Philadelphia PA - Winter Restaurant Openings: Many things slow down in the winter season, but Philadelphia’s restaurant scene is not one of them.
The region’s growing list of restaurants includes several entries from celebrity chefs, not one but two arepa eateries (Puyero Venezuelan Flavor and Tart Areperia 18.64), a vegan dim sum restaurant (Mi Lah) and a reboot of a longtime Center City favorite (Friday Saturday Sunday). Here are some notable additions to the local inventory, organized by neighborhood:
Old City & Washington Square West:
- Sausages of all kinds and beef hot dogs meet regional topping combinations like the Paul Bunyan from Minnesota (breakfast sausage with fried potatoes, bacon, maple syrup and fried egg) at Destination Dogs. The creative wieners, international cocktails and 16 beers on tap are served in a fun-loving atmosphere with arcade games. 1111 Walnut Street, (267) 773-7750, destinationdogs.com
- Nicole Marquis’ growing vegan fast foodery branches out again. The newest HipCityVeg locale turns out signatures, like the Ziggy burger made from smoked tempeh, plus an all-new breakfast menu featuring tofu-based “eggs” and meatless sausage. 121 S. Broad Street, (267) 273-0603, hipcityveg.com
- Chickpea puree takes center stage at Hummusology. The Washington Square fast casual eatery whips up six different versions of the dish, along with Middle Eastern delicacies such as shakshuka and burekas. 1112 Locust Street, (215) 592-6505, hummusology.net
- Chef Anthony Marini riffs on all things raw at Rarest. The Washington Square restaurant’s menu includes ceviche, carpaccio and tartare alongside a selection of cooked dishes, such as hanger steak with creamed greens and double-cut pork chops. AKA Washington Square, 834 Chestnut Street, (215) 305-8752, rarestphilly.com
- A seasonally focused bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) from Chef Benjamin Moore, Wister lays down New American roots in Old City. The house specialties include sunchoke soup with pear and rye; Spanish mackerel with clams and Meyer lemon; and a Franklin Fountain ice cream dessert inspired by the Nutty Buddy. 26 N. 3rd Street, (267) 239-5900, wisterbyob.com
- Jose Garces’ latest venture 24 specializes in wood-grilled Italian fare. Right between Rittenhouse Square and University City, the space offers killer views of the Schuylkill River, while the kitchen plates up artichoke farinata; rustic pastas like rabbit agnolotti with brown butter and cherries; and pizzas topped with clam, kale and parmesan cream. 2401 Walnut Street, (215) 333-3331, 24philly.com
- Rittenhouse Square restaurant Baril emphasizes time-honored French flavors and preparations. The menu’s highlights include ratatouille, salade Lyonnaise and classic coq au vin, paired with a smart selection of wines by the glass. 267 S. 19th Street, (267) 687-2608, barilphilly.com
- Korean fried chicken and rice bowls inform the concept of takeout spot Chix & Bowls. The Rittenhouse Square location, its second in Center City, plays with Asian flavors, stir-fries and salads to keep the offerings healthy. 28 S. 20th Street, (215) 845-5118, chixnbowls.com
- The peak of industrial chic, Cinder’s bar emphasizes sour beers and ciders—32 taps in all. On the edible side, charcuterie, mussels and pizzas complement the craft beverage selection. 1500 Locust Street, (267) 761-5582, cinderphilly.com
- A symbol of Philly’s first restaurant renaissance, Friday Saturday Sunday gets a 21st-century reboot with a sleek new look and perspective. Chef/owner Chad Williams has also renovated the menu with a raw bar, fresh pastas and cocktails galore. 261 S. 21st Street, (215) 546-4232, fridaysaturdaysunday.com
- The latest addition to chef Michael Schulson’s ambitious portfolio, Center City’s Harp & Crown offers a world of surprises, including a hidden bar and bowling alley downstairs. The regional American menu emphasizes shared plates such as mushroom farro salad with soft egg and escarole; lamb meatballs with date relish; and heritage pork shank and belly over hearty pears, turnips and chestnuts. 1525 Sansom Street, (215) 330-2800, harpcrown.com
- The team that created Old City’s Mac’s Tavern goes upmarket with James. The plush dining room inside The Lofts at 1835 Arch invites diners to dig into tomato bisque en croute, halibut in lobster broth, and seitan risotto with sunchokes and morels. 1835 Arch Street, (267) 324-5005, jamesphiladelphia.com
- All-day eats shine at Res Ipsa, a Euro-style coffee house by day that converts into a Sicilian BYOB by night. Morning bites like pomegranate ricotta focaccia, mid-day snacks like a spicy chicken salad sandwich with pickled greens and evening fare such as trofie pasta with mushroom ensure there’s something interesting to eat at any hour. 2218 Walnut Street, (267) 519-0329, resipsaphilly.com
- Upscale Italian eating never gets old, and Scarpetta, a recent import from a New York family of restaurants, brings its metro glamour to The Rittenhouse hotel. Dishes include crudo, fresh pappardelle with braised rabbit and porcini mushrooms, and veal tenderloin with gnocchi and glazed sweetbreads. The Rittenhouse, 210 W. Rittenhouse Square, (215) 558-4199, scarpettarestaurants.com/philadelphia
- The French-Canadian comfort food poutine gets its day in the sun at Shoo Fry, just off Rittenhouse Square. The quirky quick eats encompass fries with all manner of toppings (jerk chicken, cheesesteak, Scrapple), a variety of sliders, and shakes made from Little Baby’s Ice Cream. 132 S. 17th Street, (267) 639-2104, shoofry.com
Brewerytown & East Falls:
- New Jersey’s Flying Fish Brewing Co. jumps into the local brewpub game with Flying Fish Crafthouse, appropriately located in Brewerytown. The venue offers a rotating selection of 16 beers on tap (plus draft wines and bottled cocktails), a Craft House flight that combines five beers with matching foods, plus twisted pretzels, fried chicken sandwiches, pizza and burgers. The Fairmount @ Brewerytown Apartments, 1363 N. 31st Street, (215) 701-4545, ffcrafthouse.com
- The owners of Revolution Taco present The Mill’s Café in East Falls, a tasting room of sorts for the dishes they serve in their many food trucks. The menu lists salads, sandwiches, a mouthwatering dry-aged burger topped with house-made bacon and salted fudge brownies. Sherman Mills, 3510 Scotts Lane, (267) 391-7539, 33rdstreethospitality.com
The River Wards:
- An old-time Port Richmond watering hole transformed by new ownership—the team behind the popular Grey Lodge Pub—Bonk’s Bar & Grille retains its classic look but offers updated flavors. Along with a solid list of beers, the spoils include kielbasa-and-kraut sandwiches, house specialty crabs and decadent “frickles,” or fried pickles. 3467 Richmond Street, (215) 426-2348, bonksbar.com
- Inside the Revolutions bowling complex at the Fillmore, two new establishments have set up shop. The Burger & Beer Joint is a rock-centric beer garden with dozens of burger variations; Flair Street is a cocktail bar with entertaining drink slingers. 1009 Canal Street, (267) 348-0544, penntreaty.revolutionsbowl.com
- The first organic pizzeria in the SLiCE family of restaurants, the Fishtown location brings a new focus on sustainability. Diners sit at communal tables to enjoy Trenton-style pies with toppings like Brussels sprouts, prosciutto or truffled ribeye, plus four styles of wings and vegetarian/vegan options aplenty. 431 E. Girard Avenue, (215) 425-1555, slicepa.com
- Tart Areperia 18.64’s stuffed Venezuelan flatbreads incorporate both traditional (pernil, or roast pork; stir-fried shrimp al ajillo) and definitively Philadelphian (cheesesteak) ingredients. The shop under the Girard Avenue El station stays open all day, from breakfast to dinner.
1204 N. Front Street, (267) 250-2717, tartareperia.com
- Weckerly’s ice cream lands its first bricks-and-mortar location in Fishtown. The shop sells the same signature flavors (hot chocolate, lemongrass cherry and caramel corn) sold in markets throughout the city, along with fun and funky ice cream sandwich combos. 9 W. Girard Avenue, (215) 423-2000, weckerlys.com
South Philly & South of Center City:
- Authentic Vietnamese street food and quality booze—why didn’t anyone think of this before? At the novel new Banh Mi and Bottles, vermicelli, steaming bowls of pho and pork belly sandwiches marry beautifully with cocktails and a huge selection of craft beers, both on tap and from the cold case. 712-14 South Street, (215) 800-7533, facebook.com/banhmiandbottles/
- A former auto body shop, Brewery ARS pours its own signature Belgian ales and Saisons, with a BYO food policy. The 10-barrel brewery and tasting room will start off with three beers on tap, with many more on the way. 1927-29 W. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 435-2029, breweryars.com
- Simplicity rules at Burg’s Hideaway Lounge. The retro-inspired Point Breeze bar serves only a few items, including a cheeseburger, wings, French onion soup, charcuterie and orange sherbet. 1200 S. 21st Street, (215) 271-6627
- With a fresh injection of maple syrup and a side of Scrapple, City Diner reinvigorates the diner scene. Open around the clock on weekends, the hangout specializes in greasy spoon staples like disco fries, French dip sandwiches and omelets all day. 521 S. Broad Street, (215) 383-3330, citydinerphilly.com
- Queen Village welcomes its own installment of Manayunk bar Lucky’s Last Chance. Like the original, the new location serves a quirky menu—PB & Bacon burger and the Voodoo dog (topped with shredded Cajun chicken, cheese, onions strings and secret sauce)—plus an expansive lineup of craft beer. 828 S. 2nd Street, (267) 519-2080, facebook.com/luckysQV
- Vegans get another dining option with Mi Lah. The international dim sum restaurant serves brunch, lunch and dinner in Queen Village, with menu items such as barbecue seitan buns, edamame dumplings with sunchoke puree and corn masa cakes with refried black beans.
615 S. 3rd Street, (215) 309-5135, milahvegetarian.com
- Taking up residence in a cheerful storefront, Puyero Venezuelan Flavor keeps its sights on Latin street food. The quick-service counter turns out arepas, patacónes and pan con queso. 524 S. 4th Street, (267) 928-4584, puyeroflavor.com
- Offering precise, cutting-edge Italian cookery in a romantic atmosphere, Ambra, the sister restaurant to the adjacent Southwark, enhances an already-bustling Queen Village culinary culture. At just 16 seats, this intimate restaurant serves elegant four-course menus featuring dishes like sourdough spaghetti with razor clams and squash fonduta; and venison loin and “ossobuco” with celery root mostarda. 705 S. 4th Street, (267) 858-9232, ambraphilly.com
- The long-anticipated Royal Sushi and Izakaya combines high-quality raw fish with traditional Japanese bar food. Sakes perfectly match the convivial specialties like grilled avocado, pork belly buns and fried chicken wings. For a truly unique sushi experience, book a seat at chef Jesse Ito’s counter in the rear of the restaurant. 780 S. 2nd Street, (267) 909-9002, royalsushiandizakaya.com
- No-frills Greek cooking shines at Village Taverna. The Queen Village BYOB hideaway offers classics like shrimp Santorini, moussaka and kebobs. 769 E. Passyunk Avenue, (267) 861-0949, villagephilly.com
- Philly’s first nonprofit restaurant, EAT Café encourages diners to pay what they can while creating an inviting community atmosphere. The seasonal menu changes weekly but includes appetizer, main course, dessert and beverage, with kids’ options. 3820 Lancaster Avenue, (267) 292-2768, eatcafe.org
- A bagel-centric food truck becomes a walk-in store. The purview of Schmear It covers egg sandwiches, yogurt parfaits and, of course, bagels and creative spreads galore.
3601 Market Street, (215) 792-3892, schmearit.com
- Modern Mexican fare sizzles at Al Pastor. The Exton newcomer sates spicy appetites with mushroom-and-corn huaraches, spicy octopus tacos and squash blossom quesadillas, plus a refreshing menu of beers and cocktails. 560 Wellington Square, Exton, (484) 341-8886, eatalpastor.com
- Wayne’s contemporary BYOB At the Table brings a big-city sensibility to a boutique suburban atmosphere. The tasting menus, at five or eight courses, might feature Kumamoto oysters, foie gras with asparagus coins tiger shrimp with piquillo pepper grits and kumquat. 11 Louella Court, Wayne, (610) 964-9700, atthetablebyob.com
- Long revered for its exceptional sushi in Plymouth Meeting, Bluefin doubles down with a second location: B2 Sushi in Bala Cynwyd. Diners can expect the same inventive rolls—the Bala combines tuna, vegetables, spicy sauce, tempura chips, roe and scallion—plus hot dishes like miso-baked eggplant and tempura. 401 E. City Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, (610) 227-1507, b2bluefin.com
- Two disparate Asian delicacies unite at Banh Street Fried Chicken. Vietnamese hoagies and Korean fried chicken provide equally tempting reasons to visit this fast casual storefront in Ambler. 832 N. Bethlehem Pike, Ambler, (267) 419-8587, banhstreet.com
- The second of two new restaurants in the Exton Wellington Square Complex (See Al Pastor above), Bella Vista enlivens an Italian menu with Philly flair. Tuna carpaccio, porchetta pizza with long hot pesto, ricotta gnocchi and butterscotch budino showcase novel flavor combinations. 560 Wellington Square, Exton, (484) 341-8621, eatbellavista.com
- The owners of The StoneRose and Bar Lucca branch out into Mediterranean plates and Old World wines with Cerdo. The Conshohocken tapas restaurant offers a variety of meats, cheeses, salads and small plates—grilled manouri cheese; wild boar ribs with harissa-scallion gastrique—in addition to flatbreads and large-format plates perfect for sharing, such as wild boar shank and seafood-topped spaghetti. 382 E. Elm Street, Conshohocken, (610) 234-0561, cerdorestaurant.com
- A growing national chain, City Works Eatery and Pour House joins King of Prussia’s burgeoning Town Center development. Modern American food (duck confit nachos; filet mignon sliders on pretzel rolls; butterscotch bread pudding) accompanies a staggering 90 craft beers on tap, as well as draft wines, seasonal cocktails and a list of signature mules. 220 Main Street, King of Prussia, (484) 690-4150, cityworksrestaurant.com
- Glenside celebrates all that is delicious in Southern Italian fare at Gracie’s. The cozy trattoria cooks up housemade pasta, Neapolitan pizza, charcuterie boards and traditional sweets like tiramisu and cannoli. 17 Limekiln Pike, Glenside, (215) 277-5484, facebook.com/graciesglenside
- Northeast Philly sensation Blue Duck extends its comfort food brand to Midtown Village, adding a bar to the mix.
- With the first location in Fairmount going strong, Jose Garces’ Buena Onda hopes to replicate the success with a second Baja fish taco joint in Rittenhouse Square.
- In 2017, Cheu Fishtown will arrive, twirling out plates of noodles and other Asian-inspired snacks with style.
- Johnny Brenda’s chef Adam Diltz goes BYOB with his forthcoming Elwood on Frankford Avenue, focusing on Mid-Atlantic regional cuisine.
- Chicken and pies form the tempting foundation for Love & Honey Fried Chicken, soon to debut in Northern Liberties.
- Acclaimed chef Sylva Senat turns his attention to French-influenced American cuisine at Midtown Village’s forthcoming Maison 208.
- In deep South Philly, Otis & Pickles Speakeasy promises cocktails, beer and pickles in an out-of-the-way location.
- Rittenhouse Square will soon host the non-mobile version of Poi Dog Philly, serving Hawaiian snacks such as Kahlua pork, spicy tuna poke and bibingka desserts.
- Joining a family of wine bars, Tria Wine Garden takes a new tack, serving wines, cheese and beer on an expanded patio in Center City West.
- The eagerly awaited Veda modernizes Indian cuisine in a chic restau-bar space on West Chestnut Street.
- East Falls joins the craft brew revolution with the arrival of Wissahickon Brewing Company.
- Yeeroh, a Modern Greek grill, will shave off souvlaki sandwiches for the masses just off the corner of Broad and South Streets.