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The Hottest Restaurants in Philly Right Now, January 2015

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More often than not, tipsters, readers, friends and family of Eater have one question: Where should I eat right now? What are the new restaurants? What's everyone talking about? While the Eater 38 is a crucial resource covering old standbys and neighborhood essentials across the city, it is not a chronicle of the 'it' places of the moment.

Thus, we offer the Eater Heat Map, which will change continually to highlight where the crowds are flocking to, rightthisverymoment. This month's update welcomes La Divisa Meats to the Reading Terminal Market, Palladino's to the East Passyunk scene, Win Win Coffee Bar co-op to Callowhill, and Juniper Commons to Broad Street's SouthStar Lofts.

Restaurants are listed in order of opening date - newest first. Feedback always welcome via the comments section or the tipline.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Abe Fisher

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"Foods of the Jewish diaspora" might not be the catchiest tagline you'll ever hear, but it turns out to be a killer concept for a restaurant. The menu of small plates (all sized very comfortably to split) pulls influence from Jewish traditions all over the world and is just unabashedly fun - if you think the very presence of shrimp fried rice on the menu is a surprise, wait until you see the actual dish. Drinks follow suit: all the cocktails (with awesome touches like barrel-aged Manischewitz) and wines (only by the glass) are the same price, encouraging you to explore and mix and match some lesser-known finds. If you're coming with a group, don't miss the Montreal-style smoked short rib feast (but specify you want it when you reserve your table; otherwise they only prep a couple per night). And now, they've got a great happy hour, too.

Dizengoff

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CookNSolo added two new hits to their portfolio at pretty much the same time, and they're next door neighbors. But while sibling Abe Fisher is a dinner spot with a wide-ranging menu, Dizengoff opens early, features picnic-table seating, and focuses mostly on one thing: seriously good hummus. It comes in a handful of different configurations each day (the toppings are highly seasonal and have been changing daily since they've into their groove), and arrives alongside a couple of salads and some top-notch pita - but there's nothing else on the menu except for a few drinks (including beer). Luckily, you don't really need anything else. NB: Keep an eye on Twitter if you're heading over later in the day, as they may sell out early.

Capofitto

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The Capogiro team has extended way beyond gelato with Capofitto in Old City. At the heart of the new concept are Neapolitan-style pizzas, fired in a custom wood-burning oven. Also on the menu are ripieni (think calzone), salads, starters, and — of course — gelato. Capofitto has a liquor license, and will be open until 1 a.m on weekends. Now, they've also added a must-try weekend brunch.

Kensington Quarters

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Packed into this Fishtown space is a bar, classroom and event space, restaurant with open kitchen, and a full-service butcher shop with windows on the meat locker. That means, depending on where you sit down to eat, you could have a full-on view of your meal being cooked and the animals that gave their life for your dinner. The theme of the place is sustainability and respect, all-around. The butcher shop (which retails dairy products in addition to fresh meat) is open six days a week, and the restaurant serves dinner nightly.
Aldine provides a lovely new showcase for George Sabatino, a particularly dedicated and humble chef who caught the attention of pretty much everyone while running the show at Stateside on East Passyunk. An a la carte menu as well as two new tasting menu options (one for omnivores and one for herbivores) feature dishes showcasing Sabatino's progressive-but-grounded style. Jennifer Sabatino has put forth a really strong bar program, too, treating even the non-alcoholic options with considerable finesse.

Lo Spiedo

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Its Navy Yard location puts Marc Vetri's latest project well outside the usual Center City scene, but the quirky menu and killer bar program make it worth a special trip. Less dogmatically Italian than most Vetri spots, the concept here melds Italian sensibilities and flavors with American rotisserie and barbecue standards. It's a no-brainer for lunch if you work in the complex (they've thoughtfully included many low- and no-alcohol beverage options), and they're doing happy hour, too. Behind the bar, they're putting extra effort into their cocktails, with housemade ginger beer, tonic water, amaro, and more. (If you tend toward savory or boozy cocktails, don't miss the porcini Martinez, garnished with sesame oil.)

V Street

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The owners of nationally renowned Vedge went a simpler route with their second concept: a hip yet casual cocktail bar serving street-food inspired small plates. As with Vedge, both food and drink menus offer selections that are at once approachable and exciting, that will appeal whether you adhere to a vegan diet or not. (Learn much, much more about the cocktails here.) Bonus: They just started serving lunch, too.

Brigantessa

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Owing in large part to the devoted following of sibling restaurant Le Virtu, Brigantessa has been busy from the start, with the bustling first level built around a welcoming bar and imposing Gianni Acunto wood-fired oven. (An upstairs dining room provides much more seating.) The menu draws influence from all over southern Italy, offering a wide variety of choices from antipasti and housemade charcuterie to true Neapolitan pizza, compelling pastas, and wood-grilled meats.

The Lodge at Winterfest

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Returning for its second year, the Lodge at Blue Cross River Rink Winterfest is a tented wonderland of food, drink, games, cozy couches, fireplaces, and more. Worth a visit whether you're skating or not, Winterfest features multiple food and drink options (including a full bar) executed by Garces Events. It's open daily from now through March 1. [Photo: Matt Stanley/DRWC]

Knead Bagels

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One of the major players in the apparent bagel renaissance Philly's finally undergoing is this "chef-driven" shop. The chef in question is Adam Willner, who used to run the show at Matyson byob before opening this shop with his wife Cheri. Expect plenty of unique and compelling flavor combos (like togarashi-spiced bagels, or black sesame bagels with kimchi spread) in addition to the classics. Killer breakfast and lunch sandwiches are now available all day, in addition to soups and salads. (Bonus: They offer delivery.)

La Divisa Meats

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La Divisa Meats is not a restaurant, but we couldn't let that disqualify it from this list, because it's something you should definitely be excited to check out. Following a change of ownership, this new stand at Reading Terminal is a reboot of the Border Springs Lamb Farm stand. You'll still find the lamb, but can now also pick up some seriously high-quality cuts of pork and veal, too. Better yet, that means that chef-owner Nick Macri has been able to run wild expanding his selection of charcuterie — you can easily throw together one outrageously meaty picnic here. The range of prepared items for takeout has also diversified: Pick up a shepherd's pie, roast, or rack of ribs for insta-dinner, or snag some ramen broth to play around with back home.

Palladino's

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Already a big name down the shore, Luke Palladino now has a signature space in Philly, right on bustling East Passyunk. The menu and vibe is special-occasion-worthy Italian steakhouse, but the space also makes for a versatile hangout spot for the neighborhood — the bar's open until 2 a.m. on weekends, serving a special menu of bar snacks and more (yes, there's a burger on there).

Win Win Coffee Bar

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Cooperatively owned Win Win (or, if you prefer, the tricky-to-search official stylization: W/N W/N) took a creative path to funding and getting off the ground — and technically, they're still raising funds and ramping up over time. It's both a coffee bar and a bar-bar, making it perhaps the perfect neighborhood hang: Drop by on your way to work for coffee and a bite to-go, then swing back around for happy hour.

Juniper Commons

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Top Chef alum (and owner of Sbraga and the Fat Ham) Kevin Sbraga's third restaurant is a nostalgia trip at the base of Dranoff's SouthStar lofts. It's a steakhouse-y ode to the 1980s, with much of the menu dedicated to raw bar selections and wood-grilled meats, including hearty prime rib. The bar follows suit, with a serious gin collection, riffs on the decade's greatest cocktail hits, and house-made and -bottled "wine coolers." Oh, and did we mention the tiny little salad bar option? Just one month in, the restaurant is now adding lunch and weekend brunch, as well.

Abe Fisher

"Foods of the Jewish diaspora" might not be the catchiest tagline you'll ever hear, but it turns out to be a killer concept for a restaurant. The menu of small plates (all sized very comfortably to split) pulls influence from Jewish traditions all over the world and is just unabashedly fun - if you think the very presence of shrimp fried rice on the menu is a surprise, wait until you see the actual dish. Drinks follow suit: all the cocktails (with awesome touches like barrel-aged Manischewitz) and wines (only by the glass) are the same price, encouraging you to explore and mix and match some lesser-known finds. If you're coming with a group, don't miss the Montreal-style smoked short rib feast (but specify you want it when you reserve your table; otherwise they only prep a couple per night). And now, they've got a great happy hour, too.

Dizengoff

CookNSolo added two new hits to their portfolio at pretty much the same time, and they're next door neighbors. But while sibling Abe Fisher is a dinner spot with a wide-ranging menu, Dizengoff opens early, features picnic-table seating, and focuses mostly on one thing: seriously good hummus. It comes in a handful of different configurations each day (the toppings are highly seasonal and have been changing daily since they've into their groove), and arrives alongside a couple of salads and some top-notch pita - but there's nothing else on the menu except for a few drinks (including beer). Luckily, you don't really need anything else. NB: Keep an eye on Twitter if you're heading over later in the day, as they may sell out early.

Capofitto

The Capogiro team has extended way beyond gelato with Capofitto in Old City. At the heart of the new concept are Neapolitan-style pizzas, fired in a custom wood-burning oven. Also on the menu are ripieni (think calzone), salads, starters, and — of course — gelato. Capofitto has a liquor license, and will be open until 1 a.m on weekends. Now, they've also added a must-try weekend brunch.

Kensington Quarters

Packed into this Fishtown space is a bar, classroom and event space, restaurant with open kitchen, and a full-service butcher shop with windows on the meat locker. That means, depending on where you sit down to eat, you could have a full-on view of your meal being cooked and the animals that gave their life for your dinner. The theme of the place is sustainability and respect, all-around. The butcher shop (which retails dairy products in addition to fresh meat) is open six days a week, and the restaurant serves dinner nightly.

Aldine

Aldine provides a lovely new showcase for George Sabatino, a particularly dedicated and humble chef who caught the attention of pretty much everyone while running the show at Stateside on East Passyunk. An a la carte menu as well as two new tasting menu options (one for omnivores and one for herbivores) feature dishes showcasing Sabatino's progressive-but-grounded style. Jennifer Sabatino has put forth a really strong bar program, too, treating even the non-alcoholic options with considerable finesse.

Lo Spiedo

Its Navy Yard location puts Marc Vetri's latest project well outside the usual Center City scene, but the quirky menu and killer bar program make it worth a special trip. Less dogmatically Italian than most Vetri spots, the concept here melds Italian sensibilities and flavors with American rotisserie and barbecue standards. It's a no-brainer for lunch if you work in the complex (they've thoughtfully included many low- and no-alcohol beverage options), and they're doing happy hour, too. Behind the bar, they're putting extra effort into their cocktails, with housemade ginger beer, tonic water, amaro, and more. (If you tend toward savory or boozy cocktails, don't miss the porcini Martinez, garnished with sesame oil.)

V Street

The owners of nationally renowned Vedge went a simpler route with their second concept: a hip yet casual cocktail bar serving street-food inspired small plates. As with Vedge, both food and drink menus offer selections that are at once approachable and exciting, that will appeal whether you adhere to a vegan diet or not. (Learn much, much more about the cocktails here.) Bonus: They just started serving lunch, too.

Brigantessa

Owing in large part to the devoted following of sibling restaurant Le Virtu, Brigantessa has been busy from the start, with the bustling first level built around a welcoming bar and imposing Gianni Acunto wood-fired oven. (An upstairs dining room provides much more seating.) The menu draws influence from all over southern Italy, offering a wide variety of choices from antipasti and housemade charcuterie to true Neapolitan pizza, compelling pastas, and wood-grilled meats.

The Lodge at Winterfest

Returning for its second year, the Lodge at Blue Cross River Rink Winterfest is a tented wonderland of food, drink, games, cozy couches, fireplaces, and more. Worth a visit whether you're skating or not, Winterfest features multiple food and drink options (including a full bar) executed by Garces Events. It's open daily from now through March 1. [Photo: Matt Stanley/DRWC]

Knead Bagels

One of the major players in the apparent bagel renaissance Philly's finally undergoing is this "chef-driven" shop. The chef in question is Adam Willner, who used to run the show at Matyson byob before opening this shop with his wife Cheri. Expect plenty of unique and compelling flavor combos (like togarashi-spiced bagels, or black sesame bagels with kimchi spread) in addition to the classics. Killer breakfast and lunch sandwiches are now available all day, in addition to soups and salads. (Bonus: They offer delivery.)

La Divisa Meats

La Divisa Meats is not a restaurant, but we couldn't let that disqualify it from this list, because it's something you should definitely be excited to check out. Following a change of ownership, this new stand at Reading Terminal is a reboot of the Border Springs Lamb Farm stand. You'll still find the lamb, but can now also pick up some seriously high-quality cuts of pork and veal, too. Better yet, that means that chef-owner Nick Macri has been able to run wild expanding his selection of charcuterie — you can easily throw together one outrageously meaty picnic here. The range of prepared items for takeout has also diversified: Pick up a shepherd's pie, roast, or rack of ribs for insta-dinner, or snag some ramen broth to play around with back home.

Palladino's

Already a big name down the shore, Luke Palladino now has a signature space in Philly, right on bustling East Passyunk. The menu and vibe is special-occasion-worthy Italian steakhouse, but the space also makes for a versatile hangout spot for the neighborhood — the bar's open until 2 a.m. on weekends, serving a special menu of bar snacks and more (yes, there's a burger on there).

Win Win Coffee Bar

Cooperatively owned Win Win (or, if you prefer, the tricky-to-search official stylization: W/N W/N) took a creative path to funding and getting off the ground — and technically, they're still raising funds and ramping up over time. It's both a coffee bar and a bar-bar, making it perhaps the perfect neighborhood hang: Drop by on your way to work for coffee and a bite to-go, then swing back around for happy hour.

Juniper Commons

Top Chef alum (and owner of Sbraga and the Fat Ham) Kevin Sbraga's third restaurant is a nostalgia trip at the base of Dranoff's SouthStar lofts. It's a steakhouse-y ode to the 1980s, with much of the menu dedicated to raw bar selections and wood-grilled meats, including hearty prime rib. The bar follows suit, with a serious gin collection, riffs on the decade's greatest cocktail hits, and house-made and -bottled "wine coolers." Oh, and did we mention the tiny little salad bar option? Just one month in, the restaurant is now adding lunch and weekend brunch, as well.

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