clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
A metal paella dish filled with rice and topped with chicken, chorizo, tomatoes, greens, lemon wedges, and slices of bread.
Paella at Amada, a Spanish restaurant in Philly’s Old City.
Amada

Eat Your Way Through Philadelphia’s Historic District

Where to eat in Old City after you’ve seen the Liberty Bell, from morning pastries through flights of wine and dinner at acclaimed restaurants

View as Map
Paella at Amada, a Spanish restaurant in Philly’s Old City.
| Amada

It should come as no surprise that the birthplace of American democracy — home to the Liberty Bell, Ben Franklin’s print shop, Betsy Ross’s flag-making studio, and the very same building where the U.S. Constitution was signed — just so happens to be Philly’s tourist epicenter.

Fortunately, instead of being lined with middling cheesesteak joints geared toward school groups and the vacationing set, the cobblestone streets of the Old City neighborhood in Philadelphia’s Historic District are full of all-day dining options frequented by locals and visitors alike. From storied taverns and modern hot spots to 19th-century ice cream shops, Old City’s top dining destinations are steeped in their own fascinating histories.

For all the latest Philly dining intel, subscribe to Eater Philly’s newsletter.

Read More
Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process. If you buy something or book a reservation from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Tuna Bar

Copy Link

Chef Ken Sze honed his skills at his family’s sushi restaurant in South Jersey before heading to Old City to open Tuna Bar. The stylish spot has a full bar with wine, beer, and cocktails and serves both lunch and dinner.

A dining room with tall ceilings, a large pillar, wooden chairs and tables, and green booths bathed in light from tall windows.
The interior of Tuna Bar.
Rebecca McAlpin

Philly Style Bagels

Copy Link

Come early, especially on weekends — the Old City location of this super popular shop tends to run out of most bagels before noon. Grab a container of Philly Style Bagels’ whitefish salad to try with the fan-favorite everything bagel, which stands out thanks to mustard seeds and red pepper flakes, or less traditional options such as the sumac-crusted bagel.

ICI Macarons & Cafe

Copy Link

The macarons are tasty but it’s ICI’s other inventive pastries that have diners coming back again and again. Don’t leave with fewer than three selections, such as a goat cheese everything croissant, a brie crioche (a croissant-brioche hybrid), and a kouign amann with lemon curd and cream cheese.

Home Cuban Cafe

Copy Link

Pop into Dairys Mayoral’s Home Cuban Cafe for a daily cafe con leche, guava pastry, and a choice of meat or vegan empanadas. Make it a meal with the Cubano sandwich layered with roasted pulled pork. And keep an eye out for refreshing tropical fruit smoothies like soursop and guava.

Fork has been on the cutting edge of fine dining for more than 25 years, embracing the farm-to-table ethos long before it was trendy. This Old City institution is the crown jewel of High Street Hospitality Group, whose founder, Ellen Yin, won the prestigious James Beard Award for outstanding restaurateur in 2023. Indulge in earthy breads and flaky pastries, thoughtful cocktails, and the freshest, crispest vegetables when you come for an intimate date night or a group-friendly brunch or happy hour.

Panorama

Copy Link

Philadelphia’s wine scene has been flourishing as of late, thanks in no small part to Panorama’s longtime sommelier, Bill Eccleston. At this dark-wood wine bar inside the Penn’s View Hotel, sample dozens of wines from the world’s largest preservation and dispensing system, either by the glass or incorporated into fanciful flights with themes like “wines for beer lovers” and “future cult classics.” Chef Matthew Gentile’s menu features house-made pastas that make pairing easy.

Sonny's Famous Steaks

Copy Link

If a cheesesteak is an absolute must, check out the friendly Sonny’s Famous Steaks, which has garnered its fair share of national accolades for sandwiches stuffed with rib-eye and Whiz. Another good Old City option for any Philly cheesesteak collector is Campo’s, whose Heater sandwich is a popular spicy take on the classic. The longstanding shop also offers several vegan items.

The Bourse

Copy Link

It’s hard to narrow down what to order at the Bourse, a globetrotting food hall in the historic Bourse building. Consider refreshing seafood bowls from Abunai Poke, cornflakes-battered shrimp tacos with handmade tortillas from Rebel Taco, or loaded fried chicken sandwiches from Freebyrd Chicken.

The Franklin Fountain

Copy Link

History buffs and antiquarians Eric and Ryan Berley’s old-timey soda fountain doesn’t mess around when it comes to ice cream authenticity. From period-perfect decor to classic Philadelphia-style scoops and fizzy phosphates and floats, the Franklin Fountain is Wonka-level decadent and timelessly tasty. Pro tip: Sometimes the line is shorter next door at the Franklin Ice Cream Bar, a sibling with a smaller but still excellent menu.

Iron Chef Jose Garces’ first restaurant remains a Philly favorite after more than a decade of traditional Spanish tapas. Shrimp in garlic sauce and bacon-wrapped dates are among the go-tos at the stylish Amada.

Khyber Pass Pub

Copy Link

Given the neon craft beer signs illuminating Khyber Pass Pub’s windows, it would be easy to assume that this is just another Philly beer bar. But while Khyber’s draft and bottle offerings are among the city’s best, what sets this former dive apart is its menu of New Orleans-inspired fare. Philly might be miles from the Big Easy but the po’ boys, beignets, and gumbo here are no joke. There are also several vegan options like seitan wings and a tofu scramble at brunch.

Royal Boucherie

Copy Link

Every neighborhood should have a solid French restaurant. In Old City, it’s lively brasserie Royal Boucherie. Pop in for a glass of wine or a full meal. Either way, the move is to snag a seat under the string lights on the hidden deck and start with charcuterie and selections from the raw bar.

Han Dynasty

Copy Link

A tiny Chestnut Street restaurant was the beginning of Philly’s love affair with Sichuan cuisine. Han Dynasty is now a mini-empire with three Philly locations and additional restaurants in three states. These days the flagship operation in Old City has moved across the street to statelier digs with more space for diners to enjoy fiery dan dan noodles, cumin lamb, and twice-cooked pork belly.

Buk Chon

Copy Link

Korean BYOB Buk Chon, with its exposed brick walls and comfy banquettes, is where to go for double-fried chicken with chile sauce, a plate piled with bulgogi, and sizzling bibimbap.

Amina serves contemporary Southern cuisine with local and international flourishes such as a dressed-up shrimp po’ boy cheesesteak on an everything pretzel roll, flaming lobster bisque, and a Nigerian hot chicken sandwich. Felicia Wilson and chef Darryl Harmon’s elegant lounge is ideal for birthday parties, dates, and half-off original cocktails at happy hour, including a gin-based tropical drink called the Amadi with pineapple and orgeat.

Who knew that something as humble as hummus could change the way the nation viewed Israeli eating? Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook of Zahav — which has won coveted awards like best restaurant in the country — have cultivated a masterful crew to run the open kitchen from which diners are treated to multi-course meals featuring smart takes on classic Middle Eastern flavors, including an iconic lamb shoulder braised in pomegranate molasses.

A top-down view of a wooden table laden with pita bread and dishes filled with hummus and other spreads.
A feast at Zahav.
Alexandra Hawkins

Tuna Bar

Chef Ken Sze honed his skills at his family’s sushi restaurant in South Jersey before heading to Old City to open Tuna Bar. The stylish spot has a full bar with wine, beer, and cocktails and serves both lunch and dinner.

A dining room with tall ceilings, a large pillar, wooden chairs and tables, and green booths bathed in light from tall windows.
The interior of Tuna Bar.
Rebecca McAlpin

Philly Style Bagels

Come early, especially on weekends — the Old City location of this super popular shop tends to run out of most bagels before noon. Grab a container of Philly Style Bagels’ whitefish salad to try with the fan-favorite everything bagel, which stands out thanks to mustard seeds and red pepper flakes, or less traditional options such as the sumac-crusted bagel.

ICI Macarons & Cafe

The macarons are tasty but it’s ICI’s other inventive pastries that have diners coming back again and again. Don’t leave with fewer than three selections, such as a goat cheese everything croissant, a brie crioche (a croissant-brioche hybrid), and a kouign amann with lemon curd and cream cheese.

Home Cuban Cafe

Pop into Dairys Mayoral’s Home Cuban Cafe for a daily cafe con leche, guava pastry, and a choice of meat or vegan empanadas. Make it a meal with the Cubano sandwich layered with roasted pulled pork. And keep an eye out for refreshing tropical fruit smoothies like soursop and guava.

Fork

Fork has been on the cutting edge of fine dining for more than 25 years, embracing the farm-to-table ethos long before it was trendy. This Old City institution is the crown jewel of High Street Hospitality Group, whose founder, Ellen Yin, won the prestigious James Beard Award for outstanding restaurateur in 2023. Indulge in earthy breads and flaky pastries, thoughtful cocktails, and the freshest, crispest vegetables when you come for an intimate date night or a group-friendly brunch or happy hour.

Panorama

Philadelphia’s wine scene has been flourishing as of late, thanks in no small part to Panorama’s longtime sommelier, Bill Eccleston. At this dark-wood wine bar inside the Penn’s View Hotel, sample dozens of wines from the world’s largest preservation and dispensing system, either by the glass or incorporated into fanciful flights with themes like “wines for beer lovers” and “future cult classics.” Chef Matthew Gentile’s menu features house-made pastas that make pairing easy.

Sonny's Famous Steaks

If a cheesesteak is an absolute must, check out the friendly Sonny’s Famous Steaks, which has garnered its fair share of national accolades for sandwiches stuffed with rib-eye and Whiz. Another good Old City option for any Philly cheesesteak collector is Campo’s, whose Heater sandwich is a popular spicy take on the classic. The longstanding shop also offers several vegan items.

The Bourse

It’s hard to narrow down what to order at the Bourse, a globetrotting food hall in the historic Bourse building. Consider refreshing seafood bowls from Abunai Poke, cornflakes-battered shrimp tacos with handmade tortillas from Rebel Taco, or loaded fried chicken sandwiches from Freebyrd Chicken.

The Franklin Fountain

History buffs and antiquarians Eric and Ryan Berley’s old-timey soda fountain doesn’t mess around when it comes to ice cream authenticity. From period-perfect decor to classic Philadelphia-style scoops and fizzy phosphates and floats, the Franklin Fountain is Wonka-level decadent and timelessly tasty. Pro tip: Sometimes the line is shorter next door at the Franklin Ice Cream Bar, a sibling with a smaller but still excellent menu.

Amada

Iron Chef Jose Garces’ first restaurant remains a Philly favorite after more than a decade of traditional Spanish tapas. Shrimp in garlic sauce and bacon-wrapped dates are among the go-tos at the stylish Amada.

Khyber Pass Pub

Given the neon craft beer signs illuminating Khyber Pass Pub’s windows, it would be easy to assume that this is just another Philly beer bar. But while Khyber’s draft and bottle offerings are among the city’s best, what sets this former dive apart is its menu of New Orleans-inspired fare. Philly might be miles from the Big Easy but the po’ boys, beignets, and gumbo here are no joke. There are also several vegan options like seitan wings and a tofu scramble at brunch.

Royal Boucherie

Every neighborhood should have a solid French restaurant. In Old City, it’s lively brasserie Royal Boucherie. Pop in for a glass of wine or a full meal. Either way, the move is to snag a seat under the string lights on the hidden deck and start with charcuterie and selections from the raw bar.

Han Dynasty

A tiny Chestnut Street restaurant was the beginning of Philly’s love affair with Sichuan cuisine. Han Dynasty is now a mini-empire with three Philly locations and additional restaurants in three states. These days the flagship operation in Old City has moved across the street to statelier digs with more space for diners to enjoy fiery dan dan noodles, cumin lamb, and twice-cooked pork belly.

Buk Chon

Korean BYOB Buk Chon, with its exposed brick walls and comfy banquettes, is where to go for double-fried chicken with chile sauce, a plate piled with bulgogi, and sizzling bibimbap.

Amina

Amina serves contemporary Southern cuisine with local and international flourishes such as a dressed-up shrimp po’ boy cheesesteak on an everything pretzel roll, flaming lobster bisque, and a Nigerian hot chicken sandwich. Felicia Wilson and chef Darryl Harmon’s elegant lounge is ideal for birthday parties, dates, and half-off original cocktails at happy hour, including a gin-based tropical drink called the Amadi with pineapple and orgeat.

Related Maps

Zahav

Who knew that something as humble as hummus could change the way the nation viewed Israeli eating? Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook of Zahav — which has won coveted awards like best restaurant in the country — have cultivated a masterful crew to run the open kitchen from which diners are treated to multi-course meals featuring smart takes on classic Middle Eastern flavors, including an iconic lamb shoulder braised in pomegranate molasses.

A top-down view of a wooden table laden with pita bread and dishes filled with hummus and other spreads.
A feast at Zahav.
Alexandra Hawkins

Related Maps