The Best Restaurants In Northern Liberties
The 15 best places to eat around Northern Liberties.
Even though so many new spots are popping up in Fishtown and Kensington, Northern Liberties has lots of bars and restaurants that are also worth your time—and a few that even look out over the waterfront. From brunch spots with mimosa towers to some of our go-to taquerias, here are our 15 favorite places to eat and drink in Northern Liberties.
As soon as you walk through the door of this West African spot, you’re met with the scent of steaming jollof rice, plantains fresh out of the pot, buttery cornbread muffins, and the sound of chicken sizzling on the grill. It’s a sensation that we can’t put a price on, but they have, and it’s notably affordable (the bowls are $13 or under and each comes with a side). Suya Suya is a comfortable counter-service place to grab a quick meal in between a night out at the bars nearby or before catching a train from the Spring Garden station.
photo credit: GAB BONGHI
Pietramala, Northern Liberties’ upscale vegan restaurant, is churning out complex and satisfying plant-based dishes (with no meat substitutes to be found). The cozy restaurant has a relaxed, bohemian feel–candlelit, earth-toned, and covered in plants–while smoke wafts from the open kitchen. The menu is seasonal and will rotate depending on available ingredients, but you’ll find dishes like the crunchy, sweet and tangy fried lion’s mane mushrooms, sweet potatoes with spicy grilled peppers, or gnocchi with wild mushrooms. It’s a BYOB (there's a $20 corkage fee), so come on a date night or with a couple of friends, and bask in the glow of your foliage-filled lifestyle.
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Café La Maude
Café La Maude is one of the best places you can spend a morning in Philly. This French-Lebanese BYOB serves everything from lemon ricotta pancakes topped with poached apples and caramel sauce to brisket huevos rancheros, along with La Colombe coffee, and they do it seven days a week. On the weekend, you’ll likely spend at least 45 minutes waiting for a table, so come on a random Wednesday when you’re supposed to be at a “doctors appointment” instead to avoid the lines.
It’s pretty rare to find somewhere with outdoor space and live music in Philly, but this is what makes Heritage such a great spot. There’s a big patio outside, nightly live music (primarily jazz and funk), and plenty of food that’s easy to share, like flatbreads and cheese boards. They also do a bluegrass brunch on Sundays with dishes like shrimp and grits and crab benedict topped with a creamy basil hollandaise.
photo credit: GAB BONGHI
Pera is a Turkish spot that delivers one hit after another. 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. 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 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.
Las Cazuelas is a Mexican spot with a dining room full of people who know exactly what they want (which is a place to drink mezcal and eat al pastor and birria tacos every day). It’s small and colorful inside, with four tops put together to fit big groups of friends looking to start their nights early. Plus, it’s BYO-tequila, which means if you want anything mixed, your friend who watched Coyote Ugly too many times will finally get their moment in the sun.
For a long time, Jerry’s was a Bob and Barbara’s-esque dive bar with dollar beers and regulars who were almost exclusively men over the age of 50. Now, though, they serve some of the better food in the area. It’s got a gastropub feel that’s nice enough to bring your parents to when they’re in town, but not so nice that you can’t imagine your grandfather ripping shots with his buddies 20 or so years ago. It has a huge selection of local craft beers, plus a brunch menu stacked with things like brioche french toast and a brisket omelette. And if you come during dinner hours, you shouldn’t leave without ordering the Jerry burger.
Honey's Sit 'n Eat
Honey's is an all-day breakfast place that has no regard for your post-breakfast plans, unless they include a nap. You should be coming here for their latkes, huevos rancheros, and signature Honey Cristo, made with challah french toast and ham. It’s cash-only and doesn’t take reservations, so expect to wait on the weekends.
photo credit: Rachel Lerro
Somewhere in the back of your brain, you have a list of all the best neighborhood restaurants within a 10-minute walk of your home. And if you live in Northern Liberties, Hikari Sushi should be on that list. On top of serving some creative rolls and big plates of teriyaki for under $20, they’re also BYOB and have a bunch of outdoor tables where you can enjoy your Sauvignon Blanc.
Whether you’re looking for somewhere to host your office holiday party or getting a bunch of your cousins together for your niece’s third quinceañera, Standard Tap is one of the best places to celebrate. The gastropub has a great rooftop deck, plenty of rotating beers, and a fireplace for when winter hits. Split a few shared plates, like the grilled octopus, seared scallops, or pork belly drenched in a gochujang glaze, and make sure to get at least one chicken pot pie to share (or 10 if you bring the whole company).
Apricot Stone is a cozy Armenian BYOB that can get pretty crowded, especially on the weekends. However, on nice nights, the outdoor plaza doubles as Apricot Stone’s personal patio, overflow area, and dog companion zone. Grab a few friends, a bottle of wine, any handsome dog you might find along the way, and split some buttery spanakopita, hummus, and a couple lamb kebabs.
photo credit: Nicole Guglielmo
Right across from Apricot Stone in The Piazza is Baan Thai, a small BYOB that’s a good place to come for a casual weeknight dinner with a few friends, when you want things like pad see ew and duck panang in a curry coconut sauce. During the summer, they have a ton of outdoor seating on the patio, so it’s worth blocking off an entire Friday night to hog one of their tables under the string lights until you’ve finished all the wine you brought.
Cantina Dos Segundos
You’re a simple person with simple needs. All you’re looking for is a fun space that’s big enough for a group and access to margaritas by the pitcher. Cantina dos Segundos provides both of these things. Get a few orders of nachos topped with roasted corn, black beans, pickled jalapeños, and pepper jack cheese, and try out as many tequilas as you want (they keep over 100 varieties on hand). Afterwards, head a few doors down for a few frames and some tater tots at North Bowl, which may become your new favorite nightcap.
One Shot Cafe
Whether you have a full-time office job or get to freelance from anywhere in the world, the time will likely come when you need a place to “work from home” that isn’t your actual home. One Shot Cafe is the best place in Northern Liberties to make that happen, with a full breakfast menu full of things like fluffy pancakes and egg sandwiches, lots of snacks for when the breakfast energy runs out, and a second-floor library that’s always pleasantly talkative but never too loud.
The Best Restaurants In Fishtown
Silk City Diner Bar & Lounge
Sure, you could go to Silk City during the day and have a nice brunch in their funky, colorful outdoor beer garden. You could come for dinner in the retro diner car. Or you could show up a few drinks deep at midnight and head straight up to “The Lounge,” where they have a bar, guest DJs, and a dance floor that’s always full. Located in Spring Garden, the menu is packed with comfort foods like short rib mac and cheese, bacon-wrapped meatloaf, and crispy buttermilk fried chicken. Definitely go back to Silk City the next morning for some pancakes, though, if you can convince your friends to meet you again after a late night out.