Oyster House – Photo by Jason Varney
Back in the beginning of the summer, we updated our 50 Best Restaurants list. And in doing so, we flipped the script on the way we do things around here. Instead of a biennial update (like we used to do), instead of an annual update (like we did between 2014 and 2016), and instead of a biannual update (our most recent method), we promised a seasonal update, because in 2017, in our food scene, everything is seasonal — even our lists.
Which brings us to today, our first fall update. Read more »
There was once a time in this magazine’s history when two whole years would pass before our 50 Best Restaurants list was updated. Two years.
Isn’t that goofy?
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From left: Corzetti rabbit pasta from Wm. Mulherin’s Sons in Fishtown; Bud & Marilyn’s in Midtown Village; Spice-rubbed wagyu brisket at Vernick Food & Drink in Rittenhouse. | Photography by Christopher Leaman
Here we go again.
Philly’s restaurant scene just will not sit still and behave. It is an ever-changing, ever-evolving, messy, strange, beautiful thing — a group of cooks and chefs and bars and restaurants that refuse to be defined or contained. In the past six months we have seen the rise of a handful of truly excellent restaurants that could confidently stand among the best in the city (and, in a couple of cases, the country). We’ve lost a few greats, but have seen even more kitchens come together to shape our city’s appetites. Read more »
Double Knot | Photo by Jason Varney
This is it.
There was a time when we waited two years to update our list of the 50 Best Restaurants in Philly. But no more. Our restaurant scene moves too fast these days: It’s an ever-changing riot of famous names, top-shelf liquor, and weird things being done with vegetables. So from now on, we’re revising our big list every six months and noting who’s hot, who’s cooling, and who the new serious players are.
In other words, this is where you should be eating right this minute. So what are you waiting for?
East Passyunk Avenue is hosting its own restaurant week starting on Sunday, February 21st and running through Saturday, February 27th. The week of deals on Philadelphia’s hottest restaurant stretch come in three flavors. There are $15, $25 and $35 options that are available for lunch/brunch or dinner. Of the 24 restaurants participating six of the restaurants participating are in Philadelphia magazine’s latest 50 Best Restaurants list.
Restaurant Week Highlights »
The menu board and Cornish pastries at Stargazy | Jason Varney
This year, the restaurants that didn’t quite make the cut say almost as much about our city as those that did.
Things in Philly are changing. Things in Philly are always changing, but these past couple years have been more tumultuous than usual.
Fine dining has taken a big hit. On our entire list of the best restaurants in the city, there are only a handful that could be considered fine dining. Fast-casual has become a viable local model. Some of our best eating is now done at the bar, late at night. The gastropub revolution that took hold so firmly here has become a base onto which we’ve built something new and not yet really named—a Philly cuisine that has as much to do with how you eat as with what’s on the plate, the table or the wine list.
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The new 50 Best Restaurants List | Photo by Samuel Markey
If it seems too soon for another 50 Best Restaurants issue, you’re right. For a long time, this list was something we put together every two years. But now that’s changing. Because it has to.
Philadelphia’s restaurant scene moves fast today—too fast for the kind of monolithic thinking that says a list of the best restaurants in this city could possibly stand, fundamentally unchanged, for two years. Fortunes rise and fall over weeks, not years. Opinions shift. Focus drifts. There was a time when a list of the best restaurants in Philly could have some breathing room—would be just as true (or nearly as true) six months or a year later as it was on the day it hit the stands. But today that sort of thinking seems as quaint as cedar-plank salmon or those bicycles with one big wheel in front—an artifact of another time.
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Amada, one of the 50 Best doing something special for the Pope | Photo by Nina Cazille
It’s almost that time. With Pope Francis on his way, Philadelphia’s preparations have been a bit hectic to say the least. If you’re wondering where to eat during this weekend of Pope madness – fear not – we checked in with Philadelphia magazine’s 50 Best Restaurants to see who’s open and ready to feed the masses.
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Delicious, and affordable. | Shutterstock.com
There are more than 200 BYOBs in Center City alone, some of which count among the very best restaurants in Philadelphia. They’re an essential part of the city’s dining culture, and a legit engine of neighborhood economic development. Many people, including Craig LaBan, have credited BYOBs with shaping Philly’s dining scene in a unique, patron-friendly (no 3X markups!) way.
And none of it would be possible without the state’s permissive laws on restaurant patrons bringing in alcohol. The state’s BYOB law has given restauranteurs who can’t hope to afford one of the limited number of liquor licenses a chance to open new dining establishments nonetheless.
Diners aren’t so lucky everywhere in the country. Over a dozen states, including Ohio and Wisconsin, ban BYOB policies. Last year, the city of Atlanta cracked down on them, enforcing a little-understood policy that requires any establishment with patrons providing their own liquor to buy a special license from the city. Read more »
What’s the most underrated part of the Philadelphia food scene?
Service. Philly has this bad reputation for being a place where service just sucks, across the board. That it’s not that servers can’t keep their thumbs out of the soup—they can barely keep their fingers out of their noses. And that’s total bullshit. Go to a place like Vetri or Noord or Fork, or even a tiny little place like Pumpkin, and tell me this city doesn’t understand great service. People will always complain about service, but anyone who’s doing it in a serious way in Philly right now is just lazy and can’t think of anything better to complain about.
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