Food & Drink

The 10 Oldest Restaurants in Philly

Published On 03/04/2015 Published On 03/04/2015
Flickr/Tricia Gdowik
The Victor Cafe
Marra's Philadelphia - Italiana Cucina
Flickr/Michael Cramer
Flickr/Helen Horstmann-Allen
Snockey's Oyster & Crab House
Flickr/HungryJac
Dante & Luigis Restaurant
Instagram/@ralphsitalrest
Flickr/Brooke
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1. Nick's Old Original Roast Beef 2149 S 20th St, Philadelphia, PA 19145 (South Philadelphia)

Old Original Nick's is an institution of Philly roast beef, serving up the sammies with au jus and Provolone, the way nature intended.

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2. Melrose Diner 1501 Snyder Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19145 (South Philadelphia)

If you’re looking for some late night (or at any-time) eats, you can always find a seat at the Melrose Diner. Established in 1935, it's been serving plates at all hours of the day to hungry Philadelphians for 80 years. Aside from standard diner fare, you can’t go wrong with its homemade butter cookies.

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3. Victor Cafe 1303 Dickinson St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

If you’ve seen Rocky Balboa -- it’s actually not that bad, easily in the top five Rocky movies -- you’ve seen the interior of Victor’s Cafe. When Sly Stallone wanted a place to film shots of Adrian’s Restaurant, he chose the South Philly staple. Victor’s has everything you’re looking for in a classic Italian restaurant: red-checkered table cloths, great food, and opera singers serenading you and your date throughout the meal.

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4. Marra's Cucina Italiana 1734 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148

Passyunk might be the hottest restaurant street in the city now, but there is one place that has been holding down the fort long before the street was anything special. Marra’s has been serving traditional Italian fare for the last 88 years and is a a great place to get some history along with your Sunday gravy or brick-oven pizza.

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5. McNally's Tavern 8634 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19118 (Chestnut Hillmt Airy)

This historic tavern was established in 1921 and is known for their signature steak-and-grilled-salami sandwich, the Schmitter, which you can also score at Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field.

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6. Tacconelli's Pizzeria 2604 E Somerset St, Philadelphia, PA 19134 (Fishtown)

Tacconelli's is a one-oven pizzeria in Fishtown, Philadelphia, serving up authentic Italian recipes and pies.

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7. The Original Snockey’s Oyster & Crab House 1020 S 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19176 (Society Hillqueen Village)

Eat like William Howard Taft (sans amazing mustache) at Snockey's tomorrow as they celebrate 100yrs in business by slinging one of your plates at its 1912 price, whether that's a $.15 platter of fried clams, a half-dozen littlenecks for $.10, or a steak platter for $.35.

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8. Dante & Luigi's 762 S 10th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147 (Italian Marketbella Vista)

When a restaurant has been going strong since the 1930s , you know it's doing something right. Enter Dante & Luigi’s, the epitome of old-school, upscale Italian in Philadelphia (it's really been around since 1899 if you count previous names). They take gravy seriously here -- that's Italian-American for sauce, by the way -- which is spooned liberally onto the signature meatballs (of course). Antipasto like caprese salad or sauteed chicken liver are the way to begin a meal, which should progress to any of the pastas (the list is long, from baked manicotti to lasagna), before a finale of a meat, fish, or chicken main. The dining room, which got a 2013 renovation, is filled with white tablecloths, and is where mob boss-son Nicodemo Scarfo Jr. was shot on Halloween night in 1989 -- but that doesn't mean it wouldn't still make a great date night.

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9. Ralph's Italian Restaurant 760 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147 (Italian Marketbella Vista)

Family owned and operated since 1900, this historic Italian joint is the oldest one in the country, and serves up classic boot food like chicken cacciatore, meatballs with linguine, and more.

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10. McGillin's Olde Ale House 1310 Drury St, Philadelphia, PA 19107 (Market East)

Imagine: the year was 1860, Lincoln was elected, and McGillin's Olde Ale House first opened. It's safe to say they place is doing something right, because generations of people can't be wrong. This is the oldest continuously operating tavern in Philly. They have since changed the beer taps, we promise.