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dishes of food set up at FDR park Diana Lu

The 38 Essential Restaurants in Philadelphia

The can’t-miss, best-of-the-best restaurants in Philly for filling jerk chicken, flaky French pastries, rich birria ramen, sustainable seafood, and much, much more

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In case you haven’t heard, in Philly, food is our love language. Here, culinary delights range from flaky empanadas to oversized dosa to crudo sliced so thin it melts in your mouth. Options for dining out are almost debilitatingly numerous, and save for a few exceptions, Philly is home to every cuisine you can imagine. Forget what they told you: It’s not all cheesesteaks and hoagies (though those are pretty great, too).

Over the course of the pandemic, Philly’s restaurant owners have found themselves in limbo more times than not, with closures, openings, closures, and openings disrupting our vibrant dining scene. As a result, whether you’re dining in, taking out, or getting delivery, be kind and tip well. It’s been a whirlwind of a time for the restaurant industry.

For our fall refresh, Eater Philly is continuing to focus on places both big and small, fine dining and casual, where sandwiches, tasting menus, takeout, and sweets are all available, to suit every fancy. After all, variety is the spice of life — and in Philly, you can have it all.

Restaurants and pop-ups on this map have been open or operating for at least six months. For the most exciting new restaurants in town, check out our Eater heatmap here.

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Jamaican D's Caribbean & American Restaurant

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It’s no wonder that there is frequently a line outside of Jamaican D’s on Chelten Avenue: The caramelized plantains, creamy mac and cheese, and savory collard greens made there are all perfect complements to the shop’s deeply flavored jerk chicken, and the enormous platters will keep you full for days. Customers can preorder online through Grubhub for pickup and delivery.

White Yak

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While there may not be a great preponderance of Tibetan restaurants in Philadelphia, as long as there’s White Yak in Roxborough, co-owned by husband-and-wife pair Tsering Parshingtsang and Treley Parshingtsang, we can be thankful. The Ridge Avenue restaurant, which opened in 2019, serves a warming mix of hearty, chewy momos — available in meat, chicken, and vegetarian varieties — and Tibetan-style curries, soups, and sauteed dishes. The chilled mung bean noodles are a cooling element to pair with chile chicken, and the thenthuk, a classic Tibetan soup with hand-pulled noodles, is nourishing and delicious.

Dalessandro's Steaks

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No guide to Philly’s diverse restaurant scene is truly complete without the addition of at least one cheesesteak place, and everyone has their favorite. Dalessandro’s in Roxborough sets a high standard by which to measure a cheesesteak: long rolls are full to bursting with thick-cut griddle-fried steak with all the requisite options (Whiz, wit, provolone, hot peppers, and more) to make your steak your own. Want to do a cheesesteak crawl? Chubby’s and Barry’s are not far away.

Càphê Roasters

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When the Kensington cafe outpost of Thu Pham’s Vietnamese coffee roaster — Càphê Roasters — opened in 2021, it wasn’t only exciting for the specialty coffee drinks that were being brewed behind the coffee bar, like the ca phe sua made with sweetened condensed milk. It was also a thrill to learn that Jacob Trinh of Trinh Eats would be the chef behind the breakfast and lunch menu. Since opening, the menu of drinks, sandwiches, banh mi, eggs, and rice platters has expanded greatly, and every menu item feels like a staple. Go for the Works or Khang’s Special banh mi — you won’t be disappointed.

Several banh mi with cilantro, carrots, and cha lua sausage all stacked on top of each other. Paolo Jay Agbay/Eater Philly

Down North Pizza

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By now, you’ve likely heard word of the Detroit-style square pies, spicy chicken wings, and flavored lemonades at Down North Pizza in Strawberry Mansion. That’s because the admirable mission of the place — to hire formerly incarcerated workers at fair wages — goes hand in hand with deliciously crispy, delightfully cheesy pizzas to make something special. Whether you end up there to support the mission or to get a taste of their signature “Norf Sauce,” you’re going to leave satisfied either way.

a hand reaching for two pizza pies, one with peppers and mushrooms and another with cheese and stripes of red tomato sauce Gab Bonghi/Eater Philly

Sor Ynez

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Fresh and filling are the two words that come to mind when talking about Sor Ynez, American Street’s destination Mexican restaurant. The menu — from executive chef Alex Tellez — is balanced to accommodate both meat-eating and vegan guests, with an eye towards sustainability in dishes like alt-pastor cauliflower and watermelon ceviche. The cocktails are stellar, too.

Philly is a pizza town — you can’t throw a rock in this city without hitting a dozen delicious pizza places. But if you’re looking for a thoughtful menu of seasonal wood-fired sourdough pies, a list of interesting and well-curated natural wines, and a beautifully designed space, Eeva is definitely the spot. Chef Greg Dunn’s pizza dough is tangy, chewy, and airy, and side dishes like gem lettuces and fresh ricotta served with house-made focaccia are worthy pie complements. Don’t miss the sourdough loaves, bagels, and sandwiches on the weekends.

Ted Nghiem

Kensington Quarters

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Kensington Quarters in Fishtown used to be meat forward: In fact, KQ’s former chef Nich Bazik’s approach pre-pandemic was full-animal husbandry, with a butcher right in house. During the pandemic, though, Bazik decided to switch up the menu entirely to focus on seafood with a focus on sustainability and environmental consciousness, and the results are stellar, to say the least. With dishes like grilled swordfish with cashew dukkah, and yellowfun tuna crudo, served in a beautiful restaurant that is perfect for date nights and group dinners alike, Kensington Quarters version 2.0 is a sleeper hit.

Middle Child Clubhouse

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Philadelphia’s love of sandwiches may be confusing to outsiders, but everyone loves Middle Child. At Middle Child Clubhouse — the second, much bigger restaurant from sandwich legend Matt Cahn — you can still get all the sandwich hits from the first shop, but now with so much more, like excellent cocktails, appetizers, and fun dinner choices from chef Adam Sosnowik. The restaurant itself is a great place to hang, too.

A yucca vegan patty melt burger on rye stacked high and dripping with Thousand Island dressing on a green and white tiled background. Michael Persico

Brothers Ben and Robert Bynum have been influential forces in Philly’s entertainment scene since 1990, when they opened their first jazz club. South, their biggest restaurant, brought live jazz and Southern staples to Spring Garden in 2015. The jazz shows are a great complement to comfort food highlights like macaroni and cheese, honey butter skillet cornbread, etouffee and po’ boys.

Vernick Fish

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Every city needs a splurge-y date night destination — and Philly is charmed to have James Beard Award-winner Greg Vernick’s Vernick Fish for celebrations, big and small. Everything from the raw bar to the small plates to the large format dishes like roasted fluke imperial and whole branzino are immaculate. Save room for dessert: they’re perfect, too.

Dim Sum Garden

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For its pandemic pivot, Dim Sum Garden in Chinatown started selling its handmade dumplings in frozen packages to keep customers’ freezers full. Reliable orders of steaming hot soup dumplings, handmade noodles in pork sauce, and perfectly cooked Chinese greens can be augmented with twenty or forty frozen dumplings, all delicious. Head to Race Street, though, for the full dine-in menu. Don’t skip the soup dumplings.

Jezabel’s Argentine Café & Catering

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Jezabel Careaga’s Argentinian medialunas, alfajores, empanadas, and other treats are like a song you can’t get out of your head: Once you try them, you’ll definitely be back for more. Alfresco seats are well suited for a quiet lunch or breakfast with a cup of tea, or go the takeout or delivery route in West Philly.

bāo • logy

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Judy Ni’s fast-casual Taiwanese spot serves up its namesake steamy, meat, and vegetable-filled bao buns, but there’s also a wide menu of bento boxes (bian dangs), burrito-like ruen bings, excellent handmade potstickers, and so much more, all made with local ingredients. You can place orders for pickup or delivery by phone or through Caviar.

Abyssinia

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A West Philly stalwart of Ethiopian cuisine in the city, Abyssinia has long comforted Philadelphians with its array of hearty dishes. Diners scoop up dishes of spiced chicken and lamb — including several vegetarian and vegan options — with perfectly thin, spongy, slightly sour injera bread. Takeout and delivery are also available.

Tambayan

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No list of Philly’s best restaurants would be complete without a shoutout to a Reading Terminal stall, and what better vendor to highlight than Kathy Mirano and her Filipino breakfast and lunch spot, Tambayan? Mirano got her start working at Reading Terminal over twenty years ago, so the opening of her own location was a full-circle moment. The fried lumpia, Filipino spaghetti, stuffed pandesal rolls, and tinadtad stew are wonderful — but don’t skip dessert. The ube macarons are one of a kind.

After leaving Center City restaurant Abe Fisher, chef Yehuda Sichel turned his attention to sandwiches with this gourmet sandwich shop in Rittenhouse serving creative combinations on house-baked sourdough bread and fluffy milk buns. It has been an instant favorite, partially for its brisket and partially for its vegetarian crispy maitake mushrooms. But don’t take sides: No matter what you get, it’ll be a damn good sandwich.

Amma's South Indian Cuisine

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Amma’s is a Philly staple, with aloo bonda served with cooling coconut chutney, idli dipped into sambar, masala dosa, and lamb chettinad (a long-cooked lamb dish spiced with coconut and ginger). The Couple’s Combo, which includes chicken and mutton biryani, chicken kuruma, parotta, raitha, raitha, and dessert, is perfect for date night night out (or in — takeout is available through GrubHub).

Her Place Supper Club

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James Beard-nominated chef Amanda Shulman’s Her Place Supper Club is the kind of dinner party everyone wants an invite to, and it’s not hard to see why. The prix-fixe dinner has a limited number of reservations, a rotating menu of extraordinary fine-dining-done-casually dishes, and a convivial energy that supper clubs are known for. While Shulman’s place started as a pop-up, the restaurant is now a permanent fixture on Sansom Street. Watch Tock for reservations — they go online every other Sunday at 6 p.m.

High Street Philly

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The versatile High Street on Market in Old City was one of Philly’s first notable all-day cafes — now relocated on 9th Street and rebranded as High Street Philly, it’s still very much worth the visit. Stop by in the morning for a cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich on some of the city’s best bread, or bring out-of-towners for a dinner of seasonal new American pastas, salads, and pizzas that will explain why everyone started paying attention to Philadelphia’s restaurant scene.

High Street Hospitality Group

Friday Saturday Sunday

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Chad and Hanna Williams’s James Beard-nominated fine dining restaurant has been offering an indulgent indoor eight-course tasting menu since February 2021, and for diners looking for a restaurant experience that is focused on both hospitality and whimsy, Friday Saturday Sunday is the place to go. The menu is ever-changing and the cocktails are some of the best in town, courtesy of bartender Paul Macdonald. Reservations are necessary.

Seorabol Center City

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At Seorabol in Center City, chef Chris Cho offers Korean food that you’ll never forget: a variety of bibimbaps, jjigae soups, rice cakes, and Korean barbecue are all made with care and craft. Don’t forget to follow chef Cho on TikTok, where he walks his 2 million followers through the intricacies of Korean cookery. Seorabol takeout travels extremely well, and indoor dining reservations are available here.

Zahav, the 2019 James Beard Award winner for best restaurant in the country, first introduced Philly to the delights of Israeli cuisine and its myriad of influences more than a decade ago and continues to set the standard with its menu of laffa, mezze, and grilled meats and vegetables. In addition to the stellar service, which continues to be extremely friendly, attentive, and enjoyable, the real showstopper at Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook’s restaurant is the pomegranate molasses–braised lamb shoulder; but even something as simple and now-ubiquitous as hummus is genuinely eye-opening here. Indoor dining by reservation only.

Zahav

Puyero Venezuelan Flavor

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Puyero’s Venezuelan flavors of arepas, cachapas (thick, sweet and savory corn pancakes stuffed like a quesadilla with a variety of rich fillings) and more have gotten Philadelphians absolutely hooked. Keep an eye out for specials like beef and potato empanadas and their special holiday hallacas, an extra-large Venezuelan tamale they make every Christmas. Puyero is a great casual lunch spot for when you’re walking around Queen Village on a Saturday.

Le Caveau

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It was Chloe Grigri’s dream for years to open an intimate bar à vins, inspired by wine bars around France where diners snack on charcuterie and drink good wine. When she finally took the plunge to open Le Caveau upstairs from her French tavern The Good King in October of 2019, it was bustling for only six months before the pandemic shutdown. To our good fortune, Le Caveau is open and ready for the perfect date night. Drink natural wines and martinis on tap, and order the French hot dog, which comes served on half a baguette. It’s one of the coolest bars in the city.

Fiore Fine Foods

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The dilemma at Fiore, a contemporary Italian restaurant on Front Street, is whether to go in the morning for a pistachio cornetti (the Italian equivalent of a croissant) and a breakfast sandwich stuffed with fluffy scrambled egg and ricotta, or wait until dinnertime to fill the table with lasagna bolognese, gnocchi with chanterelles, fluke Milanese, and expertly made amaro cocktails. Diners can order takeout and reservations can be made for the outdoor patio or indoor dining room online.

Royal Izakaya

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Dining at James Beard-nominated chef Jesse Ito’s sushi and izakaya restaurant Royal Izakaya is a must-try experience for locals and visitors to Philly alike. Every dish — whether in the form of a roll, gyoza, or katsu sandwich — is made to Ito’s exacting standards with the highest-quality ingredients. Diners can do takeout and delivery, or walk in for dinner.

Philly is lucky to be full of excellent pho spots, but Pho 75 is one of the best. They offer a small, excellent menu of flavorful, perfectly rich and balanced soup broth with any number of add-ins: tender, fatty brisket, chewy tripe, thinly sliced flank steak, and more. Enjoy an outdoor or indoor table, or order soup to go (call directly) — either way, it’ll be hot, fast, and absolutely comforting.

South Philly Barbacoa

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This year, Cristina Martinez brought home the James Beard Award for Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic, making her excellent casual counter-service Mexican eatery — spotlighted on Chef’s Table and Ugly Delicious — a local landmark of which every Philadelphian is uber proud. Outdoor and indoor dining is available, but the barbacoa, especially when purchased by the half kilo with housemade tortillas, consomé, and all the fixings, also travels extremely well. No delivery, cash only, and it’s open Saturday and Sundays from 5 a.m. until they sell out.

Ted Nghiem/South Philly Barbacoa

River Twice

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It didn’t take long for Randy and Amanda Rucker’s River Twice to become one of the most exciting New American restaurants in the city, with an evolving seasonal tasting menu that offers the full spectrum of Rucker’s repertoire (see: charred caraflex cabbage or soft shell crab in koji butter). All of the dishes are heavy on flavor, personality, and creativity, and the restaurant itself is just a lovely place at which to dine. Reservations can be made here.

Hardena

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Diana and Maylia Widjojo hit on something special when they began offering what they call the #NotPizzaBox, a pizza box lined with banana leaves and stuffed to the gills with the Indonesian specialties that have long made Hardena a beloved Philly mainstay. They’ve moved away from that concept for now, but you can still get all those highlights a la carte. No order is complete without fried corn fritters, called bakwan, and a few skewers of richly marinated chicken sate. Be sure to ask for extra cups of their house-made sambal, which is the best in the city.

Korshak Bagels

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Our apologies to our neighbors north of us, but Philly is actually the home to the best bagel, and there’s no debate worth having that will convince us otherwise. At Korshak Bagels on S. 10th Street, Philip Korshak’s bagels are somehow light inside, crunchy on the outside, sour, plump, and sweet — plus the toppings and schmears on offer are as original as the poet-slash-baker who runs the show. Korshak’s slogan is “we’re all in this together,” and based on the masses that gravitate to his shop on weekend mornings, Philadelphians are inclined to agree.

Gabriella's Vietnam

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After opening her Vietnamese and Thai grill restaurant in Ambler in 2019, chef Thanh Nguyen expanded into the former Saté Kampar space in East Passyunk to serve Vietnamese street food of the highest order. The bánh bèo quảng nam — open-faced dumplings that come served in small decorative bowls — are unreal, and the large format dishes, from the half-chicken platter to Vietnamese fried winter flounder, will not let you down. Come prepared: It’s BYOB.

Gabriella’s Vietnam

Juana Tamale

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Jennifer Zavala’s birria taco pop-ups were some of the most exciting (and delicious) to hit the Philly scene over the past few years, so much so that Zavala’s Juana Tamale grew a devoted cult following. Zavala opened a brick-and-mortar location in East Passyunk that’s brightly colored, extremely fun. There, she serves her infamous juicy birria tacos, tamales, and ramen to match. Everything on the menu is worth it.

An overhead photo of a plate of tacos, a bowl of birria ramen, limes, radishes, and churros. Gab Bonghi

Irwin's

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At Irwin’s, upscale (while also simultaneously down-to-earth) Sicilian fare is on the menu at a restaurant that has a very pleasant vibe, great cocktails, and an amazing view if you eat on the patio. Chef Michael Ferreri’s handmade pastas are served on cute vintage plates and appetizers like eggplant caponata and bowls of mixed seafood are perfect companions to larger format dishes.

Machine Shop Boulangerie

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Over a year of pop-ups during the pandemic turned the whole city onto Emily Riddell’s incredible patisserie, viennoiserie, and breads, all made so delicately that it’s no wonder that she always sells out. Riddelll’s now permanent space on the ground floor of Bok Building just gives even more Philadelphians a chance at trying her famous vibrant lemon tarts with toasted meringue.

An overhead shot of eight different pastries and cookies and tarts. Gab Bonghi/Eater Philly

Zeppoli

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Though Zeppoli sits across the river in Collingswood, it serves some of the best Italian-American food around. Owner Joey Baldino’s other spot, Palizzi Social Club, is also excellent, though its reservations are open to members only. Instead, call to order takeout or make a reservation online at Zeppoli, where diners can enjoy a family-style feast of unfussy Italian classics like antipasto, stewed rabbit, and spaghetti vongole. Don’t miss the fresh-fried Italian doughnuts for dessert, which inspired the restaurant’s name.

Southeast Asian Market

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The Southeast Asian Market in FDR Park isn’t a restaurant — but in it’s own way, it’s much more. The market has been setting up in FDR since the ‘80s and the stalls offer everything from delicious Thai food to delicious Cambodian food to fresh juices and much more. Bring a blanket, grab an array of dishes from some of the best chefs in Philadelphia, and host a picnic of Southeast Asian delights. The market is open from April to November, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Jamaican D's Caribbean & American Restaurant

It’s no wonder that there is frequently a line outside of Jamaican D’s on Chelten Avenue: The caramelized plantains, creamy mac and cheese, and savory collard greens made there are all perfect complements to the shop’s deeply flavored jerk chicken, and the enormous platters will keep you full for days. Customers can preorder online through Grubhub for pickup and delivery.

White Yak

While there may not be a great preponderance of Tibetan restaurants in Philadelphia, as long as there’s White Yak in Roxborough, co-owned by husband-and-wife pair Tsering Parshingtsang and Treley Parshingtsang, we can be thankful. The Ridge Avenue restaurant, which opened in 2019, serves a warming mix of hearty, chewy momos — available in meat, chicken, and vegetarian varieties — and Tibetan-style curries, soups, and sauteed dishes. The chilled mung bean noodles are a cooling element to pair with chile chicken, and the thenthuk, a classic Tibetan soup with hand-pulled noodles, is nourishing and delicious.

Dalessandro's Steaks

No guide to Philly’s diverse restaurant scene is truly complete without the addition of at least one cheesesteak place, and everyone has their favorite. Dalessandro’s in Roxborough sets a high standard by which to measure a cheesesteak: long rolls are full to bursting with thick-cut griddle-fried steak with all the requisite options (Whiz, wit, provolone, hot peppers, and more) to make your steak your own. Want to do a cheesesteak crawl? Chubby’s and Barry’s are not far away.

Càphê Roasters

When the Kensington cafe outpost of Thu Pham’s Vietnamese coffee roaster — Càphê Roasters — opened in 2021, it wasn’t only exciting for the specialty coffee drinks that were being brewed behind the coffee bar, like the ca phe sua made with sweetened condensed milk. It was also a thrill to learn that Jacob Trinh of Trinh Eats would be the chef behind the breakfast and lunch menu. Since opening, the menu of drinks, sandwiches, banh mi, eggs, and rice platters has expanded greatly, and every menu item feels like a staple. Go for the Works or Khang’s Special banh mi — you won’t be disappointed.

Several banh mi with cilantro, carrots, and cha lua sausage all stacked on top of each other. Paolo Jay Agbay/Eater Philly

Down North Pizza

By now, you’ve likely heard word of the Detroit-style square pies, spicy chicken wings, and flavored lemonades at Down North Pizza in Strawberry Mansion. That’s because the admirable mission of the place — to hire formerly incarcerated workers at fair wages — goes hand in hand with deliciously crispy, delightfully cheesy pizzas to make something special. Whether you end up there to support the mission or to get a taste of their signature “Norf Sauce,” you’re going to leave satisfied either way.

a hand reaching for two pizza pies, one with peppers and mushrooms and another with cheese and stripes of red tomato sauce Gab Bonghi/Eater Philly

Sor Ynez

Fresh and filling are the two words that come to mind when talking about Sor Ynez, American Street’s destination Mexican restaurant. The menu — from executive chef Alex Tellez — is balanced to accommodate both meat-eating and vegan guests, with an eye towards sustainability in dishes like alt-pastor cauliflower and watermelon ceviche. The cocktails are stellar, too.

eeva

Philly is a pizza town — you can’t throw a rock in this city without hitting a dozen delicious pizza places. But if you’re looking for a thoughtful menu of seasonal wood-fired sourdough pies, a list of interesting and well-curated natural wines, and a beautifully designed space, Eeva is definitely the spot. Chef Greg Dunn’s pizza dough is tangy, chewy, and airy, and side dishes like gem lettuces and fresh ricotta served with house-made focaccia are worthy pie complements. Don’t miss the sourdough loaves, bagels, and sandwiches on the weekends.

Ted Nghiem

Kensington Quarters

Kensington Quarters in Fishtown used to be meat forward: In fact, KQ’s former chef Nich Bazik’s approach pre-pandemic was full-animal husbandry, with a butcher right in house. During the pandemic, though, Bazik decided to switch up the menu entirely to focus on seafood with a focus on sustainability and environmental consciousness, and the results are stellar, to say the least. With dishes like grilled swordfish with cashew dukkah, and yellowfun tuna crudo, served in a beautiful restaurant that is perfect for date nights and group dinners alike, Kensington Quarters version 2.0 is a sleeper hit.

Middle Child Clubhouse

Philadelphia’s love of sandwiches may be confusing to outsiders, but everyone loves Middle Child. At Middle Child Clubhouse — the second, much bigger restaurant from sandwich legend Matt Cahn — you can still get all the sandwich hits from the first shop, but now with so much more, like excellent cocktails, appetizers, and fun dinner choices from chef Adam Sosnowik. The restaurant itself is a great place to hang, too.

A yucca vegan patty melt burger on rye stacked high and dripping with Thousand Island dressing on a green and white tiled background. Michael Persico

South

Brothers Ben and Robert Bynum have been influential forces in Philly’s entertainment scene since 1990, when they opened their first jazz club. South, their biggest restaurant, brought live jazz and Southern staples to Spring Garden in 2015. The jazz shows are a great complement to comfort food highlights like macaroni and cheese, honey butter skillet cornbread, etouffee and po’ boys.

Vernick Fish

Every city needs a splurge-y date night destination — and Philly is charmed to have James Beard Award-winner Greg Vernick’s Vernick Fish for celebrations, big and small. Everything from the raw bar to the small plates to the large format dishes like roasted fluke imperial and whole branzino are immaculate. Save room for dessert: they’re perfect, too.

Dim Sum Garden

For its pandemic pivot, Dim Sum Garden in Chinatown started selling its handmade dumplings in frozen packages to keep customers’ freezers full. Reliable orders of steaming hot soup dumplings, handmade noodles in pork sauce, and perfectly cooked Chinese greens can be augmented with twenty or forty frozen dumplings, all delicious. Head to Race Street, though, for the full dine-in menu. Don’t skip the soup dumplings.

Jezabel’s Argentine Café & Catering

Jezabel Careaga’s Argentinian medialunas, alfajores, empanadas, and other treats are like a song you can’t get out of your head: Once you try them, you’ll definitely be back for more. Alfresco seats are well suited for a quiet lunch or breakfast with a cup of tea, or go the takeout or delivery route in West Philly.