Sometimes remodeling works out—HGTV made a whole network out of turning a worn-down front door into a dining room table. For Kensington Quarters, they went from a place where you could get a hearty burger and meat and threes for lunch to a seafood-focused spot with a raw bar including daily oyster selections and crudo. And like many successful flips, they knew to hang onto what was working most: their massive outdoor patio. It all makes for a pivot that’s turned the restaurant into the best place in Fishtown to soak up the sun, have some fresh seafood, and drink a few cocktails.
They've got one of the bigger patios in the area, and what makes it so great is that it's open all year round. At any given time out there, you'll find some neighborhood locals who know they have a great seafood spot within walking distance, a few couples on a casual date night, and big groups trying to nominate somebody at the table to ask the waiter about the difference between Nova Scotia and Swan Point oysters. The whole setup is easygoing, whether you're relaxing under some heat lamps and umbrellas or in their dining room sitting at a long table with benches and comfy pillows.
Not every dish here will blow you away, but there are a few things on the menu that will excite you. The slow-poached salmon is firm yet tender and comes layered over a bed of creamy mussel chowder. Both parts of the dish are good and big enough to eat on their own, making this plate feel like a tasty buy-one-get-one-free option. Other than the seafood, you can get a couple of pasta dishes like their campanelle with smoked shiitakes and cacio e pepe, seasonal salads, and one throwback to their carnivore-heavy days with a NY strip faux filet. The menu does rotate often, so if one week you can’t stop thinking about the duck confit stew that comes topped with spinach, you may get it with a new crème fraîche and watercress outfit a week later.
Unlike most other restaurants, casual bars, ice cream shops, and bakeries around the neighborhood, Kensington Quarters is actually open on Mondays. Which is great because they have a solid Happy Hour with $5 beers, $7 wines, and $8 cocktails that you can pair with a round of discount pasta, mussels, and salads. But when you come for date night or dinner with your parents, you’ll want to start with one or two things from the raw bar like a half-dozen oysters topped with slightly vinegary and refreshing roe. Other than that, go for a pasta or two, just as long as you save room for that salmon.
Kensington Quarters has a lot going for it. It’s a place where you can always get a good meal, it’s easy to get into, and it’s somewhere you should prioritize if you love gulping down some oysters under the sun on a patio. We're pretty sure that even Chip and Joanna Gaines would be proud of this remodel.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Be the first to get expert restaurant recommendations for every situation right in your inbox.
The menu here changes often, but this is a sample of some things you might eat.
The agnolotti come filled with ricotta, and then the whole thing is covered in a butter sauce and sprinkled with sage. Out of the other three pastas on the menu, it’s the cheesiest one. Which makes it the best.
A long, spiral-shaped pasta with fermented tomato sauce and smoky shiitakes mixed in. It’s the best version of this pasta here (we’ve also had it with celery root and the truffle vinaigrette), but even so, the blend isn’t that memorable.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
We never had a bowl of brussels sprouts topped with small bits of popcorn before, but this works. Probably because everything tossed into this dish, including puffed grains and the sprouts, is mixed with a sunchoke miso aioli that’s nutty and spicy.
Slow Poached Salmon
You’ll smell the oniony scent of leeks and shallots before diving into this bowl of mussels, scattered crispy potatoes, and the fist-sized salmon filet that’s resting on top of a bed of chowder. The fish is juicy and the creamy broth gives everything in the bowl a garlicky boost.
New York Strip “Faux Filet”
Historically speaking, Kensington Quarters knows how to cook any cut of meat. This one is no exception. This steak is tender and thick, big enough for two people, and lays on top of brown butter mashed potatoes with a delicious red wine sauce.