New & Hot Places

Hottest Restaurants in Philadelphia

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.

Cinder

NewRittenhouse Square
A gleaming copper pipe draft system and bustling open kitchen illuminate this buzzy Center City bar and grill specializing in natural ciders and sour beers. Chef Jonathan Petruce mans a custom-built brick oven, firing pizzas with creative toppings, including lamb sausage and charred shishito peppers, accompanied by dishes like mussels steamed in Pilsner and sharable cheese and charcuterie boards.

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.

Banh Mi and Bottles

NewVietnameseBella Vista
One half of this South Street hybrid is a craft beer grab-and-go shop, and the other a moodily lit hangout for Vietnamese street food and cocktails. Scratch-made drinks and a distinguished draft list complement elegant takes on Southeast Asian fare including sticky tamarind wings, pho-spiced brisket banh mi and fluffy lemongrass fried rice.

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.

24 Wood Fired Fare

NewItalianRittenhouse Square
Jose Garces' foray into Italian-leaning, wood-fired fare comes with sweeping Schuylkill views from a large Center City space on the ground floor of his company's headquarters, with a test kitchen next door. Pizzas, pastas and sharable antipasti make up an all-day menu that caters to the lunchtime crowd and transitions into dinner with an appealing aperitivo hour.

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.

Friday Saturday Sunday

NewAmericanRittenhouse Square
The iconic Rittenhouse corner standby is reborn following a change of ownership and a swank makeover, with a bright marble bar on the ground floor and a chic dining room upstairs. Chef Chad Williams, a Jose Garces alum, helms the kitchen, serving elegant New American fare ranging from seafood plateaus and tartares to inventive pastas and mains, all paired with expertly crafted cocktails and well-chosen wines.

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.

Harp & Crown

NewRittenhouse Square
The "cool atmosphere" entices fans to "come back" to chef Michael Schulson's Sansom Street New American, where the "unique", "gorgeous" surrounds include a "rustic" dining room with vintage wallpaper and chandeliers on the ground floor and a semi-speakeasy bowling alley and bar in the basement; the diverse menu features everything from "tapas-style" snacks to hanger steak, and "excellent" cocktails further ensure a "great time."

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.

Rarest

NewAmericanWashington Square West
Anthony Marini, second-season winner of CNBC’s 'Restaurant Startup', takes the concept of a raw bar to the next level at his American eatery in The Franklin, serving heat-free fare like crudos, tartares and ceviches, plus raw cheeses, cured meats and a few traditionally cooked plates. Caramel-colored banquettes add warmth to the bright corner space, while a bar cart carrying after-dinner drinks adds an interactive element.

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.

Wister BYOB

NewNew AmericanOld City
A dimly lit brick-lined dining room accented with ironwork and Edison bulbs sets the stage at this New American BYO in Old City. Focusing on seafood and seasonal produce, the menu of firsts and seconds like zucchini with clams, marjoram and rye, and fluke with muscat grapes and fennel, is designed to change frequently, keeping even regular diners on their toes.

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.

Perla

FilipinoPassyunk Square
Set in a rehabbed East Passyunk row home with fountain views, this "modern" Filipino BYO rolls out a compact menu of "delicious" dishes that "take artistic liberties" with "traditional" recipes by showcasing seasonal ingredients and "impeccable" presentation; the "cozy" surrounds are tended by a "friendly" staff and a BYOB policy keeps tabs in check.

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.

ITV

New AmericanEast Passyunk Crossing
Chef Nicholas Elmi helms this "pretty" wine-and-cocktail bar next to Laurel, his East Passyunk Avenue flagship, featuring a concise, French-accented menu of shareable New American plates that are "inspired and fun"; classic cocktail variations and a well-sourced vino list round out the offerings in the sleek brick-and-dark-wood digs.

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.

Royal Sushi & Izakaya

NewJapaneseQueen Village
The Royal Tavern team introduces the izakaya to Queen Village with this moodily lit hangout where chef Jesse Ito's "delicious" Japanese pub snacks and "melt-in-your-mouth, sumptuous" sushi pair with sake, shochu, Japanese craft beer and whiskey; cozy wooden alcoves and flickering candles lend atmosphere in the "nicely designed" space, and "attentive" service and "reasonable prices" seal the deal.

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. 

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