Most of Philly’s steakhouses are dimly lit, wood-paneled rooms elaborately decorated to make you feel like you’re Logan Roy. Rittenhouse Grill’s old-school decor looks nothing like a sexy library, and makes you feel more like Al Capone. There’s just something about this 1920s-style supper club and its over-the-top decadence that evokes your inner mobster—but all you’re about to take down is an excellent meal.
Rittenhouse Grill is easy to miss—it’s hidden on the Locust Street side of The Warwick Hotel. Once you find the restaurant, you won’t be able to unsee it: this place is covered in leopard print carpet, mirrored walls, and black leather everything. “Throwback” doesn’t even begin to describe it. The elegant interiors border on campy, from the art deco paintings and gold-plated light fixtures to the enormous spray of flowers in the center of the restaurant. You’ll hear '80s soft rock coming from the baby grand while servers in suits shuffle by.
But no need for you to wear your three-piece or best fur to fit in. During the week, the bar is busy with neighborhood regulars (generally those who remember the Carter administration) and co-workers sharing Happy Hour specials. They have a fantastic bar menu, which is a great choice for a solo night out. But for a celebration or special occasion, you’ll want to be in the main dining room among the white tablecloths and Philebrities (we’ve dined next to the Pawn Boss here not once, but twice).
In classic steakhouse fashion, you can’t go wrong with anything from the raw bar, but you definitely want to start with an order of the clams casino or oysters Rockefeller (skip the wedge salad, which is underwhelming). Their signature steak, the comically large roast prime rib, is seasoned well and cooked nicely, but we prefer the juicy, full-flavored ribeye. And if you’re a pescatarian—or just in the mood for something other than red meat—the Chilean sea bass is buttery, tender, and as generously portioned as its beefy brethren.
Don’t call it a night just yet. Stay for another classic martini or slice of New York cheesecake. Dinner at Rittenhouse Grill is like stepping onto a film set from the golden age of Hollywood, except here you’re welcomed by stiff drinks and piano tunes instead of cigarette smoke and glaring sexism. It’s all a bit campy, but that’s camp we can get behind.
Crab Cake Sandwich
This sandwich is all crab, no filler, and served simply on a bun with your choice of steakhouse fries or potato skins (get the fries). It’s satisfying, and one of the many solid choices for a quick dinner at the bar.
The tuna in this mountain of tartar is extremely fresh, but bland. Opt for an order of clams casino or crab cocktail instead.
Four huge oysters are covered in a buttery, herby sauce, and topped with melted Romano cheese. They’re rich, so plan to share.
This steak is tender, flavorful, and always cooked perfectly. When we’re feeling fancy, we get it Oscar-style—with big chunks of crab meat, asparagus, and bearnaise sauce, but it’s excellent on its own.
This is Fred Flintstone’s steak come to life. And while it's extremely juicy and well seasoned, it makes us feel a bit more like a caveman than a swanky dinner guest. We prefer it sliced thin and served with horseradish in the prime rib sandwich from the bar menu. However, it’s a good option to share with a group when you want to try several different mains.