9 of the Best Family-Style Meals in Philadelphia
Get a big group of your people together and dig into these feasts that are perfect for feeding a crowd.
The way we eat today — mixing and matching and plate-sharing — can make ordering when you’re out with a large group a challenge. That’s why restaurants are creating over-the-top family-style meals where the only thing you have to say is, “We’ll take that.” Here are some of our favorite outsized dining experiences in Philadelphia.
Half-Kilo at South Philly Barbacoa
Serves: Three to four.
Price: $32 for a half-kilo.
Notice: None, but as with anything SPB-related, it’s best to get there early.
Sure, you can order Cristina Martinez’s sublime barbacoa tacos one by one — but by far the easiest way to feed a small group is by ordering a half-kilo of meat. You can decide how much lamb and how much pork you’d like in your half-kilo, which comes with two umami-bomb bowls of lamb consome, plus sauces, onion, cilantro, and all the tortillas you need. Up it to a full kilo for groups of six to eight — and since their new, roomy space has a whole separate dining room, you’ll actually be able to fit that many folks in the restaurant.
Kamayan at Perla
Serves: Four diners minimum on Sundays and at least two on Wednesdays, when Kamayan is offered.
Price: $40 per person.
Kamayan is one of the most fun and delicious ways to dine with friends in Philadelphia: in the Filipino family-style dining tradition, chef-owner Lou Boquila’s crew lines the tables with satiny green banana leaves, then piles the elements of the meal — drifts of garlic-scented jasmine rice, heaps of pinakbet (a savory mix of eggplant, long beans, and bok choy), and lumpia — plus a whole fried fish, crisp-skinned chicken inasal, and lechon kawali (that’s Berkshire pork belly slow-simmered and then deep-fried) to top things off. Eat with your hands, drizzle and dip with brightly-flavored sauces, and feel the love together.
The Trough at Butcher Bar
Serves: Six to eight.
Notice: 2 days.
Put together a crew of meat-loving carnivores, get a note from your cardiologist, and scrape up $300: The highlight of the menu at Rittenhouse Square’s meat temple is the Trough, a large-format butcher’s board that brings to the table a massive pile of rotisserie chicken, wild boar ribs, house-made sausages, double-decker cheeseburgers, house-smoked bacon, Korean short ribs, pitas and sides of fries. Got more than eight hungry folks in your crew? You can add up to three more guests and get yet more meat for $30 each.
Mixed Grill at Kensington Quarters
Serves: Four to six.
Kensington Quarters is already the perfect restaurant for locavores and meat lovers, with an eclectic yet protein-centric menu sourced from farms and ranches in the region. If you’re there with a group but can’t decide which of their many meats to order, we heartily recommend this platter containing “all the meats” — from sausage to steak to duck — in addition to seasonal sides and accompaniments.
French Family Dinner at Bistrot La Minette
Serves: Four to 20.
Price: $45 per person.
Notice: Two days.
The inspiration for this multi-course meal comes from recipes cooked by chef-owner Peter Woolsey’s French in-laws. The basic version offers an aperitif, first course, main course, starch, vegetable and dessert, all served family-style. It’s easy to add more courses for special occasions or big eaters: add on soup for another $5 per person, a cheese course for $10 per person, and additional aperitifs for $1 per person and mains for an additional $7 each.
Schlachtplatte at Brauhaus Schmitz
This German-style mixed grill is the perfect sharing plate for the meat lovers in your life. One order gets you and three hungry friends pork shank, a smoked pork chop, and one each of their nine (!) German-style sausages from bratwurst to wieners, plus bacon-spiked sauerkraut, potato dumplings, and a side of dark lager jus for dipping. All you need to round out the meal is a stein of your favorite festbier.
Dump Dinner at Oyster House
Serves: Six or more.
Price: $35 per person.
Notice: Two days.
It’s one of the greatest seafood deals in town, offering newspaper-covered tables loaded down with bowls of steamer clams, mussels, seasonal veggies, and sausage, all crowned with split lobsters and served with hand-cut fries and slaw. Add $20 per person and you’ll get two hours of all-you-can-drink Narragansett pounder cans, carafes of red or white wine, and jars of Kelly’s Punch. Another $20 per person gets you a raw bar add-on that brings rounds of three different kinds of oysters, littleneck clams, and two shrimp cocktails each.
Chinatown-Style Duck or Montreal Short Ribs at Abe Fisher
Serves: As many as you want.
Price: $54 per person for the duck, $72 each for the ribs.
Notice: At least one day.
While you could technically get one of Abe Fisher’s much-lauded tasting menus as a solo diner, these spreads centered around iconic meats of the Jewish diaspora are meant to be shared. Gather ’round chef Yehuda Sichel’s dry-aged Hungarian “Chinatown-Style” duck, served with pretzel steamed buns, poppy rice, and fruity lekvar hoisin sauce, or dig into Montreal-style smoked beef short ribs accompanied by pickles, mustard, and house-made rye. There’s also the option to add a trio of paired beverages for another $25 per person.
Fried Chicken at Hungry Pigeon
Serves: Two to six.
Notice: 1 day.
One of our favorite things about Scott Schroeder and Pat O’Malley’s Queen Village all-day cafe is its way with comforting, large-scale meals (their version of a tasting menu is simply labeled “Let us cook for you”). And they’ve standardized an outsized order of one of the ultimate American comfort foods — fried chicken — for special occasions, group dinners, or just because. A day’s notice and $65 gets you a whole bird along with fanciful takes on classic sides: think Old Bay slaw, house-baked Hawaiian rolls, cucumber with kimchi, seaweed salad with wasabi roe, and dill pickles, plus Nashville hot chicken oil, ranch dressing, and “Scott Sauce” for dipping.