The Philadelphia Hit List: Our Favorite New Restaurants In Philadelphia guide image


The Philadelphia Hit List: Our Favorite New Restaurants In Philadelphia

The best new restaurants in Philly.

The Hit List is where you’ll find our favorite new food and drink experiences in Philadelphia. We track new openings across the city, and then visit as many as we can. While this is by no means an exhaustive list of every good new spot, one thing you can always rely on is that we’ll only include places that we have genuinely checked out.

Our goal is for this list to be as diverse as the city itself—inclusive of a wide range of cuisines, price points, neighborhoods, chefs, and owners of all backgrounds, and the multifaceted communities within the industry. Read on to find your new favorites.

If you’re looking for our all-time favorite Philly restaurants, check out our guide to the 25 best restaurants in the city.


photo credit: Mawn

Mawn imageoverride image



764 S 9th St, Philadelphia
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points

This Cambodian restaurant, housed in the same space as the former Kalaya in Bella Vista, is like Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly being followed up by DAMN: one hit after another. The cozy BYOB has a small open kitchen and minimalist decor, like gold-rimmed mirrors, rugs, and a sketch of the Italian Market on the walls. There are only 10 or so tables inside, so while you can walk in without a reservation, we wouldn’t recommend it. The menu is heavily influenced by the chef/owner’s childhood in Cambodia, but you’ll find dishes from all over Southeast Asia. Head there for a cozy date night or catch up with friends and pass around fragrant bowls of crispy soft-shell shrimp, braised chicken curry, and any noodle dish on the menu.  

In the movie Everything Everywhere All At Once, the villain tries to put all of our hopes and dreams on a bagel. We didn’t know something like that was doable until we bit into a pillowy bialy from this Reading Terminal Market shop. It should be no surprise, since they’re made by one of our favorite bagel places in the city. With an assortment of sweet—like the jam with a creamy mound of whipped lemon ricotta in the center—to savory, there’s a bialy for whatever mood you’re in. Our favorite here is the ‘Strami, which has tender strips of pastrami, a potato chip crust, melty swiss, and comes with pickles and a dijon so good that you’d happily head to a multiverse where it was on every sandwich.

Sign up for our newsletter.

Be the first to get expert restaurant recommendations for every situation right in your inbox.

By signing up, I agree to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

We’re pretty much going steady with University City’s Doro Bet. The Sami Dan music they play is stuck in our heads, the bright walls covered in African art is now our lock screen, and we’re thinking of proposing to the chefs after eating a plate of doro wot. The casual counter-service spot has plenty of plants, a big picture window near the front, and a handful of tables where you can devour the pillowy mac and cheese, smothered wings, or crispy teff flour fried chicken. It’s our new go-to for a quick lunch or casual weeknight meal when we’re craving peppery stewed chicken that falls off the bone. Open every day of the week except Tuesdays, head there when you want incredible Ethiopian food, and rethink your (restaurant) relationship status. 

This South Philly shop is essentially a taqueria with a Korean twist. In almost every quesadilla, burrito, or order of guac, you’ll find things like Korean bulgogi beef, garlic soy glazes, and kimchi salsa. Everything feels like a revamped version of things you know and love: cheesesteaks, fries, chicken sandwiches, and of course, tacos. It's an ideal grab-and-go spot with a menu that has lots of dishes worth weaving through traffic for.

Some openings feel like a long-anticipated album release. From a food cart to a pop-up to the current brick-and-mortar location, Bella Vista’s Tabachoy has the buzz of that Frank Ocean record we all still hope will come out. Inside the cozy Filipino restaurant, there are a handful of tables and walls that glow from the neon yellow pig sign, while old T-Pain tracks play overhead. There are no bad choices on the menu here, but we love the fried chicken (think Peking duck rather than breaded chicken) and the pancit bihon noodle dish that balances spice and citrus perfectly. Everything here feels like it's made for comfort, but you won’t leave feeling heavy. If you keep a must-try restaurant list, add this to the top of it.

Pearl & Mary is a Midtown Village oyster bar that joins the fleet of Schulson Collective restaurants in the area (like Sampan and Double Knot). The intimate space feels like it's straight out of New Orleans—it has the ambiance of a craft cocktail bar, complete with an oyster shucking station and floor to ceiling windows that connect the indoor and outdoor dining areas. The menu has a great raw bar selection, inventive small plates—including an octopus al pastor and hamachi crudo topped with potato crisps—and larger dishes like a buttery lobster roll. You’ll find couples and groups of friends sharing orders of clams casino, but the best spot in the house is at the bar, sampling snow crab, shrimp cocktail, and oysters from the Royal Tower.

From our new favorite tequila cocktail to a short rib that’s more comforting than a fluffy blanket in winter, Redcrest Kitchen has lots to offer. Just off South Street, the former (and beloved) fried chicken pop-up has a modern American menu of seasonal vegetables and Italian-leaning dishes like crudos, pastas, and whole fish. The black-and-white booths are great for groups of friends or a casual date night, while the floor-to-ceiling windows are ideal for people watching. 

Passyunk Square’s El Chingon is an all-day Mexican cafe and BYOB restaurant. It’s a plant-filled corner spot perfect for grabbing coffee and conchas before work, or sharing a bunch of tacos and tostadas on a casual date night. The menu is extensive, but the real specialty here are the Pueblan-style cemita sandwiches. We can’t stop thinking about the Clasica, which comes stacked with crisp fried buttermilk chicken, avocado, chipotle peppers, and stringy, salty quesillo cheese, all on housemade rolls. Chingon’s chef/owner started the bread program at Parc, so you know those buns are good.

The 10 Most Exciting Dinner Spots In Philly Right Now guide image

PHL Guide

The 10 Most Exciting Dinner Spots In Philly Right Now

Before they closed, Bella Vista’s Kalaya was the first place we thought of when we wanted some fantastic Thai food. And based on the crowds since they’ve reopened, the entire city felt exactly the same. The former BYOB got a Fishtown makeover that includes a full bar, a large dining room with palm trees at every turn, and an open kitchen where plates of tender peppercorn steak, flower-shaped dumplings, and curries (like the sweet and peppery massaman nua) are made to perfection. The lively restaurant is a place where you can sit back in a booth with friends, order a lineup of wok-fried dishes and mounds of shaved ice topped with banana cream, and end your night reloading the reservations page to secure your next meal here.

Sure, Paesano’s is just a sandwich shop, but that’s like saying Tom Hanks “just does a little acting.” One of Philly’s iconic sandwicheries, the new location in the Italian Market is serving gigantic meals on rolls, along with a few antipasti and pasta dishes. There’s no wrong order here, but it’s the hot sandwiches—like the Paesano, with juicy beef brisket, horseradish mayo, sharp provolone, and a fried egg, and the Arista, which is their take on a roast pork sandwich, that has us dancing in our seats to the Frank Sinatra soundtrack. It’s a popular spot for carry out, but there’s plenty of comfortable seating and vintage photos to enjoy if you eat in.

20th Street in Rittenhouse is a restaurant row of sorts. Lucky for us, Luna has joined the ranks of Pub & Kitchen, Charley Dove, Twenty Manning, and 1-900-ICE-CREAM, adding an Italian BYOB to the corridor. The restaurant took over the former Casta Diva space, and after a small makeover, is intimate, charming, and buzzing with groups of friends, couples, and ‘80s pop hits. The menu is made up of shareable appetizers like calamari in a kalamata-tomato sauce, caesar salad, and antipasto with truffle-stuffed burrata, and satisfying mains like a 16 oz veal chop and branzino with Israeli couscous. But it’s the generously-portioned handmade pastas–from ribbons of pappardelle in a lamb bolognese to garganelli with sweet sausage in a saffron cream sauce–that have turned us from first-time diners into devoted regulars. 

With massive picture windows and bright green signage, it’s hard to miss this Kensington pasta bar and wine shop. But even if you don’t notice the couples sharing bottles of merlot as you walk by, the unmistakable scent of lamb ragu will draw you in. From perfectly blended cocktails and unique, affordable wines to pastas so good that you’ll consider proposing to the chef, this intimate corner restaurant should be your go-to for date nights, small group dinners, and every occasion in between. Tulip serves up modern takes on Italian classics, like cacio e peperoncini, Thai-inspired linguine and mussels, and our favorite, the Chesapeake Bay crab ravioli–perfectly doughy pouches stuffed with a creamy sweet-savory blend of crab and honeynut squash, finished with an irresistible crab butter.

Philadelphia’s New Restaurant Openings guide image

PHL Guide

Philadelphia’s New Restaurant Openings

Chase Sapphire Card Ad

Suggested Reading

Where To Go When You Can’t Get Into Zahav guide image
Where To Go When You Can’t Get Into Zahav

When you can’t get a reservation at Zahav, these 10 places are (almost) as good.

The 25 Best Restaurants In Philadelphia guide image

Meet our 25 highest-rated restaurants.

The 10 Most Exciting Dinner Spots In Philly Right Now guide image

A night out at one of these places, whether it’s for a catch-up with a friend or an impressive date night, feels overwhelmingly of the moment.

Infatuation Logo
2023 © The Infatuation Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store