Mondays are universally loathed – nothing ruins a good weekend like them, the first flick of your computer opens up to countless emails, and half the restaurants in the city are closed. We can’t really help you with your inbox, but when it comes to saving you from creating a mystery dish from the scraps of leftovers in your fridge, we’ve got you covered. From some of the best restaurants in the city, a few taquerias, and an essential Jamaican spot where you can get platters large enough to keep you full for a few days, these 14 spots are prepared to save your dinner plans on the first day of the week.
On your Mondays scoreboard, the fact that you can eat at one of the best pizza spots in the city has to go in the “wins” column. When you come to the modern pizzeria you’ll find a neon green peace sign, a smiling cloud lamp hanging over the u-shaped bar, and glowing neon stars on the wall that will remind you of your childhood bedroom. It’s a pizza place like no other, serving up crispy thin crust pies, tapas-style starters, and an expansive wine list. Our favorite pie (the #2) is unlike any other pizza on this list. It’s topped with Calabrian cream, mozzarella, and old gold which creates something that resembles a gooey mac and cheese on top of dough. Plus, like every pizza here, the crust is thin and has the right balance of bendy and crispy.
photo credit: PHOTO CREDIT: GAB BONGHI
Her Place Supper Club
Usually, when you want to secure a spot at Her Place Supper Club, you have to cyber fight the entire city like when Dilworth Park Disney on Ice comes to town and you have a bunch of nieces and nephews or when the Eagles open practice tickets drop. But on Mondays, they have walk-in only dinners, with seatings at 5pm and 9pm, and they knock the pricing down to $50 (instead of the usual $75). The menu changes weekly at this chatty dinner party spot, but you can expect things like escargots floating in a garlicky pesto, crispy soft shell crab, and a lemon profiterole that’s fluffy and light. All of these will be the best versions of the dishes that you’ve ever had in your life. The entire place turns into a group hangout each night, so even if you come solo, everybody around you (including people in the kitchen) will keep you entertained throughout your meal with fantastic food, conversation, and throwback jams coming from the speakers.
Mondays are really hard. At the end of the day, you probably just want to go home and search for all-inclusive vacations while you eat something warm that’s not reheated pizza from your freezer. Hardena serves Indonesian food that changes up daily and it all comes over a big pile of rice. You can mix and match whatever looks good to you, but we highly recommend the beef rendang that’s caramelized and slow-cooked in coconut milk, along with the collard greens. Everything at Hardena is delicious, and it also comes in a styrofoam box, so you can take it home and eat it in the dark next to your 15-tab investigation into Club Meds in Mexico.
photo credit: GAB BONGHI
Double Knot is like a well-oiled machine, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day. But what you really want to do is eat in the basement, especially after a Monday so boring that the picture your mom sent you of her dog wearing pajamas was the highlight of your day. The dark and moody downstairs izakaya is basically the polar opposite of the daytime cafe upstairs, and on any given night it’s completely full of people drinking sake and working their way through the enormous menu. You can’t really go wrong here – definitely try the robatayaki – and leave impressed and very full. But given how dull the day has been so far, you should probably get the $65 tasting menu that includes everything from sashimi to duck bibimbap, and let yourself be surprised by what ends up on your plate.
photo credit: RACHEL LERRO
If you’re on a mission to make Monday objectively not the worst day of the week, start by making it your date night. Let’s be real – Saturday doesn’t need a romantic candle-lit dinner in a garden to remain the champ. Since Talula’s Garden is open on Mondays and has both a garden and string lights, it’s a good place to start. The long wine list, big cheese boards, and rotating menu of seasonal, produce-heavy dishes like vegan curry and a branzino topped with chickpeas, rosé shallots & bagna càuda can help you forget it’s Monday.
Sometimes, you can’t tell if the crowd outside of Prunella is actually trying to get into the Schulson spot or if there’s been a Gritty sighting. This Gayborhood Italian restaurant does a good job of sorting and playing traffic cop though–especially since they have the entire sidewalk full of cafe tables and 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 things out, the buttery fettuccine al limone with gooey cheese is perfect to split between two people. This is an easy place to have a meal and a good time, especially when you can sit outside with a fresh slice of pesto-drenched pizza that just came out of the oven.
Jamaican D's Inc.
Oxtails and mac and cheese are things we fully endorse for dinner every day of the week, but especially Monday after you’ve had to tell the story of your weekend to at least 10 people before noon. You won’t find a bad dish on the menu at this Chelten Avenue spot. And even though the wait can get longer than a braiding shop on a busy day, the platter of jerk chicken, rice and peas, and cabbage is worth sticking around for. Plus, once you’ve ordered, they’re quick, so you don’t have to wait too long before biting into the chicken dripping with jerk sauce. To cool your mouth down, get their cinnamony sweet potatoes. They’re mashed, and after your first pillowy spoonful, you won’t want to eat anything else.
Monday’s the day you go back to work still in shock that the weekend ended so fast. You sit at your desk reminiscing about how just a day ago wearing sweats past 2pm was socially acceptable. What you need is a glass of red wine and a bowl of pasta from Osteria to get you to Tuesday, when your serotonin levels are finally back to normal. The entrees at this Spring Garden mainstay aren’t worth going out of your way for, but they have one of our favorite pastas in the city - the francobolli with trumpet mushrooms and robiola - and a pretty extensive wine list.
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 Elsa walking around Disneyland, we’ve consistently been guided to standout dishes like their loaded smoked tuna asada fries, baja fish tacos, and the verde aguachile that drenches kampachi, shrimp, crab, melon, tomatillo, and jalapēno in a lime juice and chili blend. The Mexican-inspired menu is perfect for your group of friends who love sharing everything, or for a Happy Hour dance-in-your-seat meetup with an endless amount of tacos.
Parc is a special place, partially because we think it’s slowly fused into Rittenhouse Square’s permanent architecture, and also because you can pull it out of your back pocket for pretty much any situation. It’s a classic French bistro with a classic French bistro menu (think steak tartare and boeuf bourguignon), and while none of their food comes with table-side magic tricks, everything is fresh and delicious. They also have some of the best sidewalk seating in the city, so if you’re in the mood to watch people walking their dogs who look just like them, this is the place to be.
photo credit: PHOTO CREDIT: NICOLE GUGLIELMO
Loco Pez is a taco truck-inspired bar in Fishtown, Graduate Hospital, and West Philly that looks like it’s straight out of the ’70s. If you have a job where Mondays and Tuesdays are your weekends, this is where you should go on your nights off. They have a full bar with cheap drinks, $2-$4 tacos, and a jukebox that has mostly old-school stuff you’ll want to sing along to. Just remember to bring cash and look up the secret menu before you go.
Bud & Marilyn's
If you’ve ever seen Mad Men and wished your work life was all drinking, smoking cigarettes and having “creative meetings” that are really just more drinking, use your post-work hours next Monday to hang out at Bud & Marilyn’s. It’s perfectly retro, with wood-paneled walls and black-and-white dial TVs, and you can eat all of the buttery comfort food you want, like crispy cheese curds, grilled hanger steak, and fried chicken without any of the obvious cons of living in the 1960’s.
Trattoria Carina is in Fitler Square, and you’ll feel the shift from the hordes of shoppers in Rittenhouse as soon as you cross 20th street. It’s a little quieter and less flashy than most places in the area, but that’s exactly what you want on a Monday night. No big loud groups of twenty-somethings who don’t see the distinction between a weekend and a weeknight. Just you, a bowl of spaghetti with clams, crispy pork milanese, and a Negroni.
American Sardine Bar
Sure, you could “take it easy” since “it’s only Monday,” or you could take advantage of American Sardine Bar’s Happy Hour and folding lawn chairs on the patio. It’s the neighborhood spot you wish you lived next door to and on top of their great weekday drink deals, they also have a menu full of sandwiches like patty melts, roast pork and shrimp and avocado that will help balance out the three pints you had between the hours of 5-8pm.