The Most Fun Dinner Spots In Philadelphia

A night out at one of these restaurants will never be boring.
The Most Fun Dinner Spots In Philadelphia image

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Those seeking a polite meal, click away now. This guide is reserved for anyone who’s wondering, “Where’s the place to be?” and might have a penchant for mid-dinner photoshoots and post-dinner bar hopping. Chairs aren’t just for sitting in some of these restaurants and, while food is important, a good time takes priority. They range from new spots flooding your feeds to classics where successful meals are determined by how many martinis you drink with your server. These places may not all be the best new restaurants in town, but you'll always walk out with a story or two. And if you happen to be looking for some fun bars in Philly, we know just the ones to prioritize.


photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO


West Philadelphia

$$$$Perfect For:Small PlatesLunchBreakfastBrunchSerious Take-Out OperationQuick Eats


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At Honeysuckle in West Philly, you may argue over the Mount Rushmore of rap artists while eating truffle and egg toast, or learn the origins of the trifoliate oranges growing down the street. The Afrocentric cafe's $95 tasting menu dinner is simultaneously relaxed and casual while feeling thoughtful and deeply personal. You'll take trips to the kitchen, eat pickled radishes from last year's garden haul, and learn about the Ghanaian chocolate industry. Outside of highlighting Black foodways and Black farmers, each dish—like the homemade whole wheat ramen noodles, their take on yakamein—is excellent. It's a BYOB so grab a bottle of your go-to wine and watch as Honeysuckle delivers on a dinner unlike any other in Philly.

K Pot Korean BBQ & Hot Pot has locations in South Philly, the Northeast, and near Franklin Mills, all of which are usually packed with friends dipping fish cakes into spicy Szechuan broth and trying not to burn bulgogi beef. But the busiest and most energetic location is the one on Oregon Ave. The place doubles as a sports bar for the grilling-obsessed, and wait times can be over an hour. But once you're in, you and your friends can go wild with bubbling broths, DIY sizzled meats, and a mango Long Island iced tea.

This all-day American spot in Fishtown is fun no matter what time of day you're here. In addition to Princess Diana posters and toilet seats designed with Peanut Chews, there are light, syrup-slicked stacks of pancakes in the morning, reliable sandwiches for lunch, some of the city's best cocktails all day, and a great burger at night. It’s that rare place that works for everything from a low-key morning to a big night out. And that’s why we (and most of the city) keep coming back.

The city has a bunch of mysteries. (Does anyone know what happens on track zero at Suburban Station?) But crowds inside of Midtown Village’s clubby new Vietnamese restaurant isn’t one of them. Miss Saigon glows neon, and it's full of chandeliers, friends doing shots of tequila, and DJs playing electro-pop until 2am. The reason to come here has almost nothing to do with food, but the restaurant technically does serve phở, skewers, summer rolls, and "skinni mini bánh mì"—in case you need something to go with your dressed-up Old Fashioned and questionable late-night choices.

Apart from the neon-lit pig above the kitchen and art on the walls, this laidback Filipino BYOB is always filled with groups of friends and dates. So don't show up without a reservation. People come in droves for the unbreaded fried chicken with a soy vinegar sauce, pancit bihon that perfectly balances heat and citrus, and a very good ube sundae. Tabachoy also has a community fridge, in case you sprinted here after securing a reservation and forgot your six-pack.

There's a 90% chance of sh*tshow at this Mexican restaurant in Rittenhouse. It's where coworkers down pitchers of mango-pineapple margarita margaritas after a day of emails and groups of friends celebrate birthdays with shrimp tacos on soft flour tortillas. Imagine a cookout if it were taking place inside. That's the energy.

Sake shots with chefs. Miguel sing-a-longs. Hamachi with a cube of torched foie gras on top. Come for a late seating at this sushi omakase spot in the back of Izakaya Fishtown and that's what you're in for. The main chef used to work at Morimoto and he's clearly here to have a good time. The menu changes every day but you might encounter a piece with two different cuts of octopus, shrimp with garlic butter, or manilla clams cooked in white wine. It’s a 17-course, $185 experience—making it one of the pricier sushi omakases in town. But it'll also be one of the most fun.

Thanks to it's glam seafood towers, buttery, Frenchy mains, and just a little-too-loud soundtrack, this Rittenhouse restaurant works well for a martini-fueled group dinner. Like its sister restaurant, Her Place Supper Club, it’s a tough reservation to get. But a blow-out meal here is worth the hassle. Especially because they make technically impressive food without any of the self-seriousness that usually comes with it.

Illata is about to become your new favorite BYOB. This modern American spot in Filter Square is intimate feeling—they only have 20-ish seats, including a bar area that's reserved for walk-ins. The small menu of seasonal seafood and produce is full of surprises. Get here for the marinated mussels in miso chili oil and a brown butter tart we’ll forever be fantasizing about. Almost every dish costs less than $30, so it’s a reasonable choice for a group. You can and should order the entire menu. What a feeling.

This BYOB noodle house in Bella Vista has walls covered in old rugs, Cambodian rock playing, and Southeast Asian dishes that we think about more than the Eagles winning the Super Bowl. The menu blends classics like papaya salad with more inventive dishes like head-on soft shell shrimp with fish sauce caramel. It’s all very good—you won’t find a menu like this anywhere else in Philly (or the country, for that matter).

The former Bella Vista BYOB got a Fishtown makeover that includes cocktails and a 100+ person dining room with 14-foot palm trees. The Thai curries, noodles, and dumplings here still hit hard—but now there are more "look at me" dishes. Think giant river prawns and mounds of shaved ice topped with banana cream. If you want somewhere that feels like a big deal but won't put you to sleep, this is a good choice.

Pearl & Mary is a Midtown Village oyster bar that joins the fleet of Schulson spots in the area (like Sampan and Double Knot). It has the ambiance of a bar, but with a particularly great raw bar selection. You’ll find couples and groups of friends sharing orders of clams casino, but the best spot in the house is at the bar, sampling snow crab, shrimp cocktail, and oysters from the Royal Tower.

Housed in an old Jiffy Lube, this Spring Garden retro cantina has both Chinese options like cold crab noodles tossed in a soy vinaigrette and Mexican staples like tacos, carne asada fries, and elote. While the quesabirria tacos, Tijuana street dogs, and chilaquiles may sound tempting, go for the fish tacos or stick to the Chinese dishes (our favorite is the pork belly bao bun). Bring a group of friends to Happy Hour for a round of tacos and a few tequila-based cocktails.

This is the bar setup at Lorraine.

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