10 Hottest New Restaurants in Philadelphia

By Danya Henninger | April 1, 2015 By Danya Henninger  |  April 1, 2015
Photo by: Danya Henninger

Where should I go to dinner tonight? If you’re looking for a fresh answer to that ever-burning question, we’ve got you covered. From dim sum in Chinatown to jazz in Northern Liberties to cheesesteaks in Fishtown, here are the 10 hottest new restaurants in Philadelphia right now.

  • Photo by: Danya Henninger


    The new Northern Liberties venture from Jason Evenchik and Terry Leach (Time, Vintage, Growlers, Garage, Bar) has grand ambitions beyond the booze. Chef Sean Magee is cooking in a state-of-the-art kitchen with ingredients from mostly local farms — including, eventually, the garden taking shape on the roof. [View a slide show about Heritage here.]

    Must-Order: Smoked baby potatoes ($7), foie gras with pawpaw bread ($12)
    Insider Tip: Live jazz plays nightly, and every table has a view of the stage.

    914 N. Second St.; 215-627-7500

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    The Bistro Above South Street Souvlaki

    Tom Vasiliades has renovated the twin rooms above his venerable South Street Greek restaurant and given the space its own identity. The menu of Mediterranean tapas coming out of the upstairs kitchen is simple and affordable, but entirely worth seeking out. Live piano music accompanies the laid-back spot, which is open Thursday-Sunday.

    Must-Order: Grilled octopus (avocado purée, pico de gallo; $7), pan-roasted salmon (dill mashed potatoes, caper cream sauce; $12)
    Insider Tip: Ever heard of BYOW? Even though he has a full bar, Vasiliades is inviting guests to bring their own bottles of wine when they stop in for a bite.

    509 South St.; 215-925-3026

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    Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop

    The second location of this Northeast favorite (formerly known as Chink’s) is swinging at the corner of Frankford and Girard in Fishtown. A menu of classics made exactly like those on Torresdale Avenue will be complemented by additions suited to the hip neighborhood — think hand-cut fries, vegan cheesesteaks and a black bean burger. [View a slide show about Joe’s Steaks + Soda here.]

    Must-Order: Cheesesteak ($8.50), hand-cut fries ($6.75)
    Insider Tip: The restaurant is BYO, and it’s easy to grab a mixed-six before dinner at Bottle Bar East just down the block.

    1 W. Girard Ave.; 215-423-5637

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    Tria Fitler Square

    The former Dmitri’s at the corner of 23rd and Pine has been transformed into a slightly more elaborate cousin to Tria’s twin wine-beer-cheese cafes and sister taproom in Rittenhouse. From an open kitchen next to the windowed dining room, chef Karen Nicolas is cooking a menu with full-on dinner entrees in addition to snacks and small plates.

    Must-Order: Trout piccata (semolina dumplings, broccolini; $16), truffled egg toast ($6.50)
    Insider Tip: For now, the restaurant is open for dinner only on weekdays, but things start up at noon on both Saturday and Sunday.

    2227 Pine St.; 215-309-2245

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    The neighborhood may be called Olde Kensington, but what co-owners Kevin D'Egidio and Michael Griffiths are doing at helm feels fresh and young. The contemporary American BYO is the first solo venture for the chefs, where they’re offering a blackboard-only menu featuring locally farmed vegetables and “properly raised” meats. [View a slide show about helm here.]

    Must-Order: Rhode Island squid ($12), leeks (goat yogurt, Tewksbury cheese; $10)
    Insider Tip: Have a favorite vinyl album you’d like to listen to during dinner? Bring it along and the proprietors might play it on their dining-room turntable.

    1303 N. Fifth St.; 215-309-2211

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    Buena Onda

    Jose Garces goes fast-casual with his new Baja/surf-inspired fish taco joint on Callowhill across from the Barnes. Snag a free sample of Yards beer while in line, place your order at the counter and take a seat at a booth, table or the small bar to wait for your food and drinks to be dropped off. [View a slide show about Buena Onda here.]

    Must-Order: Mini marlin tacos (on fried malanga chips; $6), tortilla soup ($5)
    Insider Tip: If you love the relaxed vibe, show it — a line of custom-branded clothing is available for purchase at the shop.

    1901 Callowhill St.; 215-302-3530

  • Photo by: Danya Henninger

    Nom Wah Tea Parlor

    From what we hear, the crowds still haven’t discovered this outpost of NYC’s oldest dim sum house — the Philly location is on 13th Street just north of Race, not exactly Chinatown central. All the more reason to visit now. [View a slide show about Nom Wah here.]

    Must-Order: Shrimp and snow pea leaf dumplings ($4.75), stuffed eggplant ($4.50)
    Insider Tip: The liquor license that hadn’t come through in time for launch is now in hand, and you can order beer in bottles and cans to complement your meal (a full bar is expected soon).

    218 N. 13th St.; 267-519-2889

  • Thai Square

    New from the former proprietors of Thai mainstay Erawan is this cozy Grays Ferry BYO. A relatively large menu offers everything from pad Thai and fried rice to curries to soups to satays and dumplings, and nothing is over $20.

    Must-Order: Crispy duck red curry ($18), crispy spicy catfish ($18)
    Insider Tip: Stop in during the day to take advantage of the lunch special, an entree plus soup and noodles or rice for $8-$10.

    2521 Christian St.; 215-454-6683

  • Luna Cafe

    This Old City BYO serving American comfort food is the first venture for Sarah Levine, who fell in love with Philly when she moved here for college 10 years ago. A menu developed by celeb chef Jordan Andino ranges from crostini to salmon burgers to pasta primavera.

    Must-Order: Mac ‘n’ cheese ($10; add pulled pork, chicken, bacon or mushrooms for $2.50), Brie-stuffed French toast ($14)
    Insider Tip: A large selection of mixers is available to blend with your bring-along booze, from kale and celery “green juice” to orange or grapefruit with Italian lemon soda.

    317 Market St.; 215-309-3140

  • The Dairy Cafe

    There’s one easy way to help your restaurant stay kosher — go vegetarian. That’s what Dave Magerman of Citron and Rose has done at this cafe and coffee shop in Bala Cynwyd. The menu ranges from breakfast donuts and omelets to pizza and pasta for lunch and dinner.

    Must-Order: Potato blintzes ($6.90), The Gladwyne (pizza with mushrooms, garlic, mozz, Parm, chive; $17.90)
    Insider Tip: When warm weather finally arrives, look for outdoor seating on the ground floor and the second-level veranda.

    321 Montgomery Ave., Bala Cynwyd; 610-808-9045

Places Mentioned

South Street Souvlaki

Society Hill
Food24 Decor14 Service22 Cost$25

Citron and Rose

KosherMerion Station
Food23 Decor20 Service21 Cost$50

Tria Cafe Rittenhouse

Rittenhouse Square
Food25 Decor22 Service23 Cost$27

Tria Cafe Wash West

EclecticWashington Square West
Food25 Decor22 Service23 Cost$27

Nom Wah Tea Parlor

Dim SumChinatown
Food- Decor- Service- CostI

Joe's Steaks

Food- Decor- Service- CostI

Buena Onda

Logan Square
Food- Decor- Service- CostI


New AmericanOlde Kensington
Food- Decor- Service- CostM


AmericanNorthern Liberties
Food- Decor- Service- CostM

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