New & Hot Places

10 Hottest New Restaurants in Philadelphia

Warm weather is the perfect excuse to break a dining rut. Head over to Fishtown to explore a trio of new options (and a few glasses of wine), or venture to the newly revamped Southwark or Saté Kampar (if you're looking for authentic Malaysian). Here's a look at what's hot this season in Philly.

Saté Kampar

NewEast Passyunk Crossing
A Malaysian expat has given up the business world to serve the satays and other dishes of her homeland in a simple storefront with a street-like setting in Passyunk Square. It's BYO, so the bar is not for alcohol, but for coconut milk, coffee and tea drinks.

Must-Order: Sates are the way to go here. And with such a well-priced menu, ordering them all is the best way to explore Southeast Asia in Philly.

Insider Tip: With coconuts cracking behind the bar, you might want to BYO rum to this Passyunk newcomer.

SuGa

NewChineseRittenhouse Square
Chef Susanna Foo, who blazed trails in Center City for decades, is back in town with a take on modern Chinese cooking in a slick, smart-looking bistro in a Rittenhouse storefront. Her son Gabriel minds the front of the house, whose bar features riffs on Asian cocktails.

Must-Order:  The dumpling sampler is an ideal intro to Foo’s fascination with fusion

Insider Tip: Brunch here might be overlooked, but the menu is packed with creative takes on Asian AM fare like congee and dim sum.

Root Restaurant

NewTapasFishtown
Proof positive of Fishtown's maturity, this sexy wine bar from Starr Restaurant alum Greg Root and chef Nick Kennedy (Inn at Washington, Jean Georges, Del Posto), centers around small plates and vinos from old-world growing areas. The low lit atmosphere features a mosaic floor, a walnut bar, blue chairs and tables that spill out onto the sidewalk.

Must-Order: Designed to compliment the wine list, this menu is full of fun takes on Spanish and Italian fare. Think: cauliflower-caper zeppoli and lemon-aleppo dressed seafood a la plancha.

Insider Tip: Ask for the private stash for a reserve list of Root’s best wine from the cellar.

Wm. Mulherin’s Sons

ItalianFishtown
Chef Chris Painter (ex Il Pittore) leads the kitchen at this refined, wood-fired Italian set in a painstakingly restored century-old Fishtown whiskey distillery that boasts wood-panelling, arched windows, a bar, a fireplace and the name that was carved into the original facade. Pizza (tended by the team from local pie favorite Pitruco) headlines the menu, flanked by small plates like crudo and veal tartare toast, plus pasta and entrees.

Must-Order: Nothing from the wood-fired oven will disappoint, but a favorite starter here is the veal tartare toast – it manages to capture all of the flavors of a Caesar salad in a single bite.

Insider Tip: Head in early for a drink at the bar. The cocktail program is churning out some truly creative concepts with unusual ingredients.

Essen Bakery

NewPassyunk Square
South African-born pastry chef Tova du Plessis' snug, homey bakery in Passyunk Square specializes in Jewish-style delicacies, including rye bread, challah with sesame, poppy, pumpkin and sunflower seeds or dark chocolate swirls, babka, rugelach, black-and-white cookies and two specialty sandwiches. Those seated at one of the three tables can also enjoy Elixr French press coffee.

Must-Order:  In a word, babka. Eggy and chocolatey, there’s a reason why this dessert for breakfast "bread" has been getting so much buzz.

Insider Tip: Come lunch time, Essen has a great selection of grab and go sandwiches like brie on slices of housemade challah.

Double Knot

NewJapaneseWashington Square West
Michael Schulson has gone next door to his Washington Square West hit Sampan for this hybrid that has an antiques- and tchotchke-filled coffee shop (with coffees from Elixr and cocktails at the bar) on the ground floor and an izakaya in the basement. Lunchtime brings banh mi, rice and noodle bowls.

Must-Order:  Reasonably priced at $55, the chef’s tasting menu rolls out a staggering ten plates per person (plus dessert). Given the expansive offerings, it’s the ideal way for Double Knot novices to get schooled.

Insider Tip: Sushi might be getting all of the attention, but the AM coffee and pastry program is a standout with pour-overs and housemade Pop Tarts.

A Mano

ItalianSpring Garden
Chef Townsend Wentz (Townsend) has gone the informal route on a Fairmount corner with this elegantly spare Italian BYO whose open kitchen lends a sense of hustle and bustle. The menu traverses from Northern to Southern Italy, featuring housemade pastas, salumi and dishes like chicken milanese. P.S. Reservations are not accepted and it's cash only.

Must-Order: With antipasti, primi and secondi, the short and sweet menu here is designed for guests to choose from each column. Dishes change with the seasons, but eating like an Italian is in fashion year round.

Insider Tip: No reservations are taken, but head in at the 4:30 PM opening, and you won't have to wait.

Tredici Enoteca

ItalianWashington Square West
Set across from sibling Zavino on a Washington Square West corner, this chic Italian wine bar/oyster bar boasts a gleaming marble counter and light-wood benches and booths. Small plates like lollipop lamb chops and crispy chicken predominate on the menu, and wines are available by half and full pours, the better to sample.

Must-Order: There are plenty of places in Philly where you can grab a few dozen oysters, but the staff at Tredici is cracking some rarely-seen-around-these-parts Jonah crab claws.

Insider Tip: Wines are available in half and full pours allowing guests make their way though the sizable list. Don’t forget to check out the Cruvinet for glasses of rare bottles handpicked by the knowledgeable staff.

Southwark Restaurant

NewNew AmericanQueen Village
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.

Must-Order: Taking over a beloved neighborhood restaurant and bar, this new menu wisely sticks with the kind of plates that pair well with a couple of cocktails. Expect chicken liver mousse and pig’s head sliders.

Insider Tip: The kitchen stays open until 1 AM to accommodate late night cravings for beef tartare and mackerel pâté.

Hungry Pigeon

AmericanQueen Village
Chefs/pals Scott Schroeder (American Sardine Bar) and Pat O'Malley (ex Balthazar Bakery in NYC) keep it creative yet simple at their brick-walled American brasserie on a Queen Village corner. Cafe-style breakfast/lunch segues into dinner, with waiters toting small plates and shared platters aimed at friends and families, while draft wines and beers populate the bar list.

Must-Order: Chef's whim dictates what you'll be eating, but – if it's available – the restaurant’s namesake bird is the way to go. Pigeon was recently roasted and served over a green bean and oyster mushroom salad.

Insider Tip: Pastry chef and partner Pat O’Malley’s croissants and sticky buns have been winning an allegiance of die-hard fans since opening.

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