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Releases: Expanded View

Sep 23 2016

Fall For Philly Restaurants

Autumn’s New Eats Include A Modern Spin On Filipino Fare, Philly Fried Chicken, Hawaiian Poke & Much More

It’s official: Two of Philly’s recent openings—Wm. Mulherin’s Sons and South Philly Barbacoa—made Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurants list, marking 2016 as a banner year for the local restaurant scene. There’s more yet to come this fall, with a thrilling lineup of globally inspired newcomers, including Philly’s first poke shop (Poke Bowl), a boldly imaginative taqueria (Mission), Filipino fine dining (Perla) and Latin American street food (La Mula Terca). Here are just a few highlights for the season’s must-try list:

Center City East:

  • Taking up residence in a cozy dining room near Washington Square, Aroma luxuriates in a white tablecloth bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) experience. The contemporary Italian fare, served for lunch and dinner, includes grilled octopus with fennel over ceci beans; mascarpone gnocchi with lobster; and grilled baby lamb chops with rosemary. 1120 Pine Street, (267) 314-5315
  • With 2015’s move to more spacious flagship digs in Queen Village, Konstantinos Pistillides revamps his original Kanella restaurant space for a new concept. All-day Kanella Grill fires up kebabs (pork, chicken, siefpaila sausage) with an assortment of fresh Cypriot salads, to be followed by coffee frappes, baklava or galaktoboureko (custard in filo). 1001 Spruce Street, (267) 928-2085
  • There’s no understating the pleasure of sipping on vibrantly colored cocktails amid thatched roofs and bamboo walls. Midtown Village cocktail bar Tiki serves up rum and fresh fruit drinks galore, plus Asian-inspired snacks such as sweet and sour pork dumplings, king oyster mushroom bao buns and satay. 102 S. 13th Street, (215) 309-3435,

Center City West

  • Popular eateries Valanni, Mercato and Varga Bar now have a younger sibling in Butcher Bar. The meat-focused menu tempts carnivores with Sloppy Joe poutine, four kinds of meatballs and smoked wild boar ribs, along with 16 beers and six wines on tap. 2034 Chestnut Street, (215) 563-MEAT,
  • A neighborhood bistro with an elegant touch, Lou Bird’s finds the balance between approachable and interesting. Ingenuity finds its way into edibles like roasted potato and duck confit pierogi, Pekin poussin over buckwheat waffle and oat sponge cake with honey and chamomile ice cream. 500 S. 20th Street, (267) 804-7977,
  • The team behind Sansom Street Oyster House opened Mission upstairs. The cheerful, sunlit taqueria freshly remixes Mexican classics with results like the green juice margarita, lamb barbacoa with quinoa tabouleh, and braised goat tacos with feta and black currants.
    1516 Sansom Street, (215) 383-1200,
  • Kati rolls rule at Spice End, an Indian street food specialist. Warm flatbreads can be stuffed with a variety of curried meats, cheeses and vegetables served alongside dipping sauces. 2004 Chestnut Street, (267) 639-9405,

Chestnut Hill/East Falls/Manayunk

  • Manayunk favorite Chabaa Thai reopens with a new market/fast-casual concept next door. Binto turns out a menu of light Asian snacks (shumai, banh mi, noodles and mix and match salads) while selling owner Krapugthong’s signature line of curry pastes, sauces and dressings. Chabba Thai, 4343 Main Street, (215) 483-1979,; Binto Market, 4345 Main Street, (267) 297-8764,
  • In Riva’s mastermind Arthur Cavaliere introduces his new classic “Philly style” fried chicken at Foghorn. The proprietary recipe can be enjoyed in full or half birds with choice of sauce, or as a chicken sandwich on a potato roll. 4213 Ridge Avenue, (267) 335-3061,
  • The owners of Maya.J go for a double shot in Manayunk with Gigi Italian Bistro. The laidback, intimate BYOB honors nonnas everywhere with fra diavolo linguine, chicken parmigiana and pepperoni pizza. 4357 Main Street, (267) 323-2899,

The River Wards

  • A neighborhood bar with a nautical theme, Bait & Switch emphasizes seafood and signature cocktails. That means clam strips; surf and turf with fish cake; sausage, fish and chips—and Key lime pie, not to mention four different kinds of punch. 2537 E. Somerset Street, (267) 639-5041,
  • The concept took off in South Philly and now Garage North shares the indoor playground idea with Fishtown. In addition to 400 beers, whiskey, pool tables and skeeball, the Girard Avenue location serves food cooked up by esteemed chefs who rotate through the kitchen. 100 E. Girard Avenue, (215) 551-3136,
  • The home of Stateside Vodka, Federal Distilling Room invites tasters in to sample the wares. The focus is the full menu of signature cocktails incorporating the house spirit, along with beer, wine and hearty fare such as chili and cheese hot dogs or a roast beef sandwich with au jus and hot pepper spread. 1700 N. Hancock Street, (215) 425-4200,
  • Poke—the Hawaiian snack of marinated fish over rice—is having something of a moment. Northern Liberties’ Poke Bowl delivers the health-conscious goods with a build-your-own menu of fish, sauces and seasonings. 958 N. 2nd Street, (267) 319-9943
  • All-day eaters can find nourishment at Talia’s Mediterranean Grille. In the morning, the fare favors bagels and spreads, while the lunch and dinner menu includes such specialties as kofta kabob, chicken scampi and baklava. 122 W. Girard Avenue, (215) 413-9737,

South Philadelphia:

  • Point Breeze food continues to flourish with the arrival of La Mula Terca. The pan-Latin street fare encompasses hanger steak with grilled cactus, chicken pinchos, churrasco and Mexican lime water ice. 2053 S. Beechwood Street, (267) 761-5194
  • A homage to Frida Kahlo, Frida Cantina honors the artist’s singular spirit with brightly painted walls and a festive atmosphere. Traditional Mexican eats such as huitlacoche quesadillas, lamb barbacoa and chile relleno can be mixed and matched with selections from the expansive tequila and mezcal list. 1000 Wolf Street, (215) 462-1030
  • It’s a family affair when two Jose Garces alumni (Juan Lopez and Mallory Fix Lopez) join up with siblings to launch corner BYOB On Point in Point Breeze. The cozy daytime spot offers clever brunches of breakfast burgers and breakfast nachos, French toast made with Essen Bakery’s challah, Mexican Caesar salads and Philly cheesesteak omelets. 1200 Point Breeze Avenue, (267) 639-3318,
  • New to East Passyunk Avenue’s restaurant row, the eagerly awaited Perla promises an original dining experience. Drawing inspiration from his native Filipino cuisine, Chef Lou Boquila serves up an a la carte menu of dishes like octopus escabeche, duck breast adobo and coconut panna cotta. 1535 S. 11th Street, (267) 273-0008,

Suburban Openings:

  • Conshohocken Brewing Company expands its reach with the Bridgeport Brewpub. The bi-level restaurant and small-batch brewery serves fried cheese curds, wagyu/pork belly burgers and apple pie bread pudding to soak up the beer. 3 DeKalb Street, Bridgeport, (610) 239-5999,
  • Mall shoppers no longer have to settle for soft pretzels: Savor King of Prussia, the mall’s brand-new food court guarantees a luxe (but still quick-service) experience. Purveyors include Melt Shop, Hai Street Kitchen, Shake Shack, with outposts of The Fat Ham, Sweetgreen and Nicoletta. 160 N. Gulph Road, King of Prussia,
  • Media marks the second location of Shanghai food specialist Tom’s Dim Sum. The soup dumplings garner raves, but the buns, scallion pancakes and noodle dishes have their own loyal fan bases. 13 E. State Street, Media, (610) 566-6688,

Coming Soon:

  • Prolific chef-restaurateur Jose Garces will debut a health-conscious wood-fire grill called 24 at his company’s headquarters at 2401 Walnut Street.
  • Carefully composed modern American fare will populate the menu At the Table when owners Tara Buzan and Alex Hardy launch their Wayne BYOB.
  • Because Philly can’t get enough bottle shops or banh mi, Banh Mi and Bottles is sure to be a hit on the edge of Bella Vista.
  • The folks behind Washington Square West’s Chix & Wings plan Chix & Bowls for 20th Street, offering their famous chicken—Korean fried, teriyaki or spicy garlic—on rice bowls or salads.
  • Sours, ciders and wild ales will accompany wood-fired pizzas, mussels and more at Cinder, the first west-of-Broad Street venture from the people behind Bru Craft & Wurst and U-Bahn.
  • Broad and South Streets will be home to the new City Diner.
  • One of a handful of new hangouts for Washington Square West, Destination Dogs serves arcade games and multiple bars with its international sausage menu.
  • Drexel University and Vetri restaurants have partnered on pay-what-you-can-afford EAT Cafe, which stands for “everyone at the table,” in West Philadelphia.
  • Like his 2016 opening Double Knot, Michael Schulson’s Harp & Crown will encompass multiple levels and concepts—this time with a speakeasy bar, restaurant and bowling lanes.
  • Passyunk Avenue’s restaurant scene gets more global with Heart of Lebanon, which plans to serve kebabs, dips and lamb shanks with a side of belly dancing.
  • Princeton’s elegant Mistral adds more upmarket eating options to the King of Prussia complex, with inventive small plates and a seasonal focus.
  • Ceviche and crudo plates will be the focus at Rarest, an American raw bar from chef Anthony Marini at the Franklin.
  • An all-day cafe soon to be launched in Rittenhouse, Res Ipsa represents the joint work of the owners of Stock and ReAnimator Coffee.
  • A mere 16 seats will fill Italian contemporary Restaurant Ambra, a Queen Village project that belongs to the folks behind nearby Southwark and pays homage to its Fabric Row address.
  • Embedded into forthcoming bowling alley and entertainment complex Revolutions will be two nationally based food and beverage concepts: Burger & Beer Joint and Flair Street, a bar staffed by tricky mixologists.
  • South Philly’s Queen Village will receive its long-awaited Royal Sushi & Izayaka soon, a project from the people behind the popular Royal Tavern, Triangle Tavern and Khyber Pass Pub.
  • Elegant Italian cookery and refined service wins New York’s Scarpetta endless accolades, and now the restaurant will be opening an outpost in the Rittenhouse Hotel.
  • The visionaries behind Standard Tap and Johnny Brenda’s take on a third gastropub with Shenanigan’s Saloon in Kensington, which promises to celebrate local distilleries and their products.
  • Shoo Fry promises to be one of two new poutine shops, this one in the Rittenhouse neighborhood, with smothered fries, milkshakes and sliders.
  • Popular pizzeria SLICE Pizza goes organic with a new location in Fishtown.
  • Smoke’s Poutinerie plans to travel from its Quebec base to South Street, bringing classic to crazy versions of French Canada’s smothered specialty with it.
  • The team behind Old City’s Mac’s Tavern will fancy up their comfortable, casual bar concept when they open The James, in the shadow of the in-construction Comcast Tower.
  • The Rittenhouse neighborhood awaits a modern Indian bar and restaurant with a focus on classic vegetarian dishes in Veda.
  • Old City awaits the opening of BYOB Wister by former Lacroix sous chef Benjamin Moore and featuring elegant, seasonal preparations with a focus on fish.

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, and, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

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Despite decades of popularity and expansion, one quintessential Philadelphia dining phenomenon continues to fly deliciously under the radar. It’s the BYOB, the bring-your-own-bottle restaurant—BYO, for short. Typically independently owned and operated, Philly’s BYOBs number into the three hundreds. Diners find them on dozens of corners in Center City, along avenues of renewed urban neighborhoods and tucked down rural roads. It’s a curious trend with an interesting backstory—and an even more interesting present.

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What Is A BYOB?:
A BYOB restaurant allows patrons to