Where To Go When You Can’t Get Into Zahav

When you can’t get a reservation at Zahav, these 9 places are (almost) as good.
This is a fried whole fish from Dizengoff.

photo credit: Michael Persico

You can’t get into Zahav. No one can—unless you book two months in advance, go at 4:45pm and try to snag a bar seat, or buy a server’s uniform on Amazon and sneak in the back. (We've spent a lot of time thinking about reservation hacks, can you tell?) Instead, go to these nine places. They each work as Zahav dupes in one way or another, whether that's because of the food they serve or the fine dining niche they fill.


photo credit: Michael Persico


Center City

$$$$Perfect For:Business MealsLunchVegetariansBig GroupsDinner with the ParentsCorporate Cards
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If you’re really looking for Zahav’s hummus without the reservation mania, head to Dizengoff. The revamped Rittenhouse restaurant is owned by the CookNSolo team, but the food is served a la carte and it's a lot more casual. So you can get great, Zahav-adjacent hits (like za'atar-topped chicken), drink a tequila cocktail, and listen to pop music in a busy space with a bar and plenty of people dressing up like they're trying to get back with their exes.

Unfortunately, you lost the piece of paper where you wrote down “MAKE ZAHAV RESERVATIONS AT MIDNIGHT,” and now you don’t have anywhere to take your dad for his birthday. Laurel in East Passyunk is a good alternative for a tasting menu experience. It’s formal but not stuffy, and the French-ish food is consistently delightful—like oysters topped with pickled serrano and gelée, boquerones on sweet brioche, and scallops in a creamy broth you'll want to bottle. You can always order a la carte if you like control (the servers don't need to know this—save it for therapy)

You could fit four Friday Saturday Sundays into the Zahav space, even considering the fact that it’s two floors. Upstairs, they serve a thoughtful, seasonal American tasting menu—expect seasonal dishes like ceviche, delicate little pasta, and a perfectly seared New York strip and cinnamon-y yams. When your meal is over, head downstairs to the bar and keep the night going with some excellent cocktails.

From the neon signs to the trendy industrial space playing Top 40 music, Laser Wolf is like Zahav’s rebellious little sister. The casual Kensington Israeli grill is from the same team as Zahav, but the ordering model is different. Here, you choose your grilled main and then automatically get bombarded with salatim, pita, dips, and soft serve for dessert. It's just as good for vegetarians as it is for people who eat meat.

This all-day Lebanese restaurant in Fishtown works for nearly any situation, whether you want to grab coffee and a pastry on a Monday morning or you're trying to satisfy a hummus and labneh mood. And, like Zahav, you'll see a scene of friends passing around mezze plates like baba ganoush and puffy pita.



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If you ask 100 random Philadelphians to pick their favorite fancy dinner spot, a fair amount will say Fork. That’s because it’s a people-pleaser with a straightforward but consistently excellent American menu of fluke crudo, dry-aged ribeye, and seared scallops. The Old City restaurant is upscale enough for a big deal meal, but you won’t feel like you’re at a stuffy steakhouse or, worse, The Union League.

Hummus, baba ganoush, soft bread—this is what you'll find at Zahav and at this charming Turkish BYOB in Northern Liberties. When you walk in, you’ll get a whiff of the fresh baked goods behind the counter—like the baklava oozing with honey, and sweet cheese kunefe. That might inspire you to skip straight to dessert, but stay the course with their spicy cold mezze eggplant dish and some crispy calamari.

Kanella Grill is a BYOB at 10th and Spruce serving Greek and Cypriot dishes. It's a solid weeknight alternative to Zahav if you require mezze and grilled halloumi, but it's admittedly much more casual. Bring a bottle of wine and a friend, and enjoy chicken shish or falafel while you remind yourself that Zahav will always be there. 

photo credit: Rachel Lerro


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Vernick is a seasonal American restaurant that makes great roast chicken, rotating pasta, and citrusy whole fish. But they often serve Middle Eastern-inflected dishes, too. Like Zahav, it works for a nice night out when you want to eat a grilled rack of lamb with rose harissa. A big difference? You can usually walk in and get a spot at the bar.

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Zahav is an Israeli restaurant in Society Hill that's a Philly institution and a celebratory spot to have some silky hummus, fluffy laffa bread, and tender cuts of meat.

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