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Eliot Muka

The 38 Essential Restaurants in Philadelphia

Where to go for open-faced Vietnamese dumplings, filling jerk chicken platters, flaky pastries, and sustainable seafood

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Over the past 19 months and counting, restaurant owners and restaurant employees have had to make a constant and ever-changing calculus about what’s safe, what’s not, and what will keep businesses afloat during the still ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Indoor dining in Philadelphia ceased, restarted, stopped again, then started again as coronavirus cases fluctuated, and as a result, many restaurants were forced to close.

Now, the restaurant industry is embracing some semblance of normalcy in Philly (albeit while grappling with a labor shortage) and diners are returning to new and old spots, eager to support our city’s beloved dining scene. Many places are asking for proof of vaccination, or for diners to wear masks indoors, per the city mandate, so come prepared.

In the past, the Eater 38 has been a list that aims to show off the most alluring dining destinations Philly has to offer its residents and visitors alike. For the 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 on this map have been open for at least six months. For the most exciting new restaurants in town, go here.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Jamaican D's Caribbean & American Restaurant

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1265 E Chelten Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19138
(215) 927-7415
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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. If oxtail and curry chicken aren’t your thing, the fried whiting is just as delicious. Customers can preorder online through Grubhub for pickup and delivery.

2. White Yak

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6118 Ridge Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19128
(215) 483-0764
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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 Ave. 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 chili chicken, and the thenthuk, a classic Tibetan soup with hand-pulled noodles, is nourishing and delicious.

3. Dalessandro's Steaks

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600 Wendover St
Philadelphia, PA 19128
(215) 482-5407
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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 is 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.

4. Down North Pizza

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2804 W Lehigh Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19132
(215) 377-9787
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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.

5. eeva

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310 Master St
Philadelphia, PA 19122
(267) 687-7910
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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 to-go and bagels on the weekends.

Roasted fennel cream, fontina, mozzarella, grana, garlic, house made stracciatella. 12” pie. eeva

6. Kensington Quarters

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1310 Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19125
(267) 314-5086
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Kensington Quarters in Fishtown used to be meat forward: In fact, 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 fluke tartare in fig leaf oil, and skate wing with seafood kimchi jjigae, served in a beautiful restaurant that is perfect for date nights and group dinners alike, Kensington Quarters version 2.0 is a sleeper hit.

7. South

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600 N Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 600-0220

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 back on after a winter pause, and comfort food highlights like macaroni and cheese, honey butter skillet cornbread, etouffee and po’ boys are all highlights. The siblings’ shuttered soul food spot Warmdaddy’s is set to reopen soon.

8. The Kettle Black

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631 N 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19123

The front window display at Kettle Black is the stuff dreams are made of: rows upon rows of flaky croissants, cinnamon buns, scones, and more. The husband-and-wife duo behind the pastry shop, Claire Ogilvie and Marc-André Basile, make all the mouth-watering treats that they sell from the 160-square-foot microbakery, and with a host of vegan options, bagels, and coffee to boot, it’s a must-visit for any self-described pastry devotee in Philly.

9. Dim Sum Garden

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1020 Race St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 873-0258
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For its pandemic pivot, Dim Sum Garden 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. Dumpling lovers in the suburbs will be delighted to know there’s also long-distance deliveries for larger orders on Thursdays.

10. Jezabel’s Argentine Café & Catering

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206-208 S 45th St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 554-7380
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Jezabel Careaga’s Argentinean 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.

11. Baology

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1829 John F Kennedy Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 999-2263
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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. For a little help feeding your family, order from their meal delivery menu, which includes a Hainanese chicken rice package for four to six, and many of its regular menu items are scaled up to keep customers satisfied all week.

12. Abyssinia

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229 S 45th St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 387-2424
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A stalwart of Ethiopian cuisine in the city, Abyssinia has long comforted Philadelphians with its array of hearty dishes from the west African country. 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, but the cozy dining room provides a lovely atmosphere for date night or otherwise.

13. Rangoon

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112 N 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 829-8939
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Thousand-layer bread, a flaky, crunchy, chewy flatbread dipped in chicken or potato curry, gets all the love at Rangoon, but its menu of Burmese salads is not to be missed. Start with the classic tea leaf variety, and work your way through a lengthy list of spicy fried rice, noodle, and specialty dishes.

Chili chicken with bell peppers, onions and coriander in a spicy chili sauce.
Rangoon/official photo

14. Hershel's East Side Deli

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51 N 12th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 922-6220
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At Reading Terminal Market, Hershel’s serves up mile-high sandwiches stacked with some of the best pastrami and corned beef in the city. Add an order of matzoh ball soup and a slice of apple cake for a very satisfying lunch. Walk around the market afterwards, and if you have room, go for a Bassett’s ice cream cone.

15. Huda

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32 S 18th St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(445) 544-8025
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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.

16. Mina's World

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511 S 52nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19143
(610) 492-1718
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Sonam Parikh and Kate Egghart’s coffee shop opened at the beginning of the pandemic, so the sunny indoor space at Mina’s World hardly got a chance to be appreciated before indoor service was halted. No matter: the pair soldiered on and have made the coffee shop not only a go-to for a variety of ever-changing specialty drinks (think: turmeric elixirs and tahini mochas), vegan baked goods, and excellent samosas, but a mission-driven community hub as well. With a community free fridge out front and a market of radical zines, ceramics, and more (available to order online), Mina’s World is much more than a coffee shop. Orders can be placed online for pickup or walk up to the counter to order, Tuesday through Sunday.

17. Amma's South Indian Cuisine

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1518 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 563-2917
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Philadelphians no longer have to head into New Jersey for South Indian fare now that Amma’s is here 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, parotta, chicken korma, chicken chukka, dessert, and raita, is an excellent and very affordable introduction to the restaurant.

18. Vernick Food & Drink

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2031 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(267) 639-6644
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James Beard Award-winner Greg Vernick now has a few Philly restaurants to his name, but diners can’t go wrong booking a table at the 8-year-old original. Longtime favorites like a tuna poke salad with sweet soy vinaigrette and toasted hazelnuts now join new dinner dishes like mushroom bolognese. The six-course tasting menu with an optional wine pairing is by reservation only but worth it.

Clay Williams

19. High Street Philly

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101 S 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 625-0988
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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.

sandwich on poppy bun Chaucee Stillman

20. Friday Saturday Sunday

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261 S 21st St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 546-4232
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Chad and Hanna Williams’s fine dining restaurant has been offering an indulgent indoor eight-course tasting menu since February of this year, 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.

21. Middle Child

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248 S 11th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(267) 930-8344
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Philadelphia’s love of sandwiches may be confusing to outsiders, but everyone loves Middle Child. Order a So Long Sal, the platonic ideal of an Italian hoagie (think salami, prosciutto cotto, and sharp provolone), or try the Phoagie, a “vegan by chance” banh mi-ish hoagie that will more than fill you up. Preorders — no call-ins — must be made online.

22. Seorabol Center City

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1326 Spruce St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 608-8484
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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 takes his 1.8 million followers through the intricacies of Korean cookery. Seorabol takeout travels extremely well, and indoor dining reservations are available here.

23. Zahav

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237 St James Pl
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 625-8800
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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. Outdoor and indoor dining by reservation only.

Zahav [official photo]

24. Puyero Venezuelan Flavor

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524 S 4th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(267) 928-4584
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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.

25. Little Fish

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746 S 6th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(267) 455-0172
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Last summer, when many restaurants in Philadelphia were flipping into seafood shacks, Little Fish was executing perfectly. The scallop toast, a slice of sourdough drizzled in soy-chili vinaigrette and crowned with rounds of raw scallop, has become a must-eat item, and the rotating menu of seafood-focused offerings is crave-inducing every single weekend. Outdoor dining is available for walk-ups only, and reservations can be made a month in advance online.

26. Kalaya Thai Kitchen

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764 S 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 385-3777
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Be prepared for a lot of spice at this critical darling of a Thai restaurant, where Chef Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon is uncompromising in her commitment to serving up southern Thai specialties. Standard dishes like chicken curry and laab take on a whole new meaning in Suntaranon’s kitchen, but her introduction of her own creations like flower-shaped, deep purple shaw muang dumplings are the reason we keep going back. Also check out Kalaya Thai Market, where Suntaranon sells quick-serve versions of her food and offers specialty Thai ingredients. Takeout and delivery are available, and the Kitchen has indoor dining by reservation.

white square plate with three blue dumplings shaped like flowers
Flower-shaped dumplings filled with ground chicken with cucumber, red chili, and cilantro at Kalaya.
Rebecca McAlpin

27. Fiore Fine Foods

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757 S Front St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 339-0509
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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, pear and pecorino ravioli, tilefish with Umbrian lentils and porcini mushrooms, and expertly made amaro cocktails. Diners can also pre-order pints of weekly gelato flavors and reservations can be made for the outdoor patio or indoor dining room online.

28. Royal Izakaya

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780 S 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Jesse Ito has managed to translate his omakase into a high-end takeout experience, featuring 11-, 44- and sometimes 100-piece nigiri platters starting at $65, and even a whole tray of uni from Hokkaido, Japan for $95. The platters can be a pricey endeavor but the menu also features more affordable chirashi bowls, maki rolls, and other Japanese treats, all of which are made to Ito’s exacting standards with the highest-quality ingredients. Diners can do takeout and delivery, or walk-ins for dinner.

29. Pho 75

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1122 Washington Ave F
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 271-5866
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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.

30. South Philly Barbacoa

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1149 S 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(267) 746-7658
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Thanks to Netflix shows Chef’s Table and Ugly Delicious spotlighting the casual counter-service Mexican eatery, a line is pretty much guaranteed at Cristina Martinez’s cult-favorite takeout spot. Outdoor and indoor dining is available, but the barbacoa, especially when purchased by the half kilo with housemade tortillas, consomme, 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

31. Herman's Coffee

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1313 S 3rd St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Many restaurants have closed during the pandemic, leaving a lot of skilled industry members with time on their hands. That has resulted in one thing: pop-ups, pop-ups, and more pop-ups. Herman’s Coffee Bar has become one of the best spots in the city to sample the up-and-coming talent. Stop by on a weekend to see who is serving out of their semi-detached food cart, or follow them on Instagram for the who’s-who of the city’s next generation of must-eat dishes. Think Navajo frybread, Brazilian street food, Filipino bites, and so much more. Herman’s also serves excellent coffee and a huge variety of locally made food treats — plus, specialty tinned fish.

32. River Twice

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1601 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(267) 457-3698
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In its first year of operation in East Passyunk, Randy and Amanda Rucker’s River Twice quickly became one of the most exciting New American restaurants in the city, with an evolving tasting menu that offers the full spectrum of Rucker’s repertoire. All of the dishes are heavy on flavor, personality, and creativity, and the restaurant itself is just a lovely place to dine. Reservations can be made here.

33. Mike's BBQ

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1703 S 11th St
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(267) 831-2040
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It’s best to call ahead to reserve meat at Mike’s BBQ. Michael Strauss’s casual counter-service barbecue destination in South Philly opens at noon Thursday to Sunday and stays open until it sells out — which is a daily occurrence. The ribs are known to disappear first, but any smoked meat aficionado will be more than satisfied with the brisket, available on its own, in a sandwich, or as a cheesesteak with onions and Cooper Sharp whiz. Takeout and delivery and some outdoor seating is available.

The best-selling ribs at Mike’s BBQ.
Mike’s BBQ/official photo

34. Hardena

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1754 S Hicks St
Philadelphia, PA 19145
(215) 271-9442
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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. No order is complete without a few of their fried corn fritters, called bakwan, and a few skewers of richly marinated chicken sate. Order the box ahead of time and be sure to ask for extra cups of their housemade sambal, which is easily one of the best in the city. Takeout only for now.

platter of indonesian food Neal Santos

35. Gabriella's Vietnam

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1837 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(272) 888-3298
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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

36. Musi BYOB

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100 Morris St
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(215) 377-9466
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Musi gets the neighborhood BYOB vibe just right, which, in the pandemic, means chef Ari Miller has been using his small Pennsport restaurant to play host to a variety of pop-ups. Frizwit serves his reimagined Philly cheesesteak with grass-fed beef, locally made cheese, and a whole lot more TLC than you’ll find at Pat’s or Geno’s. Takeout and delivery only.

37. La Llorona Cantina

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1551 W Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19145
(215) 515-3276
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Restaurateurs Arturo Lorenzo and Maricela Tellez opened La Llorona against all odds, in the middle of a pandemic this summer, but their exceptionally kind service, excellent mezcal and tequila cocktails, and menu of Mexican treats for all occasions, from chilaquiles to aguachiles and everything in between, has made this place a go-to spot.

fried tacos on a white plate La Llorona [official photo]

38. Zeppoli

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618 W Collings Ave
Collingswood, NJ 08107
(856) 854-2670
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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 it’s reservations are open to members only. Instead, call to order takeout or make an indoor 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.

1. Jamaican D's Caribbean & American Restaurant

1265 E Chelten Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19138

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. If oxtail and curry chicken aren’t your thing, the fried whiting is just as delicious. Customers can preorder online through Grubhub for pickup and delivery.

1265 E Chelten Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19138

2. White Yak

6118 Ridge Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19128

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 Ave. 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 chili chicken, and the thenthuk, a classic Tibetan soup with hand-pulled noodles, is nourishing and delicious.

6118 Ridge Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19128

3. Dalessandro's Steaks

600 Wendover St, Philadelphia, PA 19128

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 is 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.

600 Wendover St
Philadelphia, PA 19128

4. Down North Pizza

2804 W Lehigh Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19132

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.

2804 W Lehigh Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19132

5. eeva

310 Master St, Philadelphia, PA 19122
Roasted fennel cream, fontina, mozzarella, grana, garlic, house made stracciatella. 12” pie. 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 to-go and bagels on the weekends.

310 Master St
Philadelphia, PA 19122

6. Kensington Quarters

1310 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125

Kensington Quarters in Fishtown used to be meat forward: In fact, 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 fluke tartare in fig leaf oil, and skate wing with seafood kimchi jjigae, served in a beautiful restaurant that is perfect for date nights and group dinners alike, Kensington Quarters version 2.0 is a sleeper hit.

1310 Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19125

7. South

600 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19130

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 back on after a winter pause, and comfort food highlights like macaroni and cheese, honey butter skillet cornbread, etouffee and po’ boys are all highlights. The siblings’ shuttered soul food spot Warmdaddy’s is set to reopen soon.

600 N Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19130

8. The Kettle Black

631 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19123

The front window display at Kettle Black is the stuff dreams are made of: rows upon rows of flaky croissants, cinnamon buns, scones, and more. The husband-and-wife duo behind the pastry shop, Claire Ogilvie and Marc-André Basile, make all the mouth-watering treats that they sell from the 160-square-foot microbakery, and with a host of vegan options, bagels, and coffee to boot, it’s a must-visit for any self-described pastry devotee in Philly.

631 N 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19123

9. Dim Sum Garden

1020 Race St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

For its pandemic pivot, Dim Sum Garden 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. Dumpling lovers in the suburbs will be delighted to know there’s also long-distance deliveries for larger orders on Thursdays.

1020 Race St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

10. Jezabel’s Argentine Café & Catering

206-208 S 45th St, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Jezabel Careaga’s Argentinean 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.

206-208 S 45th St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

11. Baology

1829 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19103

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. For a little help feeding your family, order from their meal delivery menu, which includes a Hainanese chicken rice package for four to six, and many of its regular menu items are scaled up to keep customers satisfied all week.

1829 John F Kennedy Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19103

12. Abyssinia

229 S 45th St, Philadelphia, PA 19104

A stalwart of Ethiopian cuisine in the city, Abyssinia has long comforted Philadelphians with its array of hearty dishes from the west African country. 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, but the cozy dining room provides a lovely atmosphere for date night or otherwise.

229 S 45th St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

13. Rangoon

112 N 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Chili chicken with bell peppers, onions and coriander in a spicy chili sauce.
Rangoon/official photo

Thousand-layer bread, a flaky, crunchy, chewy flatbread dipped in chicken or potato curry, gets all the love at Rangoon, but its menu of Burmese salads is not to be missed. Start with the classic tea leaf variety, and work your way through a lengthy list of spicy fried rice, noodle, and specialty dishes.

112 N 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

14. Hershel's East Side Deli

51 N 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

At Reading Terminal Market, Hershel’s serves up mile-high sandwiches stacked with some of the best pastrami and corned beef in the city. Add an order of matzoh ball soup and a slice of apple cake for a very satisfying lunch. Walk around the market afterwards, and if you have room, go for a Bassett’s ice cream cone.

51 N 12th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

15. Huda

32 S 18th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

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.

32 S 18th St
Philadelphia, PA 19103

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16. Mina's World

511 S 52nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19143

Sonam Parikh and Kate Egghart’s coffee shop opened at the beginning of the pandemic, so the sunny indoor space at Mina’s World hardly got a chance to be appreciated before indoor service was halted. No matter: the pair soldiered on and have made the coffee shop not only a go-to for a variety of ever-changing specialty drinks (think: turmeric elixirs and tahini mochas), vegan baked goods, and excellent samosas, but a mission-driven community hub as well. With a community free fridge out front and a market of radical zines, ceramics, and more (available to order online), Mina’s World is much more than a coffee shop. Orders can be placed online for pickup or walk up to the counter to order, Tuesday through Sunday.

511 S 52nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19143

17. Amma's South Indian Cuisine

1518 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Philadelphians no longer have to head into New Jersey for South Indian fare now that Amma’s is here 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, parotta, chicken korma, chicken chukka, dessert, and raita, is an excellent and very affordable introduction to the restaurant.

1518 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19102

18. Vernick Food & Drink

2031 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Clay Williams

James Beard Award-winner Greg Vernick now has a few Philly restaurants to his name, but diners can’t go wrong booking a table at the 8-year-old original. Longtime favorites like a tuna poke salad with sweet soy vinaigrette and toasted hazelnuts now join new dinner dishes like mushroom bolognese. The six-course tasting menu with an optional wine pairing is by reservation only but worth it.

2031 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19103

19. High Street Philly

101 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
sandwich on poppy bun Chaucee Stillman

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.

101 S 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

20. Friday Saturday Sunday

261 S 21st St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Chad and Hanna Williams’s fine dining restaurant has been offering an indulgent indoor eight-course tasting menu since February of this year, 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.

261 S 21st St
Philadelphia, PA 19103

21. Middle Child

248 S 11th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Philadelphia’s love of sandwiches may be confusing to outsiders, but everyone loves Middle Child. Order a So Long Sal, the platonic ideal of an Italian hoagie (think salami, prosciutto cotto, and sharp provolone), or try the Phoagie, a “vegan by chance” banh mi-ish hoagie that will more than fill you up. Preorders — no call-ins — must be made online.

248 S 11th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

22. Seorabol Center City

1326 Spruce St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

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 takes his 1.8 million followers through the intricacies of Korean cookery. Seorabol takeout travels extremely well, and indoor dining reservations are available here.

1326 Spruce St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

23. Zahav

237 St James Pl, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Zahav [official photo]

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. Outdoor and indoor dining by reservation only.

237 St James Pl
Philadelphia, PA 19106

24. Puyero Venezuelan Flavor

524 S 4th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

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.

524 S 4th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

25. Little Fish

746 S 6th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Last summer, when many restaurants in Philadelphia were flipping into seafood shacks, Little Fish was executing perfectly. The scallop toast, a slice of sourdough drizzled in soy-chili vinaigrette and crowned with rounds of raw scallop, has become a must-eat item, and the rotating menu of seafood-focused offerings is crave-inducing every single weekend. Outdoor dining is available for walk-ups only, and reservations can be made a month in advance online.

746 S 6th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

26. Kalaya Thai Kitchen

764 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
white square plate with three blue dumplings shaped like flowers
Flower-shaped dumplings filled with ground chicken with cucumber, red chili, and cilantro at Kalaya.
Rebecca McAlpin

Be prepared for a lot of spice at this critical darling of a Thai restaurant, where Chef Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon is uncompromising in her commitment to serving up southern Thai specialties. Standard dishes like chicken curry and laab take on a whole new meaning in Suntaranon’s kitchen, but her introduction of her own creations like flower-shaped, deep purple shaw muang dumplings are the reason we keep going back. Also check out Kalaya Thai Market, where Suntaranon sells quick-serve versions of her food and offers specialty Thai ingredients. Takeout and delivery are available, and the Kitchen has indoor dining by reservation.

764 S 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

27. Fiore Fine Foods

757 S Front St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

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, pear and pecorino ravioli, tilefish with Umbrian lentils and porcini mushrooms, and expertly made amaro cocktails. Diners can also pre-order pints of weekly gelato flavors and reservations can be made for the outdoor patio or indoor dining room online.

757 S Front St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

28. Royal Izakaya

780 S 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Jesse Ito has managed to translate his omakase into a high-end takeout experience, featuring 11-, 44- and sometimes 100-piece nigiri platters starting at $65, and even a whole tray of uni from Hokkaido, Japan for $95. The platters can be a pricey endeavor but the menu also features more affordable chirashi bowls, maki rolls, and other Japanese treats, all of which are made to Ito’s exacting standards with the highest-quality ingredients. Diners can do takeout and delivery, or walk-ins for dinner.

780 S 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

29. Pho 75

1122 Washington Ave F, Philadelphia, PA 19147

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.

1122 Washington Ave F
Philadelphia, PA 19147

30. South Philly Barbacoa

1149 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Ted Nghiem/South Philly Barbacoa

Thanks to Netflix shows Chef’s Table and Ugly Delicious spotlighting the casual counter-service Mexican eatery, a line is pretty much guaranteed at Cristina Martinez’s cult-favorite takeout spot. Outdoor and indoor dining is available, but the barbacoa, especially when purchased by the half kilo with housemade tortillas, consomme, 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.

1149 S 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

31. Herman's Coffee

1313 S 3rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Many restaurants have closed during the pandemic, leaving a lot of skilled industry members with time on their hands. That has resulted in one thing: pop-ups, pop-ups, and more pop-ups. Herman’s Coffee Bar has become one of the best spots in the city to sample the up-and-coming talent. Stop by on a weekend to see who is serving out of their semi-detached food cart, or follow them on Instagram for the who’s-who of the city’s next generation of must-eat dishes. Think Navajo frybread, Brazilian street food, Filipino bites, and so much more. Herman’s also serves excellent coffee and a huge variety of locally made food treats — plus, specialty tinned fish.

1313 S 3rd St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

32. River Twice

1601 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148

In its first year of operation in East Passyunk, Randy and Amanda Rucker’s River Twice quickly became one of the most exciting New American restaurants in the city, with an evolving tasting menu that offers the full spectrum of Rucker’s repertoire. All of the dishes are heavy on flavor, personality, and creativity, and the restaurant itself is just a lovely place to dine. Reservations can be made here.

1601 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148

33. Mike's BBQ

1703 S 11th St, Philadelphia, PA 19148
The best-selling ribs at Mike’s BBQ.
Mike’s BBQ/official photo

It’s best to call ahead to reserve meat at Mike’s BBQ. Michael Strauss’s casual counter-service barbecue destination in South Philly opens at noon Thursday to Sunday and stays open until it sells out — which is a daily occurrence. The ribs are known to disappear first, but any smoked meat aficionado will be more than satisfied with the brisket, available on its own, in a sandwich, or as a cheesesteak with onions and Cooper Sharp whiz. Takeout and delivery and some outdoor seating is available.

1703 S 11th St
Philadelphia, PA 19148

34. Hardena

1754 S Hicks St, Philadelphia, PA 19145
platter of indonesian food Neal Santos

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. No order is complete without a few of their fried corn fritters, called bakwan, and a few skewers of richly marinated chicken sate. Order the box ahead of time and be sure to ask for extra cups of their housemade sambal, which is easily one of the best in the city. Takeout only for now.

1754 S Hicks St
Philadelphia, PA 19145

35. Gabriella's Vietnam

1837 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Gabriella’s Vietnam

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.

1837 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148

36. Musi BYOB

100 Morris St, Philadelphia, PA 19148

Musi gets the neighborhood BYOB vibe just right, which, in the pandemic, means chef Ari Miller has been using his small Pennsport restaurant to play host to a variety of pop-ups. Frizwit serves his reimagined Philly cheesesteak with grass-fed beef, locally made cheese, and a whole lot more TLC than you’ll find at Pat’s or Geno’s. Takeout and delivery only.

100 Morris St
Philadelphia, PA 19148

37. La Llorona Cantina

1551 W Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19145
fried tacos on a white plate La Llorona [official photo]

Restaurateurs Arturo Lorenzo and Maricela Tellez opened La Llorona against all odds, in the middle of a pandemic this summer, but their exceptionally kind service, excellent mezcal and tequila cocktails, and menu of Mexican treats for all occasions, from chilaquiles to aguachiles and everything in between, has made this place a go-to spot.

1551 W Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19145

38. Zeppoli

618 W Collings Ave, Collingswood, NJ 08107

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 it’s reservations are open to members only. Instead, call to order takeout or make an indoor 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.

618 W Collings Ave
Collingswood, NJ 08107

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