PHLGuide

The 20 Best Spots In Northeast Philly

The best restaurants in the Great Northeast, according to us.
The 20 Best Spots In Northeast Philly image

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Northeast Philadelphia is unlike anywhere else in the city—there’s an actual mall, farms are within walking distance of corner stores, and you could drive for 30 minutes and still be in it. With that massive size comes countless sub-neighborhoods and food options. From the best taquerias to sandwich shops that we’d stand in a line as long as Bustleton Ave. for, these are the 20 spots worth navigating the boulevard to get to. 

THE SPOTS

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Mexican

Northeast Philly

$$$$Perfect For:Catching Up With MatesWalk-InsTakeawayDeliveryBreakfastLunch
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We’ve long been on a hunt for our favorite Mexican food in the Northeast, and in Asadero Los Tios, we’ve found it. The menu has range—like the number of Philly accents that exist. Everything we’ve tried has been exceptional, from the tacos and enchiladas packed with tender chicken to the house-made strawberry, passionfruit or pineapple agua fresca. Come with friends and share a massive shrimp burrito or whole fried tilapia in the backyard patio and garden while dancing along to Selena. 


The best chicken sandwich in Philly is right next to a gas station. That’s where you’ll find Asad’s Hot Chicken, which generally has a line so long you’d think they were giving away free gas. The toasty brioche bun and thick cut of juicy meat covered in peppery seasoning makes a sandwich worth zig-zagging through the hellish traffic on Cottman Ave. The roadside halal stand also doubles as a fresh juice and smoothie place, so balance out the fiery chicken with a strawberry-banana smoothie. 


This takeout-only deli has two locations in the Northeast, Mayfair and Woodhaven, and you can get some of the best hoagies in the city at either. All of their sandwiches are must-orders, but we’re big fans of The Brous Avenue. It packs pork, provolone, lettuce, and roasted peppers on a long and soft Italian roll. It’s large but not messy, so you won’t need every napkin in the paper aisle at Target as you scarf it down. What you will need is your phone nearby, since you’ll be texting everyone about it in all caps when you’re done.


When you drive by Café Carmela, you’ll see a line that looks like PennDOT on the weekends. And it’s no wonder—they’ve mastered the carb holy trinity of pizza, sandwiches, and pasta. The interiors are a mix of classic Italian red booth seating, checkered tablecloths, and bulb marquees spelling out “pizza” that always gets the attention of kids with their families. There’s not a bad dish on the menu (we checked), but if you stop by and don’t try the American Boy pizza with creamy mozzarella or a cheesesteak with thick cuts of ribeye, you’ll miss out on what everyone in that line is probably waiting around for.


China Gourmet runs on excellent dim sum and noodle dishes. The restaurant focuses on Cantonese-style options like shrimp with lobster sauce and dry roasted yi mein, but the house specialty is the lobster with minced pork. Although it’s the size of several banquet halls, it’s a casual, no-frills place that’s perfect for a large group. Stop by, take over one of their round tables covered in a pink tablecloth, and grab orders of shu mai, egg tarts, and crispy chicken feet as the carts roll by.


With steaming bags of almost everything in the sea, a massive space with a few pool tables, and more than enough TVs to go around, Wild Seafood & Sushi Buffet is perfect for any casual situation. Swing by during the week and you’ll see a group of friends catching up over baskets of calamari and beers. On the weekends, you’re guaranteed to run into a bunch of Penn State or Eagles fans praying to the sports gods while diving into a pound of shrimp, crab legs, or mussels dripping with garlic butter. If their prayers aren’t answered, there’s a large beer list and a sea-themed throne area where they can pretend they're Aquaman for a distraction. 


Jack’s Place is a family-run corner deli in the Tacony area that consistently demonstrates the combined power of bread, meat, and cheese. They’re great for hoagies, wings, and seafood platters, but the roast pork is our favorite thing to get here. The first and most important thing you'll notice about their roast pork is how the pile of meat, broccoli rabe, and bright peppers look like it’s too much for the soft toasted bun to hold (PSA: it’s not). This place closes each day when they run out of rolls, so we suggest you get there early to hold the quickest eating contest of all time.


There are a number of good Thai places in the Northeast, but this one is our go-to. With a bunch of noodle options like pad see ew, salads like som tam, and a few shareable duck dishes, this takeout-only spot is the place to head to for a standout casual weekday meal. Grab the breaded siam chicken that's perfectly chewy and comes with sauteed string beans, broccoli, and a gloriously sweet peanut sauce that we’d buy by the bucket. Plus, they open at 11am, so you can also grab a quick lunch and a Thai iced tea before heading back to the office (or the couch).


Dattilo’s is a small deli with excellent sandwiches that are perfect for a quick lunch or a picnic at nearby Pennypack Park on a sunny day. It’s also a great choice if you’re in the Northeast and have a craving for meat, bread, and cheese on a roll (we realize this could be daily). All of the sandwiches here are long (we’re talking the length of Joel Embiid’s forearm), and each is worth your attention. No matter what you go for, the meat will be thick-cut, perfectly balanced by toppings, and each bite will demonstrate the power of quality ingredients. 


Coming to the Northeast and not getting a pastry from Holmesburg Bakery would be like confusing the Four Seasons and Four Seasons Total Landscaping—a mistake that will haunt you forever. To avoid disaster, have a powdered cream donut (one of our many favorites at the family-owned shop). And whether you’re grabbing a batch for takeout or curbside pickup, the sweet aroma from any freshly-fried batch will do more to pump up your morning than blasting The Weeknd. 


The list of Georgian spots in Philadelphia isn’t long, but you can get a great plate of khachapuri at this restaurant, seven days a week. Owned by the team behind Saami Somi in Reading Terminal Market, this place actually has a larger menu and picnic table seating that’s ideal for big groups. Our favorite thing here is the massive khinkali dumplings—they’re packed with a soupy and spiced beef, pork, and herb filling. Navigating through the bite-to-suck process may be more work than getting your SEPTA key card to read on its first swipe, but it’s totally worth it.  


Gaeta’s is where you can get classic Italian dishes like stromboli and pizza all made in a brick oven. But it’s their pillowy tomato pie that people keep lining up. It comes in squares of six, 12, and 24 slices—which is perfect for when you're tailgating an Eagles party or hosting your cousin’s baby shower. You can get it topped with cheese, spinach, peppers, and more. No matter which way you go, you’ll eat something that makes you want to burst into song.


There aren’t a lot of Brazilian places where a burger is our favorite thing on the menu, but that’s the case at this Northeast spot. It sells everything from fluffy meat pastels and pork chops with stewed black beans to crispy yuca. But we come here again and again for the Mineirinho Burger—the red pepper, crunchy green cabbage, melty cheddar, and fried egg are the perfect complement to the beefy patty. The bun is large and thick, which makes the entire burger so filling that you can probably skip breakfast the next day.


For dumplings and endless Shanghai noodle soups, head to Dim Sum Factory on Krewstown Road. This neighborhood spot is best known for its incredibly savory soup dumplings. They’re perfectly chewy and have the meat-to-broth ratio down to a science. It’s also a BYOB, so it’s a great option for a casual weeknight dinner with a group of friends and a few bottles. And since it’s in the Northeast (meaning it has its own parking lot), you won’t have a long walk to your car when you walk out after eating your weight in noodles. 


Alshami House Mediterranean Cuisine is good for a lot of situations. There are healthy options like Greek salads and chicken pitas, relatively unhealthy options like four cheese fatayer and manakeesh, and it’s also moderately affordable (the most expensive thing on the menu is $25). Stop by on a casual weeknight and have a lamb gyro platter that puts juicy strips of meat and tzatziki sauce over fragrant rice. 


This corner neighborhood shop does it all: pizza, hoagies, strombolis, oven-baked pastas, and shareable mains like veal piccata. This makes it a solid choice for everything from a platonic catch up with an old friend to an essential takeout option when you’re hosting game night. Between the wood booth seating and the long tavern-style bar, everything inside feels super old-fashioned. And from the mini-novel length menu to the excellent service, it’s a place that demonstrates what makes a throwback spot a classic.


Ice Moon is a bright Thai tea and rolled ice cream shop where you’ll probably end up waiting in line for 20 minutes on a sunny day. And even though this tiny cafe serves everything from Kit Kat ice cream covered in Teddy Grahams to green honeydew milk bubble tea, we always keep it simple with mango and bits of mochi. Their signature version of ice cream stacks about six rolls of flavors into one bowl (it only comes in one large size that can feed two). Each spoonful is creamy and delicious without anything added, but you can throw in just about any topping you can think of here. 


This shop is an easygoing place where you can place an order, dine at a picnic bench on a nice day, and admire the distant Center City skyline in between bites. At this small corner shop, you can go for classic sandwiches like cheesesteaks, smoked turkey clubs, or a BEC, or you can go wild and try the General Tso’s chicken cheesesteak. The chicken is tender, tossed in the orange-sesame sauce, and is dripping in a peppery wasabi blue cheese wiz.


When you walk into this Northeast BBQ institution, you’ll feel like you’ve got sucked into a 1960’s farmhouse time warp that you never want to get out of. With long picnic tables and large barn wood benches, it can work for group dinners or an after-work hangout when you don’t mind showing your coworkers your messy side. The menu, like their fatty Memphis ribs, is large—with everything from pulled pork, smoked kielbasa, and brisket by the pound to a combo platter that can include up to four meat choices. When you’re looking to round out those party trays, the smokehouse chili, potato salad, and cajun bean and rice are all standouts.


Sure, diners are sprinkled all over the city, but everyone knows their official turf is the Northeast. This diner isn’t just a good diner—it’s the place to be every weekday and weekend morning. At Ritz, you’re in for some top-tier home fries and a great all-day breakfast. One of our favorite dishes is the eggs benedict. The eggs are always firm yet maintain their gooey center, and come served over crispy Canadian bacon and home fries.

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