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: PHOTO CREDIT: FOUR SEASONS
We know you love your car, but if you had a chance to drive a Mercedes-Maybach S-Class sedan for a night, you’d probably have trouble going back to your old vehicle without crying. Similarly, your outlook on fine dining restaurants in Philly will be forever changed after having an extraordinary night at Jean-Georges in Center City. This French spot that reopened in 2022 is on the 59th floor of the Four Seasons, and the panoramic views of the city and the warm welcome from the staff really set the stage for an incredible meal. Go for the six-course land and sea $198 tasting menu, where you’ll find things like perfectly cooked wagyu beef tenderloin and beautifully seasoned black bass with a sweet and sour vegetable jus. The price point makes it somewhere you should probably save for a special occasion, like an anniversary or birthday, and you’ll probably leave daydreaming about get-rich-quick schemes so you can dine here as often as possible.
Omakase By Yanaga
At Omakase by Yanaga, sashimi gets plated with gold Louis Vuitton chopsticks. That’s just one detail that makes this spot in Fishtown feel like a more glamorous than usual omakase experience, even compared to nearby Hiroki. They only do a $195, 25-course tasting menu (including an $85 wine and sake pairing) from Thursday-Saturday, and it all happens in a private section of Izayaya by Yanaga. The fish is truly excellent with small bites and nigiri that can range from scallops coated with preserved lemon, a toro tartare served on crunchy milk bread, and crispy yellowtail topped in a miso caramel glaze. Spend a night here the next time you have something worth celebrating, like a birthday, or you just want to have a casual conversation with the sushi master while he flames up some pieces of Alaskan king salmon.
This Mediterranean spot in Old City will stay in your head long after you have a meal there, like the fact that your morning cappuccino froth will probably remind you of the goat cheese cream on their ravioli. The menu at this BYOB is heavy on the seafood, so you can expect to see couples sharing plates of octopus drenched in a garlicky limoncello pesto and birthday celebrations centered around some perfectly cooked salmon covered in a mound of fluffy couscous and tzatziki. The dining room really works for any situation, as it’s pretty cozy with wooden tables, white table cloths, and gold-framed mirrors all around.
Pera Turkish Cuisine
It’s rare to find a Turkish spot in the city that delivers one hit after another. But now we’ve got Pera in Northern Liberties, where dishes like tabouli, silky hummus, and lamb chops make for great plates to split with a group. Inside, there are a handful of long tables where you should post up with a couple of friends, along with cozy two-seaters near the massive windows if you want to people-watch on a casual date night. No matter where you sit, though, you’ll probably get a view of their baked goods behind the counter—where flaky baklava get stacked into rows, oozing with sugary honey. That view might inspire you to skip right to dessert, but stay the course with their spicy cold mezze eggplant dish, some of the crispiest calamari in town, and a citrusy whole dorado that’s juicy enough to deserve its own banner in the rafters at Wells Fargo.
When you’re having a bunch of people over or don’t plan on going grocery shopping for a week, consider La Chingonita’s Try It All Box. It’s like a greatest hits album for this Fishtown Mexican spot that has two birria, two tinga vegana, and two suadero tacos, two stalks of street corn dripping in crema, two tacos dorados, and two classic tortas all for $55. The box is easily a front runner for the tastiest thing we’ve eaten in months and makes for a standout large-format meal. But the casual spot also has things like cinnamony and doughy churros, tostadas, loaded burritos with proteins like shrimp (our favorite) and carnitas, and flavorful tacos that are so packed that you might struggle to finish all three that come in an order. Come here the next time you’re looking for an actually exciting quick meal, or stop by and look out on Girard Ave. while going knuckles deep in some brothy consomme.
Sometimes, you can’t tell if the crowd outside of Prunella is actually trying to get into the Italian restaurant or if there’s been a Philly Elmo sighting. This Center City spot does a good job of sorting and playing traffic cop, though, since they have the entire sidewalk full of cafe tables and a cozy dining space to work with. Come here for an exciting dinner with a few friends or for date night and start your meal with the citrusy scallop crudo with blood orange. To round out things out, the buttery fettucini al limone is perfect to split amongst two people, and will have gooey strands of cheese coming off of it even if you’re a skillful swirler. This is an easy place to have a meal and a good time, especially when you can sit outside eating a slice of pesto-drenched pizza that just came out of the oven.
When you first walk into this spot on Girard, the first thing you’ll probably notice is the baskets of golden bagels behind the counter. And those bagels, which cost around $4 with cream cheese, live up to the hype. Kismet Bagels used to have a popular pop-up before they opened this brick and mortar, serving soft bagels with a satisfying crackle when you bite into them. On Wednesday-Friday, they open as early as 7am, which makes it great for breakfast on days where you have 10 things to do before noon. It’s those breakfast sandwiches, though, like The Spicy with bacon, egg, cheese, pickled jalapeños, and peppery everything schmear, that make this more than just your neighborhood bagel shop. After we tried the silky bagel spread, we literally turned our car around to buy a half-pint of the stuff just so we can spread it on everything at home.
The menu at West Philly’s KPod is long. If you told us they added a dish to it each day since the original Pod closed in March 2020, we’d believe you. But from spicy salmon and yellowtail hand rolls topped with pickled onions and spicy mayo, to shareable plates like their kimchi-butter shrimp with lettuce leaves for wrapping, they’ve taken some old flavors and upgraded them. A few other new details we can get behind are their raw bar with a massive pink flipping sign where the conveyor belt used to be and their long soju menu that makes this a perfect Friday night hangout spot. They’ve even kept the things we like from the old version of the restaurant, like their classic neon-lit bathroom hallways, corner pod booths that make you feel more like a VIP at a Dua Lipa show, and long table seating. The spot is perfect for large group celebrations or to bring someone while breaking up so they can get distracted by the glowing seats nearby.
Since the Rex at The Royal opened in October 2021, it’s been one of the most exciting places to have dinner in the city. The 250-seat spot on South Street is full of chandeliers, velvet booth seating, and a small performance space–which is a nod to the old Royal Theater that used to be there. All of the Low Country dishes, like crawfish pot pie and shrimp and grits, make this restaurant a great place for date night or a celebratory dinner where you can pair their chicken in dumplings with something from their heavily California- and France-leaning natural wine list. The chicken is juicy and tender and the sweet potato dumplings are so soft and mushy that we’d sleep on them if we could. But for now, we’ll stick to eating forkfuls of the caramelized onions, strips of hen of the woods mushrooms, and the peppery jus the dish comes with.
The 11 Most Exciting Dinner Spots In Philly Right Now
With everything from an elevator entrance, to sweeping views of the Schuylkill River, and probably more candles in the dining space than on Dracula's birthday cake, you would think a meal at Bala’s Lark would cost as much as your next apartment’s security deposit. But the menu isn’t going to put a dent in your Sixers championship parade fund–they have dishes like a lobster squid ink pasta for just $22 or grilled octopus tossed with chorizo, littleneck clams, and chickpeas for $18. Go for those dishes or any of their handmade pastas or grilled trout that’s bursting with citrusy flavor from the sauteed grapes and lemons. It's also a great place to take someone on a second date to impress them with how well you can say “kabocha squash agnolotti" while you sip on anything from their wine list that’s longer than a departure flight board at the airport.
When we stumble upon a taco truck as good as Mi Pueblito, it’s tempting to only tell the friends who know our phone passcodes about it. But when this family-run Jalisco-style truck popped up on Front and Dickinson in South Philly, selling everything from homemade agua frescas and pozole, to al pastor tacos, soaking almost everything in consomme, we knew we had to share it with the world. In a year when birria seemed to seep into every corner of the country, this place makes the best in Philly. Since Mi Pueblito is only open three days a week (Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday), plan accordingly, and make sure to bring a bucket to stock up on that flavorful broth for dipping.
Once we start looking at all of the tostadas, tacos, and street corn sides, we have a hard time not ordering every dish on Fishtown’s LMNO menu. But thanks to some great service that makes us feel like we have the celebrity status of The Candy Lady, we’ve consistently been guided to standout dishes like their loaded smoked tuna asada fries, baja fish tacos, and the verde aguachile that submerges kamapchi, shrimp, crab, melon, tomatillo, and jalapēno in a lime juice and chili blend. When it comes to other highlights, go with the cucarachas (fried shrimp) that swim in a fiery sauce with a subtle masala flavor and the suadero tacos that come filled with hunks of tender, melt-in-your-mouth meat. The Mexican-inspired menu is perfect for your group of friends who love sharing everything or for a celebratory dinner when you finally find parking on Frankford Ave.
Philadelphia’s New Restaurant Openings
There are a few different things that make us consistently come back to the Vietnamese coffee at this J Street cafe: the extra sweetness from the condensed milk, watching that frothy milk get stirred into the coffee behind their long countertop, and the caffeinated bottom shot espresso kick we get from Vietnamese beans that they roast on-site. They don’t just sell egg coffees at Càphê Roasters, though—they also have crispy fried chicken bánh mì that are covered in a light syrupy gochu glaze and jalapeño-topped tam gia vi potatoes that we eat like popcorn. It’s a spot where you can chill with a book (there’s plenty of natural light from the tall windows and several mini bookcases if you forget your own) or get some work done while eating fried banana mochi.
Hook & Master
The last time we stopped by Hook & Master on 2nd Street, it was filled with Union superfans, a few stragglers from the after-work crowd, and a couple talking about why they retired in Philly–we guess they never heard of the PPA. But we’re not surprised about how busy it is, as they have a few dishes that make us feel as good as those times when the conductor skips our SEPTA Key on the regional rail. From their grilled octopus with a perfect char, to their Chicago-style pizzas that have as many topping options as there are ways to fit jawn into a sentence, this place is great for those days where we want something better than a fast slice with our friends. We’ll often just head over for a round of drinks, as they have everything from multiple rum flights to their specialty tiki drinks like the Tiger Shark. It’s their version of a whiskey sour that gets a little sweetness boost from the coconut milk.
Middle Child Clubhouse
It’s not every day that we walk into a place with a pool table in the middle of the dining room, people sipping on smoked beet and mezcal cocktails, and a massive poster of Princess Diana in an Eagles jacket hanging on the wall. That’s exactly what you’ll find at Middle Child Clubhouse in Fishtown. When it’s early, we get their plump breakfast sandwich that’s layered with golden eggs, juicy corned beef, and cheddar, and is so good that it may forever replace the standard BEC as our go-to breakfast sandwich. And we’ve already booked a follow-up dinner reservation just so we can try their chicken milanese that we hear is the size of a racked billiard balls setup.
When a new pizza place opens up in Philly, it gets swarmed faster than a PS5 restock link. Master Street’s Eeva is actually worth that level of attention. The dining room has front row seats to the wood-burning ovens and the otherwise subtle space lets us know that the food, specifically the wood-fired pizza, is the star of the show. Red pies like their margherita have a sauce with a slight sweetness to it, and when we want a crunchier crust, we go for a white pizza like their option with spinach. Its blend of mozzarella, grana, and basil cream gets balanced out by the mellow spice from the chili and garlic. The next time you’re looking for a casual meal of small plates, natural wine, and pizza that’s both tasty and smells like a campfire, head to Eeva.
Some things we’ll never forget: waking up early in the morning to clean the house on Saturdays as children, the Phillies 2008 championship, and the first bite of the birria tacos and ramen from Juana Tamale. With mounds of queso, stewed beef, and green onions swimming throughout the consomme, the ramen is both gooey and soupy all at the same time. And the queso birria taco that comes with each order has corn tortillas that are flavorful from being grilled in skimmed fat and crispy enough to sop up the broth without losing any of their texture. They’re only open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and have a small dining space, but their salads, tacos, vegan wings, and churros are so good that we’d eat them next to the bike rack at the East Passyunk Gateway if we had to.
Primary Plant Based
Girard Avenue’s Primary Plant Based is climbing up our list of our favorite vegan places in the city (watch your back, Vedge). They have comforting dishes like masa ball soup that’s filled with golf ball-sized heaps of corn dough, sweet pumpkin cornbread, and kohlrabi hand pies. Their jackfruit carnitas medianoche is so spot on with its sweet and tanginess blend—it’s like a cheesesteak and french toast had a baby—that it had us searching for the perfect smiling gif to send to our group chat when describing it. There are plenty of large tables in here for you to bring a small group of friends, but we also love it because it’s perfect for a cozy solo meal.