Best Restaurants Around South Street

August 31, 2018
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by Zagat Staff

Ten places to try around one of Philadelphia's most popular streets.

The Good King Tavern
French · Bella Vista · $$$
Food 4.0 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.0

A "delightfully unexpected upgrade" to Bella Vista, this “charming, neighborhood-y” haunt "really pulls off" a "modern American spin” on a “Provence-inspired menu” of "hearty" “French-bistro dishes” ; even if the seating at the "community table" and booths can be "a little tight" , with the "classic" bar and "cute" outdoor area factored in, it works for “a date night or night out."
South Street Souvlaki
Greek · Society Hill · $$
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.4 · Service 4.1

So "the decor ain't much to write home about" , but this "quirky" , "ancient" South Street taverna "survives for a reason" : its "homemade" Greek fare "tastes like Athens" and is doled out in "generous portions" ; with "inexpensive" tabs to boot, it's a wonder it remains one of the city's "best-kept secrets.
Nomad Pizza
Bella Vista · $$
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.1

"No more roaming around" needed say fans of these "memorable" pizzerias spun off of a Jersey-based mobile wood-fired operation, producing "fantastic pizzas" with "perfect" thin crusts and "sublime" sauce (Bella Vista is Neapolitan and Center City is Roman); add apps and salads, a well-selected wine-and-beer selection and "service with a real smile" and you're in "heaven."
Serpico
Bella Vista · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.4

"Holy cow" , the "impeccable presentations" are "off-the-charts delicious" at this "rare find" in Bella Vista, where you're urged to "sit at the counter" and allow the kitchen to "push you out of your comfort zone" with a "refreshingly untrite" American menu and "unusual drink combinations that work" ; there's a "cool" vibe, a "gorgeous" setting, "welcoming" service – and "sticker shock."
Honey's Sit 'N Eat
Brunch · Rittenhouse Square · $
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.0

These "fun" "grandma's kitchens" draw weekend crowds with their "creative approach to Southern and Jewish cooking” for "fantasy splurges" on things "you're not supposed to eat" ; count on "friendly" service, "eclectic" environs and "reasonable" prices (cash only).
Bistrot La Minette
French · Queen Village · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.4

"Could we be in Paris?" ask fans of Peter Woolsey's "authentic" , "beyond-charming" bistro "tucked away" in Queen Village, where "European-style" waiters tote "exquisite" French “home cooking” ; “theme dinners with wine pairings” and an “under-the-radar” happy hour also make it a “favorite” of many.
Southwark Restaurant
Cocktail Bar · Queen Village · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.5

Reopened under new owners, this cozy tavern on a Queen Village corner maintains its classic, handsome atmosphere and its locavore approach to American cookery, while adding a few modern touches and a specialty cheese plate. The bar specializes in old-time favorites.
Ambra Restaurant
Italian · Queen Village · $$

The team behind next-door cocktail favorite Southwark bring this petite Italian to Queen Village, serving a four-course prix fixe menu with plates like swordfish crudo, smoked tortellini with egg bottarga and Sicilian-style lamb breast – dishes that build on tradition with modern techniques. The 16-seat space makes a big impact, thanks to warm wood panels, metalwork and concrete accents.
Pumpkin BYOB
American · Rittenhouse Square · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.4

“Fresh, local and just flat-out good,” this “exquisite, seasonal” South Street West New American BYO is especially appreciated for its “deal” of a $45 Sunday five-course prix fixe; though its “small,” “cozy” space gets “crammed,” it packs “big appeal,” with “just-dim-enough lighting” for “date night” and a staff that's “polished without being pretentious” “what more can you ask for?;” P.S. cash only.
Marrakesh
Middle Eastern · Society Hill · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.0

Venture "down a dark side alley, ring the doorbell" and "feel like you've traveled thousands of miles away" at this Moroccan BYO off South Street, where seating is on "large cushions" at "low tables" , there are "rugs everywhere" and "sometimes belly dancers" provide the "delightful entertainment" ; "delicious" fixed-price "feasts" ($25, cash only) complete the "wonderful experience.