Best restaurants in Philadelphia

Best Restaurants in Philadelphia

The City of Brotherly Love is famous for many things: Benjamin Franklin, notoriously passionate sports fans, and possibly the most beloved sandwich in America — the Philly cheesesteak. But Philadelphia has more to offer than just grilled beef on a soft roll topped with savory onions and peppers (yummm).

Explore Philadelphia’s rich immigrant culture at Reading Terminal Market or dive into classic Philly treats like soft pretzels or hoagies. Recently, Philadelphia has become a fine dining destination. Grab your pants with the elastic waistband and sample some of the finest eats in Philly. We have compiled a list of the best restaurants in Philadelphia. 

Best Restaurants in Philadelphia - Philadelphia Cheesesteaks (Pat's & Geno's)

Best Restaurants in Philadelphia – Philadelphia Cheesesteaks (Pat’s & Geno’s)

Iconic Philly Foods: best restaurants in Philadelphia

Cheesesteak
Sonny’s Famous Steaks (Old City)
The battle for best cheesesteak in Philly has historically been between two steak powerhouses, Pat’s and Geno’s. Both serve up tasty cheesesteak, but if you’re looking for something simple and delicious (and not crawling with tourists) check out Sonny’s.  

Hoagie
Sarcone’s Deli (Italian Market/Bella Vista)
This classic Italian bakery supplies bread to half the hoagie’s shop in Philly. Stop in to carb-o-load, and while you’re at it try the Old-Fashioned Italian Gourmet Hoagie.

Soft pretzel
Center City Pretzel Company (Italian Market)
Since 1981, this pretzel shop has been twisting dough into delicious soft treats. Three simple ingredients— flour, yeast, and water — go into making these pretzels.

Water Ice
Rita’s Water Ice (Various Locations)
Water ice, also known as Italian ice, is a sweet, cold dessert similar to sorbet and not to be confused with shaved ice. This treat is difficult to describe and even harder to resist. Rita’s Water Ice is the best spot in Philly to try this delicious dish.

Best Restaurants in Philadelphia - Riat's Water Ice

Best Restaurants in Philadelphia – Riat’s Water Ice

American: best restaurants in Philadelphia

Fette Sau (Fishtown)
Tuck into authentic Southern BBQ at this hip Fishtown establishment. All the meat is sourced from local farmers, and each plate pairs perfectly with at least one of the 100 bourbons and whiskeys available.

The Blue Duck (Northeast Philly)
It didn’t take long for burger bounty hunters to track down this appetizing spot. The House Grind Burger is hard to beat, with a secret blend of brisket, fat, and duck.

Steak: best restaurants in Philadelphia

Barclay Prime (Rittenhouse)
Housed in a once famous hotel, this steak spot offers a satisfying selection of beef. From an 8-ounce filet to a whopping 50-ounce rib-eye. We doubt you’ll have room to spare, but the truffle mac and cheese is to-die-for.

Davio’s (Rittenhouse)
An American steakhouse with a touch of Italian influence. Stick with the classic New York sirloin and horseradish potatoes, or sample from the extensive pasta selection.

Seafood: best restaurants in Philadelphia

Oyster House (Center City)
One of the best happy hour specials in the city, go to Oyster House specifically for Buck-a-shuck — $1 for 1 oyster. This Philly icon has an impressive menu teaming with all manners of sea creatures.

Mexican: best restaurants in Philadelphia

Distrito (University City)
This Mexican hot spot offers both fine and casual dining options. Kick in the cash for the chef’s tasting menu and explore cuisine inspired by Mexico City. This is also the perfect place to munch on tacos while watching the football game.

Buena Onda (Fairmount)
This casual cantina serves tacos at a fair price. Mix and match mahi mahi with chicken, or opt for the tofu quesadilla. Best of all, classic margaritas are available to wash it all down.

Historic: best restaurants in Philadelphia

City Tavern (Old City)
Opened: 1773
This isn’t exactly one of the oldest restaurants in Philly. It opened in 1773 and delegates to the First Continental Congress met here, but it was mostly destroyed by fire in 1834. In 1994, it was rebuilt and reopened. The historic tavern is now a place for tourists to enjoy 18th century food and waiters in costumes.

McGillin’s Old Ale House (Penn Center)
Opened: 1860
The oldest restaurant in Philadelphia, this spot has become a Philly icon. The Mile High Meatloaf is worth a try, or simply stop by for a sip of local brews.

Victor Cafe (Passyunk)
Opened: 1933
This eatery has been made famous by the film Rocky Balboa. This South Philly staple stood in for Adrian’s Restaurant in the film, and diners today can enjoy the same scenery they spotted in the movie — red-checkered tablecloths, opera singers, and tasty Italian dishes.

Best Restaurants in Philadelphia - McGillin’s Old Ale House

Best Restaurants in Philadelphia – McGillin’s Old Ale House

Italian: best restaurants in Philadelphia

L’angolo Ristorante (Melrose)
Bring your favorite bottle of wine to this family-style Italian eatery. Dishes are inspired by the southern Italian region of Puglia. The menu is short but sweet, with pastas worthy of your praise — try the spaghetti bolognese paired with mussels.

Osteria (Fairmount)
This Italian eatery boasts rustic charm and a bustling open kitchen. There are endless pasta options, but the wood-fired pizza oven is hard to resist. Sink your teeth into a Margherita ‘za — tomato, basil, and mozzarella.

Pizza: best restaurants in Philadelphia

Pizzeria Beddia  (Fishtown)
You’ll need a little patience to try this elusive pizza. The Fishtown pie palace is only open Wednesday through Sunday and only sells 40 pizzas each day. This ‘za is 100% worth the wait.

Barbuzzo (Gayborhood)
This trendy pizzeria has a brief pizza menu, but the tastes are exceptional. Interesting ingredients appear on each pie. Stinging nettles, wild boar, and pomegranate molasses, to name a few.

Best Restaurants in Philadelphia - Pizza

Best Restaurants in Philadelphia – Pizza. Image: Flickr

Chinese: best restaurants in Philadelphia

Ting Wong (Chinatown)
Philadelphia’s Chinatown is the most obvious spot in the city to hunt down amazing Chinese eats. Ting Wong is the best place in the city for roast duck and simple wonton soup.

Dim Sum Garden (Chinatown)
Quick, easy, cheap… and delicious. This Chinatown establishment serves up a soup + dumplings meal for less than $10.

Food Trucks: best restaurants in Philadelphia

Schmear It (Food Truck)
This carb-heavy food truck is worth the hunt. Track it down to find savory and sweet bagels and schmear combinations. The Monster Miler features peanut butter, bananas, and granola. Or sample a sesame bagel with cream cheese and soy sauce.

Jamaican D’s (Food truck)
This food truck serves up the best jerk chicken in Philly. There are two trucks wandering the city. In both you’ll find rice, beans, and perfectly seasoned chicken.

Best Restaurants in Philadelphia - Pretzels

Best Restaurants in Philadelphia – Pretzels. Image: Flickr

Breakfast and Brunch: best restaurants in Philadelphia

The Bakeshop on 20th (Rittenhouse)
Here’s another Philly hotspot where you should be prepared to wait in line. This bakery whips up mouthwatering pastries and brownies in addition to more savory samplings. Pile a Philly English muffin high with bacon, egg, and avocado.

Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat (Northern Liberties)
This sweetly named spot is a popular brunch destination in Philly. If you get there early, you’ll miss the crowd and score a delicious deal. Between 7am and 9am Monday through Friday you can get a bountiful breakfast for less than $10.

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Things to do in Philadelphia

Things to do in Philadelphia
Known as the Cradle of Liberty, Philadelphia is where modern American democracy was formed, but there is more than history in this city. Check out the best things to do in Philadelphia.

Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell and its famous crack have come to symbolize American freedom. Explore Philadelphia’s history and learn more about America’s founding fathers.

Philadelphia Hotels

Philadelphia Hotels
Learn more about Philly’s unique and vibrant neighborhoods. Check out our list of the best Philadelphia hotels and the amazing neighborhoods where you can find them.

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