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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. It was a fairly quiet month in advance of the always-active spring openings season, but this month saw the addition of a great casual option from a huge-name chef (Rick Bayless' Tortas Fronteras) and an eclectic newcomer (Bourbon & Branch) that replaced a neighborhood stalwart with a dizzying array of tastes and events to dig into.

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.

1. Pizzeria Vetri

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1939 Callowhill St.
Philadelphia, PA
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.

2. Tria Taproom

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2005 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
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.

3. Le Chéri

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251 S 18th St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 546-7700
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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.

4. Avance

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1536 E Walnut Ln
Philadelphia, PA 19138
The buzz was built in for Avance, opening as it did in the storied former home of Le Bec-Fin, and marking the return of native son Justin Bogle from NYC, where he ran the show at two-Michelin-starred Gilt. So far, the rehab, service, and food have all lived up to and over the hype — and the enthusiasm extends from the top-end chef's tasting menu right down to the lamb burger served only in the downstairs bar.

5. High Street on Market

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308 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
High Street on Market replaced Fork:etc. to yield even more Eli Kulp and Ellen Yin amazingness. The bread, pastries, and breakfast and lunch options made it an insta-favorite, but now they're running one of the city's most compelling dinner services, too. (Pssst: An industry night on Tuesdays offers a steal of a tasting menu for just 25 bucks.)

6. Serpico

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604 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
With its stellar food and gorgeous interior, one of the city's most highly-anticipated openings in recent years just keeps living up to the hype.

7. The Good King Tavern

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614 South 7th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 625-3700
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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.

8. Artisan Boulanger Patissier

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1218 Mifflin St.
Philadelphia, PA
The new location of Artisan Boulanger is predictably fantastic. In addition to their large selection of top-notch classic pastries (including a number of different croissants; try the pistachio), they also offer coffee and take-out sandwiches for lunch, including very good banh mi.

9. Laurel

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1617 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(215) 271-8299
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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.

10. The Fat Ham

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3131 Walnut Street, University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 735-1913
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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.

11. Tortas Frontera

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3601 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Megastar chef Rick Bayless' ventured out of his Chicago comfort zone to open a campus outpost of his fast-ish casual sandwich option, and it's worth a trip to the non-traditional spot. (Well unless you're a student, in which case, for pete's sake, are those slippers?) No margaritas here, but there are breakfast sandwiches and aguas frescas and customizable guacamole.

12. Bourbon & Branch

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705 N 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(215) 238-0660
Visit Website
B&B replaced past-its-prime neighborhood pioneer Liberties this month, and so far attitudes about the change have been sunny. Reasons to check it out: its lighthearted demeanor and sheer variety. There's a huge and eclectic pub grub menu, a wide array of whiskeys available in one-ounce pours to encourage exploration, live music, showy cocktails with goofy names, movie nights, burlesque... suffice it to say, there's little risk of being bored here.

13. Sancho Pistola's

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19 W Girard Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(267) 324-3530
Visit Website
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.

1. Pizzeria Vetri

1939 Callowhill St., Philadelphia, PA
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.
1939 Callowhill St.
Philadelphia, PA

2. Tria Taproom

2005 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
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.
2005 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19103

3. Le Chéri

251 S 18th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
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.
251 S 18th St
Philadelphia, PA 19103

4. Avance

1536 E Walnut Ln, Philadelphia, PA 19138
The buzz was built in for Avance, opening as it did in the storied former home of Le Bec-Fin, and marking the return of native son Justin Bogle from NYC, where he ran the show at two-Michelin-starred Gilt. So far, the rehab, service, and food have all lived up to and over the hype — and the enthusiasm extends from the top-end chef's tasting menu right down to the lamb burger served only in the downstairs bar.
1536 E Walnut Ln
Philadelphia, PA 19138

5. High Street on Market

308 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
High Street on Market replaced Fork:etc. to yield even more Eli Kulp and Ellen Yin amazingness. The bread, pastries, and breakfast and lunch options made it an insta-favorite, but now they're running one of the city's most compelling dinner services, too. (Pssst: An industry night on Tuesdays offers a steal of a tasting menu for just 25 bucks.)
308 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

6. Serpico

604 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
With its stellar food and gorgeous interior, one of the city's most highly-anticipated openings in recent years just keeps living up to the hype.
604 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

7. The Good King Tavern

614 South 7th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147
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.
614 South 7th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

8. Artisan Boulanger Patissier

1218 Mifflin St., Philadelphia, PA
The new location of Artisan Boulanger is predictably fantastic. In addition to their large selection of top-notch classic pastries (including a number of different croissants; try the pistachio), they also offer coffee and take-out sandwiches for lunch, including very good banh mi.
1218 Mifflin St.
Philadelphia, PA

9. Laurel

1617 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148
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.
1617 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148

10. The Fat Ham

3131 Walnut Street, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104
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.
3131 Walnut Street, University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104

11. Tortas Frontera

3601 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Megastar chef Rick Bayless' ventured out of his Chicago comfort zone to open a campus outpost of his fast-ish casual sandwich option, and it's worth a trip to the non-traditional spot. (Well unless you're a student, in which case, for pete's sake, are those slippers?) No margaritas here, but there are breakfast sandwiches and aguas frescas and customizable guacamole.
3601 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104

12. Bourbon & Branch

705 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19123
B&B replaced past-its-prime neighborhood pioneer Liberties this month, and so far attitudes about the change have been sunny. Reasons to check it out: its lighthearted demeanor and sheer variety. There's a huge and eclectic pub grub menu, a wide array of whiskeys available in one-ounce pours to encourage exploration, live music, showy cocktails with goofy names, movie nights, burlesque... suffice it to say, there's little risk of being bored here.
705 N 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19123

13. Sancho Pistola's

19 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19123
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.
19 W Girard Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19123

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