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PHLGuide

The Best Restaurants In Northern Liberties

The 20 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 20 favorite places to eat and drink in Northern Liberties. 

THE SPOTS

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8.5

Suya Suya

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400 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia
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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.


Café La Maude is one of the best places where 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.


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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.


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 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.


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7.9

Las Cazuelas

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Las Cazuelas is a Mexican spot that doesn't get as rowdy as 2nd Street, and their dining room is full of people who know exactly what they want. Which is a place to drink mezcal and eat birria tacos and al pastor 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. 


When you bite into a wing at Love & Honey Fried Chicken, you’ll hear a loud crackle that’s more gratifying than running to the top of the Art Museum steps and hitting the Rocky pose. You can add any of their house-made dipping sauces to your wing order, and we like the hot honey. They also have sides like cornbread honey muffins, potato salad, and peppery Nashville tater tots on the rare occasion when wings are just not enough. 


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.


Just like the other location of Honey’s (in Grad Hospital), this 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.


In a city with so many pizza options, it’s easy to overlook Spuntino, a BYOB pizzeria right near 95 that puts out consistently great Neapolitan pies every night. If you happen to be in the area, it’s worth stopping in for a casual Tuesday night date. But if you’re three hours deep into a Law And Order: SVU binge and can’t find the energy to remove yourself from the couch, they’ll also deliver a margherita with the perfect cheese-to-sauce ratio right to your door. You will still have to get off the couch to retrieve it, though.


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 to celebrate 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 generally 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, and any handsome dog you might find along the way, and split some buttery spanakopita, hummus, and a couple lamb kebabs.


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.


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.


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 guide image

PHL Guide

The Best Restaurants In Fishtown

Añejo has dark black walls and booths inside, and a handful of chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and candles on the wall. It all creates a space that's great for dates where you can dive into some solid tacos, quesadillas, shareable plates like tender lamb chops with a chili adobo glaze, and a long tequila and mezcal list. Plus, they have a $47 brunch on Saturday and Sundays that gets you an hour and a half of unlimited guacamole, salsa and chips, mimosas, and things like coconut french toast. 


Every neighborhood needs a go-to bagel spot, and that title belongs to Bagels & Co. in Northern Liberties. It’s pretty small, with only a few places to sit along the window, but the outside tables are a better place to be anyways. Bagels here go for $2 and come in flavors like french toast, pumpernickel, cinnamon, and cheddar habañero. They’re big, fluffy, and can be covered with spreads like za’atar and sundried tomato that make each bite more satisfying than the last. 


Sure, you could go to Silk City during the day and have a nice brunch in their outdoor garden space. Or you could show up a few drinks deep at midnight and head straight up to “The Lounge,” where they have a bar, some tables, guest DJs, and a dance floor that’s always full. Afterwards, you can head to Wawa with half the city, stand in line at the deli counter behind someone who’s staring at the “Need more time to finish your order?” screen like a zombie, and then finally make it home to eat your meatball sub in peace. Definitely go back to Silk City the next morning for some pancakes, though, as long as the sight of it doesn’t make you feel too nauseous.


If you’ve lived in Philly for more than a few weeks, you’ve probably noticed that instead of calling it trivia, we call it “quizzo.” Urban Village has one of the best quizzos in the city on Thursday nights, thanks to its enormous space full of long tables. So, bring all of your people and order a bunch of pizzas, pulled pork sandwiches, and smoked wings before the game even starts. Heads up, there’s a limit on team sizes, so call dibs on all your smartest friends and let the rest of them form their own inferior B-team.


There are three major reasons to head to SET NoLibs: the firepit sidewalk setup with large tables for big groups, an interior with TV screens all over the place, and frozen cocktails that come in a container long enough to be used as a bat in kids tee-ball. When you’re there, expect a crowded space where people are ordering plates of tempura shrimp tacos, sesame chicken thigh sliders, jumbo wings, mimosas, and beer towers nonstop. On a summery day, though, nothing beats those frozen drinks, especially since their flavors like strawberry lemonade can be a nice distraction from the Phillies score. 


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