Philadelphia

Restaurants in Philadelphia

Philadelphia restaurants combine both the buzziest names in the food world alongside some of its greasiest traditions. Many celebrity chef-fronted Philadelphia restaurants, like Stephen Starr's Buddakan, Morimoto and El Vez have opened up second locations in New York City. The Philadelphia-based La Colombe Torrefaction coffee chain now runs a shop in South Korea.

For spicy Mexican dishes in a colorful setting, visit Jose Garces' Distrito. It has earned its reputation as one of the best restaurants in Philadelphia with upscale takes on south-of-the-border street food, such as Kobe beef tacos, and a bar boasting more than 100 tequilas.

Some of the most iconic restaurants in Philadelphia are its cheesesteak purveyors. Visit the home of the beloved fried onion and Cheese Wiz-topped sandwich at the Pat's King of Steaks takeout window, or visit Geno's Steaks at East Passyunk Crossing, whose bright neon lights attract crowds of late-night fans and a worldwide reputation.

The Lai family fled both Vietnam and a Malaysian refugee camp before opening this once tiny Vietnamese restaurant in 1984. Benny Lai, the son of the original owners, took over in 1989 and renovated the space into a three-story building with a lounge.

West Philadelphia's Distrito serves modern Mexican cuisine in a 250-seat restaurant decorated with kitschy details like vivid pink lighting and a wall of Mexican wrestling masks.

It would be hard to miss this Old City restaurant, with its colorful name-bearing banners running down the building. The relaxed 122-seater, which is co-owned by the Metropolitan Bakery team, is well loved for its contemporary American fare.

Situated in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood, this no-frills pub is known for its immense selection of Belgian brews. The dim, narrow space contains two bars—one up front and one in back, separated by a handful of wooden booths.

Water Works Restaurant & Lounge's riverfront view—which includes a cluster of buildings reminiscent of old Rome, Boat House Row, and the Schuylkill Dam—is the main attraction.

This colorful space serves delicious house-made guacamole and has a wall lined with hundreds of tiny Day of the Dead figurines.

In an Old City neighborhood dominated by hoagie joints, this Market Street ice cream parlor is, by design, old school.

At this restored 1960's stainless-steel-clad diner in the Old City, patrons sit in vintage vinyl booths under lamps fashioned like cocktail olives, or on the street-side patio.

Located in the Fairmount neighborhood of the Art Museum District, this former 19th-century firehouse serves dressed-up, country-style food. Chef-owner Jack McDavid is known for old-fashioned dishes due to the success of his original Philadelphia eatery, the Down Home Diner.

A member of Steven Starr's ever-expanding restaurant empire (which includes more than two dozen eateries on the East Coast), this Center City restaurant specializes in designer comfort food. Fried chicken and waffles, mac and cheese, and matzo ball soup all have a place on the menu.