I was recently having dinner with my foodie friend Sally at Tinto’s in Rittenhouse (great happy hour BTW). We talked about Philly’s amazing food scene and all of the restaurants we love, and the ones we still need to go to. From Italian dinner hot spots, to coffee shops and brunch spots, we could have talked about the Philly food scene over our sangria forever. Then Sally asked me about which restaurants I take friends who are visiting Philly to, which got me thinking – what places have been big hits with my out-of-town friends?
One of the best parts of friends visiting is the chance to “show off” your city and all of the beautiful things about it, especially the food. A weekend of friends visiting Philly usually includes stops to Reading Terminal Market for DiNic’s, crab fries, Federal Donuts and cheese steaks (as it should). And there is sooo much of the Philly food scene to explore and to impress your visiting friends with. It’s extensive and so amazing. So I present my list of places I love and my non-Philly friends have loved. With the exception of Pizzeria Beddia, I’ve eaten at all of these places and give them my stamp of approval. It’s broken down into Brunch, Lunch and Dinner and included some spots for your vegan pals. Let’s dig in!
Ok, brunch, here we go. My favorite meal of the (Sun)day. It was hard to narrow it down, BUT some of my favorites include Front Street Cafe, P.S. & Co. (organic, gluten-free, vegan and kosher), Cantina Los Caballitos (there are so many great restaurants on East Passyunk) and White Dog Cafe (three locations in and around Philly. Their Parmesan truffle fries and I know each other very well). And in case you need some more ideas, check out my first Philly brunch guide here. Want to get out of the city? The Malvern Buttery is an Instagram dream (see pics below), and the food is as good as the interior looks. It’s definitely worth the drive out on a lazy Sunday morning!
For a quick bite to eat while walking around Rittenhouse, recently-opened Rione Pizza is a nice place to stop for a Sicilian slice. I first came across this pizza dream on my friend Alex’s Instagram, and I had to stop by to try it for myself; absolutely deelish. If you can’t get enough of the ‘za, stop by Pizzeria Vetri, Santucci’s or Pizzeria Beddia (voted best pizza in the country; be prepared for lines). If you’re looking for more of a sit down experience, vegan eateries VStreet and Bar Bombon are excellent choices. I took my visiting friend Rebecca to VStreet where we sat at the kitchen counter – it was a big hit with her, although I do recommend making a reservation unlike we did! You could also have a classic Parc afternoon and sit outside to enjoy Rittenhouse Square. Also, most the aforementioned brunch spots also make solid lunch spots and are sure to please your pals.
Mission Taqueria is a solid place to stop for drinks and a bite to eat where you can also admire an awesome interior (as you’ve probably noticed, I’m pretty big on the ambiance). I went there recently after work and throughly enjoyed myself. While I didn’t snag any food pics, I was super snap-happy with the building. See their tasting menu here.
Now moving onto one of the best meals I’ve had recently. I haven’t been to the Tom’s Dim Sum location in the city, but if their Media location is any indication of what it’s like, it must be pretty fantastic. I can’t stop thinking about the Triple Steamed dumpling.
Some other places I love: Double Knot (perfect date night spot), Sampan (head over to Graffiti Bar afterwards), Lolita, SOUTH, Dim Sum Garden, and Estia. After researching places in Philly for a large group dinner, I celebrated my birthday this year at Sampan with twelve friends, which worked out so perfectly. If you’re looking for something more casual, Bottle Bar East is one of my all-time favorites. Grab yourself a brew from their seemingly hundreds of options, head upstairs, and order yourself something delicious to eat. Very ideal before for a night out in Fishtown.
OK Philly, I hope I did you justice! I think these restaurants will impress even your most foodie-conscious friends. This is just a small list of a very fast food scene, but they’re some of my absolute favorites. Now for my own selfish reasons so I can indulge in Philly’s food goodness – let me know your favorite Philly restaurants!
Happy dining Philly!