Late 2016 offered many exciting Philly restaurant openings, from jewel-box tasting menu spots to instant neighborhood classics. So, whether you're in the market for a new happy-hour hang, a taste of chef-driven wood-fired fare or the latest from Jonathan Petruce, here's a look at the hottest tables in town.
Must-order: Pizzas topped with lamb sausage or marinated pork al pastor, or any of the mussels
Insider tip: With a tremendous selection of wild ales and ciders, be sure to check with your server for perfect pairings.
Must-order: The Obama vermicelli bowl that honors the 44th president with a grilled pork patty, grilled pork chop and vermicelli noodles. A brisket banh mi comes served with pho dipping sauce.
Insider tip: Owner Tuan Phung hails from a culinary family — his father is head chef at Pho Ha — but this restaurant also offers a fine selection of cocktails, citywides and more than 200 bottles of beer.
Must-order: Cacio e pepe, bucatini amatriciana and margherita and clam pies. Antipasti are wood-fired too, such as the cauliflower with harissa, yogurt, mint and almond dukkah.
Insider tip: Happy hour on the banks of the Schuylkill comes with a selection of pizzas and Italian cocktails, including blood orange Bellinis.
Must-order: Oysters served with a frozen Meyer lemon mignonette, escargot with hazelnut butter and biscuits, lobster bucatini in red chile XO sauce or a New York strip steak with smoked potato purée
Insider tip: Cocktails from Paul MacDonald are always innovative and served in impeccable glassware — from the Assassin’s Handbook to a Smoked Eggplant Spritz.
Must-order: Small plates like Reuben inspired beef tartare, fall burrata with picked figs and pistachios and broccoli matched with spicy coppa and mustard curds
Insider tip: Head to the basement for intimate cocktails at the bar, or even better, round up a group of friends to reserve a two-lane, subterranean bowling alley.
Must-order: Check out the signage over the bar for a daily selection of chef Anthony Marini’s raw creations. Recent additions include radish and zucchini carpaccio and loup de mer ceviche.
Insider tip: Bringing back the concept of a bar cart, after dinner drinks are serious business here. Stocked with unusual amaros and grappas, guests can choose single pours or flights to round out their meals.
Must-order: Chef Benjamin Moore's seasonal produce, a shareable chicken for two with lemon lavender juice and fluke with muscat grapes and verjus
Insider tip: Moore is tapping nearby Franklin Fountain for all of his ice cream needs, meaning that a warmly spiced cardamom pound cake is coming with a scoop of old timey butter pecan.
Must-order: Build your own meal with à la carte plates like Berkshire lechon, duck breast adobo and pancit noodles with prawns
Insider tip: On Sundays, Perla hosts a more informal, family-style dinner called kamayan, where you can dig into meals laid out on bright-green banana leaves.
Must-order: 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.
Must-order: Real-deal izakaya fare that includes everything from adventurous plates like natto and monkfish liver to more familiar Japanese go-tos, like karaage chicken wings and grilled yakitori skewers
Insider tip: Late-night diners will be thrilled to know that the kitchen here is open until 1 AM every day of the week, serving until last call.