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Robb Lim

The Hottest New Restaurants in Philly, September 2021

Where to get Filipino ube macarons, snow crab maki, and cocktails in a dimly lit speakeasy

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With vaccination rates rising and the city fully reopened, notable new restaurants are opening all the time in Philadelphia. Each spot on this list offers extremely good travel-friendly takeout, or — now that it’s safer to do so — comfortable indoor dining, though wearing a mask and getting vaccinated protects both you and the restaurant staff serving you. Be patient as changing guidelines are tough on restaurants right now — and don’t forget to tip well.

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. Salam Cafe

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5532 Greene St
Philadelphia, PA 19144
(215) 660-9780

The newly opened Salam Cafe in Germantown has a little bit of everything: Mediterranean platters with hummus and falafel; spicy chicken Ethiopian stew and spongy injera; coffee drinks and smoothies; and even a small market of essentials if you’re running low on home goods. You’ll be happy with whatever you get (tubes of toothpaste included) but you can’t go wrong with the lamb platter, spicy beef stew, and the chicken kabobs. Bonus: There’s Ethiopian firfir for breakfast on the weekends.

2. The Landing Kitchen

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617 Righters Ferry Rd
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
(484) 434-8765
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ITV and Laurel’s Nick Elmi opened his first suburban venture at the Ironworks at Pencoyd Landing in Bala Cynwyd in March, and its all-day cafe vibe — think caviar grilled cheese, tartines, and cups of ModCup and La Colombe coffee — makes it a worthy Saturday morning venture. It’s also open Friday to Sunday for dinner service, with fried chicken sandwiches and burgers, so if brunch isn’t your thing you’ll still make out all right. The outdoor patio is lovely, too. Walk-ins only.

Smoked Salmon Toast with pickled red onion, dill-caper cream cheese Neal Santos

3. Sor Ynez

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1800 N American St
Philadelphia, PA 19122
(215) 309-2582
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Owned by the folks behind Jet Wine Bar, and with Alexis Tellez as executive chef, Sor Ynez offers fresh Mexican cuisine with a focus on sustainability. Try the “alt pastor,” a spit-roasted cauliflower alternative to al pastor that can be ordered on a taco, burrito, or torta, or root vegetable ceviche. Plus: vegan churros with oat milk champurrado are a great after-dinner treat.

4. Izakaya By Yanaga

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1832 Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19125

Another great dining destination comes to — where else? — Fishtown. Izakaya by Yanaga arrived on Frankford Avenue by way of Kevin Yanaga, an alum of Double Knot, Pod, and Morimoto, where he is delivering his take on sushi, ramen, sashimi, gyoza, and a range of hot and cold dishes. For now, the experience at Izakaya by Yanaga is a full service restaurant of appetizers, sashimi, and mains, though later on, Yanaga will build out a special omakase tasting menu space with 12 seats. Don’t wait, though: walk-ins to the already bustling spot are available now.

Eddy Marenco

5. SUYA SUYA West African Grill

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400 Fairmount Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(267) 704-9033
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For flavors found in Nigerian cuisine, Suya Suya West African Grill — the latest fast-casual spot to open in Philly — can’t be missed. Brought to you by restaurateur Dera Nd-Ezuma, Suya Suya’s mix-and-match bowls can be paired with jollof rice and sides of plantains, and all the grilled meats are done in a perfectly piquant peanut spice. Even better: you can select your heat level if you want to go even spicier.

6. La Chinesca

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1036 Spring Garden St
Philadelphia, PA 19123

At La Chinesca on Spring Garden Street, Northern Baja cuisine melds with Chinese-American dishes to make something unique to Philly. Baby corn elote, fried peppers and cilantro, and mushroom tacos are all menu standouts, plus the cocktails are refreshing on a hot day. The colorful and comfortable outdoor space will make you feel like you’re on a vacation in some sunny faraway place, too. Reservations can be made on Resy.

Ben Wentzel

7. Hop Sing Laundromat

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1029 Race St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Hop Sing Laundromat — the Chinatown speakeasy run by a mysterious owner known only as Lê — closed in March 2020 as the coronavirus spread, and has remained closed as a measure to protect its staff ever since. In September, Lê announced that he’d be reopening the dimly lit bar at limited capacity and the wait for the interesting and elegant cocktails (as well as Lê’s outsized personality) was worth it. Just remember: All guests must bring a proof of vaccination card and ID, and it’s cash only.

Hop Sing Laundromat
Hop Sing Laundromat
Robert Neroni

8. Tambayan

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45 N 12th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

There are countless reasons to stop by Reading Terminal Market (and no, you don’t have to be a tourist to go) but with the addition of Tambayan, the Filipino restaurant run by chef and owner Kathy Mirano, there’s another reason to hit up the bustling 12th Street market. Tambayan is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, for Filipino dishes like longanisa sausage fried rice, lumpia spring rolls, ube fries, and Mirano’s amazing pandesal rolls. Don’t forget to try the macarons in flavors like ube, matcha, and mango — they’re unlike any macaron you’ve ever tasted.

Robb Lim

9. Huff and Puff BBQ

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246 S 11th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(267) 239-5617
Visit Website

Opened by South Jersey restauranteur Luke Patrick, Philly’s latest barbecue venture, Huff and Puff, has options for carnivores and herbivores alike, from pit platters of St. Louis-style ribs and yardbird wings to pulled jackfruit sliders and vegan mac and cheese. A “flight” of pit meat includes a quarter pound of brisket, pulled pork, smoked watermelon, wings, ribs, coleslaw, and your choice of traditional barbecue sides. Don’t miss the fried pickles. Preorder online or walk in.

10. Sakana Omakase Sushi

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616 S 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 922-2149
Visit Website

Like a handful of Philly restaurants, beloved Queen Village omakase restaurant Sakana closed in July to perform renovations, leaving South 2nd Street without one of Philly’s most trusted and pleasurable dining experiences. The restaurant reopened at the beginning of August, and though it’s been a destination since 2019, with this latest refresh in the waning days of summer, it’s worth coming back to for the fresh sushi and sashimi from chef and owner Xiang Yu Lin, who goes by Sam. Sakana is BYOB and reservations for two different omakase tastings — one small and one large — can be made on Resy.

11. Korshak Bagels

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1700 S 10th St
Philadelphia, PA 19148

Before Philip Korshak began holding bagel pop-ups in Philly, there was a notable lack of poetry-enamored bagel-makers in the city. Now that Korshak’s first storefront is officially open on South 10th Street, the unlikely combination of poetry and bagels is finally a reality, with Gemini bagels (half poppy seed, half sesame seed) on offer and hand-scrawled poems taped to the door. Preorders can be made online but if you forget, come early — there are typically lines.

12. Gabriella's Seafood & Steakhouse

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

Following the success of her Vietnamese-Thai restaurant in Ambler, Melody’s Grillhouse, chef Thanh Nguyen has expanded into South Philly with a Vietnamese grilled seafood and steakhouse. The dishes are served family style, and there is Bò Né — steak and eggs served on a sizzling cast iron plate with a side of crunchy bread — for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s also BYOB so come prepared. Reservations can be made on Resy.

13. LesbiVeggies

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112 W Merchant St
Audubon, NJ 08106
(856) 323-8458
Visit Website

LesbiVeggies, chef Brennah Lambert’s first restaurant in Audubon, may have a playful name but its menu — and Lambert’s cooking — is the real deal. A quick drive across the bridge from Philly, LesbiVeggies is a vegan, gluten-free BYOB cafe that Lambert intended as a safe space for queer folks like herself. With more than just veggies, at Lambert’s restaurant, everyone eats well. For brunch and dinner, diners enjoy everything from jackfruit enchiladas to peach cobbler pancakes and cajun cauliflower sandwiches. Walk-ins only.

1. Salam Cafe

5532 Greene St, Philadelphia, PA 19144

The newly opened Salam Cafe in Germantown has a little bit of everything: Mediterranean platters with hummus and falafel; spicy chicken Ethiopian stew and spongy injera; coffee drinks and smoothies; and even a small market of essentials if you’re running low on home goods. You’ll be happy with whatever you get (tubes of toothpaste included) but you can’t go wrong with the lamb platter, spicy beef stew, and the chicken kabobs. Bonus: There’s Ethiopian firfir for breakfast on the weekends.

5532 Greene St
Philadelphia, PA 19144

2. The Landing Kitchen

617 Righters Ferry Rd, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
Smoked Salmon Toast with pickled red onion, dill-caper cream cheese Neal Santos

ITV and Laurel’s Nick Elmi opened his first suburban venture at the Ironworks at Pencoyd Landing in Bala Cynwyd in March, and its all-day cafe vibe — think caviar grilled cheese, tartines, and cups of ModCup and La Colombe coffee — makes it a worthy Saturday morning venture. It’s also open Friday to Sunday for dinner service, with fried chicken sandwiches and burgers, so if brunch isn’t your thing you’ll still make out all right. The outdoor patio is lovely, too. Walk-ins only.

617 Righters Ferry Rd
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004

3. Sor Ynez

1800 N American St, Philadelphia, PA 19122

Owned by the folks behind Jet Wine Bar, and with Alexis Tellez as executive chef, Sor Ynez offers fresh Mexican cuisine with a focus on sustainability. Try the “alt pastor,” a spit-roasted cauliflower alternative to al pastor that can be ordered on a taco, burrito, or torta, or root vegetable ceviche. Plus: vegan churros with oat milk champurrado are a great after-dinner treat.

1800 N American St
Philadelphia, PA 19122

4. Izakaya By Yanaga

1832 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Eddy Marenco

Another great dining destination comes to — where else? — Fishtown. Izakaya by Yanaga arrived on Frankford Avenue by way of Kevin Yanaga, an alum of Double Knot, Pod, and Morimoto, where he is delivering his take on sushi, ramen, sashimi, gyoza, and a range of hot and cold dishes. For now, the experience at Izakaya by Yanaga is a full service restaurant of appetizers, sashimi, and mains, though later on, Yanaga will build out a special omakase tasting menu space with 12 seats. Don’t wait, though: walk-ins to the already bustling spot are available now.

1832 Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19125

5. SUYA SUYA West African Grill

400 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19123

For flavors found in Nigerian cuisine, Suya Suya West African Grill — the latest fast-casual spot to open in Philly — can’t be missed. Brought to you by restaurateur Dera Nd-Ezuma, Suya Suya’s mix-and-match bowls can be paired with jollof rice and sides of plantains, and all the grilled meats are done in a perfectly piquant peanut spice. Even better: you can select your heat level if you want to go even spicier.

400 Fairmount Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19123

6. La Chinesca

1036 Spring Garden St, Philadelphia, PA 19123
Ben Wentzel

At La Chinesca on Spring Garden Street, Northern Baja cuisine melds with Chinese-American dishes to make something unique to Philly. Baby corn elote, fried peppers and cilantro, and mushroom tacos are all menu standouts, plus the cocktails are refreshing on a hot day. The colorful and comfortable outdoor space will make you feel like you’re on a vacation in some sunny faraway place, too. Reservations can be made on Resy.

1036 Spring Garden St
Philadelphia, PA 19123

7. Hop Sing Laundromat

1029 Race St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Hop Sing Laundromat
Hop Sing Laundromat
Robert Neroni

Hop Sing Laundromat — the Chinatown speakeasy run by a mysterious owner known only as Lê — closed in March 2020 as the coronavirus spread, and has remained closed as a measure to protect its staff ever since. In September, Lê announced that he’d be reopening the dimly lit bar at limited capacity and the wait for the interesting and elegant cocktails (as well as Lê’s outsized personality) was worth it. Just remember: All guests must bring a proof of vaccination card and ID, and it’s cash only.

1029 Race St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

8. Tambayan

45 N 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Robb Lim

There are countless reasons to stop by Reading Terminal Market (and no, you don’t have to be a tourist to go) but with the addition of Tambayan, the Filipino restaurant run by chef and owner Kathy Mirano, there’s another reason to hit up the bustling 12th Street market. Tambayan is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, for Filipino dishes like longanisa sausage fried rice, lumpia spring rolls, ube fries, and Mirano’s amazing pandesal rolls. Don’t forget to try the macarons in flavors like ube, matcha, and mango — they’re unlike any macaron you’ve ever tasted.

45 N 12th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

9. Huff and Puff BBQ

246 S 11th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Opened by South Jersey restauranteur Luke Patrick, Philly’s latest barbecue venture, Huff and Puff, has options for carnivores and herbivores alike, from pit platters of St. Louis-style ribs and yardbird wings to pulled jackfruit sliders and vegan mac and cheese. A “flight” of pit meat includes a quarter pound of brisket, pulled pork, smoked watermelon, wings, ribs, coleslaw, and your choice of traditional barbecue sides. Don’t miss the fried pickles. Preorder online or walk in.

246 S 11th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

10. Sakana Omakase Sushi

616 S 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Like a handful of Philly restaurants, beloved Queen Village omakase restaurant Sakana closed in July to perform renovations, leaving South 2nd Street without one of Philly’s most trusted and pleasurable dining experiences. The restaurant reopened at the beginning of August, and though it’s been a destination since 2019, with this latest refresh in the waning days of summer, it’s worth coming back to for the fresh sushi and sashimi from chef and owner Xiang Yu Lin, who goes by Sam. Sakana is BYOB and reservations for two different omakase tastings — one small and one large — can be made on Resy.

616 S 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

11. Korshak Bagels

1700 S 10th St, Philadelphia, PA 19148

Before Philip Korshak began holding bagel pop-ups in Philly, there was a notable lack of poetry-enamored bagel-makers in the city. Now that Korshak’s first storefront is officially open on South 10th Street, the unlikely combination of poetry and bagels is finally a reality, with Gemini bagels (half poppy seed, half sesame seed) on offer and hand-scrawled poems taped to the door. Preorders can be made online but if you forget, come early — there are typically lines.

1700 S 10th St
Philadelphia, PA 19148

12. Gabriella's Seafood & Steakhouse

1837 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148

Following the success of her Vietnamese-Thai restaurant in Ambler, Melody’s Grillhouse, chef Thanh Nguyen has expanded into South Philly with a Vietnamese grilled seafood and steakhouse. The dishes are served family style, and there is Bò Né — steak and eggs served on a sizzling cast iron plate with a side of crunchy bread — for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s also BYOB so come prepared. Reservations can be made on Resy.

1837 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148

13. LesbiVeggies

112 W Merchant St, Audubon, NJ 08106

LesbiVeggies, chef Brennah Lambert’s first restaurant in Audubon, may have a playful name but its menu — and Lambert’s cooking — is the real deal. A quick drive across the bridge from Philly, LesbiVeggies is a vegan, gluten-free BYOB cafe that Lambert intended as a safe space for queer folks like herself. With more than just veggies, at Lambert’s restaurant, everyone eats well. For brunch and dinner, diners enjoy everything from jackfruit enchiladas to peach cobbler pancakes and cajun cauliflower sandwiches. Walk-ins only.

112 W Merchant St
Audubon, NJ 08106

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