The Philly 15: New Philadelphia Restaurants You Need to Visit Now
We eat at the city's newest restaurants and write about the best ones, so you can feel confident planning dinner.
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Welcome to the Philly 15, our list dedicated to Philadelphia’s best new restaurants – emphasis on best. This isn’t just a list of restaurant openings. This is a list of restaurants that we’ve tried, loved and enthusiastically recommend to diners who are passionate about Philadelphia’s dining scene. What does it take to qualify for this list? First, the restaurants below have opened within the past year, hence why they’re “new.” Second, we’ve visited each spot and, after much deliberation, have decided that we’ll put our names on this list, regardless of whether social media agrees or not.
We hope this list helps you impress your next date (or show your parents how much you’ve grown up, either way) and gives you the confidence to make reservations on behalf of the friend group. We’ll be updating the Philly 15 regularly, so you can always come back here for fresh takes and up-to-date restaurant recommendations.
Got a place you think deserves to be on the Philly 15? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Around $20 per person
Best For: A casual “Treat Yo’ Self” breakfast or brunch solo or with a friend.
Part of Gilda’s charm is how casual it is. The decor doesn’t feel overly curated, and the mood of the place makes it feel like you can linger a little longer over your Elixr coffee instead of rushing to turnover your table for other guests. In fact, stroll in on a weekday morning and you may find other solo diners working on their computers, reading a book or taking a call, all living and dining at the easy pace of a European cafe. The focus here is on the pastry case, which, when you arrive, will hopefully still be stocked with flaky pastéis de nata, the dessert that has gotten Gilda the most attention. But the true sleeper hit is the bola de Berlim, a big, fluffy doughnut filled with your pick of guava jam, vanilla cream or a classic egg custard. Even if you miss out on the pastries, the sandwiches alone are worth the trip to Fishtown. The Antonio breakfast sandwich comes with a runny fried egg and a house-made linguiça sausage (which has a bit of sneaky heat) topped with a melted slice of Cooper sharp cheese and their “breakfast sauce.” Overall, it’s an effortlessly cool spot where you can rely on having a solid morning or midday meal. 300 East Girard Avenue
Tabachoy, Bella Vista
Around $35 per person; reservations available online
Best For: BYOB date night, small group dinners, a solo meal at the bar.
Tabachoy, which is an endearing Tagalog nickname for “chubby,” is all about Filipino comfort food. Every dish, from the succulent Adobo to the crispy bit of pork belly in the sisig, hits all corners of the palate with flavorful heat, intense umami notes and a hint of acidity that balances everything out. Pancit palabok was just recently added to the menu and embodies the indulgent spirit of Tabachoy. Fried cornstarch noodles are served in a bowl with a shrimp-and-pork ragu, pieces of poached shrimp and an egg all swimming in a rich broth that is poured over the dish tableside – it is truly the main event of the meal. This spot feels like you’ve come to Chance Anies’s house for a dinner party, partly because the dining room is intimate (there are only about 28 seats), but also because Anies is often there greeting guests, taking orders, and bringing out food from the kitchen. From the family recipes to the Philly-themed artwork and neon pig logo on the wall, this restaurant is a true expression of Anies, making Tabachoy a one-of-a-kind experience. 932 South 10th Street
Gass & Main, Haddonfield, New Jersey
Around $50 per person; reservations available online
Best For: Impressing your date with a brunch, lunch or dinner that will delight and amuse.
Chef Dane Demarco has always had a playful way with food. If you managed to get to Burgertime in Audubon, New Jersey for their over-the-top hot dogs and imaginative hamburgers before Demarco shut it down, you get it. But at Gass & Main, just off Kings Highway in Haddonfield, they’ve taken that same level of playfulness and applied it to elevated dishes that are surprisingly fun and fancy at the same time. We’re talking potato chips served with lump crab, herb and crème fraîche dip topped with salmon roe, an “ants on a log” with chicken liver mouse and brandied cherries, and a truffle gnocchi “mac and cheese.” The menu changes with the seasons as Demarco finds fun ways to celebrate local produce. And if you haven’t tried one of their hot dogs yet, you’ll finally have your chance with Gass & Main’s “World’s Best Hot Dog” made with wagyu beef. 7 Kings Court, Haddonfield, NJ
Mawn, Bella Vista
Around $40 per person; reservations available online.
Best For: BYOB, dates, group dinners.
Mawn is such an impressive restaurant that, when you walk in, you’ll spend all of five seconds remembering the nationally-renowned operation that occupied its space prior. (God, wouldn’t it have sucked if Kalaya’s successor was sad and boring?) During the rest of your meal, your attention will focused on dipping crackling chicken skin into house hull sauce, slurping khao soi with noodles courtesy of Neighborhood Ramen, Shazam-ing the psychedelic Cambodian rock playing in the background, and feeling generally pleased with yourself for living in the city where Mawn exists. Chef Phila Lorn’s cuisine-anarchic menu twists and merges classics from a number of Southeast Asian cooking traditions, from Vietnamese to Thai to Cambodian to Burmese. There are “no rules,” as Mawn’s website states. And maybe there never had to be. But you still might want to make reservations in advance — this place fills up fast. 764 South 9th Street
Ground Provisions, West Chester
Tasting menu, $75 per person
Best For: Date night, destination dinners outside the city.
Tucked away just off Wilmington Pike, at a point where the strip malls and car dealerships give way to the rolling fields and winding roads hidden behind them, Kate Jacoby and Rich Landau have finally set down a worthy successor to Vedge, their groundbreaking first restaurant. Ground Provisions is part country store, part rusticated cafe complete with organic lattes and marinated olives, and part restaurant where one of the most talented kitchens in the region serves a prix-fixe vegan menu to a handful of customers four nights a week. The seasonal tasting menu the kitchen puts together is thoughtful, whimsical, inventive, and sometimes changes overnight. But Ground Provisions (like Vedge before it) remains one of the very few restaurants anywhere that treats fruits and vegetables like the center-plate superstars they are. 1388 Old Wilmington Pike, West Chester
My Loup, Center City
Around $75 per person, plus drinks
Best For: Showing out-of-town friends how cool Philly is, and in-town friends how cool Center City can be.
There is nothing easier than falling in love with My Loup, and maybe nothing more complicated than figuring out exactly why. The food, sure — from chefs Amanda Shulman and Alex Kemp. It is French and Spanish and Canadian and Italian, local and VERY much not so. There are split marrow bones and ham croquettes, boquerones and caviar service, stunningly gorgeous plates and little jars of pickled shrimp served with packets of saltine crackers. Some of the best French food in the city is being done at this restaurant that also serves plates of Cape May Salts and roasted chicken with matzah balls, and the bar is awfully fun for a place where people are waiting weeks for a reservation. What makes My Loup so special is how it looks like it should be one kind of restaurant but feels like something else entirely — like stumbling into some magical after-service industry dinner where the drinks are strong, everyone knows everyone, and the menu is composed of the kinds of dishes that people who really know how to cook, cook when no one is watching. 2005 Walnut Street
Asad’s Hot Chicken, Bensalem
Around $10 per person, served fast-food style
Best For: Fast meals for fire eaters, suburban diners who want a taste of the Cottman Avenue original
The Asad’s on Cottman is already legendary for its long lines, dedicated customers and flaming-hot (and halal) chicken sliders. It thrives on the oldest formula for success in this industry, which is to pick one thing and do it better than anyone else around. For owner Asad Khan, that thing is chicken — high-quality fried chicken tenders served hot, fast and with minimal complication. Asad’s is cheap. It’s high quality. It’s addictively crisp and spicy. And now, with this new location in the Bensalem Square Shopping Center on Knights Road, the far Northeast is finally getting their own chance to see what all the fuss is about. Two pieces of advice: When you go, be prepared to wait. And always order more than you think you’re going to want because there are few joys in life simpler or more pure than waking up and finding half an Asad’s Hot Chicken slider in the fridge for breakfast. 2568 Knights Road, Bensalem Square Shopping Center
Price depends on how much you’re drinking, but you can eat for under $20
Best For: Casual Thursday nights out with friends, watching the game, becoming a regular
Anyone who has spent any amount of time in this neighborhood over the past couple decades will remember this space as the one where Memphis Taproom served for 15 long years. It was a place that everyone knew, that everyone had been to once or a hundred times. When it closed, it left a hole that could’ve been filled by anyone, but when the partners behind Meetinghouse moved in they (wisely) didn’t try to bring to this neighborhood anything that the neighborhood hadn’t already been pretty clear that it wanted. So there’s beer — three house brews that are excellent, plus Guinness and Orval for those who can’t handle change. There’s a great roast-beef sandwich for 10 bucks, diner fries, cheese and salami, a simple broiled fish in a white wine sauce and vanilla ice cream with a shot of crème de menthe for dessert. What’s charming about the place is its absolute lack of ego. It’s a new neighborhood bar that feels like an old neighborhood bar, in a space that has been a neighborhood bar for as long as anyone can remember. And who could ask for more than that? 2331 East Cumberland Street
Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao, Cherry Hill
Around $30 per person; reservations available online.
Best For: Large groups, kids, a casual night out.
As the name suggests, thin-skinned xiao long bao soup dumplings headline a meal at this new Shanghainese spot shoved in next to a DSW and the Cheesecake Factory in Cherry Hill’s Towne Place at Garden State Park. But don’t let the restaurant’s unflattering location trip you up. In fact, the more you embrace that Black Mirror feeling of slurping pork-and-crab soup dumplings inside of a giant suburban mall restaurant outfitted with wandering robots, the more fun you’ll have. There’s a good chance you’ll have to wait for a table (as indicated by the iPad in the entryway listing the line of parties ahead of you). Once you’re seated, though, xiao long bao and pan-fried pork buns come out quickly and piping-hot — thanks in part to the team’s 17 years of practice operating their beloved restaurant in Flushing, Queens. 901 Haddonfield Road, Cherry Hill, NJ
El Chingon, East Passyunk
Around $25 per person; walk-in only.
Best For: Casual meet-ups, breakfast or lunch, BYOB dining.
Philly has plenty of Mexican restaurants and delis serving cemitas, dripping tacos, and sweet breads. What’s less common, perhaps, is a Mexican restaurant making every bread product — the chewy tortillas, the crusty rolls, the sugar-crowned conchas — from scratch. El Chingon pulls off such a feat in a BYOB environment with ample counter seating, a handful of tables, and friendly service. Impressive as the baking bonanza may sound, don’t consider chef and owner Juan Carlos Aparicio’s hardcore bread obsession just a charming fact about this East Passyunk corner spot: You can actually taste the fermented sourdough in his flour tortillas when you snarf down an order of choriqueso tacos; you can actually detect a rounded, nutty flavor when you bite into a seeded roll hugging chicken cutlet, avocado, bright and smoky chipotle peppers, and a wig of stringy quesillo cheese. Bring a friend who appreciates carbs and the vast universe of Mexican baking techniques. They’ll freak. 1524 South 10th Street
Chika Ramen Bar, Center City
Around $25 per person, plus drinks; walk-in only
Best For: Late nights, small groups, living out your Blade Runner fantasies
Yes, it’s a neon-lit basement ramen bar modeled after Deckard’s lunch spot at the beginning of Blade Runner with chashu ramen, gyoza and tuna hand rolls, and cocktails named after Roy Batty and Hannibal Chew. If it takes anything more than that to get you up out of your chair and down to Sansom Street immediately, maybe this isn’t the place for you. But for those of you who are already calling friends and picking designated drivers, it should also be understood that even after the gimmick wears off — even after you stop doing Harrison Ford’s “cold fish” voice-over — Chika (which means “underground” in Japanese) still holds up. The ramen is nicely customizable (for those who like egg or fish cake or ginger cut into the broth), and the yakitori makes a great snack while you’re waiting for drinks. Two things to keep in mind: One, you will probably have to wait for just about everything — to be seated, for service, for food and cocktails to be delivered — because Chika is walk-in only and it is busy, pretty much open to close. And two, when I say busy, I mean BUSY. It’s early days, so that might cool off some, but I wouldn’t count on it. So just be patient, okay? And remember, even Deckard was waiting for a seat when we first met him. 1526 Sansom Street
Honeysuckle Provisions, West Philly
Around $20 per person; walk-in only; no seating.
Best For: Takeout, stocking up your kitchen, lunch.
Honeysuckle Provisions serves a reliably great breakfast and lunch Jamaican-style spiced beef patties in a pastry shell that tastes Cheez-its, plates of grits and eggs, chocolate chip cookies and a hoagie slapped with thinly-sliced and marinated turnips that will fuck up your relationship with all other hoagies forever. But Omar Tate, Cybille St. Aude-Tate, and their team’s mission is larger than just what’s in the bakery case on any given day. This Afrocentric grocer and cafe spotlights the traditions of (and directly supports) Black farmers and makers — whether that’s through baking earthy-nutty yam bread, offering a Black farmers subscription box, or providing neighbors with fresh local produce in a segment of West Philly that largely relies on a few spread-out grocery chains. It’s one thing for a business to make amazing food, but it’s quite another for them to construct (by way of dismantling) a system of agricultural exchange. 310 South 48th Street
Pietramala, Northern Liberties
Around $40 per person; reservations accepted.
Best For: Vegans, date night, group dining.
So you want to date someone who’s vegan without taking them to the same four restaurants over and over again? Congratulations, Pietramala has come directly from your sexy plant-based dreams to North 2nd Street in Northern Liberties. The menu at this BYOB celebrates seasonal vegetables without being too up-their-own-butts about the whole thing. You’ll see a beautiful chicory salad that tastes precisely like a caesar, made with dried olives and grated Barn Cat cheese concocted from tofu. You’ll eat fried lion’s mane mushroom nuggets lathered in what’s essentially a spicy-sticky duck sauce. If you’re lucky, you’ll eat braised beans in a tomato conserva that could easily cameo at the city’s best Italian restaurants without anyone knowing the difference. Bring some wine (know that there’s a $20 corkage fee), sit amidst the monstera leaves, and show some appreciation for the vegetables we all should be eating more of anyway. 614 North 2nd Street
Roxanne, Bella Vista
$85 tasting menu
Best For: Anyone looking for creative and unexpected food, unique dining, people who like dessert.
At Roxanne, one person does the cooking (Alex Holt) and one person (Alex’s good friend, Lauren) hands out plates and refills water glasses. But if you were wearing a blindfold, you might assume an entire kitchen brigade system was responsible for the $85 tasting. Alex’s food is ballsy and balanced — calfs’ brains sauteed in butter like budget foie gras, then lifted by the acidity and brightness of a paw-paw and caper jelly; lion’s mane mushrooms presented like cuts of steak in between crisp slices of pear, all chillin’ over smoked hollandaise; kombu ice cream with espresso that tastes like the ocean ordered an affogato after a storm. Even still, nothing about Roxanne gives off pretension or self-importance. Etsy-purchased prints in Etsy-purchased frames dot lilac walls, for instance, and there’s an inexplicable assortment of stuffed animals in the bathroom hallway. As the meal began, Alex told all 10 of us diners that we could request whatever song we wanted, and then proceeded to create a playlist by talking to her Amazon Echo Dot: “Hey Alexa … play the band, America.” In a phrase, Roxanne has the energy of a fine-dining slumber party. But instead of microwaved popcorn, we ate baby cow brains. Come here for some wildly original food and to celebrate the creativity of a person who’ll likely be a force in this town. 912 Christian Street
Doro Bet, West Philly
Around $15 per person; walk-in only.
Best For: Casual meet-ups, solo dining, fried chicken that will drive you wild.
Thanks to your brain’s trusty pleasure center, eating fried chicken will always feel somewhat satisfying, even when the bird itself tastes just fine. At Doro Bet, though, just fine doesn’t exist. This new Ethiopian counter-service spot in West Philly comes from Mebruka Kane and the family behind nearby Alif Brew and Salam Cafe in Germantown. And, here, teff-battered fried chicken is the headliner dish — served in either a spicy berbere or mild alicha variation that each carry an extra hit of sweetness and peppery kick distinguishing Doro Bet from other fried chicken places in Philly. Both options are completely delicious. Imagine crackly thin skin, juicy dark meat inside, dark red berbere or yellow turmeric dust on your fingertips while you go to town. But Doro Bet’s alicha version burned down whatever my brain thought it knew about chicken-induced pleasure. These fat drumsticks and wings and thighs are acidic enough to cosplay as Lemonheads, at least until the citrus evens out with black cardamom and plenty of black pepper. Go now. Maybe run. 4533 Baltimore Avenue