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chicken, fish, and spring rolls piled on banana leaves
The kamayan at Perla on East Passyunk Avenue in Philadelphia
Courtesy Perla

Where to Eat on East Passyunk Avenue

11 essential restaurants on South Philly’s hottest restaurant strip

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The kamayan at Perla on East Passyunk Avenue in Philadelphia
| Courtesy Perla

South Philadelphia has always been known for Italian food and East Passyunk Avenue has always had restaurants. But in the last decade, something changed: This off-the-beaten-path street became THE place to eat in Philly.

In a half mile stretch on the diagonal South Philly street, classic Italian eateries line up next to hipster dim sum joints, white-tablecloth fine-dining destinations, and casual neighborhood BYOBs. Chefs on the Avenue are known for their welcoming attitude toward newcomers — their collaborative spirit has helped make East Passyunk what it is today.

This map doesn’t cover every recommendable bakery, bagel shop, takeout spot, cocktail bar, and pub on the street, but represents a tight collection of the greatest hits.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Le Virtù

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1927 Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(215) 271-5626
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For more than a decade, Le Virtu has had a laser-like focus on the rustic food of Italy’s Abruzzo region. According to owners Francis Cratil-Cretarola and Cathy Lee, Philly has the largest Abruzzese population in the U.S. That may contribute to its success, but everyone can get behind handmade pasta, house-butchered meat, and one of the city’s most charming gardens. Le Virtu is known for its maccheroni alla mugnaia: a hand-pulled single strand of pasta in a simple olive oil, garlic, and hot pepper sauce. Just up the street, sister spot Brigantessa has a broader scope with a focus on more of southern Italy, with Neapolitan-style pizzas a highlight of the menu.

plate of spaghetti and bowl of bread Kateri Likoudis

2. Stargazy

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1838 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(215) 309-2761
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Stargazy is worth a visit based on curiosity alone, since British pie shops serving beef and onion–stuffed pies alongside mashed potatoes and parsley sauce aren’t exactly common around here. Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting to come back again and again.

3. Saté Kampar

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1837 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(267) 324-3860
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Skewers are the name of the game at chef Ange Branca’s Malaysian BYOB. The chicken, beef, goat, pork, and tofu saté are cooked over a custom grill that uses coconut shell briquettes and served with a peanut sauce you’ll want to eat with a spoon. Order five or 10 to go with nasi lemak bungkus (coconut cream-soaked rice snuggled with anchovies, egg, peanuts, and the hot sauce sambal in a banana leaf), and a side of the spicy pickled vegetables called achat.

Maria Young

4. Marra's

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1734 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(215) 463-9249
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For more than 90 years, Marra’s has cooked old world Italian food in the heart of South Philly. This family-owned restaurant is known for its brick-oven pizza. Craving pasta instead? The ravioli and gnocchi are made in-house. This is the place to order spaghetti with red sauce, veal Milanese, and cannoli, with a carafe of the house red.

5. Mr. Martino's Trattoria

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1646 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(215) 755-0663

Mr. Martino’s is an experience. For three decades, owners Maria and Marc Farnese have served Italian food in a former hardware store that still feels a little bit like a hardware store. It’s only open on weekends and only takes cash, and tables can’t be booked online. Don’t let those challenges be a deterrent. This candlelit restaurant — a mix of homey and romantic — is worth the extra effort. Order the baked ricotta appetizer, pasta with red sauce, or anything special Maria is cooking up in the back, and bring a bottle of wine — or two, because the kitchen occasionally gets behind.

6. Bing Bing Dim Sum

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1648 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(215) 279-7702
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Ben Puchowitz and Shawn Darragh first introduced Philly to their quirky take on Asian cuisines at ramen shop Cheu before heading to East Passyunk Avenue to show off their dim sum skills. At the colorful Bing Bing, the soft pretzel–like bao is stuffed with roast pork and broccoli rabe and the scarlet dumplings get their bright red hue from the addition of beets to the dough, while the barbecue pork caterpillar bread is almost dessert-sweet thanks to caramelized honey.

a hand lifting a dumpling out of a basket M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

7. Cantina Los Caballitos

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1651 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(215) 755-3550
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With its brightly painted stucco exterior and roomy patio with umbrellas and string lights, it’s easy to see why anyone strolling the Avenue would be drawn to this lively Mexican restaurant, known as Cantina. The margaritas, in flavors like blood orange and guava, are among the best in town, the rotating specials are always interesting, and the vegan options are plentiful. There’s goat, steak, and chorizo here, but any of the build-your-own tacos and burritos can be made with seitan or smoked tofu.

8. Laurel

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1617 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(215) 271-8299
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With years of experience working for chef Georges Perrier at Philadelphia’s esteemed Le Bec-Fin and a win on Bravo’s Top Chef under his belt, Nick Elmi has serious cooking cred. Laurel, his small flagship restaurant, is where he gets to show off. The chef puts out six- and nine-course tasting menus that feature high-end ingredients (the succulent A5 Wagyu beef is a must-try), intricate techniques, and photo-worthy plating.

Laurel [official photo]

9. Noord

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1046 Tasker St
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(267) 909-9704
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Bring your own bottle to Philly’s finest Dutch restaurant. At Noord, Joncarl Lachman uses seasonal and local ingredients to create his Northern European menu. Expect plenty of fresh herbs, vinegar-based ingredients, and seafood. Favorites include the fried pork croquettes, called bitterballen, mustard soup topped with a scallop, a smoked fish and pickle board, and warm, crusty bread with whipped butter.

10. Fond

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1537 S 11th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 551-5000
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Lee Styer and Jessie Prawlucki’s small, sophisticated Fond works whether you’re looking for a glass of wine and snack of escargot at the bar or a full meal of modern American dishes in the dining room. The menu changes often but fortunately for Philly diners some highlights, like the grilled duck hearts with tahini yogurt, stick around.

11. Perla

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1535 S 11th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(267) 273-0008
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Finding Filipino food in Philadelphia is still something of a challenge, but Lou Boquila deserves credit for making it easier. The chef, who was born in the Philippines, opened Perla in 2016 to serve an elevated take on traditional Filipino dishes. The restaurant is known for its twice-a-week, family-style kamayan meal where diners eat half a dozen dishes — including pork belly, whole fried fish, and jasmine rice with garlic — with their hands. Across town, Boquila’s Sarvida on Girard Avenue is also a BYOB focused on Filipino fare.

1. Le Virtù

1927 Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148
plate of spaghetti and bowl of bread Kateri Likoudis

For more than a decade, Le Virtu has had a laser-like focus on the rustic food of Italy’s Abruzzo region. According to owners Francis Cratil-Cretarola and Cathy Lee, Philly has the largest Abruzzese population in the U.S. That may contribute to its success, but everyone can get behind handmade pasta, house-butchered meat, and one of the city’s most charming gardens. Le Virtu is known for its maccheroni alla mugnaia: a hand-pulled single strand of pasta in a simple olive oil, garlic, and hot pepper sauce. Just up the street, sister spot Brigantessa has a broader scope with a focus on more of southern Italy, with Neapolitan-style pizzas a highlight of the menu.

1927 Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148

2. Stargazy

1838 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148

Stargazy is worth a visit based on curiosity alone, since British pie shops serving beef and onion–stuffed pies alongside mashed potatoes and parsley sauce aren’t exactly common around here. Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting to come back again and again.

1838 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148

3. Saté Kampar

1837 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Maria Young

Skewers are the name of the game at chef Ange Branca’s Malaysian BYOB. The chicken, beef, goat, pork, and tofu saté are cooked over a custom grill that uses coconut shell briquettes and served with a peanut sauce you’ll want to eat with a spoon. Order five or 10 to go with nasi lemak bungkus (coconut cream-soaked rice snuggled with anchovies, egg, peanuts, and the hot sauce sambal in a banana leaf), and a side of the spicy pickled vegetables called achat.

1837 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148

4. Marra's

1734 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148

For more than 90 years, Marra’s has cooked old world Italian food in the heart of South Philly. This family-owned restaurant is known for its brick-oven pizza. Craving pasta instead? The ravioli and gnocchi are made in-house. This is the place to order spaghetti with red sauce, veal Milanese, and cannoli, with a carafe of the house red.

1734 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148

5. Mr. Martino's Trattoria

1646 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148

Mr. Martino’s is an experience. For three decades, owners Maria and Marc Farnese have served Italian food in a former hardware store that still feels a little bit like a hardware store. It’s only open on weekends and only takes cash, and tables can’t be booked online. Don’t let those challenges be a deterrent. This candlelit restaurant — a mix of homey and romantic — is worth the extra effort. Order the baked ricotta appetizer, pasta with red sauce, or anything special Maria is cooking up in the back, and bring a bottle of wine — or two, because the kitchen occasionally gets behind.

1646 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148

6. Bing Bing Dim Sum

1648 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148
a hand lifting a dumpling out of a basket M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Ben Puchowitz and Shawn Darragh first introduced Philly to their quirky take on Asian cuisines at ramen shop Cheu before heading to East Passyunk Avenue to show off their dim sum skills. At the colorful Bing Bing, the soft pretzel–like bao is stuffed with roast pork and broccoli rabe and the scarlet dumplings get their bright red hue from the addition of beets to the dough, while the barbecue pork caterpillar bread is almost dessert-sweet thanks to caramelized honey.

1648 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148

7. Cantina Los Caballitos

1651 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148

With its brightly painted stucco exterior and roomy patio with umbrellas and string lights, it’s easy to see why anyone strolling the Avenue would be drawn to this lively Mexican restaurant, known as Cantina. The margaritas, in flavors like blood orange and guava, are among the best in town, the rotating specials are always interesting, and the vegan options are plentiful. There’s goat, steak, and chorizo here, but any of the build-your-own tacos and burritos can be made with seitan or smoked tofu.

1651 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148

8. Laurel

1617 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Laurel [official photo]

With years of experience working for chef Georges Perrier at Philadelphia’s esteemed Le Bec-Fin and a win on Bravo’s Top Chef under his belt, Nick Elmi has serious cooking cred. Laurel, his small flagship restaurant, is where he gets to show off. The chef puts out six- and nine-course tasting menus that feature high-end ingredients (the succulent A5 Wagyu beef is a must-try), intricate techniques, and photo-worthy plating.

1617 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148

9. Noord

1046 Tasker St, Philadelphia, PA 19148

Bring your own bottle to Philly’s finest Dutch restaurant. At Noord, Joncarl Lachman uses seasonal and local ingredients to create his Northern European menu. Expect plenty of fresh herbs, vinegar-based ingredients, and seafood. Favorites include the fried pork croquettes, called bitterballen, mustard soup topped with a scallop, a smoked fish and pickle board, and warm, crusty bread with whipped butter.

1046 Tasker St
Philadelphia, PA 19148

10. Fond

1537 S 11th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Lee Styer and Jessie Prawlucki’s small, sophisticated Fond works whether you’re looking for a glass of wine and snack of escargot at the bar or a full meal of modern American dishes in the dining room. The menu changes often but fortunately for Philly diners some highlights, like the grilled duck hearts with tahini yogurt, stick around.

1537 S 11th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

11. Perla

1535 S 11th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Finding Filipino food in Philadelphia is still something of a challenge, but Lou Boquila deserves credit for making it easier. The chef, who was born in the Philippines, opened Perla in 2016 to serve an elevated take on traditional Filipino dishes. The restaurant is known for its twice-a-week, family-style kamayan meal where diners eat half a dozen dishes — including pork belly, whole fried fish, and jasmine rice with garlic — with their hands. Across town, Boquila’s Sarvida on Girard Avenue is also a BYOB focused on Filipino fare.

1535 S 11th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

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