The largest city in the US state of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia is best known as the birthplace of the nation, for it was here that the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed in 1776. But aside from its historic sites, museums and galleries, beautiful riverside parks and gardens, and stunning architecture, Philly has become an attractive foodie destination thanks to its multicultural community and tradition-meets-innovation approach.
With plenty of new additions, from celebrity chef-helmed fine dining restaurants and gastropubs, to neighbourhood dumplings joints and food trucks serving up iconic Philly Cheesesteaks, the city’s thriving foodie scene pleases every palette and shows no signs of slowing down.
Read on for our mouthwatering guide to the best new additions to Philly’s culinary neighbourhoods, and get ready to dig in.
OLD CITY & WASHINGTON SQUARE WEST
Destination Dogs – Sausages of all kinds and beef hot dogs with innovative topping combinations, international cocktails and 16 beers on tap served in a fun-loving fit out, complete with arcade games.
Hip City Veg – This growing vegan fast foodery branches out, turning out signatures such as the Ziggy burger made from smoked tempeh, plus an all-new breakfast menu featuring tofu “eggs” and meatless sausage.
Hummusology – Chickpeas take center stage at this fast casual eatery which whips up six different versions of the dish, along with Middle Eastern delicacies such as shakshuka and burekas.
Rarest – Chef Anthony Marini riffs on all things raw, offering ceviche, carpaccio and tartare alongside a selection of cooked dishes, such as hanger steak with creamed greens and double-cut pork chops.
Wister – A seasonally focused bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB), specialties include sunchoke soup with pear and rye; Spanish mackerel with clams and Meyer lemon; and a Franklin Fountain ice cream dessert inspired by the Nutty Buddy.
Cinder – The epitome of industrial chic, this hip bar boasts 32 taps of sour beers and ciders, while charcuterie, mussels and pizzas complement the impressive craft beverage selection.
24 – Jose Garces’ latest venture specialises in wood-grilled Italian fare. Enjoy rustic pastas like rabbit agnolotti with brown butter and cherries, and pizzas topped with clam, kale and parmesan cream to killer views of the Schuylkill River.
Baril – With an emphasis on time-honored French flavors and preparations, highlights include ratatouille, salade Lyonnaise and classic coq au vin, paired with a smart selection of wines by the glass.
Chix & Bowls – Korean fried chicken and rice bowls drive the concept of this takeout spot, but fresh Asian flavours, stir-fries, and salads keep the offerings balanced.
Scarpetta – Upscale Italian eating never gets old, and this recent import from a New York family of restaurants, brings its metro glamour to The Rittenhouse hotel with dishes such as crudo, fresh pappardelle with braised rabbit and porcini mushrooms, and veal tenderloin with gnocchi and glazed sweetbreads.
BREWERYTOWN & EAST FALLS
Flying Fish Crafthouse – New Jersey’s Flying Fish Brewing Co. jumps into the local brewpub game, offering a rotating selection of 16 beers on tap (plus draft wines and bottled cocktails), a Craft House flight that combines five beers with matching foods, plus twisted pretzels, fried chicken sandwiches, pizza and burgers.
The Mill’s Cafй – The owners of Revolution Taco present a tasting room of sorts for the dishes they serve in their many food trucks, including salads, sandwiches, a mouthwatering dry-aged burger topped with house-made bacon and salted fudge brownies.
THE RIVER WARDS
Weckerly’s – The popular ice cream shop sells the same signature flavours (hot chocolate, lemongrass cherry and caramel corn) sold in markets throughout the city, along with fun and funky ice cream sandwich combos.
SLiCE – This organic pizzeria brings a new focus on sustainability. Diners sit at communal tables to enjoy Trenton-style pies with toppings like Brussels sprouts, prosciutto or truffled ribeye, plus four styles of wings and vegetarian/vegan options aplenty.
Tart Areperia 18.64 – Stuffed Venezuelan flatbreads incorporate both traditional (pernil, or roast pork; stir-fried shrimp al ajillo) and definitively Philadelphian (cheesesteak) ingredients.
Bonk’s Bar & Grille – This old-time Port Richmond watering hole has been transformed to retain its classic look but offers updated flavors. Along with a solid list of beers, the spoils include kielbasa-and-kraut sandwiches, house specialty crabs and decadent “frickles,” or fried pickles.
SOUTH PHILLY & SOUTH OF CENTER CITY
Banh Mi and Bottles – Authentic Vietnamese street food and booze, the vermicelli, steaming bowls of Pho and pork belly sandwiches marry beautifully with fresh cocktails and a huge selection of craft beers, both on tap and from the cold case.
Puyero Venezuelan Flavor – Keeping its sights on Latin street food, this quick-service counter turns out arepas, patacónes and pan con queso from its cheerful storefront.
Mi Lah – Another great dining option for Vegans, this international dim sum restaurant serves brunch, lunch and dinner, with menu items such as barbecue seitan buns, edamame dumplings with sunchoke puree and corn masa cakes with refried black beans.
Ambra – Offering precise, cutting-edge Italian cookery in a romantic atmosphere, this intimate restaurant with just 16 seats serves elegant four-course menus featuring dishes like sourdough spaghetti with razor clams and squash fonduta.
EAT Cafй – Philly’s first non-profit restaurant encourages diners to pay what they can while creating an inviting community atmosphere. The seasonal menu changes weekly but includes appetizer, main course, dessert and beverage, with kids’ options also available.
Schmear It – This bagel-centric-food-truck-come-walk-in-store covers egg sandwiches, yoghurt parfaits and, of course, bagels and creative spreads galore.
At the Table – This contemporary BYOB brings a big-city sensibility to a boutique suburban atmosphere with tasting menus, at five or eight courses, featuring the likes of Kumamoto oysters, foie gras with asparagus coins tiger shrimp with piquillo pepper grits and kumquat.
Al Pastor – Modern Mexican fare sizzles with mushroom-and-corn huaraches, spicy octopus tacos and squash blossom quesadillas, plus a refreshing menu of beers and cocktails
Banh Street Fried Chicken – Two disparate Asian delicacies unite at this fast casual storefront, with Vietnamese hoagies and Korean fried chicken providing equally tempting reasons to visit.
Bella Vista – An enlivening Italian menu with Philly flair, showcasing novel flavor combinations such as tuna carpaccio, porchetta pizza with long hot pesto, ricotta gnocchi and butterscotch budino.
Cerdo – Enjoy Mediterranean plates and Old World wines at this tapas restaurant offering a variety of meats, cheeses, salads, small plates, flatbreads, and large plates perfect for sharing, such as wild boar shank and seafood-topped spaghetti.