Where to Eat Around Rittenhouse Square

You're probably going to dine in Rittenhouse at least a couple times this year. Here's our curated list of where to eat in the neighborhood.

Wild halibut in buttermilk dash at Friday Saturday Sunday in Rittenhouse Square / Photograph by Ted Nghiem

There are a million reasons why you might be in search of a meal near Rittenhouse Square. Maybe it’s to meet your picky parents who have a thing for Parc but “promise” they want to branch out. It’s possible you’re looking for a place to have a fancy dinner with someone you might date for eight-to-ten months. Or maybe you’ve been inexplicably trapped in the Walnut Street Barnes & Noble for 24 hours (Night at the Museum-style) and now require sustenance in the form of a burger or a falafel sandwich. Regardless of your situation, know that your perfect Rittenhouse restaurant does exist. And our list of places to prioritize between Chestnut and Lombard from 21st and 16th Streets will help you find it.

Friday Saturday Sunday
Situated inside a gorgeous rowhome at the corner of 21st Street and Rittenhouse, Friday Saturday Sunday feels a world away from the corporate vibes on the other side of the park. (Thank God.) Upstairs, the restaurant serves a highlight-of-your-year tasting menu, featuring Chad Williams’s deeply personal and completely delicious New American cooking — think delicate grilled quail with pâté-stuffed coco bread, a tuna crudo with airy sabayon, and fried sweetbreads with plantains. Downstairs, the walk-in bar area serves up imaginative takes on classic cocktails plus an a la carte menu of snacks. Arrive early for a bar spot. The place fills up fast. 261 South 21st Street. 

Her Place Supper Club
There’s dinner, and then there’s Amanda Shulman’s fever-dream dinner party. At Her Place Supper Club, you’ll sit with 23 other lucky Philadelphians in a Sansom Street room that looks not so different from a millennial’s home (mismatched prints on the walls, mismatched floral plates, Fleetwood Mac and Spice Girls blaring from the speakers). Then, from her spot in the open kitchen, Shulman will talk you through six-ish courses of French and Italian food, all of which are rooted in a distinct “Butter is Better” philosophy and makes use of the freshest produce, meat, cheese, and seafood in the region. It would still be a fun dining experience if the food sucked. Fortunately, that’s not a problem. This is the best way to spend $75 on a meal right now. Assuming you can get a table. 1740 Sansom Street.

Tequilas is known for a few things, in no particular order: Mexican classics like mole poblano and chiles rellenos served in a historic building that dates back to the 1860s, a great bar program with the one of the best agave spirit selections in the city, and a waiter who is famous on TikTok for balancing entire trays of drinks on top of his head. Go sit at the bar and let Dan Suro feed you tequila. 1602 Locust Street.

We treat this casual Israeli cafe like a child treats a treehouse in the backyard: Whenever someone is looking for a place to hang in the neighborhood, it’s always our first suggestion. For lunch, eat a pressed Jerusalem bagel with smoked salmon and scallion-dill butter. Or stop by for coffee and flaky borekas filled with brown-butter artichokes and potatoes, plus consistently excellent sweets (hello tehina chocolate chip cookies and pistachio sticky buns). Seating can be a wash, but that’s what the park is for. 110 South 19th Street.

Vic Sushi Bar
Don’t tell your neighborhood sushi spot but Vic is the Michael Jordan of neighborhood sushi in Philadelphia. Their small BYOB counter usually has spots open (which would be a good date location as long as you’re cool with Penn PhD students who are also flirting next to you). Though we like Vic’s takeout situation just as much as their dine-in option, since $15 gets you any combination of three maki rolls. You might be thinking, “How can the rolls be so cheap? Is the fish even good?” We understand this line of questioning and prefer not to pursue it further. The fish tastes almost unreasonably fresh for the price. 2035 Sansom Street.

We could describe a.kitchen as a straightforward restaurant perfect for grown-ups of taste. Because that’s what it is. But doesn’t that sound boring? The truth is that a.kitchen quietly serves some of most dialed-in New American food in the city right now — grilled squid and braised turnips in a bright barigoule-style stew, a a perfectly jiggly panna cotta, a double cheeseburger constructed with layers of American cheese, diced cornichon and dijonaisse. You’ll get to enjoy all of these comforting-but-elevated dishes in a room outfitted with sleek wood, lightbulbs that look like molecules, and an open kitchen. Bring your family, bring the Wine Person in your life, or just bring yourself and sit at the bar. We’ve found it’s easy to get a last-minute reservation. 135 South 18th Street.

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Vernick Food and Drink / Photograph by Steve Legato

Vernick Food & Drink
Greg Vernick’s original Philly restaurant was a wonder when it first opened in 2012. And it’s only gotten better. There’s now a wine shop adjacent to the dining room, where the team offers a six-course tasting menu ($155 per person, plus an optional $90 wine pairing). Though our favorite way to eat at Vernick remains the bar method — walk right into their lounge on the early side, plop into a seat, and order a fancy toast, some gorgeous vegetables, and a whole fish roasted in a wood-fire oven. The seasonal menu changes often, but you can always expect a focus on comfort and technique. In the case of both the tasting and the (slightly more casual) a la carte menu, Vernick’s mission is simple: Make dinner for the neighbors. 2031 Walnut Street.

Parc emblematizes Rittenhouse’s soul. Fancy but not so fancy you’ll be judged for your shoes. Expensive enough that you’re sure to spend at least $60 a head. Busy, always. If you’re coming to this French bistro, you’re coming for the scene just as much as you are the steak tartare and trout amandine. Sit on the sidewalk for a daytime meal or head inside to drink a martini, pick at a (very good) bread basket, and watch the dining room like it’s immersive theater (it is). 227 South 18th Street.

El Merkury
El Merkury serves the sorts of Central American street food you’re craving on a day off or maybe even a workday where you can take a strategic nap, including but not limited to: churro ice cream sundaes, cheesy pupusas, loaded tostadas and so much more. You can get a significant amount of food here for less than $15 — something we’re always happy to experience in Rittenhouse. 2104 Chestnut Street.

Lacroix at the Rittenhouse
After closing down during the pandemic, this palatial French restaurant with a view of the park reopened to show off a new dinner menu and a new chef. The a la carte options read like an opulent treasure map (potato risotto with caviar, Norwegian langoustine with soft eggs and white truffle, aged duck that may or may not have attended Yale) and there’s also a $155 tasting menu with additional wine pairings available. Is this the coolest restaurant in the neighborhood? Of course not. But it will delight anyone who’s into wine and textbook fine-dining experiences — the dishes are just as luxurious as they are dynamic, and full of surprising flavor combinations that get better as you eat them. 210 West Rittenhouse Square.

Monk’s Cafe
Monk’s founder Tom Peters is the grandfather of Philadelphia’s beer scene. Which makes this Belgian beer institution an essential stop for anyone who drinks in this city. Try one of their harder-to-find draft beers or European bottles and don’t discount the food menu — the burgers and mussels with pommes frites taste significantly better than what’s being served at your average tavern. 264 South 16th Street.

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Via Locusta / Photograph courtesy of Via Locusta

Goldie does two things: falafel and tehina milkshakes. And it does them so well that you’ll quickly understand why there aren’t any other menu items. (Okay, sure, Goldie technically serves thick, crispy fries that you can get inside your sandwich or on the side.) This is our favorite quick lunch option in the neighborhood. If you’re a first timer, start with the plain tehina version and then try the bright and spicy schug option as your 201-level lunch. 1911 Sansom Street.

Via Locusta
Schulson’s glitzy pasta spot works for just about anyone, making Via Locusta a useful choice for dinner with your family members or a business person you have to impress despite not knowing anything about them. Start with a puff of focaccia with whipped honey butter and then transition to the handmade pastas (prioritize the quadretti ravioli and clam mafaldine). 1723 Locust Street.

Yes, the titular dandan noodles at this Sichuan and Taiwanese restaurant are excellent: thick, slippery, and perfectly chewy. But we keep coming back for three-cup chicken, beef noodle soup and their spicy soft tofu. The restaurant is Adam Sandler approved, if that’s of any consequence to you. 126 South 16th Street.

Dizengoff / Photograph courtesy of Dizengoff

You’d think that a restaurant dedicated exclusively to hummus and pita would be the kind of place you only need to go once, right? Well, you’re wrong. Michael Solomonov’s hummusiya is consistently exciting thanks to its 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. Know that they also serve a frozen mint-lemonade drink called a lemonnana that they can spike with gin, vodka or whiskey. 1625 Sansom Street.

This Korean American restaurant on Lombard might not be located in the heart of Rittenhouse, but it’s totally useful for a casual meal in the neighborhood. They make excellent Korean chicken wings, plus a good bulgogi burger with gochugaru aioli and pickles. 1801 Lombard Street.

Barclay Prime
Have you ever heard of steak before? Would you like to eat massive quantities of said steak in a room with like-minded cow enthusiasts? You’ve come to the right place. Bring your wallet. Better yet, find someone else who’ll pay. 237 South 18th Street.

Oyster House / Courtesy of Oyster House

Oyster House
The peak Oyster House experience happens between the hours of 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, with a happy hour that attracts Philly people from all over the city for $2 oysters, $7 pours of house punch, and a general “fuck yes, I love life, I love seafood!” atmosphere. Happy hour or not, remember this as an option for group dining, especially if your people are interested in splitting a couple rounds of the house clambake wherein buckets of shrimp, clams, lobsters, and corn are dumped on the table for all to enjoy. 1516 Sansom Street.

Mission Taqueria
Ultimately, Mission Taqueria is synonymous with margaritas and crowds who only just remember 9/11. That’s not to suggest you avoid a visit here for ceviche and some homemade tortillas if you don’t fit into such a category. All we’re saying is be prepared for noise and a scene. 1516 Sansom Street.

The Dandelion
On paper, a British pub in Philly’s ritziest neighborhood might seem out of place. But, in reality, The Dandelion works perfectly. Come for well-made fish and chips, beers on draft, and a cozy atmosphere with an upstairs fireplace. 124 South 18th Street.