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Philadelphia Restaurant Spotlight: Top 7 spots to try right now
After you’ve compared competing Philly cheesesteaks, branch out to explore more diverse Philadelphia flavors.
The city has everything from a Jewish-American dim sum restaurant and an Argentinian steakhouse to farm-to-table locavore hotspots filling pints with local brews. If you’re looking for the perfect place to refuel after taking a Rocky Balboa walking tour or you want to linger over a weekend brunch before exploring United States history, here are 7 of Philly’s top restaurants to try.
Through the charming purple door of Southwark, you’re greeted by a gleaming, mahogany-colored bar with attentive bartenders serving playfully named cocktails like The Owls Are Not What They Seem and Candy Colored Clown Called the Sandman along with classic drinks like a Pemberton daiquiri or hot buttered rum. Past the energetic bar you’ll find a slender dining area looking out to a charming bricked-in courtyard with patio seating. This neighborhood fixture specializes in farm-to-table dishes celebrating seasonal bounty with items like nettle and ricotta ravioli with morel mushrooms, spring onion, and lemon as well as a hardy beef cheek “pot roast” with celery root, turnips, and carrots. Delve into a ginger crème brûlée before seeing a show at the nearby Theatre of The Living Arts, and be sure to come back to Southwark for late-night eats and drinks.
Crunch into a cheese steak eggroll at Bourbon Blue while enjoying the outdoor seating overlooking the waters of the canal. An old mill building has been transformed into an upbeat restaurant and bar that mixes rustic stone walls with a touch of elegance from glowing chandeliers. Bourbon Blue’s New Orleans-inspired American fare features generous entrees like jambalaya and southern fried chicken along with small plates such as gator sausage quesadilla and spicy shrimp and grits. After a busy day touring the city, join the Philadelphian crowd at Bourbon Blue to relax with live music and indulge in a chocolate martini or lemon icebox pie.
Tredici Enoteca – Philly
Every night of the week, enthusiastic patrons pack Tredici Enoteca. Floor-to-ceiling windows, a blonde herringbone wood floor, and white marble bar make the dining area feel light and airy. Select a sauvignon blanc, malbec, champagne, or many other varieties from a curated list of more than 20 unique wines served by the glass and in generous half-glass pours. Pair your vino with a plate of spinach gnocchi, Israeli couscous salad, fried goat cheese with pea shoot pesto and tomato conserva, or some fresh seafood from the raw bar. Be sure to make a reservation because you won’t want to miss out on Tredici Enoteca’s mouthwatering, Mediterranean-inspired small plates and Italian pastas before seeing a show at the nearby Forrest Theatre.
Malbec Argentine Steakhouse
Adventurous meat-eaters can sink their incisors into grilled beef sweetbreads and Argentine blood sausage or the tamer, but equally umami, rib-eye or filet mignon at the Malbec Argentine Steakhouse. Homemade pastas like ravioli and fettuccine with your choice of Argentine-style white sauce, fresh tomato sauce, wine garlic sauce, or pesto reflect the Italian influence on Argentine cuisine. Dynamic contemporary art decorates white brick walls much like at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and a tango soundtrack sets the mood for a sensuous night.
Philadelphians flock to DanDan for Sichuan fire balanced with Taiwanese sweetness served in a sharp, industrial setting. Heat up your taste buds with the signature dan dan noodles hand-tossed with chili oil right on your table or keep it chill with cold sesame noodles. The central bar glows with an inner ring of blue light as it serves cocktails, wines, and craft beers. Open for dinner and lunch, a meal at DanDan is sure to spice things up before a risqué walking tour or after a romantic sunset trip up the One Liberty Observation Deck.
The Goat’s Beard – Manayunk
Named after a plant native to Pennsylvania woodlands, The Goat’s Beard keeps its Americana comfort-food menu fresh with locally sourced ingredients and a menu that changes twice per season. Reclaimed wood walls and street-side patio seating add to the chic, relaxed atmosphere. If you can’t get enough of Philadelphia’s craft brewery scene, the Goat’s Beard offers 8 rotating craft drafts on tap and an extensive whiskey bible. Try the breakfast burger with hash browns, egg, bacon, and onion jam for brunch, dig into a goat gyro for lunch, and indulge in the steak mac and cheese made with grass-fed sirloin and potato gnocchi for dinner. Just try and save room for a fried brownie for dessert!
Bing Bing Dim Sum
Colorful and cartoony murals add an appropriately funky and fun vibe to Bing Bing Dim Sum as it serves Chinese cuisine with a Jewish-American twist. You’ll find tan tan pork noodles and roast pork bao on the menu along with the inventive rye beef dumplings with mustard, dill, caraway, and chili oil as well as a unique turnip cake made with matzo, fried egg, maple soy, and bonito. Bamboo steamers filled with fresh dumplings cover the tables beside craft brews and colorful cocktails, including a boozy Thai iced tea. Bing Bing Dim Sum offers a lively venue right at home among the Jewish delis and colorful murals of South Philly and is the perfect place to gather for happy hour or dinner.
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