Dining in Chestnut Hill offers the best of both worlds. Just a 35-minute trolley ride from Center City, the Northwest Philly neighborhood’s main strip is lined with buildings as quaint as its cobblestone-paved road, but the cuisine along Germantown Avenue is as modern and innovative as any in Philadelphia. Here’s where to eat when you go.
Step inside the historic townhome of this Chip Roman restaurant and you’ll find a dining room perfectly suited to the stunning plates of seasonal American cuisine. Dishes are all artfully prepared, but never too precious, just like the decor is country-fresh without being trite or sentimental.
Good to Know: Visit on a Wednesday or Thursday to get in on the weekly changing tasting menu, a four-course, $45 feast built around a single ingredient or theme.
8609 Germantown Ave.; 267-335-3912
Snuggled in a strip mall next to the trolley roundabout at the top of the hill is this cozy BYO, where chef Al Paris serves new versions of classic regional American dishes. The “cookery,” as the menu describes it, ranges from fresh salads and light appetizers to hearty platters like braised rabbit with spoonbread.
Good to Know: Bringing your own is rarely this easy — there’s a Fine Wine & Good Spirits liquor store right next door to the restaurant.
8705 Germantown Ave.; 215-242-2700
There’s something for everyone at the family-friendly menu served at this Delaware-based mini-chain of brewpubs, and it’s all enhanced by the unique beers brewed on-site at each location. Wrought-iron panes on the large front windows make the front lounge a great place for people-watching, and the cozy dining room in back has its own view — of the fermenters and tanks of the brewhouse.
Good to Know: For more exciting fare, keep an eye out for special events and tasting dinners from talented chef Jared Cannon.
8400 Germantown Ave.; 215-948-560
This Irish pub at the top of the hill has been welcoming thirsty Philadelphians since 1921, who also sate their hunger with dishes off the classic, diner-style American food menu. It’s the only place to get a real-deal Schmitter, so skip the famous meat sandwich when you’re at the ballpark and make your way to the source.
Good to Know: Each day of the week brings a different dinner special, from meatloaf platters on Mondays to crab cakes on Fridays.
8634 Germantown Ave.; 215-247-9736
Last spring, chefs-owners Edgar and Kim Alvarez revamped their Latin bar and restaurant (known as Avenida) into this brighter, more casual incarnation, where fun small plates and Central American tapas complement the multi-hued walls of the dining room.
Good to Know: Margaritas and mojitos come in a similarly colorful array, from dark-pink blood orange to deep-purple pomegranate to pale-gold grapefruit.
7402 Germantown Ave.; 267-385-6857
It’s not trendy to use the term anymore, but there was a reason “Asian-fusion” became so popular, and it’s still apparent here. French techniques combined with Chinese, Japanese and Thai flavors and ingredients make for interesting and accessible dishes (think rack of lamb with a soy-lemongrass marinade).
Good to Know: The dining room is large and spacious (if slightly throwback in decor), but the restaurant does brisk take-out business too.
7838 Germantown Ave.; 215-242-8800
Brothers Robert and Benjamin Bynum, also owners of Heirloom, tapped chef Al Paris again to create a distinctly French menu for their lounge in the ground floor of the Chestnut Hill Hotel. Bistro classics like escargot and steak frites are served among brass fixtures and red leather booths.
Good to Know: The downstairs jazz cafe offers live music every weekend, with three sets nightly.
8229 Germantown Ave.; 215-242-6200
Thailand native Atchara Cooley and her husband Steve dressed up a small spot in the Top of the Hill Plaza just off Germantown Avenue, creating a surprisingly elegant dining room in which to serve authentic Thai cuisine.
Good to Know: Get a unique experience with the “cook on the rock” menu, which lets you place your own fish or meat on a sizzling stone right next to your table.
35 Bethlehem Pike; 267-297-5715