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Where to Eat and Drink in Germantown, Mt. Airy, and Chestnut Hill

Off the Germantown Avenue strip, diners can find everything from cold beers to jerk chicken to strong cups of coffee

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In a city as full of good restaurants and bars as Philadelphia, one would be forgiven for staying within a 10-block radius of their house. There is good food to be had everywhere in this town — from the bottom of FDR Park to the ends of the Northeast. But in the search for good food, the historic neighborhoods of the Northwest can sometimes be forgotten.

The Northwest technically covers a large section of the city with several distinct neighborhoods (which themselves contain micro-neighborhoods) — Germantown, Mount Airy, Chestnut Hill, Roxborough, Wissahickon, East Falls, and Manayunk — but in this guide, Eater has collected the essential places to eat along the winding cobblestoned strip of Germantown Avenue that sits east of Wissahickon Valley Park. The neighborhoods are organized up a hill that begins in Germantown, transitions to Mount Airy, and summits at Chestnut Hill.

In this area, visitors find plaques that memorialize the early abolition movement, historic houses, and tall trees and blooming flowers galore. Start at either end of the hill and make your way up or down, stopping to enjoy everything from vegan soul food to cold cider to diner omelets along the way.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Brunos Restaurant & Catering

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No neighborhood is complete without a classic American diner where patrons can eat Greek omelets and drink bottomless coffee. At Bruno’s, which is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there’s the added bonus of true Pennsylvania classics on the menu, like scrapple, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwiches, cheesesteaks with sauteed mushrooms, and roast pork on a roll. BYOB, if that’s your thing, and enjoy the outdoor patio.

McNally's Tavern

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For those in the know, McNally’s Tavern is the original place to go to find a Schmitter — the other local favorite steak sandwich — made with cheese, fried onions, tomatoes, salami, and a special Schmitter sauce. Contrary to what you’ve heard, it wasn’t named for former Phils player Mike Schmidt — but grab a beer and a sandwich at McNally’s and you’ll find you don’t even care.

Pitruco

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On Wednesday evenings, delicious wood-fired pizzas come to the border of Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill via the Pitruco food truck, parked near the Cresheim Valley Trail entrance. The Neapolitan-style personal pizzas are worth the preorder — especially when it comes to Pitruco’s seasonal specialties with vibrant fresh ingredients. Preorder online for pickup on Wednesdays between 5 and 8 p.m. at Germantown Ave and Winston Road.

Operated out of the historic Cresheim Cottage on Germantown Avenue, one might mistake Jansen for a family home if not for the scent of braised lamb shank wafting from its windows. Chef David Jansen turned the 18th-century house into the perfect date-night spot, with the original fireplace and a beautiful outdoor patio to boot. Dishes like crispy stuffed quail and oysters Rockefeller make it a destination for a special dining experience. Jansen also offers takeout for next day pickup. Orders can be made online and reservations are recommended.

McMenamin's Tavern

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Friendly service, a fun vibe, and delicious bar food and drinks are what make McMenamin’s such a pleasant place to hang during the week or on the weekends. The fish and chips will fill you up for days and the beer specials are usually great. There’s a small outdoor patio if you’re looking to drink al fresco.

Evo Brick Oven Pizza

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The platonic ideal of takeout pizza, Evo Brick Oven Pizza is where to head if you’re picking up pizza for a post-Wissahickon hike or a laid-back night at home. The square pies are monstrously big and extremely good, and the signature pies come in over a dozen varieties. Evo evens sell pizza kits, for making your own pies in your own kitchen.

Mount Airy Tap Room

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Pub food can frequently be dissatisfying, where limp french fries and boring burgers are often par for the course. At Mount Airy Taproom, that isn’t the case: The bar’s food and drinks — plus the remarkably welcoming staff serving both — are all excellent. Go for the shrimp po’ boy for the biggest sandwich you’ve ever seen, or the burger with Gruyere to pair with a cold IPA. The bar has an spacious and pretty back patio, too.

Jamaican D's Caribbean & American Restaurant

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While Jamaican D’s is a little farther afield from Germantown Avenue, it’s a must-visit for its jerk chicken, caramelized sweet plantains, mac and cheese, and collard greens. There can be lines outside to get the restaurant’s deluxe combo platters, but stay motivated. Customers can preorder online through Grubhub for pickup, so the oxtail and collards will be hot on arrival. Delivery is also available.

Zsa's Ice Cream

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Every neighborhood needs its go-to ice cream spot — neighbors in the Northwest are lucky that Zsa’s is theirs. Made in-house at the shop on Germantown Avenue, ice cream fans can enjoy flavors like toasted graham cracker crumble or buttered brown sugar peach. Pints are available, as are cones, cakes, and shakes. There are a few benches outside Zsa’s for optimal people-watching and cone-enjoying.

Young American Hard Cider

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Young American Hard Cider’s outdoor patio is a welcoming place to drink one of the brewery’s many ciders (made from Pennsylvania apples), local beers, cocktails, and wines, especially right next to warming fire pits on a chillier night. But don’t stop at just drinks: The food menu at Young American — from chef Robin Admana — is always great. On Thursday and Friday nights, the cidery hosts tasting menus of whatever Admana is into making that week. They’re not to be missed.

All the Way Live Cafe

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Veggie-forward visitors to the Northwest will be pleased to stop by All the Way Live Cafe a few blocks north of Chelten Avenue. The vegan cafe focuses on every kind of green thing that Mother Nature has to offer, and jackfruit burgers on spelt pita and grain bowls with squash tuna are highlights.

The Nile Cafe

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The Nile Cafe in Germantown is touted as the longest running vegan restaurant in Philly, making all the jerk chicken legs, pepper steak, and macaroni and cheese that a vegan heart could desire. It’s vegan soul food that even the most carnivorous of eaters can enjoy, especially with a side of cheesecake or coconut milk ice cream. Order online for takeout and local delivery.

Germantown Espresso Bar

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Most Philadelphians would know a “Citywide” as a shot and a beer, but if caffeine is your vice of choice, Germantown Espresso Bar serves a large coffee and espresso combo by the same name. Now that you’re fully awake, you can enjoy the vibe of the neighborhood shop, where both the clientele and the staff are extremely convivial. Keep an eye on social media for live events.

Uncle Bobbie's Coffee & Books

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There is no more pleasant experience than browsing in a book store while drinking a hot coffee, and at Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books, you have the best of both worlds. That’s because the store was opened to celebrate books written by marginalized voices (the children’s section is especially great). Uncle Bobbie’s is the best place to get a coffee, specialty lemonade, or pastry from Crust Vegan Bakery as well as the book on your list you’ve been meaning to buy.

Salam Cafe

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Open from breakfast until dinner every day but Sunday, Salam Cafe is one of the Northwest’s best destinations for Ethiopian fare, like massive platters of beef stew and rice, or more Middle Eastern offerings like falafel and hummus. Weekend breakfast specials include veggie firfir and shakshuka.

Attic Brewing Company

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It’s impossible to go far in Philadelphia without hitting a brewery, but with its recently expanded outdoor seating area and its rotating food trucks, Attic Brewing Company is one worth traveling for. There are over a dozen beers on tap, and Deke’s BBQ is right next door. Plus, there is a calendar-full of weekly events like live music and B-movie screenings. With summer around the corner, Attic’s enormous patio is bound to be a worthwhile visit.

Sister Muhammad's Kitchen

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Hoagies, cheesesteaks, burgers, and fried fish and chicken are all standouts at lunch spot Sister Muhammad’s Kitchen at the Wayne Junction intersection in Germantown. Don’t forget to get something sweet from the menu — the bean pies in particular are a local favorite.

Brunos Restaurant & Catering

No neighborhood is complete without a classic American diner where patrons can eat Greek omelets and drink bottomless coffee. At Bruno’s, which is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there’s the added bonus of true Pennsylvania classics on the menu, like scrapple, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwiches, cheesesteaks with sauteed mushrooms, and roast pork on a roll. BYOB, if that’s your thing, and enjoy the outdoor patio.

McNally's Tavern

For those in the know, McNally’s Tavern is the original place to go to find a Schmitter — the other local favorite steak sandwich — made with cheese, fried onions, tomatoes, salami, and a special Schmitter sauce. Contrary to what you’ve heard, it wasn’t named for former Phils player Mike Schmidt — but grab a beer and a sandwich at McNally’s and you’ll find you don’t even care.

Pitruco

On Wednesday evenings, delicious wood-fired pizzas come to the border of Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill via the Pitruco food truck, parked near the Cresheim Valley Trail entrance. The Neapolitan-style personal pizzas are worth the preorder — especially when it comes to Pitruco’s seasonal specialties with vibrant fresh ingredients. Preorder online for pickup on Wednesdays between 5 and 8 p.m. at Germantown Ave and Winston Road.

Jansen

Operated out of the historic Cresheim Cottage on Germantown Avenue, one might mistake Jansen for a family home if not for the scent of braised lamb shank wafting from its windows. Chef David Jansen turned the 18th-century house into the perfect date-night spot, with the original fireplace and a beautiful outdoor patio to boot. Dishes like crispy stuffed quail and oysters Rockefeller make it a destination for a special dining experience. Jansen also offers takeout for next day pickup. Orders can be made online and reservations are recommended.

McMenamin's Tavern

Friendly service, a fun vibe, and delicious bar food and drinks are what make McMenamin’s such a pleasant place to hang during the week or on the weekends. The fish and chips will fill you up for days and the beer specials are usually great. There’s a small outdoor patio if you’re looking to drink al fresco.

Evo Brick Oven Pizza

The platonic ideal of takeout pizza, Evo Brick Oven Pizza is where to head if you’re picking up pizza for a post-Wissahickon hike or a laid-back night at home. The square pies are monstrously big and extremely good, and the signature pies come in over a dozen varieties. Evo evens sell pizza kits, for making your own pies in your own kitchen.

Mount Airy Tap Room

Pub food can frequently be dissatisfying, where limp french fries and boring burgers are often par for the course. At Mount Airy Taproom, that isn’t the case: The bar’s food and drinks — plus the remarkably welcoming staff serving both — are all excellent. Go for the shrimp po’ boy for the biggest sandwich you’ve ever seen, or the burger with Gruyere to pair with a cold IPA. The bar has an spacious and pretty back patio, too.

Jamaican D's Caribbean & American Restaurant

While Jamaican D’s is a little farther afield from Germantown Avenue, it’s a must-visit for its jerk chicken, caramelized sweet plantains, mac and cheese, and collard greens. There can be lines outside to get the restaurant’s deluxe combo platters, but stay motivated. Customers can preorder online through Grubhub for pickup, so the oxtail and collards will be hot on arrival. Delivery is also available.

Zsa's Ice Cream

Every neighborhood needs its go-to ice cream spot — neighbors in the Northwest are lucky that Zsa’s is theirs. Made in-house at the shop on Germantown Avenue, ice cream fans can enjoy flavors like toasted graham cracker crumble or buttered brown sugar peach. Pints are available, as are cones, cakes, and shakes. There are a few benches outside Zsa’s for optimal people-watching and cone-enjoying.

Young American Hard Cider

Young American Hard Cider’s outdoor patio is a welcoming place to drink one of the brewery’s many ciders (made from Pennsylvania apples), local beers, cocktails, and wines, especially right next to warming fire pits on a chillier night. But don’t stop at just drinks: The food menu at Young American — from chef Robin Admana — is always great. On Thursday and Friday nights, the cidery hosts tasting menus of whatever Admana is into making that week. They’re not to be missed.

All the Way Live Cafe

Veggie-forward visitors to the Northwest will be pleased to stop by All the Way Live Cafe a few blocks north of Chelten Avenue. The vegan cafe focuses on every kind of green thing that Mother Nature has to offer, and jackfruit burgers on spelt pita and grain bowls with squash tuna are highlights.

The Nile Cafe

The Nile Cafe in Germantown is touted as the longest running vegan restaurant in Philly, making all the jerk chicken legs, pepper steak, and macaroni and cheese that a vegan heart could desire. It’s vegan soul food that even the most carnivorous of eaters can enjoy, especially with a side of cheesecake or coconut milk ice cream. Order online for takeout and local delivery.

Germantown Espresso Bar

Most Philadelphians would know a “Citywide” as a shot and a beer, but if caffeine is your vice of choice, Germantown Espresso Bar serves a large coffee and espresso combo by the same name. Now that you’re fully awake, you can enjoy the vibe of the neighborhood shop, where both the clientele and the staff are extremely convivial. Keep an eye on social media for live events.

Uncle Bobbie's Coffee & Books

There is no more pleasant experience than browsing in a book store while drinking a hot coffee, and at Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books, you have the best of both worlds. That’s because the store was opened to celebrate books written by marginalized voices (the children’s section is especially great). Uncle Bobbie’s is the best place to get a coffee, specialty lemonade, or pastry from Crust Vegan Bakery as well as the book on your list you’ve been meaning to buy.

Salam Cafe

Open from breakfast until dinner every day but Sunday, Salam Cafe is one of the Northwest’s best destinations for Ethiopian fare, like massive platters of beef stew and rice, or more Middle Eastern offerings like falafel and hummus. Weekend breakfast specials include veggie firfir and shakshuka.

Related Maps

Attic Brewing Company

It’s impossible to go far in Philadelphia without hitting a brewery, but with its recently expanded outdoor seating area and its rotating food trucks, Attic Brewing Company is one worth traveling for. There are over a dozen beers on tap, and Deke’s BBQ is right next door. Plus, there is a calendar-full of weekly events like live music and B-movie screenings. With summer around the corner, Attic’s enormous patio is bound to be a worthwhile visit.

Sister Muhammad's Kitchen

Hoagies, cheesesteaks, burgers, and fried fish and chicken are all standouts at lunch spot Sister Muhammad’s Kitchen at the Wayne Junction intersection in Germantown. Don’t forget to get something sweet from the menu — the bean pies in particular are a local favorite.

Related Maps