Though Philadelphia is known for being more affordable than many major cities, if the occasion calls for a decadent, splurge-worthy meal, it doesn’t disappoint. Some of the best options for a seriously indulgent dinner include sophisticated steakhouses, an Italian landmark, and hidden sushi counters. In the post-pandemic world, many restaurants have shifted to offering pricier tasting menus only, which means that this map has grown, but so has the quality of your dinner. The meals below don’t come cheap — food, drinks, and tip can easily run $500 and up for two — but if you’re looking to celebrate or impress, the experience is worth it.Read More
13 Philly Restaurants Worth Splurging On
Prices — and quality — are up, up, up
Friday Saturday Sunday
When it shifted to tasting menu only, the price to dine at Friday Saturday Sunday stepped up into the “splurge” category. At the same time, chef-owner Chad Williams seems to have somehow stepped up his already-special game. The eight-course menu goes for $150 a person, plus tax, tip, and drinks (including a stellar $90 wine pairing option). The dishes and ingredients change constantly, but you can count on each one being well-executed, with creative and delicious flourishes. The cocktails, music, service, and even the lighting here add up to a just-right vibe. It’s why reservations book up the minute they’re released.
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. Under the purview of one of Philly’s top chefs, Eric Leveillee, Lacroix’s dishes infuse creativity with elegance. Think: a risotto of finely chopped new potatoes with kaluga caviar and a5 wagyu beef with purple cabbage terrine. A tasting menu goes for $175, plus $90 for a wine pairing.
Dine in the clouds at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s first Philadelphia restaurant, located at the 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. A six-course tasting menu for $218 per person includes the decadent egg toast and caviar along with a few other “iconic JG snacks” before moving into six courses from the land and sea. There is also a vegetarian tasting menu for $198, which can be made vegan-friendly. A wine pairing of $178 is the priciest in town, but make sure to drink water too — 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. This is the place to try a $140 wagyu cheesesteak, that comes foie gras, truffled cheese whiz, and half a bottle of champagne. The menu tops out with a five ounces of authentic Kobe strip loin for $210.
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 $30 Manhattan or a $35 glass of champagne before getting cozy with a $112 porterhouse for two, shared sides of stuffed hash browns and creamed spinach, and a bottle of red wine.
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At Top Chef winner Nick Elmi’s cozy Laurel on East Passyunk Avenue, the $142 six-course tasting menu changes regularly and frequently can be 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 reserve beverage pairing for another $115.
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Just when we thought E. Passyunk’s restaurant row couldn’t get any better, along came chef Randy Rucker in late 2019. At River Twice, a seven course tasting menu that highlights seasonality can quickly jump from its $98 base price to $158 with uni and caviar add-ons, and more with a $65-$80 wine pairing. Reserve a $23 Mother Rucker Burger when you book your table — it’s an indulgent and fun moment in an otherwise elegant dinner experience. The Chef’s Counter offers a different menu with a front-and-center experience, for $165.
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 $95, and worth it.
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 and his small team showcase their impressive cooking chops at a kitchen table for small parties ($300 a person, including beverage pairing, tax, and tip) and a private dining room with a custom 12-foot table for bigger groups ($2500). Ambra’s ever-changing menu gussies up traditional Italian cooking with international flavors, modernist techniques, and seasonal ingredients, including produce and herbs grown in Southwark’s garden. Dinner here is one of Philly’s most unforgettable and delicious experiences — and probably why it books up two months in advance.
Royal Sushi & Izakaya
Only a handful of people get to experience chef Jesse Ito’s $200 17-piece omakase at a time — and, no surprise, the two 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). Ito, a James Beard award finalist in 2022, sauces and garnishes each pristine piece of fish individually. Recent highlights include scored and seared king salmon belly, thread sail filefish with liver sauce, Japanese beltfish, and Japanese grouper.
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 $155 per person, or $65 with the sake pairing. Dinner here runs from small bites to sushi to soup and finally, dessert. Hiroki is in the same ownership group as Philly destination Wm. Mulherin’s Sons.
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Omakase By Yanaga
A couple of years ago, Kevin Yanaga (nickname: the Sushi Whisperer) turned his experience at working in some of Philly’s finest sushi restaurants — Double Knot, Pod, Morimoto and Zama — into his own spot. For $195, Izakaya By Yanaga presents a 25-course omakase that includes nigiri, sushi, hot and cold bites, plus dessert. Sake and wine pairings are available. It’s all served at a counter in a moody 8-seat dining room.
There are steakhouses and then there’s chef Antimo DiMeo’s “meat kingdom.” At Bardea Steak in Wilmington, Delaware, a $175 steak tasting showcases a few of the cattle breeds and cuts that this newcomer offers. Alternatively, you can order cuts of wagyu and steaks from other rare breeds by the ounce, with the option to add $60 worth of caviar on top. Don’t skimp on the starters. The $21 kangaroo chili is a highlight. Ever had a $20 chicken wing? When it’s stuffed with black truffle, the unexpected cost suddenly feels worth it.