Where to Eat in Rittenhouse: The Ultimate Guide

Whether you're looking for burgers, bulgogi, a bistro or brunch, Rittenhouse has it all. Check out this list and you'll know exactly where to find it.

rittenhouse square

Via Locusta

Rittenhouse Square is Philly’s most contested restaurant neighborhood. It is the place where all our best and all our worst notions of ourselves are laid out plain for everyone to see. It is the center of Center City, the heart of swank Philly and day-to-day Philly — all at the same time. For restaurateurs, it’s expensive to operate in but also offers the biggest draw. Rittenhouse is where Philly lunches, where it power-dines, where it brunches as if brunch were a sport.

It contains multitudes. A corner burger-and-beer bar can be just as important as the fanciest French restaurant. Philly-style fast-casual — that counter-service, glossy-industrial, put-everything-in-a-bowl model that’s like the Chipotle of everything but Mexican food — gets refined daily in Rittenhouse at a dozen different outposts offering everything from falafel to lobster rolls. And for a serious restaurateur, that Rittenhouse address means a lot. An investment, certainly. A weight of seriousness. A sense of having arrived, no matter if it’s the first location or the 10th that finally finds a space within the fluid borders of this neighborhood.

The Restaurants You Must Try First

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Vernick | Photo by Steve Legato

Vernick Food & Drink
Occasionally (and rightly) called the best restaurant in Philadelphia, Greg Vernick’s original Philly dining establishment was a wonder when it opened and has only gotten better. A focus on simplicity, comfort and exquisite technique have kept it honest, and (miraculously) it’s never let praise and money distract it from its primary mission: making dinner for the neighbors. 2031 Walnut Street.

Via Locusta
Schulson’s pasta spot, which he opened in collaboration with chef Ed Pinello, has done an excellent job translating the concept for outdoor dining. Settle into one of their heated dining pods or a cozy table and have yourself a pasta party. 1723 Locust Street.

Her Place Supper Club
Tucked away on a side street, Amanda Schulman’s pop-up-turned-permanent restaurant is a ticketed affair that is worth the hassle of trying to get in. (Tickets go live every Sunday night at 6 p.m. and sell out fast.) The meals are served family style at your table for a vibe that is part tasting menu, part high-end dinner party. 1740 Sansom Street.

If Rittenhouse had to choose a single restaurant to represent its collective soul, Parc would have to be it. Fancy but approachable, expensive but not murderously so. Tables at brunch are the most sought after square feet of real estate in the entire city, and the dining room at dinner is a place where being seen matters nearly as much as what’s on the plate. 227 South 18th Street.

K’Far opened in 2019 to great fanfare under the direction of Camille Cogswell, who was let go from CooknSolo in 2020 after receiving tons of accolades. It’s still open though, serving only breakfast and brunch featuring excellent Jerusalem bagels, pastries, and coffee five days a week. Eat at one of the outdoor tables, or walk your bagel sandwich to Rittenhouse Park for a nicer view. 110 South 19th Street.

Harper’s Garden
With its twinkly lit outdoor patio, moody interior, delicious cocktails and fantastic food, this place is better than it has any right to be — especially for a restaurant so close to Market Street. 31 South 18th Street.

Zama does a particularly modern version of sushi and Japanese cuisine, churning out all sorts of locally inspired rolls and giant catering platters for wherever and whenever sushi is required. 128 South 19th Street.

Oscar’s Tavern
Can you even call yourself a Philadelphian if you’ve never fueled your evening with a cheesesteak-and-a-half and a very tall Yuengling? 1524 Sansom Street.

The drinks are strong and the menu is interesting, but I’m including this joint among the musts for two reasons. One: There’s a nine percent chance on any given night that you’ll end up sitting next to some very famous Philadelphian. (I’ve done the math.) Two: As unlikely as it seems, I have had some of my best, strangest nights in Philly at this tiny bar in the middle of Rittenhouse. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s just magic. 1737 Walnut Street.

Giuseppe & Sons
Imagine one of those perfect, South Philly neighborhood restaurants that’s been there for decades, serving classic red-gravy Italian to generations of regulars. That was the inspiration behind Michael Schulson’s huge, glowing, Rittenhouse homage. The only thing bigger than the space itself are the crowds that it draws. 1523 Sansom Street.

Quick and Casual

Dizengoff | Facebook

Goldie does two things: falafel and milkshakes. And it does them so incredibly well that the line regularly runs out the door, down the steps, and out onto the sidewalk. (They also have really good french fries, but no one’s standing in line just for those.) Regardless, it’s worth the wait. 1526 Sansom Street.

Get pizza al taglio exactly as it should be. 102 South 21st Street.

You know that thing I said up at the top about Philly-style fast-casual? HCV defines that. Counter service, long lunch lines, stuff in bowls. It’s a restaurant for people who want to be healthy, eat well and look cool doing it — though not always in that order. 127 South 18th Street.

El Merkury
El Merkury has everything you didn’t know you were craving until the moment you start eating it, including but not limited to: churro ice cream sundaes, black-bean-and-cheese-stuffed pupusas, crispy, crunchy loaded tostadas and so much more. 2104 Chestnut Street.

Look, every now and then you just need someone to deliver you a healthy meal that will make you feel a little more balanced. When that feeling hits, order from Dig, which has the assembly line salad down with locally sourced produce, seasonal specials, and a few hot options that will make a pile of kale feel like a real meal. 1616 Chestnut Street.

You’d think that a restaurant dedicated exclusively to hummus and pita would be boring, right? Well, you’re wrong. Michael Solomonov made the hummusiya awesome right here in Philly thanks to an ever-changing slate of seasonal toppings, pita that’s pulled from the oven puffy and steaming right in front of you, and that silky-smooth recipe. 1625 Sansom Street.

This fast-casual Taiwanese restaurant uses heritage pork in its potstickers and really nice farm eggs on its breakfast sandwiches. 1829 John F. Kennedy Boulevard.

Luke’s Lobster
Because who doesn’t love eating lobster rolls in a basement? Seriously though, these are awesome. You should eat here every day. 130 South 17th Street.

Stock Rittenhouse
Expect fast-casual Southeast Asian lunches with modular, swappable components, and a BYO-friendly dinner service with dimmed lights, nightly specials, full-size entrees and a less casual feel. The set-up is similar to the one at sister restaurant Res Ipsa, but with curries, noodles and lettuce wraps. 1935 Chestnut Street.

Metropolitan Cafe
Set up next to their flagship Rittenhouse bakery, this place utilizes the baking skills (and house-milled local flour) from Metropolitan Bakery to turn out made-to-order pizzas finished in a wood-burning oven brought over from Italy. 264 South 19th Street.

Alice Pizza
The chain started 30 years ago. They currently have over 100 locations in Italy. But America beckons, and so the team came here, to Philly, to open this first pizza al taglio restaurant in the middle of Rittenhouse. 235 South 15th Street.

Yes, the dandan noodles here are excellent: meaty, spicy and perfectly chewy. But we keep coming back for Taiwanese specialties like three-cup chicken, beef noodle soup and Sichuan spicy soft tofu. 126 South 16th Street.

Nom Nom Ramen
Remember when everyone in the city was trying to open a ramen shop? Remember how they all closed? Yeah, Nom Nom held on and remains one of the best spots in the area for real Hakata-style ramen — with broth made from bones boiled for more than 24 hours and handmade noodles. 20 South 18th Street.

Vic Sushi Bar
Tiny little storefront sushi bars are the way God intended us all to eat sushi in the first place. And Vic is nothing more than that — perfect in its smallness and simplicity. 2035 Sansom Street.

A Proper Dinner

Oyster House | Facebook

Barclay Prime
Big steaks in a black-and-white room. Bring your wallet. Better yet, find someone else who’ll pay. 237 South 18th Street.

Pub & Kitchen
P&K has been great ever since it opened, and the simple, high-quality neighborhood gastropub’s focus on local sourcing ensures that this greatness will continue. 1946 Lombard Street.

Philly doesn’t have a lot of classic, fancy-pants, sit-down restaurants left these days. I’m talking Le Bec-era fancy. Grandpa’s anniversary fancy. You know what I mean. But we do have Lacroix, with its epic brunches, French-inspired cuisine and kitchen that has employed and trained some of the best chefs in the city. 210 West Rittenhouse Square.

Abe Fisher
Expect modern and traditional Jewish fusion. Plus the dining room (with its retro deli bones and gleaming surfaces) is one of the cooler places in Philly to hang out when you care more about the food than who sees you eating it. 1623 Sansom Street.

Village Whiskey
Know what people love to complain about? The crowds at Village Whiskey, and how they have a burger on the menu that costs $26. But here’s the thing: Those crowds are there because Village Whiskey managed to successfully translate a straight U.K.-style gastropub into Philadelphianese, make it somehow feel like it’s been here for 30 years, and operate in such a way that even if you’re annoyed by the crowds, the wait or the service, you still kinda want to go back again the next day because the food and the booze was just so good. (By the way: There’s a $13 burger on the menu that’s better than the $26 Whiskey King anyway.) 118 South 20th Street.

In a city known for some of the best Italian restaurants this side of, you know, Italy, Melograno has always been one of those places that gets a little bit overlooked. Which is ridiculous, because it has been the go-to spot in Rittenhouse for years among neighbors who don’t give a damn about chasing fads or The Next Big Thing. 2012 Sansom Street.

La Fontana Della Citta
Remember what I said about Melograno? Yeah, this is the place you go when all the tables at Melograno are full. And honestly, a night here can be more fun, because it tends to be a little bit more relaxed. 1701 Spruce Street.

If Parc had a sister who wasn’t always talking about that semester she spent in Paris, it would be Rouge. Also, the burger here is fantastic — one of the best in the city. 205 South 18th Street.

This is a grown-up version of a.bar with a full menu, large dining room, and actual space between the tables. It’s kind of a power spot, if that’s your thing, but the New American menu is more creative and well-executed than that sort of label usually implies. Plus, with the big open grills, it’s possibly the best-smelling restaurant in the neighborhood. 135 South 18th Street.

Gran Caffe L’Aquila
This place is weird. It’s a combination bar, restaurant and gelateria with multiple floors, bars and dining rooms. That said, if you haven’t been there yet, you should go — because every part of it is done really well, and it never seems to get quite enough love. 1716 Chestnut Street.

A beautiful space, smart and modern Indian cuisine, cheap lunch deals and happy hour seven days a week? Honestly, I don’t care that you people don’t go here because it just means I can always get a seat. 1920 Chestnut Street.

Oyster House
It’s loud, crowded, raucous, fun, full of seafood and gin. Basically, it’s my happy place. So stay away. 1516 Sansom Street.

Mission Taqueria
It’s all about homemade tortillas, beautiful ceviches and killer margs overlooking Sansom Street. 1516 Sansom Street.

Friday Saturday Sunday
Born in the ’70s, reimagined yesterday. If you haven’t been since it reopened under the command of Chad Williams and Hannah Whitaker, you have no idea how things have changed. Now a tasting-menu-only spot with a killer bar program, it’s one of the best special-occasion dining rooms in the city, with a walk-in-only bar that’s perfect for date night. 261 South 21st Street.

The Love
Aimee Olexy is amazing at designing restaurant experiences. She makes places that you remember long after the bill is paid and everyone has gone home for the night. And the Love is the perfect example of that: a beautiful, comforting, welcoming space. Oh, a bonus: The kitchen and bar are killing it, filling that perfectly imagined space with delicious, smart food and sharp cocktails that are worth remembering all on their own. 130 South 18th Street.

Bar Vibes

Good Dog Bar
They’ve got a great beer list, a bar crew that knows how to mix a fine cocktail, and a menu that’s simple, fun and creative without being weird or flashy. Think of it as a neighborhood bar for people passing through from Fishtown. 224 South 15th Street.

The Dandelion
This place ain’t new, but it is interesting, because it serves a very specific purpose within the Rittenhouse restaurant ecology. The Dandelion is the place you go when no one in your group can agree on where to go. It’s the place you go for business meetings, when you want to drink a little too much at lunchtime but still make it back to the office in one piece, and where you go when you really don’t want to think about where you should go. It is the Swiss Army Knife of Rittenhouse restaurants: useful in any situation. 124 South 18th Street.

Monk’s Cafe
Monk’s founder Tom Peters is the grandfather of Philadelphia’s beer scene, and Monk’s is where you can see his expertise in Belgian beer on full display. Come for the beer, stay for the excellent European-inspired bar food. 264 South 16th Street.

Best Korean chicken wings in town, hands down (you’re wrong if you don’t think so), plus a surprisingly good burger. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but it’s got it where it counts — in the kitchen and on the floor, with remarkably friendly service no matter how tightly packed the crowds are. 1801 Lombard Street.

The Black Sheep
I’m putting the Black Sheep on this list because, sometimes (a lot of the time), Rittenhouse’s bougie bullshit is exhausting. Sometimes you don’t want local, organic or vegan. Sometimes you don’t care where your water came from or if the straws are biodegradable. Sometimes you don’t want to pay $40 for lunch and just want a cold beer, a shot of good whiskey, and a sandwich, you know? That’s when you head for the Black Sheep. Also, it’s a good place for getting shitfaced and making fun of the swells strolling by on their way to Parc. 247 South 17th Street.