Bad news: you’re gonna die. The good news is that there’s plenty of delicious Philly food to eat before you do. Just do us a favor and don’t eat everything on our Philadelphia food bucket list at one time, lest said list ironically become the reason you kick said bucket.
Chickie’s and Pete’s (address and info)
Bathed in creamy, cheesy, crabby sauce, they may be the best thing that will happen at a Phillie’s game or the PHL airport.
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2. The Gobbler
Wawa (address and info)
If you ever want to hold all of Thanksgiving in your hands, the seasonal Wawa Gobbler -- packed with gravy, turkey, cranberry sauce, and all the other fixings -- is your answer.
3. Fried cheese curds
The Cow and the Curd (address and info)
Why would a food truck need to have anything else besides fried cheese?
4. Bacio gelato
Capogiro (address and info)
It is essentially Nutella in gelato form. Another favorite: the extra-chocolatey goodness of Cioccolato Scuro.
5. Dessert pizza
Max Brenner (address and info)
Melted white and milk chocolate, plus things like hazelnuts, marshmallows, and peanut butter... on a pizza? Yes.
6. Benton's Bacon Grease Popcorn
Khyber Pass Pub (address and info)
One of the best ways to get your bacon fix in Philly... and still pretend to be a vegetarian.
7. Chicken wings
Moriarty’s Pub (address and info)
Yeah, you can probably find wings at any Philly pub, but for the phinest in the city, there’s no place else but Moriarty’s for the perfect amount of crunch, perfect BBQ flavor, and very, very generous portions.
8. Strawberry Lavender Donut
Federal Donuts (address and info)
You can go to Federal for this one essential donut, but you’ll probably end up getting a few extra for the road... and a side of fried chicken.
9. Sweet & Smokey Brisket Mac
Mac Mart Cart (address and info)
Cheesy goodness topped with a smokey, slow-cooked brisket and cornbread for some crunch. Best. Mobile. Food. Ever.
10. Lemon water ice
John’s Water Ice (address and info)
Philly is one of the few places where the name “water ice” makes complete sense, and the only place you can get his authentic summer flavor.
11. Good Dog Burger
Good Dog Bar (address and info)
A half-pound sirloin burger stuffed with Roquefort and topped with caramelized onions on a brioche bun is GOOD, DAWG.
12. Cheesesteak Omelette
Jones (address and info)
Stephen Starr gives you a classy version of this Philly staple... for breakfast, with steak, onions, and even some fancy Whiz.
13. Sushi Burrito
Hai Street Kitchen & Co. (address and info)
Imagine a version of Chipotle that includes raw fish and tempura, and you have Hai Street. Pick and choose your sushi fixings and eat ‘em in a burrito to go.
14. Duck rolls
Sang Kee Peking Duck House (address and info)
Perfectly fried, juicy, and tender, these must-have duck rolls are among the best things you’ll find in Chinatown.
Frangelli’s Bakery (address and info)
The cannoli-donut hybrid is Philly’s own answer to the Cronut. The donuts are hand-cut and fried before stuffed to the brim with traditional cannoli cream.
16. The Doh! Nut
PYT (address and info)
It’s a perfect mouthful of sweet and savory -- all the fixings of a traditional burger, but on a fried donut bun.
17. Southwest Bacon Burger
Nick’s Roast Beef Bar & Grille (address and info)
One of the best burgers in town, the Southwest Bacon Burger from Nick’s comes with house-made salsa and a fried pickle so good, you’ll forget you’re in the Mid-Atlantic.
18. The Arista
Paesano’s Philly Style (address and info)
Paesano’s signature sandwich features pulled pork, broccoli rabe, Italian long hots, and sharp provolone -- just make sure to finish before the bun gets all soggy.
20. Fennel Seed & Sea Salt Bagel
Knead Bagels (address and info)
A good bagel is nothing to sniff at in Philly, and Knead has a host of nontraditional flavors, such as the fennel & sea salt combo complete with roasted tomato cream cheese.
21. Doro wat
Kilimandjaro Restaurant (address and info)
West Philly is home to some of the best Ethiopian food around, and the chicken stew (doro wat) at Kilimandjaro is a must-have. Don’t forget to eat with your hands.
Ralph’s Italian Restaurant (address and info)
The house-made Italian specialty just tastes better when it comes out of the longest-running Italian restaurant in the country.
Pho 75 (address and info)
This is the best pho for beginners to the dish, but it still satisfies the most nuanced of palates. Hey, even Anthony Bourdain gave it the thumbs up.
24. Israeli hummus
Zahav (address and info)
It’s hard to pick just one blend of the mouth-watering, top-rated hummus, especially when doused in garlic and served with warm fresh bread.
25. Lobster roll
Luke’s Lobster (address and info)
The New York lobster transplant came to Philly to rep Maine... and does a damn good job with authentic seafood on a New England-style bun. It wouldn’t be complete without some butter and Luke’s own secret blend of spices.
26. BBQ buffet
Sweet Lucy’s Smokehouse (address and info)
Every Monday you can load up on hickory-smoked ‘cue cooked in a wood-burning pit. The buffet is fully stocked with beef brisket, pulled pork, mac 'n’ cheese, ribs... and everything else that you’d expect from the city’s best barbecue spot.
27. The Homer
Undrgrnd Donuts (address and info)
Vanilla, raw sugar, chocolate, and bacon -- what else would you possibly want on a donut?
28. Gyro and home fries
Little Pete’s (address and info)
This is best when consumed at 3am after you’ve been kicked out of every bar in Center City. But you better hurry before it makes way for a 300-room hotel.
29. Salted Caramel Budino
Barbuzzo (address and info)
Save room for dessert after you wolf down an entire Macellaio pizza, because Barbuzzo puts dark chocolate, vanilla bean, caramel, and sea salt all in a little jar that packs more flavor than its size suggests.
30. Stuffed Challah French Toast
Sabrina’s Cafe (address and info)
If you find yourself waiting in line, find solace in what awaits you inside: thick French toast stuffed with bananas and vanilla.
31. Cheesesteak Pretzel Roll-Up
Miller’s Twist (address and info)
Basically all that is iconic in Philadelphia food is available at Miller’s, where all the makings of a cheesesteak are nestled in a buttery soft pretzel.
32. Bubba Fries
Philly Fry (address and info)
Another Philly food truck makes it on this list thanks to the beef-, bacon-, pickle-, and cheese-topped Bubba Fries.
33. Funnel cake
Famous 4th Street Delicatessen (address and info)
It doesn’t have to be a carnival or street fair for you to get your funnel cake on... simply head to the 4th St mainstay in Queen Village and eat that fried dough until a carnival does roll into town.
34. Spaghetti Scoglio
L’angolo Restaurant (address and info)
One of the best Italian restaurants in the country, thanks very much, is exactly where you should sample Philly’s rich Italian heritage -- here, in the form of mussels, clams, shrimp, and light red sauce.
35. Roast pork sandwich
Tommy DiNic’s (address and info)
Named the best sandwich in America by the Travel Channel a few years ago, this combination of otherworldly bread, sharp provolone cheese and, of course, DiNIc’s signature roasted pork from the Reading Terminal Market lives up to the hype.
36. Irish potato candy
Reading Terminal Market (address and info)
Sure, you can probably find these Irish favorites at any local Acme, but for a bit more authentic Philly taste, wander through Reading Terminal and you’re bound to run into a dozen vendors carrying their own creamy desserts.
37. Tomato pie
Iannelli’s Bakery (address and info)
Tomato pie may not be for everybody, but if you’re in favor of the brick-oven specialty, Iannelli’s is the best place to try it.
38. Lamb shoulder
Zahav (address and info)
This pomegranate-braised, chickpea-strewn lamb is the best Middle Eastern dish you can eat in Philly.
39. Ricotta on toast
Charlie was a sinner. (address and info)
Thick creamy ricotta served on soft, flakey toast in a romantic cocktail bar.
40. Root beer float
Franklin Fountain (address and info)
Philly gave the world ice cream sodas, and FF is giving you the perfect example. Opt for your choice of soda or root beer, or even a spiked Yards version.
Stogie Joe’s Tavern (address and info)
Perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned, and perfectly shareable (portions are quite generous, and at a great value).
42. German butter cake
Stock’s Bakery (address and info)
The gooey gooey center of the Philly-German specialty meets its match with a flaky, crunchy crust that makes this dessert great fresh or just as mouth-watering when you reheat it at 1am in your microwave.
45. Spiked milkshakes
PYT (address and info)
When you’re sad that your insane burger concoction is all gone, find solace at the bottom of an alcohol-infused milkshake, whether you opt for the chocolate-peanut butter swirl or its maple bacon version.
46. Chicken Italiano
Shank’s Original (address and info)
Its signature chicken dish has been going strong for 50 years, and once you’ve tried it, you’ll understand why.
47. 35-cent wings
McGillin’s Olde Ale House (address and info)
We had you at 35 cents.
48. Dan Dan Noodles
Han Dynasty (address and info)
The spicy dish is a staple at one of Old City’s best and most spacious places to eat, and may be the best noodles of their kind in the entire city.
49. Square pizza
Santucci’s Original Square Pizza (address and info)
The sky is the limit when it comes to toppings on the thick, no-nonsense crust at Santucci’s. Go crazy.
Prima Pizza Taqueria Mexicana (address and info)
When you hear someone say “there’s no good Mexican food Philly” or “nothing good in Philly stays open past 2am,” just smile and then go get your self some tacos, here.
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1. Max Brenner1500 Walnut St, Philadelphia
2. Khyber Pass Pub56 S 2nd St, Philadelphia
3. Federal Donuts1219 S 2nd St, Philadelphia
4. Good Dog Bar & Restaurant224 S 15th St, Philadelphia
5. Jones Restaurant700 Chestnut St, Philadelphia
6. Hai Street Kitchen & Co.32 S 18th St, Philadelphia
7. Frangelli's Bakery847 W Ritner St, Philadelphia
8. PYT1050 N Hancock St, Philadelphia
9. Nick's Roast Beef Bar & Grille16 S 2nd St, Philadelphia
10. Paesano's Philly Style1017 S 9th St, Philadelphia
11. Steve's Prince of Steaks41 S 16th St, Philadelphia
12. Knead Bagels725 Walnut St, Philadelphia
13. Ralph's Italian Restaurant760 S 9th St, Philadelphia
14. Pho 751122 Washington Ave, Philadelphia
15. Luke's Lobster130 S 17th St, Philadelphia
16. Undrgrnd DonutsN 33rd St, Philadelphia
17. Barbuzzo110 S 13th St, Philadelphia
18. Sabrina's Cafe1804 Callowhill St, Philadelphia
19. Miller's Twist51 N 12th St, Philadelphia
20. Reading Terminal Market51 N 12th St, Philadelphia
21. Iannelli's Bakery1155 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia
22. Zahav237 St. James Pl, Philadelphia
23. Charlie was a sinner.131 S 13th St, Philadelphia
24. Franklin Fountain116 Market St, Philadelphia
25. Stogie Joe's Tavern1801 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia
26. Birra1700 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia
27. Hot Diggity630 South St, Philadelphia
28. McGillin's Olde Ale House1310 Drury St, Philadelphia
29. Santucci's Original Square Pizza901 S 10th St, Philadelphia
Max Brenner has all the bases covered when it comes to chocolate. The Chocolate Pizza is a real standout, topped with chocolate chunks, hazelnut bits, peanut butter and/or marshmallows. Although the Concentrated Chocolate Shot looks significantly more appealing than any alcoholic shot we've come across.
The KPP is a late-night joint offering some fan-food favorites from down South, like red beans & rice and even beignets. And oh-so-much beer.
With several locations around the city, Federal Donuts has grown into a sugar-coated Philly favorite. FD's secret weapon is a "Donut Robot," a mechanical monster-mastermind that handles all the dough dispensing, frying, and flipping. The deep-fried dough rings are sweet, sinful, and eminently scarf-able -- coming in flavors like maple-bacon, lemon bar, spicy PB&J, Turkish mocha and, of course, classic glazed. Because specializing in just one caloric indulgence doesn't cut it, this spot slings famous fried chicken in a changing lineup of rubs and sauces (coconut curry, anyone?).
How many places do you know where you can get a duck quesadilla? Probably not many, but the Good Dog has all of your late night desires and even some you didn't know you had.
Though known for their brunch, this eatery runs the gamut with its cuisine, serving up everything from chicken tandoori kebabs to chicken and waffles.
If you've never been to a Japanese burrito bar, then get ready for a Subway-style build your own sandwich concept -- but with sushi. Try the fresh Slammin Salmon, shrimp tempura roll with pickled mango, cabbage, pepper teriyaki.
This well-worn, old-school bakery in South Philly holds some of the city's sweetest creations behind its doors. Easily clinching the spot for best donut in town, they don't stop there, creating delectable hybrid pastry options, like their Donnoli, which is half donut, half cannoli, and all delicious.
It's hard to go wrong with consuming a half-pound of red-sauced meatball flattened between two fried lasagna patties. If you don't catch that, you can always back it up with a summery Jamaican jerk chicken burger bundled between fried plantains.
Nick's in Old City serves up old-school-style roast beef sandwiches and other pub fare, but's also got an arcade and bar so you can unwind while you unwind.
Despite being smack dab in the center of the Italian Market, Paesano's is making hoagies that are anything but old-school. Paesano’s menu features fantastical flavor combinations -- top choice has got to go to the namesake Paesano -- and pretty reasonable prices for what you’re getting. Plus there’s just enough table/counter space that you might get lucky enough to eat sitting down.
Stop in for award-winning double-meat ribeye jawns, bacon-cheese Texas Tommy dogs, and Italian hoagies. A rewarding late-night snack always awaits the viciously hungry passerby.
If there is such a thing as an avant-garde bagel, Knead Bagels is the place to find it. The non-traditional Philly bagelry is in the business of remastering a timeless classic: the bagel and cream cheese. This means lavender bagels with vanilla honey cream cheese, or fennel seed and sea salt bagels with roasted tomato cream cheese, or Capsicum bagels (Japanese chile) piled with 12-hour brisket, coffee barbecue sauce, and picked onions. And if attempting to decide whether scallion lime cream cheese would pair well with black sesame stumps you, the bakers are like gluten mixologists -- they'll know exactly what you knead (sorry).
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.
The ultimate in Asian comfort eats, Pho 75 dishes out bowls of their namesake pho, that's even Anthony Bourdain-approved.
Luke's Lobster is a Maine lobster-slinging New England seafood joint, offering you buttered rolls stuffed with knuckle and claw meat, as well as a rotating lineup of seafood soups.
Undrgrnd Donuts is worth a mention for pushing the pastry envelope with its crazy flavor combinations. One of our favorites, the Homer, takes the concept of a black-and-white cookie and puts a savory spin: a vanilla-dunked donut topped with chocolate-covered bacon bits. Since Undrgrnd is a food truck (no brick and mortar location yet), you’ll need to catch them at Love Park or one of the area food festivals this spring.
Barbuzzo is a Mediterranean haven built of beautiful re-purposed Mid-Atlantic woods -- floor boards from Maryland dock pilings, refurbished church pews from a West Philly church, tabletops cut from local dam wood. White-washed brick walls meet a marble-topped bar, which leads into an open kitchen almost as narrow as the restaurant itself, but the space constraints certainly have no bearing on the quality of the food. The restaurant offers everything from small plates -- heirloom pumpkin and mushrooms over polenta with sage brown butter -- to pizzas and pastas -- slow-roasted pear pizza with sweet gorgonzola, prosciutto, and toasted walnuts -- and of course, meatier entrees like the house ground short rib and pork meatballs with pickled peppers and fresh oregano. The cocktail menu is equally inventive and just as exhaustive, and then there's dessert...
With locations all over Philly (Italian Market, Universal City, Wynnewood, Collingwood), Sabrina's is known most of all for their creative, comfort food brunch concoctions. You must try the overstuffed French toast, made with marshmallows, sweet cream, and cinnamon dough. Everything on the menu is made with fresh ingredients in ways you’ve never tasted before.
This Reading Terminal Market based shop offers a wide selection of pretzel roll-ups, or soft pretzels stuffed with different choices of protein, including hot dogs and breakfast meats, and our favorite: the cheesesteak roll-up, a Frankensteined combo of two of Philadelphia’s most iconic dishes. We’re still waiting for them to find a way to incorporate a Tasty Cake into the mix, hopefully called the John Kruk.
On the edge of Market East, Reading Terminal Market is a sprawling, slightly chaotic urban food paradise. There’s a lot to take in: the hiss of frying chicken, the rustle of purveyors packaging meals in small plastic bags, the constant throb of people eating, talking, and surveying the endless array of goods. And, home to one of our favorites (Beiler's Donuts) this historic farmer's market has got all the baked goods you could want, plus fresh produce, flowers, sweets, and full-on meals.
This three-generation South Philly institution will gladly feed you cannoli and huge sammies on homemade rolls, but they made our list of top pizza parlors thanks to their tomato pie: a brick-oven-fired, sauce-heavy Sicilian rectangle that's spent the last few years developing an immunity to cheese...inconceivable!
The interior of this modern Israeli restaurant is designed to resemble Jerusalem's network of hidden courtyards, with floors and walls built of gold limestone and tables hand-carved in dark wood. Zahav's food is equally reminiscent of the promised land: fresh laffa bread is baked to order in a wood-fired oven and lamb skewers are roasted over hardwood charcoal. The menu's true star is its hummus, a silky spread in which the key ingredients, chickpeas and tahini, share the flavor spotlight equally and aren't overshadowed by garlic, lemon, or olive oil -- though those three ingredients are surely present. The lengthy wine list includes a full section for wines with Israeli or Palestinian origins, and house cocktails incorporate Mediterranean notes like za'atar and pumpernickel-infused whiskey.
Charlie certainly was a sinner, and a glutenous one at that. Despite a mostly vegan menu, Charlie's knocks it out of the park with decadent small plates and seemingly whimsical cocktails that hit you fast. Dark wood-paneled walls and plush velvet booths create a warm, intimate interior that's perfect for a date night. Take a seat at one of the candlelit tables and indulge in the always mysterious Charlie's Punch.
Franklin Fountain is a soda fountain and ice cream parlor that aims to give an old-school experience.
Delicious American eats with a family feel, plus some of the best pizza in the entire country.
A big-windowed joint from a dude who plucked himself off the Starr tree, Birra’s slatted banquettes, raw brick touches the resto will surely have to endure years of therapy for, and zebrawood bar surround an open kitchen dominated by a massive stainless oven used to produce a menu dedicated to its chef's dual loves of pizza and beer.
This Philadelphia dog joint will take you on a flavor tour of wieners from around the nation and beyond, featuring menu options such as the Chicago-style "Windy City"and the hot dog-meets-banh mi "Saigon Fusion."
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.
A Philly tradition since 1959, Santucci's isn’t serving up your traditional slice -- the pies are square, and the sauce is on top. Toppings are pretty standard, but our favorite is still the Original Signature pie, with extra cheese. The pizza itself is pretty thick -- somewhere between a Sicilian and a grandma slice -- with an abundant helping of sweet, tart sauce.