Your Parents Will Love These 23 Philly Restaurants
Are your parents stuffy? Adventurous? Loaded? Here’s where to take them.
A visit from the parents can be stressful, no matter how great your relationship is. But even the happiest family outings can run into trouble when a decision as important as dinner is involved. Use our list of favorite Philly spots to dine out with the parentals to keep dinner decision-making drama-free — and give everyone in your family a delicious experience.
If you (or your parents) are loaded
Vernick Food and Drink, Rittenhouse
As if Vernick’s impeccable service and stellar food weren’t enough to impress your in-laws, chef-owner Greg Vernick finally won Best Chef Mid-Atlantic at the James Beard Awards in 2017 after two years of nominations.
Marigold Kitchen, Spruce Hill
Yes, it’s in West Philly. But if you can get your Main Line mom to Andrew Kochan and Tim Lanza’s Victorian twin-turned-sophisticated-BYOB, she’ll love their colorful yet refined tasting menu.
Fork, Old City
If you’ve got Fork aspirations but a High Street budget, head here when someone with several decades more earning power is footing the bill. They’ll get Fork’s top-quality cuisine and experience, and you get to see how the other half of Ellen Yin’s Old City space lives.
Wm. Mulherin’s Sons, Fishtown
The buzz around Mulherin’s — and the neighborhood in general — should be enough to get Mom and Dad in the door here. But if they’re still hesitant, just mention that chef-owner Chris Painter is a former Starr guy and send them the link to the pasta- and meat-heavy menu.
If your parents are ex-hippies
The White Dog, University City
For fine dining with a crunchy bent, you can’t do better than The White Dog. It’s been around for decades, and even though Judy Wicks doesn’t own it any more, it’s still got an exemplary farm-to-table menu. Plus, it’s in the heart of University City, just a short cab ride from 30th Street Station (for your parents) or walk from the dorms (for you).
Talula’s Garden, Washington Square West
It’s a little bit Aimee Olexy and a little bit Stephen Starr — locally sourced, rustic, and charming with polish and sophistication. And the cheese board — an opportunity for parent-child bonding if there ever was one — is out of this world.
Vedge, Midtown Village
Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby’s posh homage to vegetables is the perfect compromise. Whether the ‘rents are avoiding animal products because Dad’s watching his cholesterol or they’ve finally come around to accept your meat-free lifestyle, the food is so delicious that you’ll all leave happy.
Russet, Center City
To satisfy the sustainably-minded omnivore and the gourmand alike, head to Russet for Andrew Wood’s seasonal, hyper-local take on farm-to-table American cuisine. Need a preview? Check out their gorgeous Instagram account and start salivating.
If your parents are adventurous
Southampton Spa, Southampton
Trust us on this one: there’s no better way to spend a day with visiting parents than heading just north of the city for a day spent lounging in hot tubs, sweating in saunas, and dining poolside on excellent Russian fare — from the Ukranian-style borscht to the potato dumplings to the smoked fish platter. Oh, and BYO vodka.
George and Jennifer Sabatino’s BYO strikes the perfect balance, with a warm, refined atmosphere and an inventive, colorful menu boosted by strong relationships with local producers.
Perla, East Passyunk
For an extra-special experience that’s so great for groups it won a Best of Philly award this year, head to Perla on Wednesday and Saturday evenings. That’s when the tables are covered with banana leaves and heaped with meats, vegetables, and rice to be eaten with the hands, kamayan or family style (how appropriate).
Dubu, Elkins Park
For the best Korean in the region, head way up Broad Street to Dubu. In addition to classic dishes of the cuisine, Dubu specializes in soondubu, a spicy silken tofu stew with additions like beef, oysters, kimchi, and vegetables. Their cut-no-corners authentic version is the definitive take on this dish in Philly.
If your parents aren’t exactly adventurous
Walnut Street Cafe, University City
For an impressive evening out that won’t ruffle anyone’s feathers, head to University City, where the Michelin-starred team behind Walnut Street Cafe is turning out approachable yet sophisticated fare with no sharp edges. Plus, it’s right next to 30th Street Station, making it perfect for the very beginning or very end of your parents’ visit.
Audrey Claire, Fitler Square
Audrey Claire’s cozy refinement and standout kitchen team makes this Rittenhouse spot a no-brainer. Skip the debate and suggest this spot first, and your party won’t argue — at least about the choice of restaurant.
Bistrot La Minette, Bella Vista
This classic French spot is perfect for a family visit — and not just because chef-owner Peter Woolsey’s cuisine is informed by the food of his French in-laws. A warm atmosphere, great service, and a menu stacked with classic French dishes plus an excellent list of French wines — make this spot an easy crowd-pleaser for a night out.
If your parents are, er, old-school
Mr. Martino’s Trattoria, East Passyunk
For classic Italian-American in the heart of East Passyunk, head to Mr. Martino’s (currently rounding out our 50 Best Restaurants list). is perfect for a long, wine-soaked meal with your parents — perfect for when you have something to celebrate but want to keep things low-key. Be sure to plan in advance around its limited hours (dinner Friday through Sunday) and call to leave a voicemail with your reservation request. If you don’t hear back, you’re good to go.
Rooster Soup Company, Center City
Sure, Rooster Soup’s menu has a lot more going for it than your average Jersey diner (Yemenite chicken pot pie, anyone?). But their food-as-philanthropy ethos that won a Best of Philly award this year and takes on classic homestyle soups, sandwiches, and homestyle fare made with quality ingredients will please traditionalists and culinary explorers alike.
Saloon, Italian Market
Spend a day in the Italian Market tasting cheese at Di Bruno Bros. and browsing kitchen gadgets at Fante’s, then cap the evening with hearty fare at Saloon, a neighborhood steakhouse that we named our Best of Philly in 2017. It’s been around — and resisted change — for more than 50 years, so even those with the most entrenched throwback tastes should feel right at home.
If your parents are casual
Famous 4th Street Delicatessen, Bella Vista
The spectacle of this just-south-of-South-Street deli is in its portion sizes — perfect for sharing! — but the quality that goes into those outsized sandwiches and huge slices of cake makes it the perfect place to start a new family tradition.
Fette Sau, Fishtown
In addition to offering the four most crowd-pleasing food groups (barbecue, carbs, cheese, and beer), Fette Sau’s cafeteria-style service setup, long communal tables, and kid-friendly atmosphere make this Fishtown spot perfect for intergenerationaldining out — especially when there are little ones in the picture.
Taqueria Veracruzana, Italian Market
Whatever the Mexican food is like where your parents live, they can find something to enjoy at Veracruzana, where enchilada sauce and gooey cheese are replaced with deep, dark mole and garnishes of cilantro and grated radish. (We recommend the enchiladas morelianas for those who are new to Pueblan fare.) Plus, it’s got its own a parking lot.
Puyero, Queen Village
South Street’s Venezuelan street food outpost is colorful, uncommon (at least around these parts) and delicious. Think arepas (cornmeal cakes) stuffed with black beans and slow-cooked beef, caramelized fried plantains, and tequeños, deep-fried dough wrapped around fresh cheese.
Your neighborhood hangout, Your neighborhood
For a stress-free (as possible) night out with your unfussy parents, look no further than your friendly neighborhood gastropub — Local 44, Fountain Porter, Kraftwork, Prohibition Taproom, Green Rock Tavern, and the like. No frills, close by, a menu with tasty staples and well-crafted specials, lots of good beer on hand — how better to spend an hour or two over dinner with the people who raised you?
(Conversely, check out this list of the kid-friendliest restaurants in Philly.)