The Best Tasting Menus In Philly For Under $100 guide image


The Best Tasting Menus In Philly For Under $100

The next time you want the restaurant to do the ordering for you, try these 10 affordable tasting menus.

When you think about the best restaurants in a big city, you’d expect them to cost the same as a down payment for a condo. But Philly is that rare, special place where a night at some of our most incredible restaurants costs less than a roundtrip Amtrak ticket to NYC. Park your brain for the night (and ditch your friend with control issues), and head to these 10 spots for some amazing and affordable meals.   



If you plan on eating at Zahav, you either have to make a reservation months in advance or show up about an hour before they open and hope to get a counter seat at 5pm. But it’s worth it, because it just might be the single greatest meal you’ll ever have. The Israeli icon in Old City has a tasting menu full of things like puffy laffa bread, silky hummus, an assortment of salatim, and pomegranate lamb shoulder that falls off the bone. It’s $75 a person, you get five courses including a dessert, and if you get the wine pairing for another $45, the wine breakdowns from the staff will have as much history in them as the plaques near the Liberty Bell.

Her Place feels like the next generation of supper clubs—fantastic food in an atmosphere that feels more like a friend’s dining room than a restaurant—and it easily stands out as one of the best in the city (and across the country). The $75 four-course meal at this Rittenhouse spot has all the elements of fine dining without the stuffy pretense. The menu changes bi-weekly, but you can expect dishes like escargot floating in a garlicky pesto, a savory potato leek lasagnetta that’s drenched in a cream sauce, and a lemon profiterole that’s fluffy and light. 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 feel like family by the end. 

​​When you first sit down at River Twice, you’ll notice that every table has a built-in utensil drawer. Everything at this East Passyunk corner spot is that thoughtful, but especially their four-course, $65 tasting menu that changes every single night (and they stamp the date on it to prove it). It's all interesting—dishes use seasonal ingredients and combinations that you won’t see at other restaurants. We’re talking NJ oysters swimming in tomato water, a purple Cherokee tomato sandwich with hunks of golden Ossetra caviar, and a red miso and amaro-soaked apple dish for dessert.

Suraya is an all-day spot that’s good for pretty much any situation, including having one of the best meals of your life. And whether you’re in their Arabian-inspired garden for a birthday dinner or having a date in the Fishtown dining room, you should spend the night eating their $75 tasting menu. It’s a great place to bring a group of friends to pass around Lebanese-inspired mezze plates like baba ganoush, smoky eggplant, and puffy pita. Plus, Suraya also has one of the better brunches in the city (that’s also a $42 tasting menu). So you can have a great dinner here and come back for almond croissants, chai tea, and omelets topped with feta the next morning. 

East Passyunk’s Townsend has all the elements of a typical fancy restaurant: white tablecloths, fancy cocktails, and more mood lighting than a rose ceremony on The Bachelor. But where the romantic French spot sets itself apart is with the impeccable five-course, $95 tasting menu. From a foie gras custard with toasted brioche to the escargot in a sweet potato, apple, and hazelnut chai cream, each dish is a surprising mix of flavors and textures that seamlessly works. Grab a reservation when you want a five-star dining experience and unforgettable food, all while comfortably dining in a t-shirt and jeans. 

We always recommend Double Knot to anyone looking for creative, upscale Asian fusion food in a place where you don’t have to get as dressed up as an English Duke. The candle-lit Midtown Village restaurant has a chef’s tasting menu with a selection from 10 assorted choices, like salmon sashimi, a crispy shrimp taco, and tuna in an onion ponzu for $65. You could always order à la carte from their main menu if you’re ravenous, but the chef's tasting feels like one of the best deals in town. Plus, their sister restaurant, Sampan, is right next door and has a $55, seven-course tasting menu with similar food and similar mood lighting (it’s just neon purple). 

Messina is a 30-seat members-only club serving some of the most creative food and drinks in South Philly. For dinner, walk-ins can order a la carte, but the $95, six-course tasting menu is the way to go (and requires a reservation). The menu spans from small plates like silky poached scallops with apple or braised beef toast to the larger gemelli with pungent vadouvan and crispy Elysian lamb schnitzel. While the vibe is decidedly casual, every plate is thoughtfully and beautifully composed, making it the perfect balance for an impressive date or Saturday night with friends. Take our word for it—this is one club that’s actually worth the hype.

This Filipino BYOB has only one option: the $50, seven-course kamayan feast. Tablecloths are traded for banana leaves, and rather than using utensils, you eat with your hands. Your meal is layered on the table with a base of garlic jasmine rice followed by a few different proteins and vegetables, like pork belly, fried whole fish, and bok choy. Sort through the homemade sauces on the table to customize each bite, and don’t be surprised if you need a to-go bag for your leftovers.

South Street is like a sliding scale. Near the Delaware, it looks like it’s stuck in the ’90s, and on the other side of the city—well, there’s a Whole Foods. Pumpkin, a small BYOB, is located somewhere in the middle. It’s been around for ages, and while the $55 three-course tasting menu changes daily, the food is still consistently great. If there’s a crudo on the menu, make sure it ends up in front of you—but otherwise, you could pretty much close your eyes and point to anything and it will be delicious. The other thing you should know is that it’s cash-only, so you’ll want to hit both the bottle shop and the ATM on your way over.

Little Fish is a Queen Village BYOB that inventing new seafood dishes on what seems like a whim. Whether it’s hamachi in a pool of ramp vinegar and blood orange or a perfectly seared scallop with créme fraîche, horseradish, bits of honeycrisp apple, and a celery yuzu, everything on their five-course, $90 tasting menu (which changes daily) just works. Bring a few friends to the intimate spot, share a bottle of merlot, and dive into a creative menu that’s harder to predict than winning lottery numbers. 

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photo credit: GAB BONGHI

The Best Tasting Menus In Philly For Under $100 guide image