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Updating the Eater Heatmap: Where to Eat Right Now

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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. While openings trickled in over the winter, with spring has come a huge burst of new energy and exciting new places to check out, so this update is major. Welcome to the Heatmap newcomers Society Hill Society, Volver, and the Treemont — and also take note of a couple of familiar names that now demand a second look due to major changes: Lolita and a.kitchen.

Have any suggestions? Any vital omissions? Leave 'em in the comments or send 'em down the tipline.


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Petruce et al

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Brothers Jonathan and Justin Petruce (whose collective experience includes Mémé and Little Fish) built the kitchen for this new New American around a wood-fired oven and an Argentinean-style grill, so expect a little char. (And keep your eyes peeled for pizza, which isn't on the menu but has made a couple of special appearances.) Partner/GM/wine guru Tim Kweeder and beverage director George Costa focus on smart pairings that are always in service of the food.
How does a ten-year-old restaurant land a spot on the Heatmap? By reimagining itself as a totally new restaurant, with a street food focus and a brand new liquor license. Make no mistake: the carne asada and the charm may have survived, but Lolita is brand new again.
Few restaurants have gotten Philadelphians talking — really talking, and debating, and placing wagers — quite like Jose Garces' new showpiece that pulls out all the stops at the Kimmel Center. If you're not prepared to splash out on the full tasting menu experience, you can always duck into Bar Volver for cocktails and small plates to get a look at what everyone's been buzzing about.

The Treemont

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Chip Roman's finally got a Center City restaurant to his name, and the menu and revamped interior are both getting high marks from diners so far. And it works as well for a full-on date night as it does an after-work drink, with a menu ranging from bar snacks through high-end entrees, cozy reserved seating in the loft, and ample room for walk-ins by the lower-level bar.

Le Chéri

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When the owners of Bibou open a swank new restaurant in the Art Alliance building, it's a pretty easy sell. The cuisine is as classic French as it gets, offering selections like pate en croute, lamb pot au feu, and cassoulet.

a.kitchen

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a.kitchen may be a familiar name, but for a while there, it was crying out for someone to breathe new life into it. And that's exactly what it got when operator David Fields partnered with Ellen Yin and Eli Kulp (who's installed High Street alum Jon Nodler as chef de cuisine) — the new menu is every bit as intriguing and satisfying as you'd expect from the team behind Fork and High Street on Market.

Tria Taproom

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The draft system is pretty attention-grabbing, with 40 taps carrying beer, wine, cider, and sodas, plus the ability to go online and look up exactly how much is left of that rare brew you're stalking. But this is also the only Tria with a full kitchen, serving flatbreads and elevated pub grub in addition to the cheeses you'd expect from any place carrying the Tria name.

The Fat Ham

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Kevin Sbraga's second restaurant is a tiny U City spot serving Southern food to early raves. The menu nails respectful renditions of comfort classics with just enough cheffy twists and surprises to keep things fresh. In addition to the hot chicken and oyster po'boys, look for a very strong bar program, with barrel-aged bourbon cocktails and draft options that include beer, wine, and sweet tea.
Nicholas Elmi is a favorite to win the current season of Top Chef, but the cooking he's doing at his new E. Passyunk BYOB overshadows even Bravo-reality-show-level hype. The room is as tiny as it is lovely, so plan ahead.

The Good King Tavern

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GKT opened in the same month as Le Cheri, meaning things are suddenly looking way up for Philly francophiles. The Good King is decidedly less white-tablecloth, with a lively bar and a classic brasserie menu with some inventive touches from chef Paul Lyons, who worked with George Sabatino for years.

Society Hill Society

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Society Hill Society opened quietly on Headhouse Square, where the Artful Dodger sat for decades. Chef Yun Fuentes, who not too long ago opened Rosa Blanca with longtime employer Jose Garces, has switched gears with an inventive menu that pays homage to classic regional dishes and promises to rely heavily on the farmer's market that takes place just outside its door.

Sancho Pistola's

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Chef Adan Trinidad worked wonders in the kitchen at Jose Pistola's, and from there it didn't take long for the expansion talk to start. Younger brother Sancho's been kitted out with a more expansive menu that ranges from authentic (e.g. mole as crafted by Trinidad's mother) to the... well, to falafel tacos. Of course, the beer list is major, but the bar also makes great use of mezcal.

Pizzeria Vetri

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It may not have come as a huge surprise, but Pizzeria Vetri started racking up praise immediately for its pistachio pesto-gilded rotolo and Neapolitan pies that Craig LaBan called "contenders for the city's best." Desserts and an exciting bar program round things out.

Petruce et al

Brothers Jonathan and Justin Petruce (whose collective experience includes Mémé and Little Fish) built the kitchen for this new New American around a wood-fired oven and an Argentinean-style grill, so expect a little char. (And keep your eyes peeled for pizza, which isn't on the menu but has made a couple of special appearances.) Partner/GM/wine guru Tim Kweeder and beverage director George Costa focus on smart pairings that are always in service of the food.

Lolita

How does a ten-year-old restaurant land a spot on the Heatmap? By reimagining itself as a totally new restaurant, with a street food focus and a brand new liquor license. Make no mistake: the carne asada and the charm may have survived, but Lolita is brand new again.

Volver

Few restaurants have gotten Philadelphians talking — really talking, and debating, and placing wagers — quite like Jose Garces' new showpiece that pulls out all the stops at the Kimmel Center. If you're not prepared to splash out on the full tasting menu experience, you can always duck into Bar Volver for cocktails and small plates to get a look at what everyone's been buzzing about.

The Treemont

Chip Roman's finally got a Center City restaurant to his name, and the menu and revamped interior are both getting high marks from diners so far. And it works as well for a full-on date night as it does an after-work drink, with a menu ranging from bar snacks through high-end entrees, cozy reserved seating in the loft, and ample room for walk-ins by the lower-level bar.

Le Chéri

When the owners of Bibou open a swank new restaurant in the Art Alliance building, it's a pretty easy sell. The cuisine is as classic French as it gets, offering selections like pate en croute, lamb pot au feu, and cassoulet.

a.kitchen

a.kitchen may be a familiar name, but for a while there, it was crying out for someone to breathe new life into it. And that's exactly what it got when operator David Fields partnered with Ellen Yin and Eli Kulp (who's installed High Street alum Jon Nodler as chef de cuisine) — the new menu is every bit as intriguing and satisfying as you'd expect from the team behind Fork and High Street on Market.

Tria Taproom

The draft system is pretty attention-grabbing, with 40 taps carrying beer, wine, cider, and sodas, plus the ability to go online and look up exactly how much is left of that rare brew you're stalking. But this is also the only Tria with a full kitchen, serving flatbreads and elevated pub grub in addition to the cheeses you'd expect from any place carrying the Tria name.

The Fat Ham

Kevin Sbraga's second restaurant is a tiny U City spot serving Southern food to early raves. The menu nails respectful renditions of comfort classics with just enough cheffy twists and surprises to keep things fresh. In addition to the hot chicken and oyster po'boys, look for a very strong bar program, with barrel-aged bourbon cocktails and draft options that include beer, wine, and sweet tea.

Laurel

Nicholas Elmi is a favorite to win the current season of Top Chef, but the cooking he's doing at his new E. Passyunk BYOB overshadows even Bravo-reality-show-level hype. The room is as tiny as it is lovely, so plan ahead.

The Good King Tavern

GKT opened in the same month as Le Cheri, meaning things are suddenly looking way up for Philly francophiles. The Good King is decidedly less white-tablecloth, with a lively bar and a classic brasserie menu with some inventive touches from chef Paul Lyons, who worked with George Sabatino for years.

Society Hill Society

Society Hill Society opened quietly on Headhouse Square, where the Artful Dodger sat for decades. Chef Yun Fuentes, who not too long ago opened Rosa Blanca with longtime employer Jose Garces, has switched gears with an inventive menu that pays homage to classic regional dishes and promises to rely heavily on the farmer's market that takes place just outside its door.

Sancho Pistola's

Chef Adan Trinidad worked wonders in the kitchen at Jose Pistola's, and from there it didn't take long for the expansion talk to start. Younger brother Sancho's been kitted out with a more expansive menu that ranges from authentic (e.g. mole as crafted by Trinidad's mother) to the... well, to falafel tacos. Of course, the beer list is major, but the bar also makes great use of mezcal.

Pizzeria Vetri

It may not have come as a huge surprise, but Pizzeria Vetri started racking up praise immediately for its pistachio pesto-gilded rotolo and Neapolitan pies that Craig LaBan called "contenders for the city's best." Desserts and an exciting bar program round things out.

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