Best of Philly

Best Chef

2022 Best Chef

Eli Collins, A.Kitchen

In a restaurant world roaring with egos (excuse us, personalities), Collins quietly lets his food speak for itself. Since 2017, A.Kitchen’s executive chef has been flexing his talent and imagination sub rosa, evolving new recipes and techniques for his ever-changing menu at this Rittenhouse cafe. You can see it in the smallest details: the dab of made-from-scratch date mustard that comes with the chicken liver terrine, the delicate tortellini hand-filled with chevre from a local farm, the mussels with broth built from ramps and pickled long hots. What’s missing from the menu is any shred of ego. Instead, every dish gets to be the star. Read More »

135 South 18th Street, Philadelphia, PA Website

2021 Best Chef

Randy Rucker

There’s an ease about Rucker’s cooking, and a generosity, as if there’s nobody else eating at River Twice except you. His commitment to locality, to foraging, to pickling and fermenting everything so as not to waste anything — it all adds up to a singular experience. Every element of every dish, down to the house-made coffee vinegar in the beef tartare or the à la minute ricotta on the toast, is deeply considered, smartly placed, and creatively conceived, but in a way that still feels like food, not art. Read More »

1601 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA Website

2020 Best Next Big Thing

Omar Tate

Sometimes, a new chef will arrive in Philly and bring an unmistakable energy — a sort of hyper-focused intentionality, a sense of I’ve got big plans for this city. Omar Tate was born and raised in Philly, and he worked in some of the city’s most ambitious kitchens before leaving for NYC to hone his culinary career. As he wove his way through kitchens, following the well-trodden career path of the modern professional chef, he began to explore and amplify Black American foodways — their tragic history, their uncertain future, their cultural complexities, and their constant erasure from the culinary pantheon. Honeysuckle — his NYC pop-up restaurant-turned-takeout operation — was the physical manifestation of his particular brand of culinary activism. Meals began with a glass of “Honeysuckle Red Drink” (his take on Kool-Aid, a staple of his childhood), and the to-go bags included samples of his own poetry. The coronavirus crisis brought him (and Honeysuckle) back to Philly, and he has big plans for this city — particularly in West Philly, where he’s envisioning a community center for which food will, of course, be the anchor. Follow @honeysuckle_projects on Instagram for information on future dinners and pop-ups. Read More »


2020 Best Chef

Nok Suntaranon

She’s the chef Philly needed before we even knew we needed someone like her. In the Before Times, she opened Kalaya, a heartfelt Thai BYOB where the kitchen scratch-made everything on an unapologetically authentic menu. In the dining room, she was an undeniable presence, seeming to know everyone who’d ever eaten a meal there and exactly what they needed most. And then, when the plague came, rather than retreating or folding, she kept Kalaya open to serve local industry workers for free. In a moment that sometimes seems woefully short on heroes, she is ours. Read More »

2019 Best Chef

Ari Miller

Musi, Miller’s neighborhood BYO, has all the expected trappings: It’s charming and delicious, and it offers a menu that changes often and relies heavily on what his purveyors have available. But the food is never too serious, and neither is Miller. And that’s what sets it — and him — apart. Read More »

100 Morris Street, Philadelphia, PA | 215-377-9466 | Website

2018 Best Pastry Chef

Melissa Weller

This James Beard-nominated pastry chef came from New York’s famed Per Se to help open Walnut Street Café. Memories of her apple slab pie will stay with you long after you’ve licked the plate clean. Read More »

Walnut Street Café: 2929 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA Website

2018 Best Chef

Chad Williams

Friday Saturday Sunday’s Chad Williams turns out plates that are often daring (blue cheese and corn pasta?), and always fantastic. Read More »

Friday Saturday Sunday: 261 South 21st Street, Philadelphia, PA Website

2017 Best Up-and-Coming Chef

Michael Vincent Ferreri at Res Ipsa

He comes from good roots, having cut his teeth at Zeppoli, Aldine and Zahav. He’s smart enough to understand modern tricks and techniques without letting them cloud his vision of what people actually want to eat. And at Res Ipsa, he’s done what seems almost impossible: created menus that work for quick-serve breakfasts, low-key lunches and upscale dinners that will knock your socks off. (They did ours; see our pick for Best New Italian Restaurant on page 96.) Read More »

2218 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA | 267-519-0329 | Website

2017 Best New Celeb Chef

Joe Beddia at Pizzeria Beddia

We were lining up in Fishtown for his pies way before Bon Appétit named his pizza the best in America. But now the world knows, and with his new smash-hit cookbook, he’s been showing the rest of the country that guys from New York aren’t the only ones who know dough. Read More »

115 East Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA Website

2017 Best Chef

Cristina Martinez at El Compadre

Her claim to fame may be simple lamb tacos, but Martinez (of South Philly Barbacoa fame) is a master of her craft. Her use of quality ingredients and dedication to making everything—from heirloom corn tortillas to soulful stews—by hand, are why Philly’s top toques bow down to her prowess. Read More »

1149 South 9th Street, Philadelphia, PA | 267-746-7658 | Website