Where To Eat In Germantown & Mount AiryWhere to eat among the trees, cobblestones, and history.
From the battlefields of the Revolutionary War and stops on the Underground Railroad to an old cricket club where you can live out your Masterpiece Classics fantasies, Germantown and Mount Airy are doling out doses of history and Victorian houses that you never knew you always needed. If you find yourself there ravenous and without a plan, here are 20 spots on the cobblestone streets serving great food.
Jansen is one of those fine-dining spots that never leaves you wondering if the bill is worth it. This renovated 18th-century cottage has historic charm emanating from its cozy interior to the backyard garden. And the food—like the spicy mahi mahi jambalaya with a smoked paprika shellfish jus—is the best in Mt. Airy. Grab a few glasses of wine, an order of oysters, share the braised lamb shank, and be thankful to be in a neighborhood where the PPA rarely comes.
There are times—like when we watch the BBQ scene from the Fast and Furious—and we dream of St. Louis ribs. And when we do, we head right to Deke’s BBQ in Germantown. They offer a few things: daily drink specials, lots of TV screens and pool tables, and, most importantly, excellent barbecue and cornbread worth fighting over. Expect fantastic, super-seasoned ribs, brisket cheesesteaks with slabs of their salty, smoky meat, and plenty of juicy chicken that’s covered in their sweet BBQ sauce.
Mt. Airy has a new mashup of comfort food, craft beers, and all things Albanian at Töska Restaurant & Brewery. The large, wood-filled space has multiple floors and bars, so you won’t have to do a yoga pose to squeeze by strangers (even when it gets crowded). When it comes to food, the main event is their wood-fired pizza—which they top with things like Albanian sausage, fig balsamic glaze, and house-brined chicken—and they’re all great. Stop by for a few IPAs, peppery wings, and other satisfying dishes cooked by a flame.
Philly definitely isn’t Nashville, but there are a lot of places popping up where you can get hot chicken. If you only go to two spots though, one should be Asad’s, and the other should definitely be Hot Clucks. The menu is simple: tenders, sliders, or both with fries. There are four heat options to choose from, starting with “plain” all the way up to “unbelievable”. If you love a mouth inferno, go for the latter. And in case you tempt fate and need relief, the halal shop has fresh-squeezed lemonade (we like the mango and strawberry varieties) that’s some of the best in town.
When you eat great food, you tune out everything else. The only things that remain are your fork, plate, and maybe the Eagles (this is still Philly). That’s the feeling we get while eating a fried whiting platter at Tyemeka’s in Germantown. Their mac and cheese is baked so it has super crispy edges, the greens have a smokiness to them that is unmatched, and the fish is so beautifully seasoned that you’ll want to hug everyone behind the counter. Sit in their burgundy dining room and look at pictures of the neighborhood or take a platter to Vernon Park nearby, dig in, and head home when you can stand again.
The Attic Brewing Company’s taproom feels like an antique roadshow collection house, art gallery, and prohibition-era pub all rolled into one. Throughout the airy brewery, you’ll find every version of couch that’s ever been made, vintage wooden chairs, and a beer garden in the back courtyard where you can grab an order from Deke’s Garage Roadhouse BBQ (which is next door). And since Germantown is one of the most historic neighborhoods in Philly, it should come as no surprise that this was the first craft beer brewery in the city.
To remix the words of Philly legend Allen Iverson: “We’re talking pasta.” Specifically, the decadent ravioli from Trattoria Moma, which is stuffed with wild mushrooms and coated in a light cream sauce that has sweet but subtle garlic flavor. The only way A.I. will forgive us for changing his famous quote (after somehow reading this) is if we treat him to a plate, plus one of everything from the rest of the classic Italian menu inside the cozy restaurant.
Ultimo Coffee, which has three locations in Philly, is definitely in the camp of “trendy coffee shops.” But it’s not elitist or snobby, and the Germantown cafe is actually casual and quite comfortable. They have a solid assortment of croissants, lemon cakes, and thick focaccia sandwiches, just in case the coffee isn’t cutting it. And maybe boosting your caffeine intake with a sticky bun will give you the sugary kick you need to keep writing that novel (or even just answer a few emails).
This Germantown Ave. coffee shop and bookstore has an extensive espresso and coffee bar menu with things like cold brews, teas, lattes, and fresh-squeezed juices. With a sit-down space with couches that are great for a group meeting, and some single seats at the counter when you’re solo, you can kick back with a scone, yogurt, soup, or a slice of sweet potato pie until they close at 7pm. This a place where we’d hang out even if we weren’t working just so we could lay out on the ottomans and crack open our favorite Toni Morrison while The Roots play in the background.
Mt. Airy Taproom serves dishes like brisket sandwiches, fried chicken sandwiches, and steak frites along with a bunch of rotating options of local and house craft beers. The dining room is packed with TVs and rowdy Phillies fans, but you can always take your comfort food to go. And while choosing just one thing from the large menu may be more difficult than using FaceID at nighttime, we’ve got one standout dish for you: the crab cake sandwich. The patty is well-seasoned, juicy, and has just the right amount of crunch.
Greek food, especially the stuff from Malelani Cafe, is one of the best decisions you can make in Mt. Airy (next to taking a picture in front of an old trolley). One bite into any of their pita sandwiches or flaky baklava and you’ll see why. The chicken shawarma features tangy grilled chicken, spicy roasted eggplant, and housemade tahini, all on a soft warm pita. This massive, packed wrap is about as large as Joel Embiid’s shoe, but we have complete faith you can tackle it.
Knowing about a healthy option for your post-Wissahickon Valley Park hike is a necessity. At All The Way Live, there’s plenty of fresh, raw, and tasty vegan dishes and juices. One of our favorites, and a necessity in any weather (but especially in the winter), is their hearty chickpea chili. This delicious blend of tender chickpeas with onions and peppers will do more to save you from the cold than any blanket could.
A decade ago, the idea of a vegan soul food restaurant might’ve been as unthinkable as clear roads on I-95. But since Nile Cafe opened and started serving stew fish made with wheat and soy proteins, it’s clear today is a new day. This spot is Philly’s oldest vegan restaurant and makes perfectly-spiced vegan jerk chicken with a meaty texture that’s dripping with a sweet and spicy sauce.
Germantown has exactly one Ethiopian restaurant. But after one trip to Salam Cafe, you’ll know it’s the only option you need. The shop and market has warm and friendly service, lots of tables, and is relaxing enough that by the end of the meal, you’ll know everyone’s name inside. Choose from a few Ethiopian stews (our favorite is the spicy stew chicken), baked salmon, tender vegetables, and a dangerously addictive loose leaf tea on your first (or 25th) visit.
For some, coffee has always been the most important drink of the day, but a morning smoothie is slowly creeping up the essentials list. If you’re in Mt. Airy, do yourself a favor and get a mango lassi or green smoothie with spinach, kale, and raw honey at The Juice Room. It’s a small and colorful neighborhood juicery that serves sandwiches (we love the curry chicken), pastries, and salads. Stop by on a casual morning when you want a refreshing pick-me-up or can’t deal with the haggle over the French vanilla creamer at your local coffee shop.
Bar Lizette is a place where most people in Mount Airy love to end their nights. The low-lit bar is French and German-inspired, so it has that warm bistro feel with old pictures of the countryside and mustachioed dukes on the wall. On the menu, you’ll find cheese boards, tartare flambée with bacon and creme fraiche, and moules frites in a wine butter sauce. Pair them with anything on their long wine list or cocktails mixed with beet syrup, lavender bitters, or brûléed banana.
When you walk into McMenamin’s Tavern on a game day, you’ll quickly realize that you’ll lose your voice by the time you leave. That’s because the small Mount Airy bar is one of the loudest bars to catch a game in the neighborhood. It’s one of those classic Irish bars where you’ll see people run into their childhood neighbors, high school science teachers, and other people they haven’t seen in a decade. When it comes to food, go for an order of the crispy buffalo wings, fish and chips, a casual pint, and briefly consider doing shots with someone from your yearbook at halftime.
If you’re looking for an excellent brunch spot in Mount Airy with a colorful patio, Jacobs Northwest is here to serve. From pillowy French toast and tasty chicken and waffles to a juicy smoked brisket cheesesteak, everything here is a comfort food revelation. Choose from indoor seating—with large tables covered in white tablecloths—or outdoors with bright picnic benches and hanging lights.
Pitruco Pizza has a location in University City, but it’s their My. Airy food truck (at Winston St. & Germantown Ave. on Wednesdays) that’s good enough to have people lining up on a sweltering or rainy day. There are nine pizzas on the menu, like a radicchio, mushroom, and spicy garlic, but the one you want is the margherita. Fresh basil and mozzarella is scattered over a smooth tomato sauce that’s held in by a wall of golden crust. You can add more toppings if you want, but there’s no reason you should—especially when you taste the velvety mozzarella.
At Mt. Airy's Zsa’s Ice Cream, you order out back and then join a large crowd huddled near the side awaiting their sweet treats. The line moves fast, and it’s worth waiting to get some of their incredibly creamy flavors—like coffee ice cream with chocolate chips, pretzel strawberry peanut butter, and Earl Grey tea. The small storefront is home to a rotating menu of ice cream sandwiches, cakes, and cream pies, too. Load up with a birthday cake or pink vanilla waffle cone with a scoop of berry crisp, grab a pint or two to take home, or a thick milkshake.