New & Hot Places

10 Hottest New Restaurants in Philadelphia

From ambitious fine dining in Mount Airy to fulfilling fast-casual concepts popping up all over the city, this summer has welcomed plenty of new options into our already vibrant dining scene. Whether you're in the market for a new happy-hour hang, an addition to your weekend brunching repertoire, or a buzzy new spot from one of Philly's most well-loved chefs, here's a look at the hottest tables in town.

Poke Bowl

NewHawaiianNorthern Liberties
The Hawaiian-inspired poke craze sweeping the nation touches down in Northern Liberties by way of a bright and breezy counter serve where diners order bowls with rice or greens as a base, topped with diced, marinated fish like tuna, octopus or crab, plus Asian-accented sauces and additions like pickled ginger or pineapple. The narrow all-white space features a row of silver stools designed for a quick bite.

Must-order: It took a while for poke to touch down in Philadelphia, but this NoLibs fast-causal has been buzzing since day one. You can’t go wrong with any of the choose-your-own-adventure combos here.

Insider tip: Don’t live in the hood? Don’t worry, Poke Bowl has plans to branch into other Philly neighborhoods in the near future.

Beefsteak

NewVegetarianUniversity City
Chef José Andrés' foray into the world of fast-casual lands in a basement level University of Pennsylvania cafeteria. Bright grain bowls and salads are made to order and topped with out-of-the-box ingredients like kimchi, poached eggs, chicken sausage and an international selection of sauces.

Must-order: Landing in unlikely university cafeteria digs, chef Jose Andres’ fast-casual concept takes healthy lunching to the next level. The namesake burger is best enjoyed during the height of tomato season.

Insider tip: On the menu salads and bowls are great, but don’t sleep on additions like standout chicken sausage or a gently poached egg.

The Dutch

NewBrunchPennsport
Chefs Joncarl Lachman (Noord, Neuf) and Lee Styer (Fond) go downscale Downtown with this cozy, colorful BYO bruncherie in Pennsport. Omelets and Dutch dishes like uitsmijter are specialties – fitting since the idea for this eatery was cooked up late one night over eggs after copious cocktails.

Must-order: Tapping into Philadelphia’s deep love for all things brunch related, this Pennsport newcomer is winning a legion of fast fans. A savory scallion waffle heaped with creamed chipped beef is winning accolades all over town.

Insider tip: Breakfast is big here, but come lunchtime, a cool trio of tuna, chicken and potato salads is what it’s all about.

ITV

NewNew AmericanEast Passyunk Crossing
Chef Nicholas Elmi stations this intimate wine and cocktail bar next to Laurel, his East Passyunk Avenue flagship, offering a small French-accented New American menu of sharable plates, classic cocktail variations and a well-sourced vino list in sleek gray brick-and-dark wood digs.

Must-order: Anyone who has tried Nick Elmi’s cooking knows that there are no misses on the menu. At his new wine and cocktail bar, plates like housemade basket cheese with cherry miso and clams with locally cured guanciale are designed with menu exploration in mind.

Insider tip: Wine director Heather Sharp has assembled a gorgeous list of international wines with a heavy focus on elegant, Austrian beauties.

Tiki

NewWashington Square West
Surfboards, tiki masks and a bright tropical mural bring island breezes to this laid-back rum bar in Midtown Village. The bilevel building boasts a rooftop deck and two bars serving Trader Vic–inspired classics and new school cocktails, plus a refreshingly affordable selection of beers and pan-Asian snacks like pork bao buns and satay skewers.

Must-order: Across the board Asian influences make for fun, tiki-friendly snacks. Squishy bao buns filled with pork belly and pickled mustard greens and sharable sate skewers are perfect for pairing with tropical drinks.

Insider tip: The tiny grill station here is located behind the far end of the bar. Grab a seat and check out what’s coming out of the kitchen before placing your order.

Jansen

NewNew AmericanMount Airy
David Jansen, formerly the longtime chef at the Four Season’s Fountain Restaurant, brings white tablecloth dining to the charming, historic Cresheim Cottage in Mount Airy, serving locally sourced, French-accented New American fare that highlights his culinary background. An oyster and charcuterie bar upstairs is set up for more casual dining.

Must-order: With years of experience heading up the kitchen at the dearly departed Four Seasons, chef David Jansen’s passion for worldly, French-inspired fare is alive and well. Fusion-y plates like Chinoiserie halibut and lump crab cakes with sauce Americaine are standouts.

Insider tip: With offerings like cream cheese and butter rum glazed cinnamon buns and hazelnut strawberry shortcake on the menu, it’s a wise move to save a little bit of room for dessert. 

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 complement 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.

Saté Kampar

East 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 allows you to explore all of Southeast Asia in Philly.

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

Wm. Mulherin’s Sons

NewItalianFishtown
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.

Double Knot

JapaneseWashington 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 10 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.

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