1. The Olde Bar125 Walnut St, Philadelphia
2. Bing Bing Dim Sum1648 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia
3. P’unk Burger1823 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia
4. U-Bahn1320 Chestnut St, Philadelphia
5. South Bowl19 E Oregon Ave, Philadelphia
6. William Street Common3900 Chestnut St, Philadelphia
7. Hunger Burger1136 Arch St, Philadelphia
8. Los Camaradas918 S 22nd St, Philadelphia
9. Luna Cafe317 Market St, Philadelphia
10. BonChon Chicken1020 Cherry St, Philadelphia
Jose Garces brought some much-needed life into the old stomping grounds of the locally loved Bookbinder’s, which closed during the not-great-economically year of 2009. Garces' reincarnation of the place is a nice polish to the original, and includes an open banquet room complete with dimly lit red booths, candles, and an oyster saloon serving snapper soup and fried belly clams. In addition to the nouveaux riche aperitif menu, the seafood-centric restaurant serves classics like dungeness crab, Maine lobster, and of course, champagne cocktails to pair.
While there's something suspect about Asian cuisine curated by two Philly boys, Bing Bing Dim Sum is certainly having no trouble maintaining a crowd. The secret to their success, the owners claim, is that rather than focusing on the cultural authenticity of their dishes, they have created a menu inspired by classic Asian entrees -- but readjusted to fit their own local taste. Bing Bing serves everything from classic soup dumplings and pork bao to things like spicy cilantro lamb dumplings and fun-guy lo mein (fungi like mushrooms, get it?). The restaurant offers a number of house wines and a full draft beer list in addition to a remarkably creative cocktail menu, and plenty of happy hour deals. You can order pitchers of drinks like "Left My Wallet In El Segundo," (bourbon, lemongrass, triple sec, hibiscus lemonade), while devouring semi- authentic noodle bowls, seated beside a series of floor-to-ceiling cartoon murals. If you thought there was no such thing as Philly style Dim Sum, you thought wrong.
Given its name, P'unk Burger is much brighter than you'd expect it to be with striped green walls and light-green painted chairs. The Passyunk (ah, we see what they did there) spot does, however, have one quality that is utterly punk-rock -- authenticity. Their patties are made from entirely grass-fed beef and hormone- and pesticide-free produce (they offer vegan and veggie options, too). Even their ice creams and sodas are locally sourced or fair trade.
Just one floor below the expansive beer-list and gravy-fry paradise that is Brü comes U-Bahn, inspired by German underground transit. The spot sports two bars and has the cuisine covered by Brü’s chef, which means the street food-inspired bar snacks will not disappoint. This is also a great place to catch some entertainment while you’re drinking and eating -- local DJs and musicians perform a couple times a week on the in-house stage.
You’re sure to work up an appetite with your sick bowling skills, and luckily South Bowl -- the sequel to Northern Liberties’ aptly named North Bowl -- has food that reads anything but bowling alley. Whether you’re dominating the lanes during late-night happy hour or just there to score some egg dumplings and flatbread pizza, never again be ashamed to eat whilst bowling.
William Street Common is the next Philly spot to nix the tip for diners, instead opting for tip-included three-drink brunches and Southern comfort-food dishes. Try one of the three types of pierogi or maple-glazed bacon to start.
Hunger Burger is a new addition to our beloved Reading Terminal Market, and despite the dozens and dozens of attractions housed in that space, this newcomer stands out thanks to a not-at-all-shameful menu of breakfast burgers and sides like Lobster Mac N’ Cheese. And if you want pickled, well, you go ahead and order it pickled.
For a shift in the usual dive-bar scene in Southwest Center City, Los Camaradas spices it up with tequila, mezcal, and plenty of tacos. If you stop in for happy hour and some appetizers, try the ceviche with citrus, red onion, and cilantro.
Luna Cafe incorporates locally sourced ingredients to make the BYOB American bistro a Philly-run operation. It’s a refresh from the tourist trap that was Panini’s Trattoria, which previously occupied the space on Market St. The brunch menu kicks it up a notch with items such as Brie Stuffed French Toast and the Corn Bread Eggs Benedict.
Philly is the next city to get a bite of BonChon’s Korean fried-chicken franchise, where you can pick from wings, drumsticks, or strips and dress ‘em up to the size and sauce of your liking. There’re also plenty of other non-fried chicken menu items, and the Salmon Avocado Ball and Fried Rice are quite the scene-stealers.