New & Hot Places

The 10 Hottest New Restaurants in Philadelphia

Summer openings came fast and hard this season, leaving the city with plenty of new dining options, including everything from reimagined throwback fare to British pies and vegan takes on Latin eats. Here's a look at what's hot this season in Philly.

  • Whetstone Tavern
    • New
    • American
    • Queen Village
    The crew from Brauhaus Schmitz sheds its bier-hall ambitions in favor of classy brasserie looks at this American eatery set on a Queen Village corner. Aimed at the neighborhood, the menu updates the classics and backs them with 15 beers on tap as well as decent lists of wines and brown liquors.

    Must-Order: Chinese takeout-inspired kung pao wings ($8/$14) and Passyunk pork ($24) are two great examples of chef Jeremy Nolan's riffs on classic Americana.

    Insider Tip: The cocktail and beer list here are great, but wines, selected by Philly somm Marnie Old, are worth serious consideration too. 

  • Bud & Marilyn's
    • New
    • Washington Square West
    Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran (Barbuzzo, Jamonera, Lolita, Little Nonna's) have ventured to the heartland of Wisconsin (Turney's hometown) for inspiration for this retro American, set on a corner in Washington Square West. Kitschy atmospherics play off the menu of updated (but solid) classics and throwback rec-room vibe at the bar.

    Must-Order: Can't recall the last time you had a pupu platter ($26)? The elevated version of this throwback app comes with tuna poke, tamarind-peanut spareribs and spicy glazed wings.

    Insider Tip: Same goes for Funfetti cake ($8) — here it's topped with buttercream and a strawberry milk crumble.

  • Stargazy
    • New
    • British
    • East Passyunk Crossing
    Chef Sam Jacobson harks back to his London roots with this humble East Passyunk storefront, serving savory pies and mash (including meat versions with jellied and stewed eels), homemade breads and British sweets such as sticky toffee pudding. Though it's mostly takeaway, the occupants of the few tables can catch football on the telly and free tea.

    Must-Order: British-style pies and mash are the go-tos here. Go with the classic beef and onion ($8) served with parsley liquor. 

    Insider Tip: Pie fillings change on a daily basis depending on what chef Sam Jacobson gets from local purveyors, so check the specials board.

  • South Philly Barbacoa
    • New
    • Mexican
    • East Passyunk Crossing
    The former Mexican sidewalk cart run by husband-and-wife team Ben Miller and Cristina Martinez is now reincarnated as a modest South Philly dining room – the better to dispense their signature slow-cooked lamb, pancita and consommé. It's open weekends only from 5 AM to catch the early birds and local shift workers.

    Must-Order: The menu at this Friday, Saturday and Sunday-only operation is simple: lamb tacos ($4) and lamb stock consommé ($4) with rice and garbanzos, so ordering is easy. The selection of fresh fruit aquas frescas rotates but the horchata is the best in town.

    Insider Tip: Occasionally chef Cristina Martinez switches it up with specials like tortas and cakes. Follow them on Instagram to stay in the loop.

  • Big Gay Ice Cream
    • Ice Cream Shop
    • Washington Square West
    Philly's gayborhood, off the Avenue of the Arts, is the setting for a colorful branch of the NYC shop whose wild flavor combinations of soft-serve ice cream in cones, like the specialty Bea Arthur (dulce de leche, crushed Nilla wafers), cups and shakes provide cold comfort to celebs and common folk. There's no seating, but if you need atmosphere and/or a diversion, take a walk straight down South Street.

    Must-Order: Despite the the name, the Salty Pimp, made with vanilla soft-serve, dulce de leche, sea salt and a chocolate shell, is a pretty sweet treat. 

    Insider Tip: Chocolate and caramel are well suited to ice cream, but with the all of the elements of Key lime pie (hello, graham cracker swirl!) in play, the Mermaid just feels like straight-up summertime. 

  • Same Same
    • Vietnamese
    • Northern Liberties
    A chef from suburban Philly who lived in Vietnam for six years has returned home with this Northern Liberties BYO spot specializing in street food, mainly created from locally sourced ingredients (banh mi and bun in particular). The spartan but bustling atmosphere (complete with open kitchen) features counter seating, which allows for chats with the staff.

    Must-Order: Fast-casual Vietnamese here comes in the form of lettuce wraps ($1), noodle bowls ($9.50) and banh mi ($9.50) with options like pho-spiced pork confit, grilled king mushrooms and lemongrass chicken.

    Insider Tip: Thuy’s Style Chicken Salad ($9) has been a critical darling since day one.

  • Bar Bombón
    • New
    • Vegan
    • Rittenhouse Square
    Latin flavors, such as arepas, tacos and empanadas, get the trendy vegan treatment at Nicole Marquis’s snug, sultry cocktail-bar spin-off of HipCityVeg and Charlie was a sinner on a Rittenhouse corner. A take-out window dispenses coffee, cold-pressed fresh juices and light fare by day.

    Must-Order: Meatless Latin fare like arroz con pollo ($6) and arepas with vegan chorizo ($10) highlight chef Nicole Marquis' dedication to serving plant-based fare to  Philly.

    Insider Tip: Cold-pressed juices plus a fully stocked bar make for some serious cocktail options; be sure to get there early for a drink before lunch or dinner.

  • helm
    • New American
    • Olde Kensington
    Two well-traveled local chefs share the stove at this BYO spot set in a storefront in North Philly (but close to Northern Liberties), serving an ever-changing selection of contemporary American dishes made from locally sourced ingredients, all listed on a blackboard menu. The small, rustic digs also feature another draw: a vinyl collection, with tunes spun in the dining room.

    Must-Order: Rhode Island squid ($12), leeks (goat yogurt, Tewksbury cheese; $10).

    Insider Tip: Have a favorite vinyl album you’d like to listen to during dinner? Bring it along and the proprietors might play it on their dining-room turntable.

  • Scratch Biscuits
    • New
    • Sandwich Shop
    • Washington Square West
    Mitch Prensky's longtime specialty – biscuits – forms the basis of the creative takes on breakfast and lunch sandwiches at this simple Washington Square West quick-serve, catering to office workers who snarf at cafe tables or retreat to their desks. In a twist, he sells chicken biscuits out of the back door (on Drury Street) from 11 PM–1 AM Fridays and Saturdays.

    Must-Order: Chef Mitch Prensky's biscuits recently got a permanent home. Morning biscuits like the PA Dutchman ($8) with apple butter and sausage are on offer as well as lunch, dinner and late-night sandwiches like the Kentucky Klassic ($8.50) with Benton's country ham and pimento cheese.

    Insider Tip: Gluten-free folks can get their biscuit fix here too.

  • Tired Hands Fermentaria
    • American
    • Ardmore
    Ardmore's Tired Hands Brewing Company has converted a nearby turn-of-the-20th-century trolley repair shop off Lancaster Avenue into a vast brewpub where 10 house beers pair up with an American menu including tacos, salads and house-smoked fish. The industrial look extends throughout and includes skylights punched into the roof.

    Must-Order: Tacos are the mainstay of the menu here, and the vegetarian versions really shine, particularly the crispy maitake and chile-braised eggplant ($9).

    Insider Tip: There are plenty of beers to sample here but if you're looking for a few more, the original location is just a short walk away and features an entirely different draft list. 

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