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.

Considered one of the best Italian restaurants in the nation, this fine-dining landmark is usually booked two months in advance.

Cavernous Greek

The Japanese-cooking expert on the television show Iron Chef, Masaharu Morimoto helms this upscale restaurant—its plain, minimalist façade set next door to the heritage Quaker City National Bank.

Barclay Prime is a multi-room steakhouse housed on the first floor of what was once The Barclay, a luxury hotel built in 1929.

Tria opened this first location of its now citywide bar and café chain in Rittenhouse Square in 2004, based on the trinity of beer, wine, and cheese. The menu has a rotating selection of approximately 16 artisan cheeses at any time, ranging from Missouri sheep’s milk to Spanish goat cheese.

Steven Starr's vastly expanding dining empire includes some two-dozen restaurants, and though Buddakan opened back in 1998, this Old City temple to Asian cuisine remains one of the hottest tickets in town.

Just a few blocks from Rittenhouse Square, this neighborhood eatery serves New American dishes that are both inventive and affordable. The 55-seat dining room contains hardwood floors, light yellow walls, and tilted mirrors, and additional seating is available outside on a small patio.

At the top of the Bellevue, commanding an aerial view of Philadelphia from the domed 19th floor, XIX Nineteen Café serves New American cuisine beneath a 19-foot chandelier with pearl strings and loops.

Chef Jose Garces' second Philadelphia restaurant, Tinto, takes its cues from the tapas and wine bars in the Basque region of Spain. The dining room is designed like a wine cellar; the walls are lined with wooden grids containing thousands of bottles from Northern Spain and Southwestern France.

North Bowl Lounge ‘n’ Lanes is housed in a former auto mechanic's garage, with exposed ductwork and brick walls, and polished concrete floors. Vintage 1950’s benches flank the 17 hardwood lanes, each outfitted with glow-in-the-dark pins. There are also billiards tables and arcade games.

Xochitl (pronounced “so-cheet”), a tequila bar/restaurant at the foot of Pine Street in Society Hill, serves Pre-Hispanic Mexican dishes like red snapper ceviche, braised beef short rib, and a mushroom tamale.

From Philadelphia restaurateur Stephen Starr, Alma de Cuba has a minimalist style with glass walls, clean-lined furniture, and portraits of Cubans on the walls. The crowd that gathers here, just a block east of Rittenhouse Square, tends to be casually dressed and happy to sip on mojitos.