Poke — the healthy-leaning Hawaiian raw fish bowl, not unlike chirashi — was pinned as the big food trend for 2016. And while Philly wasn’t spared from the marinated ahi tuna craze, by late summer the city only had two stores with a primary focus on the fish dish (although a few more featured lone iterations of the dish on their menus).
Come 2017, the trend is still rolling on. Two more spots just for poke have already arrived (Philly Poke and Red Poke), in addition to it appearing on other new menus — not to mention the expansion of Poi Dog into a brick-and-mortar operation. These are the places you can pick it up.
Open since last May, this Northern Liberties spot was Philadelphia’s first dedicated poke stop. It partly subscribes to the Subway/Chipotle “add your own fillings” model, although four set house favorites are available, with tuna, salmon, and octopus, for those who want somebody else to make the decisions.
958 N 2nd Street, Philadelphia — open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily (10 p.m. Friday and Saturday)
With a beefed-up (although not entirely Hawaiian) selection of what most poke stores label “proteins” (i.e. meat and meat substitutes), Oishii’s options include eel, chicken, crab, and boiled shrimp, beyond the classic ahi tuna. They also do “poke burritos,” although they’re closer in form to a very large sushi roll.
938 Arch Street, Philadelphia first floor (at the back) — open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily (11 p.m. Friday and Saturday)
Open since October, this is the Main Line’s dedicated poke slinger, started by a longtime surfer who wanted to bring the dish over from Hawaii. It doesn’t go as wild with the toppings, but there are a few interesting kicks available, from wasabi peas to citrus ponzu dressing.
59 West Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore — open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
One of the newest additions to the city’s poke scene, Philly Poke is inside the brand new Chinatown Square food hall. Sushi and Hawaiian specialties like Spam musubi are on offer, too.
1016 Race Street, Philadelphia (inside Chinatown Sq Food Hall) — open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily (11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. Sunday)
This pan-Asia-Pacific BYOB opened in Chestnut Hill in January, from a pair who recently arrived in Philly from Maui. There’s three pokes available — two fish, one tofu, or you can sample all three in a trio.
8630 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia — open lunch and dinner Tuesday to Sunday (brunch on Sunday)
Kiki Aranita and Chris Vacca turned their Hawaiian food truck into a fast-casual Hawaiian restaurant, keeping the truck favorites and adding a handful of other options. For vegans, there’s a poke bowl with small-batch tofu, alaea salt, Hawaiian ogo, sesame, and green onion.
1001/2 S. 21st Street, Philadelphia — open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday
Hai Street Kitchen
From three Philly locations and one in the King of Prussia mall, Hai Street offers sweet ‘n’ spicy pokes, as well as a range of other not-quite-poke bowls on the menu.
Cheu Noodle Bar
The Bing Bing Dim Sum team’s noodle spot now has a spicy tuna poke bowl, complete with soy egg. They’re also expanding to a second location, in Fishtown.
255 S 10th Street, Philadelphia — open 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. (11 p.m. Friday) weekdays, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, noon to 10 p.m. Sunday
The newest addition to the poke scene offers 10 set bowls, like the Fire Bowl with salmon, shrimp, mango, kani salad, tempura crisps, and spicy mayo, plus build-your-own options. Burritos with sushi-style fillings are also available.
135 South Street, Philadelphia — open 11am-9:30pm (10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday)