PHLGuide

The Best Restaurants Near Rittenhouse Square

The 25 best places to eat around Rittenhouse.

Rittenhouse Square is one of those parts of the city that always takes us back in time. The 17-century park, full of ancient Greek statues, old-fashioned lamps, and an open plaza, really makes us think we’re walking through the set of the Pride And Prejudice remake, but in a fun way. Unlike Old City though, which goes full Benjamin Franklin with all its cobblestone streets, the flashback feeling doesn’t extend everywhere in the neighborhood—especially when it comes to nearby restaurants. From Roman-style pizza to some amazing burritos, here are 25 places you can stop by between trips to the farmers market, trying to get an appointment at the Apple Store, and evading PPA on Walnut Street.

THE SPOTS

Barclay Prime imageoverride image
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Barclay Prime

When you want to impress a client or date, or you just want to get up, close, and personal with a $140 cheesesteak, make a reservation at Barclay Prime. There’s no better place to eat steak in Philadelphia, and if you’re hoping to spot someone from Creed 3 or Rocky 8, this is definitely the place to do it.


While restaurants that feel like dinner parties are thriving in other cities, Philly has a history of places like Palizzi and Messina. Her Place feels like the next generation of those supper clubs: the food is better, you don’t need a membership, and even though you might have to struggle for a reservation, you'll feel like you’re eating a meal at a chef’s house rather than at a small Center City restaurant. They serve a four-course $75 tasting menu that changes every two weeks, and to get a reservation, you’ll need to be ready when they drop them on Sundays at 6pm. This is the only place in Philly where you can eat fine dining-quality food like lobster ravioli and brown butter profiteroles while harmonizing with the chef to a Destiny’s Child song—all while you watch her put the finishing touches on a gorgeous plate of pasta.


There are plenty of good date spots around Rittenhouse, but Friday Saturday Sunday is up there. Most of the menu is sharable—make sure to get the carrot confit and dry-aged duck—and it’s always just the right amount of dark inside, which makes it feel a little special, especially if you end up here on a weeknight. Without a reservation, you might wait an hour or two for a table, but just grab a few drinks at the bar in the meantime.


For many people, Vernick is a special occasion restaurant. Reservations typically book up weeks in advance and getting in sometimes feels like the plot from a future Mission Impossible sequel. But if you work or live nearby, you’ll know that it’s actually pretty easy to get a table if you show up early enough. Plus, most dishes on the menu are under $20. Start with the crab toast, and know that the small plates are actually pretty substantial. But if you really want to go all-in, the 28-ounce dry-aged steak is the right move.


Going for what you want, especially at breakfast time, can make all the difference between starting your day with another bowl of dry granola or a stack of something fluffy and buttery. And for us, an order of brown sugar ricotta Kubaneh toast from K’Far is more satisfying than finding a parking spot on Chestnut Street during our first trip around the block. Whether we’re stopping by the Israeli bakery and breakfast/lunch spot to dine-in or pick up, the scent of the sweet ricotta and warm blueberries is so unforgettable that we’d probably circle around 10 times just to get our hands on a few orders.


Mission Taqueria is low-key enough that you can walk in for a casual weekday lunch without a wait, but it also gets a lot busier in the after-work hours. So much so, that you’ll start to wonder if they doing some sort of Eagles-themed giveaway. They make all their masa tortillas in-house, and if you don’t order their wild shrimp tacos, just know we’ll be disappointed in you. They’re topped with cabbage slaw, a peppery chipotle mayo, and get an extra kick from the serrano chilis that we can’t get enough of. Bring a group of friends here for a few rounds of shuffleboards, tequila and mezcal margaritas, and great tacos, all in a fun space that will make it feel like it’s your birthday, even when it isn’t.


Sally is the kind of place you can go to impress some out-of-town friends who don’t think Philly is a pizza town, or show up solo on a Wednesday night and go through a few bowls of meatballs by yourself. The menu is filled with standout dishes like smoky and herb-butter-topped grilled shrimp, steak tartare with fermented spring onion, and zucchini tossed in miso pesto that’s a perfect light dish to go for before heading to the pizza. They have some of the best in the city, with a soft and chewy crust made from sourdough. Get the Green And Garlic that’s covered in fennel cream, melted mozzarella, mustard greens, and pesto—one slice will transport you to a warm and toasty happy place.


You might not guess from the outside, but Harp & Crown is enormous, so feel free to come with your friends, intramural kickball team, or the entire office. The cocktails are strong, and we always love a place where you can bowl, eat good pizza, and finish things off with a whoopie pie.


Parc is about as close as you can get to eating at a bistro in Paris without leaving the city. This place overlooks the east side of Rittenhouse Square and on a nice day, there’s nowhere better to spend a lazy afternoon enjoying some steak tartare and a bottle of rose. Their outdoor seating is dog-friendly, so grab your pup and a friend, order the warm shrimp salad, and pretend you’re on vacation for a few hours.


If you’re heading to Helium or the Prince for a show, stop by Abe Fisher beforehand for dinner. You can grab a drink at the bar and eat things like salmon roasted with pastrami spice and veal schnitzel tacos. Or if you come with a group, go for the tasting menu with the Montreal-style smoked short rib. And if you don’t mind falling asleep during the movie or open mic, make sure to get the bacon egg cream for dessert.


There’s nothing wrong with routine. But after six consecutive weeks of ordering the same chicken tikka masala from your favorite takeout place, we need to mix things up. The prices might be a little higher at Veda, but when you see the lamb shank and wild mushroom korma approach your table, you’ll be glad you’re not eating out of to-go containers. They also do great tropical cocktails during Happy Hour, if you want to stop by for a drink and some goat cheese naan after work.


The core concepts of Village Whiskey are fairly simple: great bourbon and great burgers. If they excelled in these areas alone, we’d be happy. But when you add in bar snacks like deviled eggs and cheese curds, an entire section of the menu dedicated to pickles, and Nutella milkshakes, we’re all in. It’s small, so expect to wait, and don’t be surprised when the male:female ratio is 2:1.


When you’ve been put in charge of the next office outing, suggest The Love. If it’s your anniversary, suggest The Love. When your second cousins who you just started sending holiday cards to are in town, you get the idea. There’s a small cocktail bar upstairs overlooking the street if you show up early for your reservation, but the food is why you’re here. We really like the lobster spaghetti and Carolina trout, but the whole menu is worth a try.


Offering both indoor and outdoor dining, and more sake options than the game piece count on the municipal building courtyard, the menu at this Japanese spot really gets creative with things like a grilled avocado stuffed with salmon, tuna, and yellowtail. But they also do more straightforward dishes well too, like the spicy and crunchy yellowtail with jalapeno mango roll, plus the tempura shrimp rolls. With lunch deals running through 5pm, we can see ourselves dropping in here between conference calls or sneaking out of work a little early for a drink and a few snacks.


Melograno is a great Italian restaurant with stone archways, antique fixtures hanging on the walls, and an open kitchen. It’s the type of relaxed spot that we’d never shy away from uncorking a bottle of wine or two at (it’s BYOB), and the menu is full of hand-stretched Roman-style pizzas that are crunchy on the outside and airy on the inside. They also have hearty pastas like a spicy tonnarelli packed with crab and tortellini topped with smooth whipped ricotta, but make sure to try the Fazzoletti Al Ragú d’anatra too. The duck is so beautifully tender and sweet that you might consider writing it a thank you note once you get home.


Technically Trattoria Carina is in Fitler Square, and you’ll feel the shift as soon as you cross 20th street. It’s a little quieter and less flashy than most places around Rittenhouse, but the food and cocktails are both great, and they have a lot of outdoor seating. It’s a good option for a weeknight date, or really any time you want to spend the night drinking Negronis and eating spaghetti with clams.


If the weather is even somewhat nice, there will likely be a line for the coveted outdoor seating at Harper’s Garden. But even if you’re stuck inside, or it happens to be January, the food, which is mostly snacks, small plates, and sandwiches/toasts, is consistently delicious. They also have a late-night Happy Hour from 10pm-12am for when you want to hold on to your table outside for as long as possible.


Some steakhouses have a running rotation of elevator music or what sounds like Bach’s greatest hits playlist. At Rittenhouse Grill, you'll find a jazz pianist serenading you while you dive into things like roast prime rib, oysters, and juicy sea bass filets topped with a miso glaze. On most nights, expect a dimly-lit atmosphere in a space full of deep black booths and a crowd that ranges from people celebrating their 50th anniversary to a group of friends sipping on merlot and arguing over if Jack could have fit on the door in Titanic. Before you chime in with the fact that he objectively could have, get at least one order of the lump crab cakes. 


When the snow starts falling, an encyclopedic knowledge of the local bars that have fireplaces is pretty much invaluable. But The Dandelion really works any time of year. They’ve totally committed to the theme, and you’ll see this not only in design elements like tartan stools and silver trays brought out for tea service, but in a lengthy menu full of English staples like Sunday roast and rabbit pie. Bring your work friends, bring a date, or just bring yourself for a pint during Happy Hour.


If you don’t want to drop half your rent at Barclay Prime, but you’re still craving some quality meat, Butcher Bar is the place to go. It’s more casual than most of the nearby steakhouses, but you can still get some excellent steak and seafood here. If you end up roping up the entire tech team from your office, get “The Trough.” It’s a wooden slab piled high with chicken, sausage, ribs, burgers, bacon, fries, and pita perfect for those nights when you need to remember what it’s like to be at the top of the food chain.


There are a lot of different ways to satisfy a sweet tooth. Some of us just grab an order of cinnamon sugar soft pretzels and others want Gritty to throw a sheet cake at our faces. But if you’re near 17th and Walnut and don’t have the patience to get vanilla frosting out of your favorite t-shirt, we’ve got a detergent-free option for you. This French cafe has everything from sugary rose tea macarons to a light chocolate mousse cake that makes us feel fancier than that time we replied “it’s fine” to the checkout person saying “guac is extra.”


Pub & Kitchen is the kind of spot you’ll want to stick around long after your plates have been cleared. Yes, they’ve got a short menu of consistently delicious entrees and snacks. But the always cool soundtrack, ample opportunities to people watch, and the built-in ice breaker of their mascot make P&K the go-to for first dates and catching up with buddies in Rittenhouse.


While South Philly and South Street often have the headliners when it comes to the city’s best pizza, the Roman-style pies at this Rittenhouse Square shop can go up against anywhere else around. When you walk in, you’ll see big trays of pizza more beautiful than any recent A24 trailer. One of our favorites is the Prosciutto Crudo, and like choosing between Midsommar and Hereditary for a Halloween watch party, we can’t decide if it’s the sweetness of the burrata or the cloud-like crust that sets this pizza apart. But we do know it’s one that we could eat for dinner every night, and probably breakfast too.


Located inside The Rittenhouse Hotel, Lacroix is a little slice of old-school Philadelphia opulence. Their brunch buffet includes oysters, foie gras s’mores, hand-carved salmon, and sausage bao buns, along with 20 other things you’ll never see served together at the same time again. It’s $75 per person, and great for anniversaries or visitors who are especially indecisive first thing in the morning.


The good: it’s your turn to plan date night. The less good: you completely forgot about this until the morning of. Luckily, you’re not too far from Southgate. They’ve got our favorite bibimbap in the neighborhood, and if you’ve reached the point in your relationship where you’re comfortable making a mess, order the bulgogi burger.


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