The Best Restaurants on Washington Avenue

With its tacos, Vietnamese classics, and sandwiches worth journaling about, Washington Avenue is easily one of Philly's greatest dining hubs.

comfort food

Nasi bungkus at Sky Cafe / Photograph by Michael Persico

While Washington Avenue isn’t a neighborhood, it is a demarcation point in the city. Head north and you’ll hit Center City, with all its tall buildings and summer Sips anarchy. Go south, and you’re headed into Point Breeze, Passyunk, and Pennsport — South Philadelphia neighborhoods with all that infamous Philly grit and personality. Along Washington Avenue, though, you’ll find some of the most exciting array of restaurants Philly has to offer. From food trucks serving great al pastor tacos, to Indonesian and Vietnamese classic establishments, and a sandwich spot with pork cracklings worth journaling about — all of these spots are warrant a trip on their own. But bundle a couple together, and this guide will come in handy the next time you’re planning a food parade where the blimp just so happens to be you.

Porcos Porchetteria/Small Oven Pastry Shop
What can we say about Porcos that we haven’t already said? Their sandwiches, which come piled with juicy porchetta and crunchy skin, are among the best in the city, and they also sell cakes by the quarter, which is  absolutely the correct way to sell cake. Make sure to check out their weekly-changing soft serve flavors while you’re at it. 2204 Washington Avenue.

 

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Martabak Ok
Martabak OK is a testament to the breadth of Philly’s food scene — not only do we have great Indonesian food, but we have a whole cafe dedicated to martabak. Get a whole range of these stuffed pancakes, which come in savory and sweet varieties (with options to try individual minis or full helpings in both cases). 1801 Washington Avenue.

Phở 75
Phở 75 is one of the busiest phở spots in a city with very good phở. And we think every first-time visitor should try it once. Phở 75 is exactly what we need it to be and nothing more: fast service for delicious pho, plenty of tables, cash only. It hits the spot every single time. 1122 Washington Avenue, Unit #F. 

Sky Cafe
There’s no wrong way to approach a meal at this Indonesian restaurant. But if you’re a first-timer, know that the nasi lemak ayam goreng is our favorite — it’s sweet from the coconut rice, sour and crunchy with assorted pickles, and salty from a big hunk of fried chicken and anchovies standing by for support. 1122-38 Washington Avenue, Unit #B.

 

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Nam Phuong
Unlike Phở 75 — which only serves phở — this long-standing Vietnamese spot has an extensive menu of harder-to-find dishes like bún riêu, a minced pork and crab meat soup, and banh cuon, steamed rice rolls filled with pork. 1100 Washington Avenue.

Dock Street Brewery South
This industrial stretch of Washington Avenue is a surprising location for a brewery and pizza spot, but there’s really nowhere in Philly where great beer and great pizza (and in the mornings, great coffee) aren’t appreciated. It’s a spacious spot that’s great for group hangs and parties. 2118 Washington Avenue.

Photograph courtesy of Dock Street Brewery South

Cafe Ynez
Cafe Ynez has a menu that includes all the necessities of a neighborhood Mexican spot: tacos, burritos, quesadillas. But we’re particular fans of the half roasted chicken, which comes with two sides and easily feeds two people for $15. Follow it up with a beer at Dock Street for a casual date night that costs around $30 in total. 2025 Washington Avenue.

Wokano
South Philadelphians don’t necessarily have to go to Chinatown for dim sum. Instead, make a beeline for Wokano’s dining room, where you can get cart service every day at lunchtime and Cantonese classics like pork buns, fried bean curd, and clams in sticky-thick black bean sauce. 1100 Washington Avenue.

Chick’s
Chick’s is the neighborhood bar of Washington Avenue — ideal for watching the game, eating a burger, and maybe sharing a couple of their 12-inch pizzas. 1807 Washington Avenue.

El Rodeo Taco Truck
Keep an eye out for the mural-painted truck parked daily on the corner of Washington Avenue and 10th Street, by the Sonoco. We’re particularly fond of the al pastor, which they carve off the trompo and seared to crisp-edged perfection. 1000 Washington Avenue. 

Plaza Garibaldi
If you require drinks with your Mexican food, Plaza Garibaldi has them, alongside a long and varied menu with everything from nachos and burritos to huaraches and a small menu of mariscos. 935 Washington Avenue.

Taqueria La Veracruzana
For a sit-down Mexican spot, go to Taqueria La Veracruzana for some of the best carnitas in the city. Get them on chilaquiles in the morning, in a burrito for lunch, and on tacos for dinner. 908 Washington Avenue.

 

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Ba Le Bakery
A Philadelphia staple for all kinds of bánh mì plus iced coffee, desserts, and pre-made Vietnamese specialties. 606 Washington Avenue.

Sophie’s Kitchen
Lemongrass grilled beef skewers, prahok kteah with plenty of veggies to scoop into the ground pork dip, and comforting beef stews are on the menu at Sophie’s Kitchen, a cozy dining room that serves all manner of Cambodian dishes. 522 Washington Avenue.