Philadelphia: it’s not a destination that normally comes top of food lists but the city is quickly becoming a delicious gem for those who know where to dine. In 2018, for example, Philadelphia had 15 semi-finalists up for James Beard awards and four of those made it to the finals. In 2017, they romped home with medals in four categories, including Outstanding Chef and Outstanding Restauranter for Michael Solomonov and Stephen Starr respectively. It's a delicious city that, like a good sour-dough starter, is constantly evolving.
On top of some truly delicious places to eat, from fine dining to the local cheesesteaks, it’s also home to a number of great museums, including The Barnes Foundation: one of the most impressive and highly valued private collections of art ever curated.
Below is a list of some of the Top Restaurants in Philadelphia - a collection of the best places to eat, from quick snacks to tasting menus and beyond. If you're looking for the best place to eat in Philadelphia, this is the list for you.
Owned and operated by Michael Solomonov, one of Philadelphia's best restauranteurs, Zahav offers up modern Israeli cooking that is rooted in deep delicious. Order hummus, lots of it, alongside a wide selection of mezze which are all perfectly put together. The stand out dish of the restaurant is a brined and smoked lamb shoulder that's slathered in a sweet, salty and sticky pomegranate molasses. It's so good I once made an entire hotel security team spend thirty minutes tracking down half a shoulder I'd left in a hotel fridge.
Whatever you choose to eat at Zahav, make sure you don't skip dessert. Pastry is handled by Camille Cogswell, the 2018 James Beard Rising Star Chef and someone who plays perfectly with the caramelized goodness of desserts.
A modern diner with a casual menu that makes an impact with every sandwich and bowl of soup they sell. That's because profits from all the meals at Rooster Soup Co. are donated to a local charity that cooks for and supports the homeless residents of Philadelphia.
Pay it forward as you dine on a wonderful smoked matzo ball soup, or the moorish sausage and biscuits. The menu is refined diner, with soups, salads, sandwiches and a great selection of all-day brunch options available at the weekend.
Skewers and street-food are the order of the day at Sate Kampar: a Malaysian restaurant that promises to serve "sate the right way". This means a range of marinated meat, skewered and grilled on a traditional coconut-shell and charcoal oven. Chicken, beef, goat, fish and tofu are the options, served alongside either a traditional spicy peanut sauce or a sweeter version with pineapple.
The restaurant, which in just a fews years has become one of the best places to eat in Philadelphia, also serves up a selection of Malaysian classics: slow braised rendang daging is a firm favorite.
1837 E Passyunk Ave, PhiladelphiaWebsite
John's Roast Pork
No trip to Philadelphia is complete without a Philly cheesesteak and where to do this is one of the most contentious issues in the city. For me, take a trip to John's Roast Pork and skip the namesake sandwich, instead opt the roadside shack's delicious cheesesteak. There's many places trying to refine it, but a cheesesteak should be sloppy, messy and seasoned with calorific guilt. This is Philly Food, through and through.
John's Roast Pork
14 E Snyder Ave, PhiladelphiaWebsite
a.kitchen kicks out colorful creations and unique pairings that will cater for your breakfast, lunch or dinner needs - not an easy thing to do in a city packed with choices. Beets, burrata toast and the a.burger are all great calls, and if you don't have time to sit and dine, head to High Street on Market - it's a bakery owned by the same group and they probably do the best bread in Philadelphia.
Res Ipsa is the ultimate breakfast and brunch spot. Billed as a food and coffee concept, it’s an all-day cafe that kicks out classic egg and cheese sandwiches alongside hearty Italian breakfasts, salads next to calzones and, in the evenings a four-course tasting menu that incorporates a range of Southern Italian flavors.
From 28-30 October, join Fine Dining Lovers for a celebration of young culinary talent, when 12 global finalists will battle it out in Milan for the title of best young chef in the world - plus, join our first edition of Brain Food forum. See what's on.
Fine Dining Lovers teams up with the Culinary Institute of America, James Beard Foundation and Black Food Folks on the Better Business project to build stronger, more sustainable business practices for the industry.