Philadelphia has one of the best dining scenes in the country. We’re famous for our cheesesteaks and South Philly Italian food, as well as the award-winning chefs that call our city their home. With so many incredible spots to choose from, how do you decide on your bucket list Philadelphia restaurants? Well, you can start with these legendary establishments.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Dante & Luigi's
In a city full of great Italian food, how do you know that you're choosing the real deal? Well, the fact that Dante & Luigi's was the site of an attempted mafia hit in 1989 should be a clue that you're in the right spot. Their gigantic homemade lasagna is known for being out-of-this-world and the tiramisu is the best you'll find outside of Italy. This Bella Vista staple serves up some of the most mouthwatering italian dishes in Philly... just watch your back.
762 S 10th St. Philadelphia, PA 19147
2. Tommy DiNic's
Tommy DiNic comes from a long line of famous Philadelphia sandwich makers - and it's clear he was paying attention! The roast pork at DiNic's in Reading Terminal Market was once named Best Sandwich in America (by the
) and the line wraps around the stand every single day. Don't be put off by the wait, though; it moves quickly and it is definitely worth it. Go for the roast pork with broccoli rabe and provolone if it's your first time here.
Reading Terminal Market, 51 N 12th St. Philadelphia, PA 19107
3. El Vez
El Vez is a super fun Center City spot that mixes up some outstanding margaritas and the tacos, fajitas, burritos and guacamole don't disappoint. One visit to El Vez will make it clear why it's perfect for large parties or the start of a night out. The atmosphere is rowdy and fun, and you'll quickly learn that you really ought to make a reservation.
121 S 13th St. Philadelphia, PA 19107
4. The Olde Bar (Bookbinders)
Bookbinders, now named The Olde Bar, has been serving up outstanding oysters to Philadelphians since 1893. Frank Sinatra was a regular here and you'll see photos of him on the walls to this day. The Olde Bar does its predecessor proud, serving up great tavern food, classic cocktails and, of course, more oysters than almost any other place in the city.
125 Walnut St. Philadelphia, PA 19106
5. McGillan's Ale House
McGillian's is the oldest continually operating bar in Philly - and there's a reason why it's still going strong. A fun atmosphere, entertaining decor, delicious cocktails and classic American fare make McGillan's a true pub experience. Show up on Wednesday and join in on the karaoke and keep an eye out for their rowdy holiday celebrations.
1310 Drury St. Philadelphia, PA 19107
6. Sweet Lucy's Smokehouse
It's taking all of my willpower not to head up 95 right this second and order a BBQ platter as big as my head. Sweet Lucy's doesn't look like much from the outside, but their brisket, ribs, and famous mac and cheese will quickly make this one of your favorite spots to grab some grub in Philadelphia.
7500 State Rd. Philadelphia, PA 19136
7. Tacconelli's Pizzeria
Tacconelli's always has a line out the door, so this isn't the place to go to grab a quick slice, and the prices are a bit higher than your average pie shop. So what's the draw? Well, it's the best pizza in Philadelphia, hands down, and way better than most of the places I've tried in New York City. Treat yourself to an incredible pie when you've got some time to wait. You will not regret it.
2604 E Somerset St. Philadelphia, PA 19134
Iron Chef Morimoto opened his first restaurant right here in Philadelphia, and it has been a huge success since day one. The incredible attention to detail and creativity that the chef displays in his creations has left many customers swearing they've just eaten the best meal of their lives. Don't be intimidated by the prices, either! You can have a great meal here during the restaurant's signature hour special, indulge in $7 appetizers, and drink up with $6 sake. Signature hour is Sunday through Friday from 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm.
723 Chestnut St. Philadelphia, PA 19106
9. Melrose Diner
On the complete opposite side of the spectrum, there's Melrose. It's a classic, and if you spend any amount of time in Philly, you've probably been here at 3 a.m. pigging out on delicious breakfast foods after a night out on the town.
1501 Snyder Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19145
One of my best friends is more obsessed with the Philadelphia food industry than anyone else I've ever met, and I think he'd have a few choice words for me if I didn't include Amis on this list. While it's not a restaurant that immediately comes to mind when you think "Philadelphia restaurant bucket list", it really should be. A locally-sourced, seasonally-rotating menu means every experience here will be different, but delicious every time. I still can't stop raving about their famous belgian waffle dessert - it's massive, and absolutely perfect.
412 S 13th St. Philadelphia, PA 19147
11. Dim Sum Garden
Dim Sum Garden is one of those restaurants that you can't stop talking about once you've been there. The dumplings are always flavored perfectly, and the fun atmosphere makes you really feel like part of the family. Check it out when you've got a group looking for a great time!
1020 Race St. Philadelphia, PA 19107
12. The Moshulu
This place rocks... literally! Put on your sea legs and board the Moshulu for a one-of-a-kind dining experience on the Delaware River. This historic ship saw action in WWI, and is now host to one of Philadelphia's most creative kitchens. The seafood is as fresh as it gets, and their desserts are unforgettable. Try the deconstructed s'mores!
401 S Columbus Blvd. Philadelphia, PA 19106
13. City Tavern
The historic City Tavern lets you dine like our buddy Benjamin Franklin did! The food here has always been great, and the famous Turkey Pot Pie is one of the best things I've ever eaten. City Tavern is a great place for lunch or dinner after an Old City stroll, taking in all of our city's sights.
138 S 2nd St. Philadelphia, PA 19106
14. John's Roast Pork
I'm not touching the Cheesesteak Champion debate with a ten foot pole - not yet, at least. However, I do have to give a nod to John's Roast Pork, which has been serving up Philadelphia's favorite sandwiches since 1930. A trip here is a true South Philly experience, and John's has certainly earned its reputation as a city favorite.
14 E Snyder Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19148
Ralph's is absolutely a Philadelphia bucket list restaurant! After all, it's the oldest Italian restaurant in the country! If you're expecting fancy, modern dishes look elsewhere (perhaps to Amis!), but if you want some delicious down-home cooking that will remind you of the meals your grandmother made, you can't beat Ralph's.
760 S 9th St. Philadelphia, PA 19147
Zahav doesn't look like much, but you'll figure out something is special about this place when you try to make a reservation. Good luck. It's so worth the wait, with the best Mediterranean food I've ever had, as well as one of the best dining experiences in the city. Be warned: the hummus is absolutely addictive.
237 St James Pl. Philadelphia, PA 19106
17. Harp & Crown
Brunch it up at Harp & Crown, where they take the marvelous mid-morning meal seriously! Bruleed grapefruit, massive cheese spreads, fresh fruit and meats... you won't be leaving hungry.
1525 Sansom St. Philadelphia, PA 19102
What’s your favorite Philadelphia dining spot? Are there any must-visits that we missed? Share in the comments below!