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9 Best Restaurants in Philly

I went to some of the best restaurants in Philly while visiting a childhood friend, a Philadelphia local of over 10 years. While catching up, we pretty much ate at all of her favorite spots, which included some classic Philly dishes.

Here are restaurants, both trendy and down-to-earth, to eat at while exploring Philadelphia!

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Best Restaurants in Philly for Happy Hour

Double Knot

Double Knot is one of the Philly’s trendiest restaurants but for the right reason– the food. This modern Asian restaurant has amazing food and cocktail specials from 5 to 7PM Monday through Friday.

Note: To get a table for happy hour, you essentially go and wait in line until a table frees up. Get there at 4:45PM so you don’t have to wait in line for too long.

Click through for the location here.

Vista Peru

Vista Peru is an authentic Peruvian restaurant in Philadelphia that’ll leave you totally full for under $20!

During Happy Hour, which is 5-7PM on weekdays, you can get drinks from $5-8 and a choice of six dishes for $7.

Try a traditional Pisco Sour and the Tiraditos, thinly sliced fish of the day in lime juice (aka ceviche).

See the food menu here.
Click through for the location here.

Good to Know: Vista Peru is a short walk from Stay Lokal, a gorgeous apartment-like hotel I stayed in while in Philly. Check it out on Booking.com.


Best Restaurants in Philly for Casual Eats

South Philly Barbacoa

The story of South Philly Barbacoa is as incredible as its food. Chef Cristina Martinez came to America as an undocumented immigrant 10 years ago looking for a better life. After being fired from an Italin restaurant and having the need to survive, she started cooking barbacoa in her one-bedroom apartment.

Hustling at home, people in the Mexican community began to recognize her food as a taste of home, which helped her business grow out of her one-bedroom apartment into a full-time restaurant.

Now, because her tacos are by far the best tacos in Philly with its meats simmering for hours and corn ground into their tasty tortillas, there’s a line around her restaurant’s door at all hours.

What’s especially heartwarming is that you’ll see both Cristina Martinez and her husband working there every day. It is a business of passion and love.

Tip: The line moves relatively quickly so don’t worry, but you’ll want to get there earlier than later. Once she’s out of meat for the day, that’s it!

We went at 10:30AM and waited for half an hour. We were worried that we wouldn’t be able to get a table because it was so packed but the turnover is quite quick. You’ll get a table!

Click through for the location here.

Sonny’s Famous Steaks

Since Philly cheese steaks are such an infamous local food, I had to find the best Philly cheese steak. I went to three spots and loved Sonny’s Famous Steaks the best.

Although Sonny’s Philly cheese steak wasn’t as big as the one from Jim’s Steaks, the meat was of better quality. It was also less greasy and more satisfying to eat.

Click through for the location here.

Good to Know: Sonny’s Famous Steaks is a short walk from Stay Lokal, a gorgeous apartment-like hotel I stayed in while in Philly. Check it out on Booking.com.

Don’t have enough time to eat at all these places? Try a bunch of classic Philadelphia foods on this food tour. Check it out here.

Federal Donut

Federal Donut is great for… donuts! Surprise! Although they also serve fried chicken, I’d opt for the donuts as the fried chicken was overcooked. I believe this was a fluke based on the rave reviews of the chicken.

My favorite donut were the hot fresh ones, which include the Cinnamon Brown Sugar, Strawberry Lavender and Cookies and Cream. As the menu notes, these come hot and fresh.

There are also fancier donuts that have frosting and toppings on them, but the real winners here were the hot fresh Cinnamon Brown Sugar because it’s such a classic donut and Strawberry Lavender because it’s different.

The texture of these hot fresh donuts were melt-in-your-mouth, warm-you-up-inside comforting and delicious.

Head to their site to check out their locations.

Pho 75

I am a pho-natic! I seek out pho in every city I go to, especially if there’s a larger Vietnamese population there.

One night in New York City, a friend who had lived in Philly for years and I went out to get pho. He said that the best pho he’s ever had was in Philly. I was blown away because the pho we were eating at the moment was pretty damn delicious!

Naturally, when I went to Philly, I had to check out the hype, and yup, this pho restaurant in Philly was better than any pho places I had been to New York City.

This noodle soup was especially perfect on a cold January day in Philadelphia. Don’t miss out on this if you Vietnamese food!

Click through for the location here.

Good to Know: Pho 75 is a 10-minute walk from Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, which is not only a sight-to-see but also has an incredible community story behind it.

Explore this inspiring neighborhood, check out the Magic Gardens and try food from the 9th Street Italian Market on this awesome tour. Book it on Viator here.

Reading Terminal Market

The Reading Terminal Market is not only a great place to eat at in Philadelphia but it’s also a fun place to simply walk around.

Definitely check out the Pennsylvania Dutch section and eat at:

  • DiNic’s for their infamous pork sandwiches
  • Herschel’s East Side Deli for a Jewish deli
  • Luhv for a Vegan deli

Click through for the location here.


Best Restaurants in Philly for Dinner

Zahav

The second you think about even going to Zahav, you should quickly make a reservation for this highly sought after restaurant in Philly.

Before Michael Solomon (the chef and owner of the restaurant) even got the James Foundation “Best Restaurant in America” award for 2019, it’s been quite difficult to get a reservation here so now I imagine it’s only harder.

And yes, the restaurant lives up to its hype.

Zahav is the only restaurant that can compete with my aunt-in-law’s cooking. Before coming here, I had only found one other Moroccan or Israeli restaurant that was similar but not as good as my husband’s aunt cooking, but I finally found something up to par here at Zahav.

Besides the food, the whole environment of the restaurant is one to enjoy and will make a truly special night for dining.

Make reservations here.
Click through for the location here.

Oyster House

Love oysters? How about lobster, other seafood or Champagne? Then you must come to Oyster House to get your fresh seafood fill.

I came back here twice for oysters because they were so fresh but also enjoyed the lobster roll and clam chowder soup.

Click through for the location here.

Don’t have enough time to eat at all these places? Try a bunch of classic Philadelphia foods on this food tour. Check it out here.

Where to Stay in Philly

While you’re eating at these amazing restaurants in Philadelphia, you’ll need a place to stay! I loved both of these hotels.

Stay Lokal is a homey feeling hotel in a cute, charming neighborhood while the Sonesta Hotel is a modern hotel in downtown.

Stay Lokal

Book Stay Lokal here.

Sonesta Hotel

Book Sonesta Hotel downtown here.


Thanks for making it all the way down to the end of this post. If you found it to be helpful, you might like what I share on my Instagram @sarchetrit. You might like what I post on there too.

Till then, thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!

xo,
Sarah


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