Philadelphia magazine’s guide to the Philadelphia’s Best Steakhouses. These steakhouses have won Best of Philly awards, been featured in the magazine and just craved for by the Foobooz staff when we’re hankering for red meat.
So whether your definition of the best steakhouse is a throwbacks to an earlier time or the most happening spot to get your favorite cut of meat, we’ve got the steakhouse for you.
At the city’s most stylish steakhouse, your server will tell you that you simply must get the $115 satsuma wagyu strip. He is wrong. What you must get here are the potato skins: crunchy spuds layered with truffle butter, melted truffle cheese, scallions and salty lardons. As for the Wagyu: The Australian import does possess a buttery texture and remarkable flavor, but other cuts are also excellent, so feel free to skip this fancy steak (and the so-so salads) and spend instead on the icy-cold oysters and crispy, onion-laced tater tots, as deliciously retro-chic as the restaurant itself.
Niche: Pomp. No place else in Philly (or the world) could actually sell diners a $100 (Wagyu) cheesesteak. Here, they manage five a night.
Signature steak: Pennsylvania Pride Tomahawk Ribeye for two.
The tab: Steaks $43 (8-ounce filet) to $115 (10-ounce wagyu strip); sides average $12.
Wine list: A comprehensive, luxe list that strikes a balance between familiar big-ticket brands and quirky surprises, with bargains like Prunotto’s snappy barbera d’asti from Piedmont.
In 2007, New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni declared that Roberts, a spot inside the Penthouse gentlemens club, had some of the very best steaks in New York City. Well, Roberts has now expanded to Atlantic City, and the steaks here reach that rarely achieved level known as utter perfection. And no, you dont have to go to a strip club to enjoy them. But you do have to go to the Taj.
Niche:Best steak in Atlantic City
Signature Steak: Ribeye Steak
The tab: Steaks $46 (8-ounce filet) to $140 (Gold Label Kobe NY Strip); average sides: $12
The menu at Striped Bass was once famous for offering no meat-eater options; now, Butcher & Singer, housed in the same sweeping former Center City brokerage space, offers almost nothing but: a hulking dry-aged porterhouse; a crisply seared, lush Delmonico. Nothing’s bold – the tableside Caesar lacks the pungency of anchovies, the Butcher salad is as comfortable as an Italian hoagie – but bold’s not the point. This is such pure, gauzy-lensed nostalgia, from the houndstooth carpeting to the green beans amandine, that it’s a surprise the leftovers (and there will be leftovers) don’t arrive in a tinfoil swan.
Niche: Stephen Starr-style Midwestern kitsch. Evidence: The mural of Dogs Drinking Cocktails.
Signature steak: Dry-aged porterhouse.
The tab: Steaks $42 (8-ounce filet) to $90 (porterhouse for two); sides average $11.38.
Wine list: This extensive and well-rounded list favors big reds but has a surprisingly good selection of classic French whites and Italian reds, like Altesino’s rosso di montalcino.
For years, Alex Plotkin’s Chops steakhouse in Bala Cynwyd was an exercise in mediocrity. It didn’t have to be great, because it was the only place to get a rib eye and filet in the eastern half of the Main Line. But once Plotkin moved the operation to the old Table 31 space inside the Comcast Center — the most important corporate headquarters in Philadelphia — he needed to step up his game. Fortunately, he has. The kitchen delivers pristine cuts from Creekstone Farms and Gachot & Gachot, and a stellar shrimp cocktail and sides (though we are so over lobster macaroni and cheese). And if you think steaks and shrimp are hard to screw up, you obviously haven’t been to Del Frisco’s or Ocean Prime.
Niche: Red meat eating Comcast execs.
Signature Steak:Creekstone Prime 28 oz. Center Cut Porterhouse
The tab: Steaks $34 (8-ounce filet) to $62 (28-ounce porterhouse); sides average $9.67
Photo by Alex Tewfik
Capital Grille is the clubhouse for Philly power players (If they were lured by the parmesan truffle fries, we can’t blame them.) Here, it’s fun for the hoi polloi to play spot-the-big-wig — it’s rare that you don’t see one boldfaced name or another. (Though you might not immediately find the most high-profile regular, Mayor Nutter; he likes to dine discreetly, in the corner booths.) The place plays its role of high-powered hangout perfectly, with steaks that are well-charred but pink within, polished service, and all the necessary steakhouse touches, including expense-account prices, overly rich sides, and private wine lockers around the bar, many engraved with Esq. or MD.
Niche: All that’s missing is the cigar smoke.
Signature steak: Dry-aged 24-ounce porterhouse.
The tab: Steaks $44 (10-ounce filet) to $49 (24-ounce porterhouse); sides average $11.64.
Wine list: Great red-centric selection, reasonably priced. Terrific choices in zinfandels under $100.
This dining room and bar, surrounded by a bevy of old books, is one of a kind and oozes candlelit (as in actual flames, not the electric “candles”) character. After ordering your steak or seafood (by the ounce) from a man at the kitchen’s brick counter, enjoy strong cocktails and the stellar salad bar. Yes, we said salad bar. Get over yourself. They don’t make restaurants like the Library anymore. And that’s a damn shame.
Niche: Nostalgic carnivores who like eating among books.
Signature Steak: Prime Rib, either the 14-ounce queen cut or the extra cut.
The Tab: Steaks $27.95 (12-ounce New York Strip, $2.95 per additional ounce) to $39.95 (Prime Rib with Extra Cut). Sides average $2.45.
Plenty of iceberg and Thousand Island at the salad bar, a trio of red carnations on each table, a killer amaretto sour: The unaffected appeal of this 56-year-old South Jersey institution kicks in long before your 12-ounce filet arrives, soaking in a salty pool of jus and topped with two giant fried onion rings. The least extravagant steakhouse of the bunch just may have the most heart, with waitresses who call you “hon,” are generous with the gold-wrapped pats of butter, and remind you to save room for the hot fudge sundae.
Niche: Americana, with a side of baked potato.
Signature steak: 12-ounce filet.
The tab: Steaks $17.99 (12-ounce sirloin) to $35.95 (26-ounce porterhouse); sides included.
Wine list: Pub-style list of just a couple dozen wines, most poured by the glass. Two-thirds of the state-store standard bottles are $26 or less, like the tasty Rosemount Estate shiraz.
Photo by Arthur Etchells
Philly’s most grandiose steakhouse, thanks to its home in the colossal old Packard Building (a.k.a. the Grande) at 15th and Chestnut. Here, the ceilings soar, a wall of windows is draped in velvety red, and a three-story glass wine tower spirals skyward in the middle of a curving bar. The place will occasionally deliver a filet that’s grilled somewhat unevenly (but the steaks arrive so perfectly seasoned, and the potatoes gratin are so gratifying, with layers of cheese cooked just so).
Niche: Power lunch or power date, this is a place to impress.
Signature steak: The 16-ounce bone-in fillet.
The tab: Steaks $41 (eight-ounce filet) to $89 (32-ounce Wagyu Longbone); sides average $12.60.
Wine list: The stunning wine tower showcases an encyclopedic selection, with an emphasis on California cabernets. A respectable array are under $90.
Stiff drinks, massive portions, larger checks – the classic steakhouse is designed to intimidate. Not Fleming’s. This sleek steakhouse strives for accessible, with its updated appetizers (think lobster tempura, not clams casino), 100 wines by the glass (or the taste), and knowledgeable staff, yet doesn’t sacrifice well-seasoned, well-cooked steaks in an atmosphere that isn’t so macho. Doggie bags are de rigueur – so much so that the restaurant established the decidedly unstuffy website Leftoversteakrecipes.com.
Niche: All the trappings of a traditional steakhouse, without the intimidation factor – the low-key vibe appears to draw a sporty crowd. Pat Croce, Ed Stefanski, Phil Martelli, and Fran Dunphy have all been spotted at the Radnor locale.
Signature steak: 22-ounce bone-in rib eye.
The tab: Steaks $41.95 (eight-ounce filet) to $57.95 (dry aged bone-in strip); sides average $10.23.
Wine list: A wine geek’s dream: All 100 wines on this list are available by the glass, and nothing’s over $20 a glass.