Where To Have A Unique Dinner In Philadelphia
From an upscale dinner party and the quintessential karaoke spot to feasting during a horror movie, these are 9 places in Philly offering a night to remember.
When you live in a place for a while, you get the feeling that you’ve been everywhere and done everything. You've made the rounds at karaoke bars, underground dance clubs, and finally met that date you’d been avoiding on a hotel rooftop with amazing views. But we’re here to tell you that there’s still a list of delicious places that will keep things fresh and exciting. From a restaurant dinner party with friends or a night of belly dancing to a private hoagie room and horror movies, these nine places have the experience-to-food ratio down to a science.
photo credit: PHOTO CREDIT: GAB BONGHI
Sure, you can host a dinner party at your place, but then you’d have to shop, chop, and make sure you have enough wine to go around before your friend starts talking about her string of horrible dates. So book a table at Her Place instead. This Rittenhouse supper club is the perfect place to hang out with friends–and strangers–over an epic four-course, $75 tasting menu. You may struggle to get a reservation (they drop at 6pm on Sundays), but a night here feels like you’re hanging at your friend’s house, if your friend happens to be an incredible chef with impeccable taste in music. This is the only place in Philly where you can eat world-class sour cream and onion sweetbreads with caviar, lobster ravioli, or brown butter profiteroles while harmonizing with the chef to a Destiny’s Child song.
photo credit: GAB BONGHI
Everybody knows that Pizzeria Beddia makes some of the best pizza in the city. But a place that makes great pizza and incredible hoagies? Now that’s news you can use. Dinner in the Hoagie Room at this modern Fishtown spot is a laid back, fun, and unforgettable production. For $75 per person (for a maximum of six people), you get a two-hour omakase experience that includes small plates, pizza, and amazing hoagies, complete with a private bar and Warhol prints. You get a tour of the menu’s standouts, like tangy hunks of tomato pie, crispy pizza, and a few signature cocktails. But it’s the hoagies–from the roasted vegetable with marinated mushrooms and sesame aioli, to the Italian, packed with a rainbow of salty, cured meats–that will have you coming here every chance you get.
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photo credit: Middle Child Clubhouse
Middle Child Clubhouse
We love Fishtown’s Middle Child Clubhouse for the great burger and fries and a game of pool. But when we want to take the fun up a few notches, we head to the back for the Thousand Island Lounge. There’s a disco ball, TV with Nintendo 64, and a sound system where you can play DJ during your all-night hang in the private dining space. At $30 a person, you can share casual plates like burgers, chicken sandwiches, and bottomless fries, or try the more substantial chicken confit with a giardiniera slaw or jumbo shrimp with a tangy bravas aioli and shishito peppers. If you enjoy a little too much wine on tap, you can always come back the next morning and recover with a fluffy egg sandwich.
photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO
Harp & Crown
For some, Harp and Crown is a casual-yet-pricey dinner spot where you can get small plates like toast topped with crab and avocado or hamachi rice cracker, and generous mains, like the pork chop milanese and a juicy dry-aged burger. For others, the downstairs is ideal for bowling and wood-fired pizza. Whichever way you go, the Center City spot is a certified scene (and one of the more popular Happy Hour spots in town). Plus, with antique fixtures like old framed black-and-white photos and throwback leather booths, it feels like it got dressed up for a prohibition-era theme party and decided to stick with the costume.
photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO
Yakitori Boy is a karaoke lounge/Izakaya hybrid, and it’s been a mainstay of Philly nightlife for years. The Chinatown spot has full dinner service downstairs, with things like brothy shrimp tempura udon loaded with scallions and broccoli, spicy salmon rolls, and tangy chicken teriyaki (which you should get for the table). Upstairs are spacious, private karaoke rooms–full of big screens and neon lighting–that can hold up to 20 of your closest friends for a sake bomb-fueled night of doing your best impression of The Voice.
Sometimes you want the dancing and the meal to happen under one roof. This is the Marrakesh specialty. The Moroccan restaurant in Society Hill has a prix-fixe menu with things like spicy cumin chicken, eggplant and carrot salads, and Moroccan pastries that are ideal for big groups. Come here to recline on low couches and pillows, admire the colorful tapestries and lanterns, and eat while a belly dancer performs. Also, it’s BYOB, so plan accordingly.
Taking a first date to Fishtown’s Fabrika may be a risky move. Between the burlesque shows, jazz performances, and fire dancers, you’ll set a high bar for being one of the most fun and interesting people they know. The large dining space has a wrap-around balcony with a great view of the stage, lounge chairs and long tables, crystal chandeliers, and glowing purple light beaming down from the ceiling. Order small plates like the citrusy shrimp and scallop ceviche, pastas like the rabbit ragu or squid ink linguine, and lamb shank for the table. And if you have trouble trying to brainstorm a second date spot that’s more exciting than this one, you can just come back for the drag brunch.
photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO
In the old days, the only food you could get while watching a movie was gummy bears, stale popcorn, and sad nachos. Lucky for us, Center City’s Monster Vegan came along. Inside you’ll find a long bar and cushioned seating with great views of the horror flicks they show nightly. The plant-based menu includes belly-filling options like spicy rigatoni bolognese, General Tso's wings with a syrupy citrusy glaze, and fluffy cinnamon apple french toast for brunch. Bring a group of friends for cocktails and focus on your truffle parmesan fries when the movie gets too scary.
Silk City Diner Bar & Lounge
Sure, you could go to Silk City during the day and have a nice brunch in their funky, colorful outdoor beer garden. You could come for dinner in the retro diner car. Or you could show up a few drinks deep at midnight and head straight up to “The Lounge,” where they have a bar, guest DJs, and a dance floor that’s always full. Located in Spring Garden, the menu is packed with comfort foods like short rib mac and cheese, bacon-wrapped meatloaf, and crispy buttermilk fried chicken. Definitely go back to Silk City the next morning for some pancakes, though, if you can convince your friends to meet you again after a late night out.