Where To Eat & Drink In Philly When You Don’t Care About Sports

The 15 best spots to avoid the games, the screams, and face paint.
Where To Eat & Drink In Philly When You Don’t Care About Sports  image

photo credit: GAB BONGHI

When people say, “Go Birds!”, do you think about geese making v-formations in the sky? Does “Red October” remind you of the leaves changing colors? Congratulations—you don’t care about sports. We know that in a scoreboard-obsessed town like this one, it can feel like everyone is in on an exciting city-wide joke—and you don’t get the punchline. If you’re looking for a place to enjoy a good meal while escaping the chaos of blaring TVs and drunken team chants, we’ve got the lineup for you. Here are the 15 best restaurants where the only thing you’ll keep score of is how much bucatini, buttery pancakes, and salted squid it takes to get full. 

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO



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If you’re trying to celebrate a birthday or romantic occasion on a Sunday, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a place without an allegiance to the Eagles. But don’t let the velvet green decor fool you—Rittenhouse’s Barclay Prime has nothing to do with the Birds. Our favorite steakhouse in the city makes countless dishes that we love, like a tender ribeye, juicy Chilean sea bass, and creamy potato gratin with a melty center, all without a single TV in sight. Equally as satisfying is their long beer, wine, and cocktail list that has nothing to do with game day specials. 

Bala Cynwyd’s Lark is the opposite of a sports bar. With glowing mirrors, fireplaces, and a balcony showing off a view of the Schuylkill River, the Mediterranean restaurant is the perfect spot to forget that you live in a city where the sun rises and sets with its teams. There are standout dishes like rigatoni with Maryland blue crab in a sweet tomato sauce, a 14 oz roasted strip steak coated in a tangy salsa verde, and one of our favorite branzinos in the city. You’re more likely to catch a surprise proposal on the patio than someone crying over a missed field goal. 

photo credit: Nicole Guglielmo

You met someone you really like in the baseball offseason, saw a couple of Phillies tchotchkes in their living room, and thought nothing of it. Now, it’s the regular season, and most of your conversations revolve around Bryce Harper’s health. If you’re in the mood for a solo meal or a friend takes pity on you, head to Illata in Fitler Square. The low-key BYOB is chill incarnate, so the candlelit space is an ideal backdrop for unwinding with a few plates of miso-marinated mussels, housemade pastas, and Mediterranean mains. Bring one of your favorite bottles, finish your night with an unforgettable brown butter tart, and head home to hear about a game you couldn't care less about.

You won’t find crowds yelling “Touchdown!” or strangers high-fiving at Rittenhouse Grill. What you will find is an art deco dining room that makes you feel like you’re in a dinner scene from Goodfellas. The upscale steakhouse has leopard print carpet, black leather banquettes, and people on a mission for a massive, juicy prime rib. You’ll want to grab that, plus the herby oysters Rockefeller, and at least a martini or two. They’ll give you the same buzz as a slam dunk (not that basketball matters). 

You’ve found yourself displaced in a sea of Flyers, Eagles, Phillies, and Sixers fans. The one thing that can comfort you is a brothy bowl of ramen, so why not go for the best? Head to Queen Village’s Neighborhood Ramen for tan tan with a spicy pork broth and crunchy sesame seeds, and pair it with a refreshing sesame salad to counter some of the ramen’s subtle sizzle. The BYOB doesn’t take reservations, so the line can get pretty long on the weekends. But it’s worth the wait, and it’s not nearly as long as the one your friends are in at Xfinity Live!

Someone asked you to pick your favorite sport, and you replied, “Watching The Great British Bake Off.” So, yeah, maybe you don’t know why 99% of the city is pumped after a big win. But you do like pretty things on a plate. Spring Garden’s Osteria has plenty of that, plus a cool greenhouse attached to their dining room. The marble bar is always filled with people hanging out before (and after) dinner, low lighting, and great views of a roaring pizza oven. When you eventually head to your table, make sure you grab their Trentino pizza, layered with sauteed fig and gorgonzola, a tender seared duck breast, and finish your meal with the moist apple upside down cake (you are a Bake Off fan, after all). 

There’s no shortage of plants and candles at this cozy Northern Liberties vegan restaurant. It’s a relaxing atmosphere—quite the opposite of hundreds of Philly fans yelling at TVs en masse. The menu changes constantly, so you often fall in love with one dish and say goodbye to it a week later. But when you get a chance to eat the golden beet salad with sour chard, sweet potatoes with creamy romesco, or capunti pasta that gets some crunch from the spigarello, go for it. It’s romantic enough for date night, but also a buzzy spot to dine solo or with a few friends with hobbies outside of fantasy football. 

Only a few things are more rewarding than avoiding the heartbreak of being a sports fan. And one of them is dining at China Gourmet in Northeast Philly. The large, banquet hall-style restaurant has exceptional Cantonese dim sum and noodle dishes like dry roasted yi mein, shrimp shui mai, and crispy stir-fried rice cakes. It’s a casual restaurant—flanked by bubbling lobster tanks—so stop by, take over one of their round pink tables, and be thankful for your wise decision to trade a life of sports misery for egg tarts and garlic lobster with minced pork. 

Many Philadelphians associate a sunny day with a trip to the ballpark or the Linc. For you, it’s a day for cocktails on patios or to eat cheese plates among plants. Talula’s in Washington Square has all of those things—plus a dining room with colorful interiors and framed garden art. They also have a long wine list, risotto, fresh fish, and a rotating menu of seasonal, produce-heavy dishes like cauliflower with a spicy za’atar sauce. Finally, you’ll become a hardcore fan of something in this town.

West Philly’s Soul Greedy is a laidback spot to enjoy a platter of creamy mac and cheese, beautifully breaded catfish, and tangy potato salad. But the best thing at the bright take-out only spot—besides the soul-calming food—is that its walls are sports memorabilia free, and you’ll never find someone setting up a screen for a Union match. 

The brunch menu at Passyunk Square’s El Fuerte De Loreto is a strong bargaining chip if you’re trying to wrangle a few friends you haven’t seen since the Sixers’ season started. The small Mexican restaurant has chilaquiles with just the right amount of spice, making them one of our favorites in town. You can also order a feast of sweet Dulce de Leche Toast, peppery omelets big enough for three, and zesty huevos rancheros while Mexican pop music plays. No, it doesn’t turn into a dance party, but the food and enthusiastic staff make for an experience exciting enough to convince your friends that there’s life outside of Joel Embiid.  

We get it—you don’t want dinner to end in a mass sports celebration or devolve into a sh*t show after a loss. This makes Old City’s Royal Boucherie a no-brainer. The French-ish spot is dark, has antique interiors, and gives off the vibe of an old speakeasy when prohibition was a thing. And while the menu isn’t mind-blowingly creative, it’s still a good place to get a solid burger, oysters, and steak frites without the energy of an actual rowdy tavern.

Because of their extensive, newspaper-like menu and fluffy pancakes, there are plenty of reasons we’d love to hang out at Comfort & Floyd for all eternity—and the lack of TVs is right up there. The charming Passyunk Square brunch spot is great for a lazy weekend, especially when almost all of Philly is focused on their game day rituals. This means you’ll easily find a seat at their blue counter next to a couple fighting over the last bite of waffle or near the windows lined with plants. If you can take a break from cute dog-watching on 11th Street, grab an order of blueberry caramel pancakes, thick-cut home fries, or an omelet with roasted vegetables and cheddar.

One step into Port Richmond’s Boricua 2, and you’ll notice their love of Puerto Rico (it’s basically a San Juan postcard) and the lack of anything sports-related. Everyone’s more invested in their plates of adobo-spiced, slow-roasted pork, tuna macaroni (or potato salad, depending on the day), and flan. While some of the menu can be hit or miss, you’ll leave satisfied if you go with the sizable “Boricua Special” platter. Plus, the tropically decorated restaurant and its constant rotation of Santana and Willie Colón blasting through the speakers provide a sports-town escapism that works every time. 

Northern Liberties’ Apricot Stone is designed to be a crowd pleaser. The Armenian BYOB has white tablecloths, candles, fresh flowers, and a celebratory atmosphere that somehow always feels like a holiday dinner (and not an unhinged sports bar). The dining room is always packed here on the weekend, so plan ahead. Grab a bottle of wine, another person as clueless about sports as you, and split the silky hummus, rice pilaf, and a couple of lamb kebabs.

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