Where to Eat in Midtown Village and the Gayborhood: The Ultimate Guide

Midtown Village (and the Gayborhood within it) has been booming for years, adding bars and restaurants at a record clip. Here's where you should be eating right now.

Jamonera | Photo by Visit Philadelphia

Midtown Village (and the Gayborhood within it) is proof of all the theories for building heat and capturing lightning. It’s an area that showcases diversity, density and new blood: where the idea of money following money is borne out most fully, where the slow build and the tipping point have reached their logical conclusions. Walk here on almost any night of the week and you’ll see Philadelphia at its most vital and alive.

Whole dover sole | Photo by Michael Persico

The Restaurants You Must Try First


Simply the best vegetables-only restaurants in the city. Arguably, the best in the country. It’s one of those that’s so good, you’ll forget you’re eating nothing but turnips and dirt. (Just kidding. There are also probably some beets.) 1221 Locust Street

Double Knot

An all-day cafe upstairs doing breakfast pastries and coffee, lunch bowls, a killer happy hour and bar snacks. Downstairs, one of the coolest, sexiest, darkest, most surprisingly amazing restaurants in the city. Seriously, if you’re going to eat sushi in only one basement this year, make it Double Knot’s. 120 South 13th Street

Bud & Marilyn’s

I once wrote that “Bud & Marilyn’s … is essentially a theme restaurant of American culinary embarrassments and the brilliance of simpler, stupider times.” Between the fried cheese curds, pierogies, fried chicken and classic cocktails, I still feel that way today. 1234 Locust Street

Vetri Cucina

Dinner here remains the single most remarkable dining experience in Philadelphia — the kind of thing that everyone should do at least once. It’s expensive, it takes hours to get through the tasting menu that runs upwards of fourteen courses, but it is so, so worth it because there is no other chef in Philly who thinks as deeply about menus as Marc Vetri does, and no service staff in the city that can hold a candle to the team at Vetri’s namesake restaurant. 1312 Spruce Street

McGillan’s | Facebook

Best Breakfast, Brunch And Lunch in Midtown Village

Green Eggs Cafe

In a city that’s obsessed with brunch, Green Eggs is a place that does nothing but. And I could give you plenty of reasons why you should go there, but I think I’ll just leave it at this: Creme brulee-battered salted caramel and banana-stuffed french toast. 1301 Locust Street

McGillin’s Olde Ale House

Not so much a nod to the lunch at McGillin’s as a nod to this place as a great spot for day-drinking, nachos, mozzarella sticks and great company. 1310 Drury Street


With the sudden resurgence of Indian restaurants in and around Philly, and the opening of several new ones, we must be careful not to forget those who’ve been on the scene for years already. Exhibit A: Indeblue. They’ve been doing modern Indian and Indian fusion since before it was cool, but I’m giving it a particular shout-out here for its brunch — a collection of BBQ samosas, lamb poutine with masala fries, paneer toast, potato and egg kati rolls and sriracha-spiked chicken and waffles. 205 South 13th Street


Chicken tenders and wings, treated like proper fried chicken only made with a buttermilk and pretzel batter. Plus, they’ve got a bottle shop. What are you waiting for? 210 South 13th Street

Nomad Roman

Yeah, you already know about this place for arancini and Roman-style pizza dinner. But on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, did you know that Nomad Roman opens at 11:30 for the lunch crowds? Yeah, that’s right. Pizza Fridays, my friends. 1305 Locust Street

El Vez

The lunch deal here is a two-course special for $16.99 (soft drink included). Which means you can get a Mexican chopped salad and some chicken tacos and be out the door fast, for under twenty bucks. Which isn’t bad considering that the same meal would run you nearly thirty bucks just a couple hours later. 121 South 13th Street


Dinner at Lolita is a mix of traditional and modern Mexican food. But late night (from 10pm-11pm), Lolita shows how Philly does Mexican with their Mexican City Wide deal: your choice of taco plus the bar’s choice of tequila and a Tecate, all for $10. On the other hand, if you get their a bit earlier, you can get a nice order of elotes for just $6. 106 South 13th Street

Barbuzzo | Facebook

Best Dinner in Midtown Village


Lunches here are bonkers — crowded, loud, busy and full of excellent things to eat. Seriously, if you can find a better lunch in the neighborhood than the short rib and pork meatballs stuffed with caciocavallo and a pizza topped with red pears, gorgonzola, arugula and prosciutto, then go there. Because that just means a better chance for me to get a table. 110 South 13th Street

Franky Bradley’s 

Look, you might have a better neighborhood bar in your ‘hood, but in Center City, Franky Bradley’s is it. A great bar, a diverse crowd, and a menu stuffed with things you just want to eat all the time — like fries with short rib and cheese sauce, excellent meatballs, a $12 burger you could eat every day, chicken parm, shrimp scampi and pierogies that are basically a roast pork sandwich shoved inside a dumpling. 1320 Chancellor Street


Sampan has a killer happy hour — three hours long, seven days a week. And the menu is worth traveling for. We’re talking $3 satay, $4 rabbit egg rolls and kung pao chicken wings, plates of dumplings, pork bao and banh mi. The bar does $9 cocktails, pours sake and $25 scorpion bowls for if you want to get a group drunk as quickly and efficiently as possible. Plus, when the weather is nice, the Graffiti Bar back down the alley and behind the place is one of the great hidden spots in Philly. 124 South 13th Street


Look, I’m not much of a wine bar guy. Something about them just always rubs me the wrong way. But I do like Zavino–which is about as wine bar-y as a place can get. So rather than calling it a wine bar, let’s just say that Zavino is a great place to go for Italian small plates, snacks,  and wines by the glass or bottle, cool? 112 South 13th Street


For all of you who get bored with all wine bars being Italian, Vintage has a French accent that you’re going to love. 129 South 13th Street

Tredici Enoteca

Classy Mediterranean cousin to Zavino across the street, offering a cool, white bar, a vibrant dining room and a menu of small plates with everything from Morrocan spiced ribs and Israeli couscous to fried goat cheese and chicken meatballs in a ginger-spiked tomato sauce. 114 South 13th Street


Look, you just gotta love a place that has fried chicken skin right on the menu. Or that offers limited quantities of “Secret Chicken” to those wise enough to order in advance. And as good as that chicken might be, it’s also bracketed by crab spaghetti, a lobster burger, ricotta dumplings with spring chanterelles and brown butter sauce, and funnel cake for dessert. Libertine is a seasonal, market-driven restaurant with a serious chef in the kitchen, but the best thing about it is that everyone involved managed to remember that, in addition to being delicious, dinner is also supposed to be fun. 5460 South 13th Street

Alpen Rose

Just to make sure they have all their bases covered, the Schulson Collective (Double Knot, Giuseppe & Sons, Harp & Crown, etc.) also now have a steakhouse in the neighborhood. Unlike many of their other operations, this one is small. Intimate, even. But the food coming out of the kitchen is anything but. Dry-aged steaks (like a 24oz bone-in ribeye or a massive 45oz tomahawk) are the backbone of the menu, with classic steakhouse appetizers (chopped salad, shrimp cocktail) adding balance. 118 South 13th Street


If I had to live solely on the food from one restaurant in this city, Jamonera would be high up on my list of possible options. I mean, paella one day, albondigas and papa frita the next, dates and olives as a snack. Plus all the Iberico ham, Spanish cheeses wine and sherry I could ever want. 105 South 13th Street

Maison 208

The upstairs bar (with its roll-top convertible roof) is one of the coolest, most beautiful places to have a drink in the city. And downstairs, the menu is full of interesting, beautifully designed plates. 208 South 13th Street


Chef Tod Wentz’s spot for Spanish snacks, paella and pig heads served in a polished dining room. 1121 Walnut Street


A beautiful, well-staffed restaurant, turning out excellent Roman-style Italian cuisine, but is also a perfectly reasonable place to drop by on a Tuesday night if you just happen to find yourself in the neighborhood. 412 South 13th Street


In the front, a Greek restaurant with a booming happy hour. In the back, Drury Beer Garden which, when the weather turns nice, is a nice neighborhood hang-out with interesting beers on tap and food from the Opa kitchen. 1311 Sansom Street

Fergie’s Pub

It’s an Irish pub with no TVs, occasional music, soft pretzels with Sly Fox beer cheese sauce, a solid burger, even better grilled cheese, and a bar full of everything that’s important at a bar: beer, whiskey and good company. 1214 Sansom Street

Little Nonna’s

This is Marcie Turney and Val Safran’s version of a neighborhood Italian restaurant, which means there’s fontina in the meatballs, pork marinara for the spaghetti, wild mushroom arancini and rigatoni alla vodka with house-made fennel sausage. 1234 Locust Street


Pittsburgh-style roast pork sandwiches topped with french fries, kielbasa corn dogs, fish fries, mussels and a burger topped with goat cheese and BBQ sauce. On top of that, good beers on a rotating tap list and a comfortable, welcoming bar. Strangelove’s considers itself Philadelphia’s neighborhood bar, and we’re lucky to have it. 216 South 11th Street

Last updated: 3/28/19