Where to Eat in Philadelphia Right Now
A new Korean spot, pizza and natural wine, and a vegan cafe relocates.
Winter is in full swing in Philly, and though COVID-19 restrictions mean indoor dining is a no-go, the city is still ripe with winterized outdoor dining and, better yet, so many places to order takeout. Even during this difficult time for the restaurant industry, there are still new, recently opened gems to discover, as well as favorites that may provide you some comfort as the start of 2021 has a distinct 2020 vibe about it. To pay homage to the latest and greatest restaurants in Philly, as well as some other musts that have helped shape the foodie climate of the city over the last five years, take a look at our picks for where to eat right now in Philadelphia—whether you’re looking for pickup, delivery, or outdoor dining.
The gist: Natural wines and wood-fired sourdough pizza
The food: Taking the space of the former Mama Palma’s (and later, Palma Cucina), Sally uses the same brick oven to serve 12-inch sourdough pies that range from the mushroom & egg to the pizzazz (house-made American cheese, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, pickled banana peppers, black pepper, oregano). The menu is also knee-deep with natural wines, cider, and beer.
The cost: Pizzas go for $15-18, with wines starting around $30.
How to order: Order takeout via Tock.
Sticky's Finger Joint
The gist: The Philly outpost of an NYC-based chicken cult favorite
The food: An elevated take on your favorite food as a child (chicken fingers!) with crunchy or grilled favorites that are always farm-grown and hormone/antibiotic-free. The casual menu features hit-the-spot instant-favorites like chicken and waffles, sticky tso’s, and bacon mac sammies. Also check out the s’mores fries, tricked out with marshmallow sauce, chocolate sauce, crushed graham crackers, and mini marshmallows.
The cost: Chicken baskets start in the $6-7 range, with larger plates like salads and wraps going for around $10.
How to order: Order online for takeout or delivery.
The gist: Korean-inspired fare from the Serpico team
The food: Serpico, the South Street restaurant with Stephen Starr attached, is switching things up amid the pandemic, with Chef Peter Serpico offering Korean dishes including bibimbap, twice-fried wings, kimchi noodles, and other goodies that feel much better suited to the eat-it-at-home existence we’re all living right now.
The cost: Entrees and noodles hover around $16-18.
How to order: Order online for takeout or delivery.
The gist: Fast-casual sandwiches on house-made dough
The food: This little shop serves up big flavor and even more mouth-watering breads, serving creations on house-made milk buns and sourdough. Chef Yehuda Sichel, formerly of Abe Fisher, rounds out the menu with brisket, salads, toasts, and ongoing specials you can spy on Instagram.
The cost: Toasts, salads, and sandwiches hover in the $9-14 range, with larger plates going for around $16-19.
How to order: Order online for take, DoorDash for delivery.
The gist: The Schulsons’ buzzy Rittenhouse destination for pasta and caviar
The food: Heated outdoor tents have made Via Locusta one of the few places you can still have dinner with a view right now. If a brunch menu featuring pasta and caviar isn’t enough to tip you off, a lunch and dinner menu featuring focaccia-focused starters and pretty cocktails sets the tone for a touch-of-glam dining experience.
The cost: Small plates are $10-16, entrees start at $24, cocktails $13-15
How to order: Order takeout via Toast, delivery via Caviar, or book a table via Resy.
TBD. The Breakfast Den
The gist: American-Vietnamese breakfast dishes in a cozy corner spot
The food: The mingling of American and Vietnamese-style breakfast plates and comfort foods means you can find fried egg rice bowls topped with crispy pork belly or panko-crusted chicken, banh mi with fried eggs, bacon, and sausage, and smaller bites like spicy popcorn chicken and egg rolls with chili sauce.
The cost: Sandwiches and breakfast plates range from $9-14, salads/small bites $7-9.
How to order: Call 267-758-6008 for takeout and outdoor dining, or get delivery via Uber Eats.
The gist: Whiskey and Southern fare with a side of jazz.
The food: Anything and everything that makes you feel homey. Think skillet cornbread, mac n’ cheese, juicy fried chicken, and fancy burgers like the wood-grilled lamb with chipotle-cinnamon spice and a side of fingerling potatoes. If you’re getting takeout, you can also try the spot’s craft cocktails, including the summer blackberry sangria or the Bourbon Street punch.
The cost: Cocktails start at $10, specials in the high teens, and starters are usually under $12. Larger plates go for about $18-20, with sides around $5 each and sandwiches $13-16.
How to order: Order takeout through Toast, or use Caviar and DoorDash for delivery.
The gist: A quick and casual pasta bar with extravagant taste from Marc Vetri.
The food: A cheaper alternative to the Italian destination that shares a name with the chef, Fiorella is Vetri’s pasta-focused casual eatery in the Italian Market, open during the pandemic for monthly antipasti (pork ribs, tuna crudo) and pasta (ricotta gnocchi with figs, goat cheese triangoli) specials and sweet meal-ending gelato.
The cost: Antipasti starts at $12, pasta at $18, and dolci at $5.
How to order: Order takeout or delivery and make reservations via Tock.
The gist: Relaxed Israeli grill from the team behind Zahav.
The food: It’s all about skewers and other grill-worthy foods at Laser Wolf, which is modeled after a traditional Israeli skewer house. Outfit a variety of chicken, eggplant, tuna, and Bulgarian beef kabobs with branzino or ribs for the table, or scale back with hummus, fresh pita, grilled veggies, and fries with tahini ketchup.
The cost: Score hummus, salatimi, one grilled item, and dessert for $35 per person. A la carte sides start at $6 and larger sharable entrees will run you from $88-136.
How to order: Use Resy for outdoor dining or order online for takeout.
The gist: Famous pizza in Philly and beyond from Joe Beddia.
The food: Perfect hand-tossed pizza is the obvious star here, with a small menu of red and white pies (plus a vegan option) that you can personalize with sides of basil, extra olive oil, anchovies, oregano, you name it. This all comes with a carefully curated menu of wines by the bottle and local brews.
The cost: A classic tomato and mozzarella pizza starts at $18, with other options reaching $25. Wines typically hover in the $30-40 range.
How to order: Order delivery or pickup through Toast.
The gist: Central American street food inspires an eclectic menu.
The food: Churros are the big spectacle of El Merkury, which come warm over vanilla soft serve, but there’s so much more to try before dessert. The Chicharron pork pupusas are a must, as well as the savory taquitos and flash-fried tostadas weighed down with guacamole, salsa, and refried beans.
The cost: Most things on the menu range from $7-10, with sides and desserts in the $5-8 range.
How to order: Order online for takeout and delivery.
The gist: All-day Lebanese fare made for sampling and sharing.
The food: Get a taste of the busy all-day cafe, market, and restaurant with new takeout, delivery, and garden dining options. Suraya became a quick local favorite thanks to modern-day approach to family Lebanese recipes, serving tasting menus that sample a bit of everything: pita, baba ganoush, fried kibbeh, roasted lamb, grilled branzino, and dessert options that come with home cooking instructions.
The cost: Tasting menus feeding two run for $65, or $130 to feed four. Kebabs and entrees run in the low twenties range, while desserts go for $5-15.
How to order: Order pickup and delivery through Toast, use Resy to book an outdoor table.
South Philly Barbacoa
The gist: Slow-cooked tacos from Cristina Martinez, best ordered by weight.
The food: Tacos are the name of the game here, always complete with a heaping of toppings: salsa, nopales, and flavored stock. The titular slow-cooked lamb is the star, but you won’t want to skip the house tortas either.
The cost: A typical taco meal with consummé runs for $12.
How to order: Check Instagram for updates and pre-order for weekend pickup.
Kalaya Thai Kitchen
The gist: Southern Thai fare in the heart of South Philly.
The food: With a James Beard nomination already under its belt, Kalaya has become a new you-have-to-try-it destination stir-fry-centric entrees, like the Kang Pu Bai Cha Plu, with crabmeat curry, wild betel leaves, rice vermicelli, cucumber, cabbage, long beans, and jasmine rice, and smaller delectable apps like the ultra-pretty Shaw Muang, or purple flower-shaped chicken dumplings.
The cost: You can get a restaurant sampler for about $60, or go a la carte for salads and entrees in the $25+ range. Appetizers usually go for around $14-18.
How to order: Order takeout and delivery through Toast.