With premium wine lists, chic and modern decor, and outdoor seatings, Philadelphia is a city that adores its food and its drinks. Making a renaissance in every kind of cuisine under the sun, new restaurants pop up like mushrooms every time you turn around.
That makes it hard to choose from the plethora of dining options and what to expect from the dining scene here. But it won’t be hard for you. So, if you landed on this page, relax because I have gathered precious, first-hand information about the best restaurants in Philadelphia!
There is nothing more enjoyable in life than food. Restaurants are one of the best parts of visiting a new place, and Philadelphia certainly has no shortage of prized places to eat.
The 10 Best Restaurants In Philadelphia
6118 Ridge Ave., Philadelphia // +12154830764
In Philadelphia, one of the newest restaurants seems to have arrived straight from Tibet. A pagoda-like structure is rising from White Yak’s outdoor patio, making this restaurant look like it’s in Nepal.
But the walls hold prayer flags rather than Buddhist iconography, and the location is an annex of St. Stephen’s Green, the first Tibetan restaurant in Philly. And the food is traditional and finger-licking.
I started my Nepali food feast with the makayak — an intensely sour and salty fish soup — and my favorite dish, the chilled mung bean noodles.
I recommend you try the crimson red curry (served with an entire boiled egg!) or any dish containing chewy momos (Tibetan dumplings). Also available are steamed meats, potatoes, vegetables, and sauted meats, as well as butter tea.
These vegetarian momos are stuffed with cauliflower and beans. The vegetables are steamed to perfect softness and soupiness with a lemon-coriander chutney.
The chef brought over a tray of Indian flatbreads to pair with the dumplings and explained that they were common in Nepal and Tibet, two of his former homes. The restaurant is ideal for everyone looking to experience something different and unique flavors and pairings.
746 S. 6th St., Philadelphia // +12674550172
I had the pleasure of visiting Little Fish, in the heart of Old City, one of Philadelphia’s up-and-coming restaurants. With great food, a mouth-watering cocktail list, and plenty of fresh seafood options that change frequently, you can be sure you can find exactly what you’re in the mood for.
Little Fish restaurant is known for its fresh seafood, but it is also one of the few restaurants in Philadelphia that offers BYOB with a corkage fee. It has a relaxed setting, enough to enjoy conversation with your company, while playing contemporary music in the background.
The art on the wall attracts you to take a peek at it; in case you’re in Philly during winter, there are some beautiful city views of the area.
Seasonal menu items incorporate twists on traditional favorites seafood like Monkfish served with maitake, Yukon, fermented pepper, roasted corn, and farro; or King Salmon served with barbeque mustard, corn, pork belly, and farro.
As soon as you step a foot inside Little Fish, you’re overwhelmed by the ambiance that makes you forget you’re in Philadelphia and suddenly find yourself in some exotic location.
Then, your taste buds are awakened by an explosion of flavors that you haven’t experienced before. For seafood, this is one of the best restaurants in Philadelphia.
306 Market St., Philadelphia // +12156259425
With its refined and contemporary decor, Fork offers fine seasonal dining in an Old City gem. It is especially popular with millennials, who are looking for exciting and delicious ingredient combinations.
There are seven nights a week where you can enjoy dinner, and on Sunday, you can indulge in a delicious brunch. There are many local farms around the area that provide the ingredients for the menu.
The staff at Eli Kulp’s restaurant continues to make creative, handmade dishes that combine unusual flavors and ingredients. Some of the menu items include rosemary and thyme focaccia, seared octopus, dry-aged bone-in rib eye, and a lot more exciting dishes.
A typical evening meal will often be built around a particular ingredient or item and proceed creatively. Visit this sleek eatery to see how it satisfies the palate interestingly and creatively.
Corner of Lee &, Master Sts., Philadelphia // +12154223222
I had the opportunity to visit Hiroki, the latest offshoot of Philadelphia’s Sushisamba chain. The restaurant is an immersive experience into a modern interpretation of a traditional sushi house.
The food itself, meanwhile, is a highly creative representation of a two-part Omakase menu.
The menu is pure Japanese cuisine, complete with several traditional ancillary items like agedashi tofu and nabeyaki udon. The same style of presentation represents each item as their Omakase menu. Choose the Sake pairing, and you have an unforgettable dining experience for life!
The sushi at Hiroki is unlike anything I’d ever had before. It’s outside of the box, but it also highlights local ingredients, which you don’t usually see. And it pushes what you think you know about sushi to the side, which makes it quite interesting to try.
It is a relatively small venue, and reservations are highly recommended. You can visit Hiroki every day except Tuesdays and prepare for a unique art show as you observe the chefs prepare your food. It is by no means cheap or affordable, but that’s the charm – Hiroki is one of the best restaurants in Philadelphia that must be experienced.
1046 Tasker St., Philadelphia // +12679099704
When you talk about the dining scene in Philadelphia, you can’t avoid talking Noord Eetcafe. This BYOB restaurant is the toast of the town, and it’s no surprise why.
On any given night, you’ll find a line out the door with people waiting for their chance to experience the atmosphere and food that Chef Joncarl Lachman brings to this quiet neighborhood in South Philly.
On the special menu, you might find things like smoked fish, chowders, or house-cured salmon. Smoked fish is the specialty at Noord Eetcafe, so there are eight varieties to choose from. The sour cream-covered house fish spread with anchovy, chives, and lemon zest was delicious.
I also tried smoked trout, herring, and cod; all of them were terrific, with just the right amount of smoky flavor. From start to finish, it was a unique Dutch experience.
237 St. James Pl., Philadelphia // +12156258800
Zahav is a lovely restaurant serving fresh and inventive foods from a small country with a big place in many cookbooks. It’s a modern experience with a nod to the traditional. And it’s located in one of the most elegant neighborhoods in Philadelphia.
I’m not sure what I expected when I first came to Zahav, but indeed not the CSA-like experience I had walking into this house-turned restaurant.
After being greeted by Zahav co-owner Michael Solomonov, Chef of the Year nominee at this year’s James Beard Awards, I was seated in a nook among even more people.
The room buzzed with light chatter, which was added to by the conversing wait staff standing on the other side of the glass wall leading to their workspace.
After looking over the menu for about five minutes, one thing became immediately apparent; this meal would be strictly Israeli.
Some of the menu items include Chicken Shishlik, Swordfish, and Pomegranate Lamb Shoulder.
Moreover, Zahav features a vast wine list, innovative drinks, and a small-plates approach to cuisine, making it an ideal place to explore a new cuisine or revisit an old one.
1617 E. Passyunk Ave., Philadelphia // +12152718299
Laurel restaurant is synonymous with its chef, Nicholas Elmi. Begun as a food truck before opening his gourmet shop, the restaurant has become a hit in South Philadelphia.
It offers diners an alternative to fine dining experience through its simplistic style menu, geared toward the younger generation, who can experience a fantastic meal without car-side service or long waits.
Digging into my meal at Laurel felt like being served something I’d never really eaten before but also profoundly wanted. The restaurant’s cooking methods are inspired by Elmi’s experiences living in Italy and France, with traditional French techniques and fresh Philadelphia ingredients.
The menu has seasonal tasting options and includes Cured Big Eye Tuna, Sauce Choron, Eggplant Miso, Crusted veal, and a Strawberry and Vanilla Bavarois for dessert.
You can try the melon and yuzu potage and the arctic char as well, which will amaze your taste buds. Then the chef-selected cheeses and local honey complete the meal. The atmosphere and experience of his eatery are intimate and personal since the restaurant only seats around twenty guests.
1221 Locust St., Philadelphia // +12153207500
Vedge serves vegan food that even discerning and lifelong carnivores would love because their food tastes amazing. Also, there you can order something simple like a salad without feeling cheated out of flavor.
The service is fantastic, and unlike so many other vegan restaurants, Vedge feels comfortable and approachable, not stuffy or intimidating.
It’s a cozy and intimate oasis with a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere, and the world’s best vegan/vegetarian dishes are also very friendly with open tables and a delicious vegan chocolate cake on their house. The salads are big enough for two to share with roasted slices of Brussels sprouts as an appetizer.
I highly recommend the pear tartlet as a dessert. A trio of goat cheeses is practically liquid, as they say in France. A cheese plate with chutneys and quince paste begins the main course.
A fresh terrine made from coconut milk, topped with a poached egg, and served over a crunchy cornmeal mush was a delight—an excellent vegan spot among the restaurants in Philadelphia.
2031 Walnut St., Philadelphia // +12676396644
Located in the heart of Philadelphia, Vernick Food & Drink offers a wide range of delicious dishes. This fine-dining restaurant in Rittenhouse Square provides an unpretentious yet elegant ambiance appreciated and loved by many locals.
Vernick Food & Drink features artisanal dishes. In addition to small plates and raw options, the restaurant offers various vegetables prepared to your liking.
Vernick’s extensive plate offerings include black sea bass grilled over coals, pork blade steak served with pea leaves, and steamed halibut as well.
The wood-fired oven on-site also roasts delicious meat portions. You can watch the food preparation through the open layout of the kitchen and stay entertained during your visit.
1312 Spruce St., Philadelphia // +12157323478
The Italian chef Marc Vetri has achieved fame across the country. In addition to his James Beard awards for culinary excellence, he has received awards for Outstanding Restaurant for Alla Spina and Best Chef Mid-Atlantic.
This Vetri restaurant is one of three that he has opened up in Philadelphia, where he also serves as a very prolific television host who hosts “Getting to 100,” which airs on PBS.
In addition to seasonal menu items, the restaurant offers unusual meals such as boar and chestnut fettucini, stone-milled polenta, and Texas antelope with squash and Amarone sauce.
I enjoyed the chocolate polenta souffle that is one of the restaurant’s signature desserts. So, If you are considering dining here in January or August, call ahead. Vetri closes for a week in January and two weeks in August.
Summary Of The 10 Best Restaurants In Philadelphia
Philly has always been great for neighborhood restaurants, but today it’s also becoming an exciting place for new restaurants to pop up and amaze its residents as much as the visitors.
And while some of the city’s best new spots are helmed by long-time Philadelphia chefs, it’s also home to a few fresh faces that have been big names elsewhere in the country, from New York City to Los Angeles and Brooklyn before that.
If you live in the city, there’s a good chance you’re closer to a lot more great food than ever before, because at almost every turn in Philly these days, a new restaurant is opening its doors for the very first time. So make sure you are hungry when choosing to dine out; Philadelphia’s best restaurants will take care of the rest.