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Intimate steakhouse exuding classic elegance
Michael Schulson’s restaurant empire is swiftly taking over Center City, with his latest -- an intimate, lush steakhouse -- finding a home on the busy 13th Street corridor, next door to another Schulson creation, Double Knot. Stop in for classics like shrimp cocktail, dry-aged beef, and stuffed lobster, and stay for the nostalgic dessert menu of baked Alaska and strawberry rhubarb pie.
Long-standing, recently refreshed Rittenhouse destination with killer bigger
Rouge is far from new in the Philadelphia dining scene, having held down one of the few coveted restaurant spaces outlining Rittenhouse Square Park, but the space just recently reopened after undergoing a facelift -- evident in both the indoor digs and the menu. The previously cramped space has shifted the bar to one wall (instead of the center, where it previously was), perfect for sampling cocktails crafted by Hop Sing Laundromat's infamous owner, Lê. As for the menu, pretty much everything from the old Rouge is dead, replaced with seafood-centric small plates. One exception? The burger, which has spent 21 years as one of Philly’s favorites and isn’t about to go anywhere.
Nationally celebrated pies in a refreshed, Nordic setting
Praise be! The best pizza in America made a must-needed return this spring with the second iteration of Pizzeria Beddia, the newer, bigger, taking-reservations-and-everything version of its original standing room-only outpost that closed its doors a year ago -- just a few blocks away from the new restaurant. Owner and pizza master Joe Beddia isn’t holding back: Carefully curated wine, pies, and small bites outfit a menu that gets right to the point.
Instagram-happy pink and purple paradise serving natural wines
Blume has... bloomed... in the space formerly held by Cinder, owner Teddy Sourias (also known for concepts including Bru, Tradesman’s, and pop-up Christmas bar Tinsel) trading Cinder’s cider-and-flatbread focused menu for the more flowery, Instagram-y, natural-wine-serving Blume. The pink decor and floral scheme has already attracted hoards of crowds since opening just a couple months ago, but there’s more to Blume than getting a good selfie. The restaurant serves natural wines and clever cocktails, along with street food-inspired fare including flatbread and small plates made in an open kitchen.
Italian cutlets and other traditional fare in cozy BYOB
The Belmont Hills spot lauded for its Italian cutlets has officially moved into the city. Right off of Fitler Square Park in the former Tria outpost, the new Cotoletta location brings its signature eggplant, veal, and chicken cutlets to the city, and yes, you can order all three at once. Cutlets are served with pasta marinara at this cozy BYOB, but there’s more to the menu when you’re looking to complete the meal -- go for the linguine and clams and stuffed long hots for refined, definitive versions of classic Italian dishes.
Est. 2018 | Fishtown
Eclectic Lebanese restaurant with quirky all-day market and cafe
Suraya is a newer addition to Philadelphia’s dining scene, and has quickly cemented a place among the city’s best restaurants just one year after opening. Though the space initially functioned solely as a daytime cafe and market, Suraya’s addition of dinner service in 2018 has made it the official staple of Fishtown dining. Stop by for some of the best Lebanese dishes made in the US, including kebabs, kibbeh, and definitely the lamb.
Est. 2015 | East Passyunk
Neapolitan pizzas and seasonally curated pastas with hard-to-find ingredients
The pizza at Brigantessa is served in traditional Neapolitan style, meaning no pre-cut slices -- the kind of pizza that wants you to abandon all American habit and fork-and-knife your way along -- though your server will be happy to slice it up for you. The Regina pizza with Piennolo del Vesuvio is the must-have item, while gnocchi brushed with Calabrian chili oil is a must for lovers of all things hot and full of carbs. If you still think pizza bagels are exciting, elevate your tastes and head here for weekend brunch, where the drinks are bottomless and all pizzas can be breakfasty if you add an oozing egg.
Est. 2016 | Midtown Village
All-day Japanese cafe and restaurant attached to Sampan
Double Knot is a dining destination for any time of day, opening at 7am to supply you with coffee, enduring the midday rush with build-your-own salad or rice bowls, and powering through into the evening to host a thriving bar scene. Walk past the bar, bookcases, and old mirrors, and enter the door in the back where you can enjoy an extravagant yet relatively affordable dinner menu ($55/person for a 10-course meal and dessert ain’t bad). Sushi, robatayaki meats, and other Japanese izakaya fare are served in this hidden sushi bar with an underground feel.
Est. 2008 | Old City
Varied Israeli food in a modern setting with can’t-miss hummus and tasting menus
Whether you opt for the restaurant’s signature lamb shoulder or keep it simple with the best assortment of hummus you’ll ever find in Philly, any dish at this Israeli mainstay is enough to see why it's such a long-running institution. In the spirit of exclusivity, try to snag a seat at the chef’s counter for a more tailored experience. If you don’t have a chance to drop Zahav money right now (it ain't exactly cheap), try chef Michael Solomonov’s more casual Sansom Street concepts, including fast-casual Israeli spot Dizengoff, Jewish restaurant Abe Fisher, falafel staple Goldie, and the quintessential fried chicken and donuts shop Federal Donuts.
Est. 2005 | Old City
Long-running Spanish tapas spot with lounge seating and chef’s counter
Chef Jose Garces’ very first Philadelphia restaurant opened back in 2005, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. The menu embraces Spanish cuisine, offering small, sharable tapas plates and an alluring tasting menu if you want to try a bit of everything. If you’re new to tapas, you can’t go wrong with gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp), patatas bravas (spicy potatoes), or the lamb meatballs.
Est. 2018 | Chinatown
Buzzing hot pot restaurant with a conveyor belt
Chinatown is home to one of the only hot pot restaurants in Philadelphia. Choose from various options of broth with which you'll dip all kinds of delicious things -- kobe beef, colorful noodles, shellfish, dumplings. While you’re busy brothing your meal, a conveyor belt carrying all kinds of other raw goodies is traveling past you, and you can help yourself to just about anything you can reach.
Est. 2002 | Northern Liberties & Graduate Hospital
Casual diner-style restaurant serving breakfast all day
This no-frills, slightly elevated diner serves breakfast all day (along with some more befitting evening food), seven days a week. Stop in for breakfast during the week and grab a nice spread of short stacks, bacon, and coffee for just $5, or brave the inevitable down-the-block lines for weekend brunch. Since opening the first location in 2002 (the South Street shop opened in 2013), Honey’s has made a science of getting the line moving quickly -- so just remember to get cash out and BYOB, and you’re all set.
Est. 1995 | Rittenhouse, Old City & Atlantic City
Stylishly retro restaurant with an eclectic global menu
Stephen Starr was investing in Philadelphia’s restaurant scene long before every block was studded with must-try restaurants. The Continental opened 24 years ago in retro-themed digs, and today is home to a killer rooftop bar and a campy giant olive outside its Rittenhouse location. The eclectic menu is a true melting pot, infusing culinary elements from Asian, European, and other global cuisines in a mid-century modern setting. You have to try the mountain of shoestring fries at least once, as well as the lobster mac & cheese risotto.
Est. 2019 | Italian Market
Beloved South Jersey pizza shop reimagined for the Italian Market
It’s been a long time coming for Angelo’s Pizzeria, the long-awaited shop that traveled from its original Haddonfield location to the heart of South Philly’s Italian Market, inhabiting the old Sarcone’s Deli. Since its January opening, Angelo’s has been serving thick square pizzas and cheesesteaks until inventory sells out for the day -- which typically happens earlier than later, so head there early to get a taste for yourself.