Where To Eat In Midtown Village

Our 18 favorite places in Midtown Village.
Where To Eat In Midtown Village image

photo credit: GAB BONGHI

If you’re in Center City and Google any kind of food nearby, most of the red bubbles on the map would pop up in this neighborhood. From some of the best restaurants in the city and amazing Gayboorhood bars to splurge-worthy sushi and brunches worth getting out of bed for, we’ve got you covered. These are the 18 best places to go after a show at the Academy of Music, a few frames at Lucky Strike, or when your out-of-town friends booked a room nearby and you’re not interested in hosting a dinner party. 

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If you’re passionate about food and restaurants, there is almost no place in Philadelphia we can recommend more than Vetri–it’s our top-rated spot. Located in a historic townhouse, the intimate space still has original wood floors and is lit by Venetian chandeliers. At $150 per person (plus more for wine pairings), the tasting menu can range from corzetti with pistachio tarragon pesto and briny clam conservato to spinach gnocchi or a juicy steak. Definitely save it for a landmark birthday or the anniversary of the Eagles’ Super Bowl win. The service is unparalleled, the menu a choose-your-own-adventure of decadence, and you’ll be totally satisfied paying that $800 bill (just close your eyes and sign).

photo credit: GAB BONGHI

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Double Knot is one of the first spots that comes to mind when you want to eat in Midtown Village–and not just because it has as much range as Jim Carrey's acting. Hang at the first floor cocktail lounge and sushi bar, or head downstairs to the intimately lit izakaya that looks a bit like Dracula’s dungeons. For a little taste of everything, get the $65 Chef’s Tasting Menu, which includes 10 selections plus dessert. Try the dreamy edamame dumplings, crispy Japanese fried chicken, and finish with larger dishes like the Japanese scallops in an onion ponzu. You need reservations to get into the vampire’s lair, but you can always pop in for sake and hand rolls up top.

Middle Child has the very casual vibe of a diner, but with a much more focused menu (no disrespect to diners–we love a 24-hour place with 300+ items on the menu). They make some great fluffy egg sandwiches for breakfast, and a few spectacular sandwiches for lunch–we’re partial to the Surfer, layered with house turkey, melty swiss, blueberry chutney, Duke’s mayo, and arugula on ciabatta. There’s only a couple tables inside, but it’s more fun to sit at the counter and watch the action anyway. It’s a popular spot for Jefferson doctors and students, so if you want to grab lunch without a wait, plan to arrive before the shift change. 

Pearl & Mary is a Midtown Village oyster bar that joins the fleet of Schulson Collective restaurants in the area (including Double Knot and Sampan). 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 raw bar selection, small plates–including a tender octopus al pastor and hamachi crudo topped with potato crisps–and larger dishes like a lobster roll and strip steak. 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.

Double Knot, Sampan, and Graffiti Bar have this Goldilocks thing going on. When you want something crowded, lively, and loud, head to Graffiti Bar. For something more upscale, dimly lit, and intimate, check out Double Knot. And when you want the “just right'' mix of both, Sampan is the place. This pan-Asian restaurant also has the lengthiest menu, with small plates like pork potstickers and chicken katsu buns, and larger mains like glazed Chilean sea bass and beef short rib. It’s dimly lit with bright neon walls, while the loud lounge music is perfect for untz-untzing. They also serve massive scorpion bowls that you can split with your friends while mapping out your night (spoiler alert: it’ll end back at Graffiti Bar). 

If you’re looking for an affordable, delicious weeknight dinner, we immediately think of Barbuzzo. The cozy, dimly-lit Mediterranean spot is usually packed, but the smoky grilled octopus, plates of pan seared gnocchi, and Uovo pizza with truffled egg are worth it. Come with a couple of friends or get a front row seat at the first come, first serve chef’s counter.

If you’ve lived in Philly for longer than 10 minutes, you already know about Vedge and how great it is. You probably also know that it’s vegan, and every dish here is centered around vegetables. The space feels like a cozy modern townhome, complete with wood paneling and a brick fireplace. That makes it the perfect place to go whether you haven’t eaten meat since you saw Food Inc., or just want something other than a double cheeseburger. The food is consistently excellent, but the mushroom carpaccio, seared maitake mushroom, and wood-roasted carrot are some of our favorites.

We love Winkel. Whether you’re up before the sun on the weekend (they open at 8am) or you promised your parents that you’d finally go to brunch with them, the laid-back atmosphere is perfect for everyone. The Dutch restaurant has long tables that are great for groups, a few booths along the walls when you want to get comfy, and a menu that has something for everyone. From a la carte items like shakshuka, shrimp and grits, fried french toast, and a house-smoked salmon benedict. Come early, because seating is all first come, first serve–even if that means showing up in your pajamas and having your parents judge you for it.

This Midtown Village BYOB has leather booths lining the walls, a long sushi bar, and a handful of tables that work great for a small group hangout. The prices here are pretty reasonable, with dozens of classic and signature rolls under $20. Our favorite, the Legally Blonde roll, comes filled with hamachi, jalapeño, and scallions and is topped with bluefin toro and a passion fruit ponzu. Head here for a casual weeknight dinner or a date night when you want to impress your partner by finding a great sushi spot and the perfect bottle of rosé. 

When you head to this bright 13th street spot for an exciting dinner with friends or for date night, you’ll feel like you’re at a modern European bistro. Whether you’re dining at one of the marble-topped tables inside, at the long bar, or on their sidewalk setup that lines the block, start with the citrusy scallop crudo with blood orange, and split the buttery fettuccine al limone. It’s an easy place to have a good meal and a good time, especially when it involves a slice of pesto-drenched pizza that just came out of the oven.

Giuseppe & Sons is from the people behind places like Double Knot and Prunella, and it’s kind of like when Netflix revamps an old show from the 80’s with their big studio budget. The bottom floor is designed for dinner and is a huge space that looks like the cave where James Bond gets all his weapons. It’s supposed to be a take on a classic South Philly Italian spot, but is basically nothing like any place we’ve ever been to in South Philly, minus the vintage black and white photos hung on the walls. They serve all the classics, from meatballs & gravy to a clam linguini, and all of it is fine, but it won’t convince you to substitute this in for your monthly Ralph’s or Mr. Martinos Trattoria visit.

Usually, a good omakase experience costs as much as a backstage pass to Made In America. Midtown Village’s Kichi offers something rare—a solid omakase experience for under $100. Inside the wood-filled BYOB, you’ll be seated at a 14-seat sushi bar, surrounded by stacks of Japanese cookbooks, and hear Ariana Grande while waiting for your bluefin to be topped with truffle mushrooms. They have some of the same flair as other omakase spots—tender cuts of wagyu, foie gras, and caviar and gold flake toppings. But unlike those other spots, this meal is in hyperspeed (it’s 60 minutes). Stop by when you want a rowdy sushi party scene, and hum along to “Thank U, Next” while eating quality fish, all without having to split the bill on three credit cards at the end of the night.

There aren’t many Italian spots in the neighborhood, but Little Nonna’s is one of our go-to spots in the city. They have a spacious, twinkle-lit garden out back and candlelit leather booths inside where you can pass around plates of gnocchi, chicken parmigiana, and a creamy vodka rigatoni that’s topped with peppery garlic sausage. Because it’s one of the more popular spots in town, be prepared to make a reservation early–especially if you want the Sunday Gravy, packed with slow-braised short rib and broccoli rabe. If you’re not a planner, you can always grab a seat at the bar and order some of the best meatballs in town. 

When we need a frozen treat, we usually look for water ice. But when we can’t make it to John’s, this Brooklyn-based shop has some of the best ice creams in the city. The flavors of the house-made dairy and vegan ice cream are unconventional, like honeycomb, black cherry chocolate chip, brown sugar cookie dough chunk, and earl grey. They’re open late so no matter how you start your night, it can end with a cup of something creamy and smooth.

Trying to get into Charlie Was A Sinner on a Saturday night is as difficult as getting an “I’m sorry” out of that one friend who’s never wrong. That's because a) it’s one of the most popular vegan spots in the city, b) the interior looks trendy enough to film one of those group hang scenes in Gossip Girl, and c) the cocktails are great. The small dining room has a long bar, velvety booths, and is dimly lit by a wine bottle chandelier. The drinks are made with fresh fruit juice and organic liquor–try one of the cocktails with barrel-aged or sundew tea gin. The small plates, like zucchini sliders with an Old Bay remoulade and caramelized eggplant bao buns, are tasty enough to make that friend think you’re right about something, at least for one night. 

When you want endless sushi options from a menu as long as a CVS receipt, head to 1225 Raw Sushi and Sake Lounge. They even have a section called “Let’s Share,” so they fully encourage you to pass around plates of edamame, sumo fries topped with wasabi oil, and pork gyoza all night long. If it’s cold out, hang inside the dark restaurant, backlit with neon red and hanging Japanese lanterns. But if the weather’s good, their enormous outdoor space is filled with lots of people sipping on cheap citywides, $6 wines, and biting into dumplings.

For a last-minute brunch with a group, Green Eggs Café is the spot. They have plenty of space both indoors and out, and large, cafeteria-style tables for sharing from their extensive menu. Since it’s not hard to get a table, you can focus on the important things–Key lime pie French toast or Cajun shrimp and grits? A chorizo, egg, red pepper, and black bean burrito, or red velvet pancakes? Green Eggs has something for everyone, including massive picture windows and plants for the inevitable group photo you’ll take between sips of your pumpkin brown sugar latte. 

Grandma’s Philly is a casual BYOB in Midtown Village serving an extensive menu of Northern Thai food like papaya salad, Kad Prao basil chicken, and Pad Kee Mao drunken noodles. The most notable dishes, though, are inspired by the restaurant’s namesake, the chef’s grandmother. Everything is meant to be shared, from the perfectly spicy, deliciously creamy panang curry to the mountain of pineapple fried rice, but you’ll want to keep Grandma’s Meatballs to yourself. The tender beef meatballs covered in a slurpable sweet-savory sauce are unforgettable (and worth fighting over).   

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