Where To Have Your Birthday Dinner In Philly guide image


Where To Have Your Birthday Dinner In Philly

The best restaurants in Philadelphia for celebrating your big day.

After weeks of bingeing the latest crime docuseries until 3am, becoming a personal photographer for random tourists at LOVE Park, and dodging extended warranty calls, sometimes your birthday week sneaks up faster than a Monday after a packed weekend. It’s even worse when you don’t have a reservation or any idea of where you want to sip margaritas with a few friends. That’s where this guide comes in. We’ve put together a few spots where you can celebrate with tacos, late-night desserts, and cocktails that look fancier than the new top you treated yourself to for the occasion.  


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1901 S 9th St Fl 8, Philadelphia
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When deciding where to bring a group of friends for a birthday, picking a place where shareable dishes make up the entire menu is a good place to start. Plus, with views that will make you feel like you’re on top of the city (or at least on The Iron Giant’s shoulder), both of those details make this South Philly Sicilian spot an easy choice for your birthday. They have handmade pastas like a spaghetti alle vongole that coats clams in parsley and a white wine sauce, citrusy agrodolce chicken that’s one of the best roast chickens we’ve ever had, and plenty of other dishes just as good as the view.

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Butcher And Singer



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When your new boss offers to take you and the team out for your birthday, you should immediately do two things. First, be glad that they’re trying to make a good first impression. Second, make a reservation at Butcher and Singer. The retro Walnut Street steakhouse is light on pretense, and if someone else is picking up the tab, the crab cake is the first thing you should get before heading to the steaks. It’s lemony, full of huge chunks of crab, and comes with a fennel slaw that adds a crunch to each bite. If you still have room for dessert afterwards, there’s no one doing Baked Alaska better in Philadelphia.

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This upscale Center City spot has some of the best seafood dishes in the city—and because of that, it’s pretty tough to score a reservation. But if you’re successful, make sure you spend your night with a tray of oysters, hamachi crudo with slivers of grapefruit on top, and potato gnocchi tossed with juicy lobster, brown butter, and some nutty burgundy truffles. It's on the ground floor of the Comcast Tower and looks like it belongs in a Versace Home catalog, so your parents will be wowed (and happy to treat you).

photo credit: Jean-Georges

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Everyone knows the unwritten rule that you don't have to pay for your own birthday dinner. With that law in mind, there's no better place to celebrate than Jean-Georges. The upscale French restaurant from chef/owner Jean-Georges Vongerichten, the man behind his eponymous Michelin starred restaurant in NYC, is on the 59th floor of the Four Seasons. It has stunning panoramic views of the city, understated, elegant decor, and a staff that’s more attentive than J.Lo’s glam squad. Go for the six course land and sea tasting menu (that can get pricier with add-ons like champagne and truffles)–you can expect dishes like perfectly cooked wagyu beef tenderloin and beautifully seasoned black bass. Just know that you’ll leave a night here figuring out who you can convince your birthday is next week just to do it all over again.

Occasionally, you just want a birthday meal where you can bite into a juicy burger, share a plate of fries with friends, and argue over whether a quick tap of the cue ball counts as a shot. That's exactly what you'll have with Middle Child Clubhouse. The Fishtown bar and neighborhood hangout serves everything from hearty chicken confit with a giardiniera slaw to a jumbo shrimp with a tangy bravas aioli and long shishito peppers—both of which make for excellent choices when it’s your balloon and gift emoji day. And if you spend the night celebrating with too much wine on tap, you can always come back the next morning and be revived by a fluffy egg sandwich.

There are few places more fun (or delicious) for a big birthday dinner than Perla. This Filipino BYOB is all about the Kamayan feast: tablecloths are traded for banana leaves, and rather than using utensils, you eat with your hands. Your meal is layered on the table with a base of garlic jasmine rice followed by a few different proteins and vegetables, like pork belly, fried whole fish, and bok choy. Sort through the homemade sauces on the table to customize each bite, and don’t be surprised if you need a to-go bag for your leftovers.  

We can’t think of a better way to spend our birthday than drinking hard-to-find mezcal and tequilas at La Llorona Cantina. This South Philly spot is also great because it’s a rowdy place that can transition you from a celebratory Happy Hour to a full-blown meal full of dishes like tender short rib tacos, queso fundido, and jumbo fried shrimp with smoky chipotle sauce. They stay open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, so this is somewhere to get a celebratory round of margaritas until the last second of your big day.

If you’re looking for an affordable spot that’s casual enough for a low-key birthday, head to Fishtown BYOB Primary Plant Based. The vegan spot is in a cozy, dimly-lit space that works well for splitting a bottle of wine and enjoying one of their entrees (like kung pao brussels sprouts) that are all around $20. Plus, they have desserts like glazed apple fritters and a maduro banana split topped with crispy plantains, caramel, and salted peanuts that will distract you from your one off-key friend singing “The Happy Birthday Song.”

Fishtown's LMNO has it all: a neon-lit bar, black-and-white photography on the wall, and a crowded dining space that’s usually as full as the Parkway on Labor Day weekend. It’s basically a club that actually serves good food (aka, a clubstaurant), better seating, and all without you having to repeatedly say “what?” after mishearing the person next to you. The Mexican spot has two dishes we love: perfectly cooked, smoky oysters, and sweet pineapple and shrimp aguachile that has a slightly vinegary broth. Plus, for a more intimate birthday dinner, you can hang in the private listening room with a DJ-curated playlist.

Where To Have A Group Dinner In Philly guide image

PHL Guide

Where To Have A Group Dinner In Philly

From the team behind Prunella, Alpen Rose, and Double Knot, Giuseppe & Sons serves up classic handmade pastas like spaghetti and clams in a white wine sauce, Sunday gravy with peppery meatballs and sausages, and ricotta tortelloni with lots of parmigiano. Outside of pasta, the menu is full of shareable plates like chicken parmigiana, grilled branzino with a lemony salsa verde, and a long wine list full of Italian reds and whites. The dining room feels massive and fancy, full of hanging chandeliers, leather booths, and plenty of long tables for you and your friends to fill up on carbs in every form.  

Whether your birthday is on a “school night” or you prefer your friends to sing to you during Happy Hour, El Rey is the ideal place for an after-work birthday dinner. Bring your team and celebrate the only thing better than your birth: tacos under $5. Paired with $5 margaritas, dim lighting, and access to the Ranstead Room via an underground pathway through the kitchen, this is one of best places to celebrate turning 25 for the seventh time.

Trying to get into Assembly on a Saturday night is about as difficult as trying to get an apology out of that one friend who’s never wrong. And that’s because a) it has one of the more popular rooftops in the city, b) the interior looks like it could be the set of a Gossip Girl group hang scene c) the cocktails are great. The outdoor area has a long bar, velvety booths where can sit with your friends near a fire pit as they toast to you, and solid small plates like charred octopus salad, a classic margherita flatbread, and tuna poke with pickled papaya. But you’re really here to show off your new birthday outfit, take in one of the best views in town, and sip on a bunch of rose gold margaritas.

Yakitori Boy doesn’t just make this list because you can belt out the latest Doja Cat song somewhere outside of your shower. The Chinatown pub with a second-floor karaoke lounge also has a selection of roasted skewers, sushi rolls, and sweets like mango cheesecake that we just can’t get enough of. Also, try the crispy chicken cutlet. It has a curry sauce that’s so good that you’ll probably end up missing your “Kiss Me More” cue while trying to sop up the last drop.

The Best Philly Restaurants For Date Night guide image

PHL Guide

The Best Philly Restaurants For Date Night

For some birthdays, you want the dancing and the meal to happen under one roof. This is the Marrakesh specialty. The Moroccan restaurant in Society Hill has a prix-fixe menu with things like spicy cumin chicken, eggplant and carrot salads, and Moroccan pastries that are ideal for big groups. Come here to recline on low couches and pillows, admire the colorful tapestries and lanterns, and eat while a belly dancer performs. Also, it’s BYOB, so plan accordingly.

Insomnia Cookies isn’t the only place to get late-night sweets in Philly. Open until midnight, this Chinatown spot is huge and the menu is full of crepes, waffles, pancakes, and plenty of mango-themed sweets. As a plus, they’ve got a huge upstairs lounge area big enough for your crew, which is perfect when everyone’s had a few drinks, or if it’s a weeknight and the whole group just wants dessert.

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