New & Hot Places

Hottest Restaurants in Philadelphia

Early fall has welcomed jewel box tasting menu destinations, a couple of long-awaited projects from familiar names and some instant neighborhood classics. Whether you're in the market for a new happy-hour hang, a taste of chef-driven Filipino fare or a dimly lit den of Japanese dining, here's a look at the hottest tables in town.


AmericanRittenhouse Square
“Business lunchers” and “smartly dressed happy-hour patrons“ “bank on" this “classy” American bistro in the “historic” lobby of the Ritz-Carlton, where the “charged atmosphere” crackles beneath the former Girard Trust’s 14-story rotunda; while some find the fare just “ok” and gripe about portions “sized for size-zero models”, many deem it a "fabulous place to be."

Must-order: At this glitzy hotel restaurant and bar the usual seafood plateau suspects of shrimp, oysters, clams and lobster are accompanied by a selection of ceviches, kicky Peruvian cocktail sauce and a charred tomatillo mignonette.

Insider tip: Aqimero’s bar has a solid lineup of sushi and ceviche, plus a wide range of mezcal, making it a choice spot to learn the finer points of each pour.

Butcher Bar

NewItalianRittenhouse Square
Brown spirits, bourbon and all manner of meat – including housemade sausages, wood-fired proteins, meatballs and sharable feasts – keep carnivores happy at this Rittenhouse eatery from the team behind Mercato, Varga Bar and Valanni. The hip, butcher shop–themed space is enlivened with gleaming white subway tiles and exposed brick walls, a mezzanine and accents like cleavers and meat hooks.

Must-order: The kitchen here has a sense of humor, meaning you'll find all sorts of fun takes on bar bites: sour cream and onion wings, pretzel monkey bread with cheese sauce and sloppy joe poutine.

Insider tip: Vegetarians might be thrown by the name of this newcomer, but with options like wood-fired cauliflower steaks, eggplant parm sandwiches with burrata and Gouda mac 'n' cheese, meat-free folks have plenty to get excited about. 

Kanella Grill

NewMediterraneanWashington Square West
Chef Konstantinos Pitsillides reinvents his original blue-and-white corner location as a casual BYO kebab shop. The Greek menu features expertly seasoned skewers, pita sandwiches and satisfying platters served with house-cut fries, salad and Greek yogurt.

Must-order: A streamlined selection of Cypriot platters, kebabs and salads make this sunny spot a lovely addition to the neighborhood. Don’t sleep on the drinks list; you’ll find everything from frothy coffee frappes to fresh almond milk and pressed apricot juice.

Insider tip: This is an ideal place to take advantage of Philly’s fondness for BYOB. The menu lends itself to grazing, so working your way through multiple courses and bottles is an ideal (and affordable) way to dine.


NewNew AmericanEast Passyunk Crossing
Chef Nicholas Elmi stations this intimate wine-and-cocktail bar next to Laurel, his East Passyunk Avenue flagship, offering a concise, French-accented menu of sharable New American plates. Classic cocktail variations and a well-sourced vino list are also served in the sleek 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.

Lou Bird's

NewNew AmericanRittenhouse Square
Exposed brick walls, reclaimed wood accents and warm lighting lend intimacy to this Rittenhouse Square New American bistro from the owners of The Happy Rooster. A well-stocked bar invites a hearty happy-hour crowd while the kitchen turns out seasonal comfort fare executed with refined technique and a playful palate.

Must-order: Creative starters are the stars of the show at this Graduate Hospital corner. Highlights include a miniature take on chicken and waffles that comes by way of poussin with scallion and soy syrup over buckwheat waffles. And don't miss the petite duck confit–filled pierogies.

Insider tip: The drinks here are hardly an afterthought. With a solid lineup of cocktails, eclectic wine and beer menus, Lou Bird’s has some serious potential for happy hour and late-night libations.

Mission Taqueria

NewMexicanRittenhouse Square
The Oyster House crew takes over the second-floor space of their Sansom Street flagship, converting it into a lively Mexican taqueria offering out-of-the-box small plates and shareables, plus a wide range of drinks including fresh-pressed juices, housemade aguas frescas and cocktails on tap. Skylights, neon accents, picnic-style tables and foosball set the casual stage.

Must-order: The whole menu here is a filled with playful takes on Mexican classics, but if you’re coming in with a crowd, check out the trio of platos grande, large-format sharable dishes like Middle Eastern–accented lamb barbacoa, mariscos Veracuzana or bright red cochonita pibil.

Insider tip: Just like its downstairs neighbor, Oyster House, Mission does happy hour right — think cervezas and tacos for $3 and house margs for $6. 


NewFilipinoPassyunk Square
Set in a rehabbed East Passyunk row home with fountain views, this modern Filipino BYO rolls out a compact, creative menu that merges traditional recipes with locally sourced ingredients and elegant techniques.

Must-order: Philadelphia’s first foray into modern Filipino cuisine quickly made its way from a tasting menu only–model to a more approachable à la carte experience. Now you can build your own meal with 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.

Scarpetta Philadelphia

NewItalianRittenhouse Square
Taking over prime real estate in the Rittenhouse Hotel that formerly housed Smith & Wollensky, this upscale offshoot of the NYC-based Italian now boasts a slick, bilevel bar and lounge on the first floor and modern dining room on the second. The menu offers a rich selection of housemade pastas, including its signature spaghetti with tomato and basil, plus mains like dry-aged ribeye and halibut, and creative crudos

Must-order: A deceptively simple dish of spaghetti with tomato-basil sauce is Scarpetta’s signature. Really, though, all of the handmade pastas here are glorious.

Insider tip: Each outpost of this high-end Italian mini-chain has a handful of its own dishes. Here in Philly, that means fresh ceviches, including yellowtail with ginger oil and fluke with sunchokes and citrus.

Restaurant Ambra

NewItalianQueen 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.

Must-order: With a four-course, $65 prix fixe, the seasonal menu offers two choices for each section of the meal. Fall means squid-ink spaghetti with oyster cream, hand-pulled burrata with flowering herbs and a lamb breast with hazelnut caponata.

Insider tip: Sixteen seats and brief abbreviated (Thursday–Sunday) hours means that snagging a table here isn’t easy. Your best bet? Book in advance!

Royal Sushi & Izakaya

NewJapaneseQueen Village
Nearly six years in the making, this moodily lit Japanese pub from the Cantina, Royal Tavern and Khyber team lands in Queen Village, setting up shop in an atmospheric room with cozy wooden alcoves, flickering candles and a separate chefs’ sushi counter in the back dining room. Chef Jesse Ito is in the kitchen perfecting a menu of izakaya snacks best enjoyed with sake, shochu, Japanese craft beer and/or whiskey.

Must-order: Real-deal izakaya fare means that curious Philadelphians now have access to a menu 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. 

You’re missing out

The Zagat app helps you find the best places, faster.

No thanksInstall