For anyone wondering which sit-down restaurants are currently hot in Philadelphia, you have arrived at the right figurative Internet place. What does “hot” mean, you ask? We’re not talking about summer temperatures that have us standing in line for Rita’s. It’s safe to say that we put on relatively cute outfits to dine at each restaurant below (possibly even eye makeup and our “good cologne”). A night out at one of these places—whether it’s for a casual catch-up with a friend or an impressive date night—feels overwhelmingly of the current moment. Many of them are brand new, but we’ve also listed a couple of spots doing something noteworthy for the first time (like switching from tasting menu to a la carte, or setting up seating in the street).
And, as always, we wouldn’t be recommending any of these restaurants simply for having a memorable scene. We’ve been to each and every spot and loved the food they serve—so you can plan your dinner confidently.
Her Place Supper Club
If you don't plan ahead and make a reservation at Her Place Supper Club, you might end up like Rose at the beginning of Titanic: old, wistful, and probably a little hungry. The $75 four-course menu at this Center City is worth reloading the reservation screen on Sundays (when they drop new reservations). The menu changes weekly and the comforting dinner party spot turns out plenty of hits, like escargots 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 keep you entertained throughout your meal.
photo credit: PHOTO CREDIT: FOUR SEASONS
We know you love your car, but if you had a chance to drive a Mercedes-Maybach S-Class sedan for a night, you’d probably have trouble going back to your old vehicle without crying. Similarly, your outlook on fine dining restaurants in Philly will be forever changed after having an extraordinary night at Jean-Georges in Center City. This French spot that reopened in 2022 is on the 59th floor of the Four Seasons, and the panoramic views of the city and the warm welcome from the staff really set the stage for an incredible meal. Go for the six-course land and sea $198 tasting menu, where you’ll find things like perfectly cooked wagyu beef tenderloin and beautifully seasoned black bass with a sweet and sour vegetable jus. The price point makes it somewhere you should probably save for a special occasion, like an anniversary or birthday, and you’ll probably leave daydreaming about get-rich-quick schemes so you can dine here as often as possible.
Middle Child Clubhouse
Middle Child Clubhouse is perfect for a night where we just want a simple burger that has a patty good enough to eat on its own and a crispy pile of fries (they have a $20 MidKid Meal that comes with a beer just for this occasion). And yet, it’s not just a place for burgers and Love City IPA—they also have mussels that are sprinkled with a peppery salami XO sauce and green bean broth that we’d drink by the pitcher. With old-school diner booths, bar stools, and cafeteria tables all around, the night can easily turn into a party–waiters will even pour wine down your throat out of a porron pitcher if you want them to. They also have a four-to-five-course tasting menu for $70 called “Little Bit of Everything” that includes dishes like beef tartare and turnips, a celery root au gratin, and a strawberry dixie cup for dessert.
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Omakase By Yanaga
At Omakase by Yanaga, sashimi gets plated with gold Louis Vuitton chopsticks. That’s just one detail that makes this spot in Fishtown feel like a more glamorous than usual omakase experience, even compared to nearby Hiroki. They only do a $195, 25-course tasting menu (including an $85 wine and sake pairing) from Thursday-Saturday, and it all happens in a private section of Izayaya by Yanaga. The fish is truly excellent with small bites and nigiri that can range from scallops coated with preserved lemon, a toro tartare served on crunchy milk bread, and crispy yellowtail topped in a miso caramel glaze. Spend a night here the next time you have something worth celebrating, like a birthday, or you just want to have a casual conversation with the sushi master while he flames up some pieces of Alaskan king salmon.
Here are some things you’ll find at Mish Mish in East Passyunk: white tablecloths, a dimly-lit dining room, chatter that rivals what you'd hear in Reading Terminal, and skewers that stack juicy squares of swordfish over a creamy parsley puree. The Mediterranean spot has a small interior, so we don’t recommend bringing a super big group. But if you come with a friend or two, go for plates like their white beans in a peppery broth and a pomegranate-glazed grilled chicken that’s tender and has just the right amount of crunch to it. Even though the restaurant opened in late February 2022, it already feels like a cozy neighborhood spot that's just as popular as Barcelona Wine Bar and Le Virtù nearby.
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With several hanging chandeliers, long booths, tall windows that open up to South Street, and a velvet rope at the door, Saweetie’s iconic tweet might’ve been referencing Rex PHL. Inside the former Royal Theater is now a restaurant with Low Country-inspired dishes like shrimp and grits and frogmore stew. We love this place for date nights where we break out a New Year’s Eve fit we never got to wear, but it’s also useful for when we want to eat their $20 burger or drink some bourbon on a Monday at the bar. Each week there’s live music, and they have an upstairs lounge filled with couches and TVs that can be reserved for a special night out with friends. Whichever night we go, we never leave without an order of their skillet mac and cheese that blends cooper sharp cheese, smoked provolone, and gruyere—it’s so cheesy and rich that it deserves its own headline show on their dining room stage.
photo credit: NITZAN RUBIN
Paulie Gee’s Soul City Slice
Part neighborhood slice shop and part bar where you can play Duck Hunt on an old tube TV, Paulie Gee’s has the casual pizza hangout down to a science. All the slices at this NYC-based spot are good, but it’s their Freddy Prinze that sets them apart from other places in town. The square and upside-down Sicilian pie comes loaded with sweet tomato sauce, mozzarella, pecorino romano, and a sesame seed bottom that ensures each bite has just the right amount of char and nuttiness. Bring a group of friends here to catch the Phillies game, shoot a round of pool, and split a square pizza for a great lowkey night out near South Street.
photo credit: Nick Deezy
There’s been lots of buzz about Restaurant Aleksandar, the upscale Eastern European spot just off Rittenhouse Square. And the excitement isn’t without merit: the revamped V Street space offers a moody scene (all earth tones, dim lighting, and dramatic paintings from the owner’s mom lining the walls), an impressive bar and wine list, and a few standout dishes–we love the short rib pasta with Kennett Square mushrooms and horseradish creme fraiche, and nearly fought over the duck fat french fries. But there are some major misses, too, like undercooked scallops, an unseasoned New York strip, and cloyingly sweet peaches and cream. It doesn’t stop everyone from the retirement cruise crowd to 20-somethings from packing the sophisticated-meets-casual space.
This Mediterranean spot in Old City will stay in your head long after you have a meal there, like the fact that your morning cappuccino froth will probably remind you of the goat cheese cream on their ravioli. The menu at this BYOB is heavy on seafood, so you can expect to see couples sharing plates of octopus drenched in a garlicky limoncello pesto and birthday celebrations centered around some perfectly cooked salmon covered in a mound of fluffy couscous and tzatziki. The dining room really works for any situation, as it’s pretty cozy with wooden tables, white table cloths, and gold-framed mirrors all around.
photo credit: GAB BONGHI
Pera Turkish Cuisine
Pera Turkish Cuisine
It’s rare to find a Turkish spot in the city that delivers one hit after another. But now we’ve got Pera in Northern Liberties, where dishes like tabouli, silky hummus, and lamb chops make for great plates to split with a group. Inside, there are a handful of long tables where you should post up with a couple of friends, along with cozy two-seaters near the massive windows if you want to people-watch on a casual date night. No matter where you sit, though, you’ll probably get a view of their baked goods behind the counter—where flaky baklava get stacked into rows, oozing with sugary honey. That view might inspire you to skip right to dessert, but stay the course with their spicy cold mezze eggplant dish, some of the crispiest calamari in town, and a citrusy whole dorado that’s juicy enough to deserve its own banner in the rafters at Wells Fargo.