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10 Hottest New Restaurants in Philadelphia

By Danya Henninger
October 13, 2014
Photo by: Danya Henninger

Autumn restaurant openings are just ramping up, but we’ve already got several fresh ways to invigorate your fall eating options. From sprawling industrial spaces to intimate petite venues, here are the 10 hottest new restaurants in Philadelphia right now.

  • Photo by: Danya Henninger

    La Colombe Fishtown

    Why It’s Hot: Todd Carmichael and JP Iberti have outdone themselves with their new flagship on Frankford Avenue, supplementing their array of just-roasted coffee with a sandwich and salad menu full of wood-oven-roasted plates and fresh bread, baked in a special kitchen at the back of the 11,000-sq.-ft. cafe. Added bonus: booze. There’s a bar serving Different Drum rum, plus wine and beer.

    Must-Order: “French onion soup on toast,” burrata and roasted fig salad, ham and butter baguette.

    Insider Tip: You’re welcome to bring your laptop along, but a book might be more appropriate — like the other La Colombes, this location does not offer WiFi. It’s not about keeping you from lingering, but about making the cafe a refreshing escape from our always-connected life.

    1335 Frankford Ave.

  • Photo by: Danya Henninger

    Abe Fisher

    Why It’s Hot: Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook turned a tiny space in the ground floor of a new Center City apartment tower into a portal to a European cafe of the 1920s...if cooks back then had access to 21st-century ingredients and techniques. Co-chef Yehuda Sichel executes a very unique menu featuring riffs on Jewish classics — veal schnitzel tacos, anyone?

    Must-Order: Borscht tartare ($10), kasha varnishkes ($12), corned pork belly ($14).

    Insider Tip: Bring three other people along and you can indulge in the Montreal-smoked short ribs, which have been called “as good as the lamb shoulder at Zahav.” The platter, with accompanying house-baked rye bread and garnishes, runs $120 for four.

    1623 Sansom St.; 215-867-0088

  • Dizengoff

    Why It’s Hot: Can you build a successful restaurant around a single dish? You can if you’re CookNSolo, who dedicated the space adjacent to Abe Fisher to a casual, daytime-only hummusiya. Co-chef Emily Seaman whips up an ever-changing variety of toppings for the daily made hummus, each bowl of which comes with a swirl of olive oil, a trio of side salads and a fresh-baked pita.

    Must-Order: Hummus tehina ($9), hummus with lamb ($11), frozen lemonana ($4).

    Insider Tip: When the day’s allotment of pita runs out, the garage door front rolls down and there’s no more hummus sold until the next morning, so be sure to head over early. Lines can be long, but they move quickly.

    1625 Sansom St.; 215-867-0088

  • Beast & Ale

    Why It’s Hot: Chef Matt Savastano is executing a “beef and beer” menu gone modern at the first non-Mexican endeavor from owners Tim Spinner and Brian Sirhal (Taqueria Feliz, Cantina Feliz, La Calaca Feliz). The Manayunk pub is chill and low-key, with many inexpensive beers, wines, whiskeys and cocktails.

    Must-Order: Whipped cauliflower on toast ($13), fried bologna sandwich ($11),  avocado sandwich ($10).

    Insider Tip: On the “ale” side of things, easy-drinking., lower-end brews (cans of Milwaukee’s Best — aka Beast — and draft pours of Moosehead lager) are balanced by a selection of interesting crafts and a rotating cask from Forest & Main on the hand pump.

    4161 Main St.; 267-437-3936

  • Photo by: Danya Henninger

    Capofitto

    Why It’s Hot: With the same attention to detail that makes Capogiro gelato some of the best in the world, Stephanie and John Reitano have thrown themselves into pizza making. From an oven built on-site using volcanic sand from Mount Vesuvius emerge authentic Neapolitan pies, complemented by oven-roasted vegetables, charcuterie, salads and appetizers.

    Must-Order: Prosciutto di Parma pie ($19), carciofi (artichoke) e guanciale pie ($18), ripieno rosso (similar to a calzone; $17).

    Insider Tip: The front of the restaurant also serves as a counter-service cafe, with the full complement of gelato and sorbetto available in cups or cones, plus muffins, scones and other pastries baked in the brick oven.

    233 Chestnut St.; 267-457-2842

  • Photo by: Danya Henninger

    Marigold Kitchen

    Why It’s Hot: A trio of first-time restaurateur friends (and longtime Marigold employees) have taken over the West Philly BYO in a Victorian townhouse. They brightened the interior and service and kept the tasting-menu-only format for the menu, which brings a selection of 14-16 plates for the very decent price of $90 per person.

    Must-Order: You don’t have a choice of what to order, but the kitchen will accommodate food allergies or preferences if you note them in advance.

    Insider Tip: Reservations are recommended, but if you happen to be walking by before 8 PM and have the urge for a multicourse feast, you are welcome to stop in and ask for a table.

    501 S. 45th St.; 215-222-3699

  • Bardot

    Why It’s Hot: Chef Rhett Vellner’s European-inspired menu has enough pizazz to match the impressive black-and-ruby velvet interior at Dennis Hewlett’s new Northern Liberties lounge fashioned after its namesake starlet. Cocktails inspired by French cinema are reason enough to pull up a seat at the tin-ceilinged bar.

    Must-Order: Chicken liver mousse ($10), octopus ($15), spaghettini noir ($19).

    Insider Tip: If you and friends are in for drinks instead of snacks, the spot to check first is beyond the far end of the bar, where there’s a curtained nook filled with cushioned seating.

    447 Poplar St.; 267-639-4772

  • Photo by: Danya Henninger

    La Peg

    Why It’s Hot: Six years after opening intimate, tightly-focused Bistrot La Minette, chef-owner Peter Woolsey has spread his wings with a brasserie in the FringeArts building on Columbus Boulevard. A huge menu is executed by chef de cuisine Nich Bazik, offering French small plates and platters to guests spread over two floors, a free-standing bar and an outdoor beer garden.

    Must-Order: Foie gras torchon ($13), pho consommé ($10), salmon with lentils ($24).

    Insider Tip: If you don’t feel like navigating the giant menu, the easy option is the $30 prix fixe, which starts with French onion soup or salad, followed by salmon or chicken and finishes with chocolate cake or a decadent ice cream sundae.

    140 N. Columbus Blvd.; 215-375-7744

  • Photo by: Danya Henninger

    Pez Veloz

    Why It’s Hot: Fans of hip Fishtown taco joint Loco Pez can now order take-out meals and pick up beer to go at this bottle shop right next door to the original. An array of tables provide seating if you want to dig into the counter-ordered Mexican food right away, and the dining room is even open for weekday lunch from 11 AM-3:30 PM.

    Must-Order: Cochinita pibil tacos ($2.25 ea.), steak tinga torta ($9), jalapeño burger with waffle fries ($6.50).

    Insider Tip: The random $1 taco nights that have become a signature part of the restaurant also apply here, but only in the evenings (from 5:30 PM on). Follow @locopeztacos to stay abreast of the deal schedule, usually announced day-of.

    2401 E. Norris St.; 267-886-8061

  • Ardé Osteria

    Why It’s Hot: Italian native Pino DiMeo and partner Scott Stein expands on their successful wood-fired pizzeria in Roxborough with this Main Line BYO, where Pino’s Italian-trained son, Antimo DiMeo, puts out Neapolitan pies complemented by antipasti, pastas, large plates, salumi and a mozzeria bar offering varied accompaniments to go with fresh buffalo mozzarella and burrata.

    Must-Order: Roasted corn pizza ($16), polpette meatballs ($9), Sangiovese-braised short ribs ($29).

    Insider Tip: House-baked breads are made using ancient grains, and while there’s no retail outlet for them, if you stop in for lunch or dinner, you can ask to buy a loaf or two to take home.

    133 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne; 484-580-6786

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Places Mentioned

La Peg

French • Penn's Landing

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Bardot Cafe

Northern Liberties

Food- Decor- Service- Cost 
 
 
 
Capofitto

Old City

Food- Decor- Service- Cost 
 
 
 
Abe Fisher

Israeli • Rittenhouse Square

Food- Decor- Service- Cost 
 
 
 
Dizengoff

Israeli • Rittenhouse Square

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
La Colombe Torrefaction

Cafe • Fishtown

Food- Decor- Service- CostI
 
 
 
Beast & Ale

American • Manayunk

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Ardé Osteria & Pizzeria

Pizza • Wayne

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Loco Pez

Mexican • Fishtown

Food23 Decor16 Service20 Cost$18
 
 
 
 
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