Though Philadelphia is known for being more affordable than many major cities, if the occasion calls for a decadent, splurge-worthy meal, Philly doesn’t disappoint. Some of the best options for a seriously indulgent dinner include sophisticated steakhouses, an Italian landmark, and a hidden sushi counter. The meals below don’t come cheap — food, drinks, and tip can easily run $300 and way up for two — but if you’re looking to celebrate or impress, the experience is worth it.Read More
10 Philly Restaurants Worth Splurging On
Where to drop serious bills
Everything about the Rittenhouse hotel exudes elegance: the chic location right on Rittenhouse Square, the luxe furnishings and decor, the sophisticated bars, and the swank restaurant Lacroix. The seasonal six-course tasting menu highlights one ingredient (like asparagus or summer squash) and goes for $125, plus $90 or $150 for a wine pairing. Past menus have been known to include lobster and wagyu beef (for a supplement, naturally). Drop even more dough on one of three caviar service options.
Dine in the clouds at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s first Philadelphia restaurant, located at the new Four Seasons hotel in the Comcast Technology Center. At 59 stories up, the highest restaurant in town is worth a visit for the views alone, but the food is equally impressive. The tasting menu is $128 per person. If you opt for a la carte, don’t skip the decadent $38 egg toast and caviar. Enjoy it with a bottle of fancy wine or Jean-Georges’ signature ginger margarita — it’s important to hydrate well at this altitude.
If the tony address on Rittenhouse Square didn’t convey how fancy Stephen Starr’s Barclay Prime is, the presentation of steak knife options should do the trick. Choose from Japanese, German, Australian, and French utensils to cut into Barclay’s prime dry-aged steaks in its dimly lit library-themed dining room. The menu tops out with an A5 wagyu 18-ounce ribeye for $195.
Butcher & Singer
Stephen Starr’s second Center City steakhouse evokes a time when diners sipped martinis in formalwear on Saturday nights. Butcher & Singer serves classic dishes like oysters Rockefeller, wedge salads, and green beans amandine. Splurge on a $25 Manhattan or a $35 glass of Veuve Clicquot before getting cozy with a $92 porterhouse for two, shared sides of stuffed hash browns and creamed spinach, and a bottle of red wine.
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The tasting menu ($165) is the only option at star chef Marc Vetri’s flagship restaurant on Spruce Street. But unlike at many other restaurants, it includes several options for each course and is adjusted for each table based on diners’ preferences. Tucked into a classic Philly rowhouse, the restaurant seats just 32 at a time. Standout recurring dishes include the sweet onion crepe, swiss chard gnocchi, almond tortellini, and baby goat with polenta. The wine pairing is extra, and worth it.
At Top Chef winner Nick Elmi’s cozy Laurel on East Passyunk Avenue, the $125 nine-course tasting menu changes regularly and is frequently supplemented with truffles and wagyu beef (for a hefty additional cost, but worth it). Each dish — many including molecular gastronomy techniques, such as foams, ashes, and powders — arrives looking like modern art. Add the alcohol pairing for another $100. There’s also a six-course menu for $85.
Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s sleek Japanese destination spot has been going strong for two decades. Diners can put together a reasonably priced meal with the a la carte dishes, but for a special occasion there’s the multi-course omakase tasting menu, tailored for each diner for $125. Expect a mix of the best offerings of sashimi, sushi, and hot dishes on and off the menu, such as toro tartare, oysters, wagyu beef, and sweets. Add the sake omakase or beverage pairing for $75. Throwing a party? A group of 17 can get the exclusive experience in the private omakase room.
Chris D’Ambro and Marina de Oliveira proved themselves with neighborhood favorite Southwark before opening Ambra in an intimate space next door. Here, D’Ambro showcases traditional Italian cooking gussied up with international flavors, modernist techniques, and seasonal ingredients, including produce and herbs grown in Southwark’s garden. The $92 tasting menu starts off with an amuse bouche or two, moves into larger courses (including fresh pasta), and finishes with a few desserts. A $63 wine pairing includes a small pour that’s thoughtfully matched to each course.
Royal Sushi & Izakaya
Only a handful of people get to experience chef Jesse Ito’s $130 18-piece omakase at a time — and, no surprise, the two or three nightly seatings are booked weeks in advance. The meal takes place at a hidden sushi counter (Royal Sushi) set behind a curtain in the back of a hip Japanese bar (Royal Izakaya). Each pristine piece of fish is individually sauced and garnished. Recent highlights include 18-day aged chutoro, Japanese thornyhead, Korean flounder engawa (fin muscle), live scallop, and yellowtail belly.
Hiroki Fujiyama, formerly the sushi expert at Morimoto, chose Fishtown for his eponymous Japanese restaurant where the only option is omakase. In the small, low-lit space, the chef serves a masterfully prepared 20-course tasting menu for $135 per person, or $195 with the sake pairing.