Philadelphia, PA - Philadelphia is one of the best cities for fine dining. Philadelphia is a must-visit for foodies with diverse cuisines, local staples, and fine dining. Philadelphia has something for every palate, from afternoon cheesesteaks to fine Italian cuisine and red gravy pasta accompanied by a bottle of wine. This Visitors Guide to Dining in Philadelphia will give you the inside scoop on what to order and where to find it.
Visitors Guide to Dining in Philadelphia
As the birthplace of the United States, Philadelphia has plenty of reasons to be on your list of places to dine. The city's waterfront is a wonderful place for an evening stroll or a romantic meal. There are plenty of attractions along the waterfront, including the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, a landmark connecting Philadelphia to New Jersey. You can also dine on seafood at one of Philadelphia's waterfront piers, including Cherry Street Pier and Race Street Pier.
The Reading Terminal Market is a great place to start. This market features one of the largest selections of meat, poultry, fish, and baked goods. There are also dozens of restaurants under one roof, and you'll surely find something to please your palate. You can even take a stroll along the Delaware River for a breathtaking view of the city. And don't forget to taste the famous Philly Cheesesteaks.
Philadelphia dining continues to wow in 2022. The city's dining scene is also expanding. A recent listing in The East Coast Traveller 2021 Hot List highlighted Laser Wolf, an Israeli grill from the same team that brought us Zahav.
The Guide to Dining in Philadelphia For the First Time
If you are visiting Philadelphia for the first time, here are some places you should not miss. Here you'll find a list of the best places to dine in the city. These places include Reading Terminal Market, Red Owl Tavern, Lorenzo & Sons Pizza, and Hard Rock Cafe. Also, read on to discover some hidden gems that you might otherwise have missed. Then, when you're ready for a night out, take advantage of these recommendations!
Reading Terminal Market
A visit to Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market is a must for tourists and locals alike. With 80+ food stands offering a wide variety of foods, this market has something for everyone. Choose from fresh smoothies to flavor-packed salmon curry to grab-and-go burgers. You can find the perfect snack for any occasion at Reading Terminal Market. The market also has plenty of places to drink and relax.
Red Owl Tavern
If you're planning a trip to Philadelphia, don't miss the Red Owl Tavern. This colonial-style pub is just a block away from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Red Owl serves a traditional tavern-style menu, including vegan, gluten-free, and vegetarian options. It can accommodate as many as 115 people. The new exec chef is tweaking the menu at Red Owl, testing new dishes, and trying to perfect the experience.
Hard Rock Cafe
You may want to check out Hard Rock Cafe for those planning a night out in Philadelphia. This world-famous restaurant chain currently has 185 locations worldwide and is visited by 80 million people annually. The first Hard Rock Cafe opened in London on June 14, 1971. Since then, Hard Rock has spread to major cities and exotic locations worldwide. You can find a full menu at the Hard Rock Cafe Philadelphia, including gluten-free options. You can also find vegetarian dishes or choose a vegan option.
Located in the heart of Philadelphia's Old City, the upscale and hip concept restaurant opened in 1998. This small-plate emporium is a favorite destination of celebrities and Philly locals, featuring lofty ceilings, flowing water walls, and silk walls. A communal onyx dining table guides diners to the gilded Buddha atop the 10-foot ceiling. And the staff will keep you well-informed about the latest trends in Japanese cuisine. The entire experience is worth the trip.
Cherry Street Pier
There's no shortage of restaurants at Cherry Street Pier. This early 20th-century pier is surrounded by art studios, a flea market, and a riverside beer pub. If you're interested in visiting the pier, make sure to check out the Pier Art Museum and Pier Brewery. There are also many great places to shop for Philadelphia souvenirs.
If you are looking for an exciting new dining experience, the laser-inspired Laser Wolf might be the place. Laser Wolf is known for its inventive twists on Mediterranean classics. This restaurant is in Olde Kensington, just adjacent to Fishtown. Guests can enjoy waterfront views from the restaurant's rooftop bar. Parking is free on the streets, and there is a Resy reservation system available online.
The name Zahav means "gold" in Hebrew. This Philadelphia restaurant is an excellent place to experience authentic Middle Eastern cuisine. The restaurant's menu is influenced by the diverse cultures that make up the city of Jerusalem. The owners of Zahav are Steve Cook and Michael Solomonov, who also own Abe Fisher and Federal Donuts. It opened the same year as Katy Perry released her first single. While the restaurant's name may sound exotic, the food is absolutely delicious, and the waitstaff is very attentive.
Ralph's Italian Restaurant
You can find classic Italian dishes served in an old building that dates back to 1900. This Philadelphia restaurant accepts cash and only serves classic Italian dishes. The menu is composed of traditional pasta, pizza, and meatballs. For more information about the food served at this location, click here. Bring cash to avoid hassles if you plan to visit this Philadelphia location. It's also recommended that you make your reservations in advance, as the place can get extremely busy.
If you're looking for a special occasion to celebrate, consider dining at Parc Restaurant in Philadelphia. This high-end, casual restaurant is a Philadelphia staple that won a James Beard Award for Best Restaurateur in 2018. The food is fresh and fiery and is as close to authentic Thai fare as it gets in the area. The staff at Parc is friendly, helpful, and willing to answer questions or recommend wines.
Pat's King of Steaks
Philadelphia has no shortage of top choices when it comes to steaks, including Pat's King of Steaks. The Philadelphia Cheesesteak Company, which self-identifies as the "inventor of the cheesesteak," serves classic versions of this Philly favorite. With locations across the city, you'll find one near you. If you're looking for the ultimate cheesesteak experience, head over to Pat's King of Steaks and sample the world's best.
If you're looking for the best cheesesteak in Philadelphia, you can't go wrong with Geno's. Their sandwiches are unbeatable and feature thinly-sliced ribeye on oven-fresh bread with American, Provolone, and cheese wiz. The quality of these sandwiches is also affordable, and guests appreciate the fancy decor. And don't worry about getting a bad meal here because you can be sure that every last bite will be worth it.
If you're looking for a unique dining experience in Philadelphia, you've come to the right place. Rim Cafe is located in the Italian Market area. It has earned itself a reputation for its amazing desserts and hot chocolate. You won't even need your laptop to enjoy your meal, thanks to the cafe's policy against computers. And you can't forget the owner, Rene.
Ristorante Pesto should be on your list if you're looking for the best Italian restaurant in Philadelphia. This family-owned, compact Italian trattoria is known for its Southern Italian classics and warm neighborhood feel. The menu features a variety of classics from around Italy and is served up with a smile. The neighborhood atmosphere is a plus, but the food is the real draw here.
The Victor Cafe
The Victor Cafe is located in the heart of Philly's Italian neighborhood. It serves traditional Italian fare with a twist. In addition to the incredible food, the Victor Cafe also has a wonderful staff, many of whom are trained, opera singers. You can enjoy live opera performances during dinner while listening to a singer's arias. The arias last for about three minutes each, and the entire room is enthralled.
John's Roast Pork
For lovers of Philadelphia's legendary roast pork sandwich, you can't pass up a visit to the iconic roast pork shop in the Center City neighborhood. This legendary eatery only accepts cash and has late closing times. However, you need to pay attention to the time of day you want to visit. If you visit in the evening, you'll be able to take advantage of its late closing hours.
South Philly Barbacoa
This Mexican-inspired restaurant has recently gained national attention, run by an undocumented immigrant. The meat here is tender and flavorful. The tacos are incredible, and the barbacoa is the best in the city. The restaurant is small - only a handful of tables - and there is no reservation system. It is open seven days a week and is not staffed on weekends.
If you are in the mood for a slice of Sicilian pizza, Pizzeria Beddia is a perfect choice. It features daily pie specials, is served in cozy quarters, and offers to-go service. Its atmosphere is relaxing and calming, and it serves the best Italian pizza in Philadelphia. No reservations are necessary, but you should plan to have a lot of time, as this pizzeria is a popular destination for tourists.
The Olde Bar
The Olde Bar is a contemporary oyster bar and cocktail lounge located in the landmark Old Original Bookbinder's building. The menu includes half-shell oysters and creative reinterpretations of classic bar snacks. The restaurant also offers a wide range of classic cocktails. The Olde Bar is pet-friendly and features an outdoor patio. It also features an extensive drink menu and a library-themed room.
If you're looking for a fun place to dine in Philadelphia, consider visiting Tacconelli's. This authentic Italian restaurant serves classic Italian dishes. The staff is friendly and accommodating, and the menu changes regularly. Tacconelli's offers a large selection of pizzas, portions of pasta, and sandwiches. You can also bring a large group to eat here.
The Old City's confectionary scene includes the iconic Franklin Fountain, a renowned ice cream parlor with antique fixtures. Try cheesesteaks, onigiri, and Philadelphia rolls, and save room for the dessert menu, including chocolate fudge and biscuits. Order a Spanish beer or good rum or a chocolate frappe to wash down the delicious treat. You can also order a chocolate hot chocolate or lemonade.
John's Water Ice
If you're looking for one of the best frozen treats in Philly, then look no further. John's Water Ice is a buzzing destination that serves water ice made from an old recipe. Their menu features rotating flavors each week, and you'll certainly find something to satisfy your thirst. Here, you'll also be able to try a new recipe to become a regular at this Philadelphia hot spot.
Bud & Marilyn's
If you're looking for a nostalgic feel, you've come to the right place. The menu includes heartily shareable such as Grandma's Chicken Noodle Soup and Truffled Asparagus Grilled Cheese. You can order from the full entrees or a vegetarian or gluten-free option for more substantial meals. Breakfast is served until 10 a.m., and you can order fried cheese curds and a grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast.
Although you may not be a fan of large, formal restaurants, Max Brenner's is unique in its personality. It is a child-friendly environment, which fosters playful dining. The menu is long enough to accommodate more than one course if you dare, and the oversized syringes filled with marinara and complex tea infusers make the whole experience seem a little childlike.
You can't beat dining in a floating restaurant. Moshulu is located on the historic square-rigged sailing ship. Its spacious interior is loaded with maritime charm. Its chef uses local and seasonal ingredients to create innovative and flavorful dishes. Aside from being a top Philadelphia dining option, Moshulu is also an ideal location for a brunch or happy hour cocktail.
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Written By: Philly Bite Magazines Staff
Philadelphia Best Of Series consists of a round-up of the best places to find great food, entertainment, and more in Philly.