Think food and Philadelphia. Think cheesesteak. This calorific treat is probably the city’s biggest contribution to global cuisine. And you simply have to try one during your stay (sorry veggies, you might have to sit this one out). But the city is also an up-and-coming food destination, with a huge array of culinary options. Check out our list of the best places to eat in Philadelphia below.
1) Kensington Quarters
Part restaurant, part grocer, part classroom, part butchers (don’t worry, it’s all properly separated) this is one of the city’s most unique eateries. You’ll find it in the burgeoning Fishtown neighborhood and you can expect some great creative cooking here. Check out the schedule for the food courses too, with butchery, pasta making and wine tasting classes on offer.
1310, Frankford Ave
2) Rex 1516
Experience the Southern charm and simple soul food of Rex 1516. Eat surrounded by faded mansion décor and reclaimed wood. You’ll be treated to classics like the crawfish potpie and cocktails including the mint julep and lime rickey. It’s the perfect place for a cozy meal out – without the formality of some of Philadelphia’s other top restaurants.
1516, South St
3) Bing Bing Dim Sum
Asian fusion cooking that chucks the rulebook out the window. This is a sharing experience, with all plates designed for two or more. Crowd your table with a selection of delicious and unusual treats – from crispy cumin lamb rolls to chimichurri. They don’t take too many reservations so arrive early and get your name on the list at the door.
1648, E Passyunk Ave
4) La Famiglia
This classic Italian is located in the heart of the Old City. Expect a more formal affair with an extensive wine list and rich, sumptuous dishes. The lamb is the specialty and then finish the meal off with a rum and mascarpone tart.
8, S Front St
5) Hungry Pigeon
In the mood for something a little unusual? Then this is the place for you. With an endlessly creative and ever-changing specials board you never know what you’re going to get. Previous offerings have included squash and radish tops with squab liver sauce. But don’t worry, because the chefs here really know what they’re doing. They’re renowned for their pastries too, so stick around for pudding. It’s a buzzing kind of place with a lively atmosphere and some great cocktails to sample if you have to wait for a table.
743, S 4th St
Like eating out in style? Maybe the toughest place in town to get a table is Laurel. It’s been voted number one on Philadelphia Magazine’s 50 Best Restaurants list twice - and for good reason. But that does mean it’s a popular spot, and with only 26 seats, space is limited. If you’re willing to wait, then sample the chef’s famous duck breast with roasted quince.
1617, E Passyunk Ave
7) Vernick Food and Drink
If you’re a little put off by fancy fusion or unusual ingredients, then check out the stone cold classics on offer here. Everything on the menu is a good choice – with lamb racks, cod in oxtail broth and perfectly roasted chicken all ticking the happy box. A relaxed and comfortable atmosphere with no airs and graces makes this an even more pleasant dining experience.
2013, Walnut Street
A simplified and streamlined menu walks a fine line between innovation and firm favourites. If you’re feeling adventurous try the smoked beetroot with poached oysters or keep it simple with the handmade chicken liver ravioli. Whatever you choose, it will be cooked with skill and precision.
306, Market Street
Okay, we felt a bit bad about the vegetarians missing out on the cheesesteak so this one is just for you. There’s an incredible seasonal vegetable menu with some truly incredible flavors coming out of ingredients you never knew could be that tasty – think cabbage and turnips. If you’ve cut out the meat from your diet, then this is the place to go.
1221 Locust St