain of three centrally located restaurants serving up a seasonal menu of competitively priced, farm to table cuisine. The emphasis is on high quality, delicious home cooking. Ethically sourced ingredients include hormone free grass-fed meats, and an alchemy of fresh vegetables, herbs and spices. The middle-eastern influenced menu lists Mediterranean delights such as baked falafel and lemon za’taar chicken. All served in a friendly informal setting.
This 50 year old stalwart in the city’s northwest Roxborough district is an award winning purveyor of the iconic Philly cheesesteak. Dalessandro’s is famed for its fresh ingredients, generous portions and wallet friendly prices. The no-nonsense menu offers a choice of rib eye or chicken steaks, seven burger varieties and over 10 hoagies, with a mind-boggling array of toppings. Choose takeaway or grab a seat at the counter. Bring an appetite, and be prepared to wait in line.
Mad Rex Restaurant and Virtual Reality Lounge
A distinctive post-apocalypse themed restaurant and bar in the arty Fishtown neighbourhood. The theatrical décor comprises dystopian vigilante costumes, some ingenious weaponry, and a variety of end-of-days inspired paraphernalia. In the ‘Survivors kitchen’ chefs rustle up contemporary fare such as rack of lamb, lobster pappardelle, and the house Barbarian burger. ‘Cooking on black rock’ gives diners the novelty of preparing their own meal on a heated lava stone, whilst appropriately named cocktails include the Flamethrower and the Vigilante. The venue has its own virtual reality lounge, with games hire available. Reservations recommended.
A centrally located, no-frills Mexican street food joint close to the Philadelphia Theatre Company. The menu comprises Mexican fast food staples such as tacos, burritos, and nachos. Try the beef barbacoa and chicken tinga burrito bowls, or go for the al pastor (pineapple and pepper marinated pork). Cheap, filling, and great for a quick fix. Choose take out, or there are a few communal tables inside.
This one isn't a restaurant, but an inexpensive and popular family-run pretzel stall in Philadelphia’s historic, bustling Reading Terminal Market. Join the line to salivate at a mouth-watering array of freshly baked Amish style soft pretzels and breakfast rolls-ups, oozing a variety of fillings. Check out their celebrated Philly cheesesteak roll-up. Sweet treats include an ample selection of ice creams and milk shakes. This place gets rave review on Yelp, Google and Tripadvisor so be sure to stop by next time you are in the area.
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