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A Guide To Group Dining In Philadelphia
Dinner just tastes better when everyone’s together, and this is especially true in Philadelphia, where the concept of Brotherly Love extends across the table. For breaking bread with family, friends or both, a restaurant that’s both physically and conceptually designed to handle a big, hungry bunch is an invaluable find. Here’s a diverse selection of Philadelphia’s top group dining options, including casual spots to pop in with a party of 10 (and more upscale destinations where foodies book big tables in advance), bistros with prix-fixe menus and/or BYOB (bring-your-own-bottle) policies that take the worry out of splitting the bill, to...
25 Things To Know About Philly's Food Scene
Philadelphia food is so much more than the cheesesteak and the soft pretzel, or even scrapple, or roast pork sandwiches. It’s also amazing vegan fare, quirky BYOB (bring-your-own-bottle) restaurants, world-class craft local beer, emerging distillery scene, or chef-driven concepts and passion projects. Philly’s food scene is about neighborhoods that grow with their restaurants. And competing chefs who work together. It’s about sourcing ingredients from the region’s farms and giving casual dining its due. It’s about embracing delicious diversity.
Here is a primer of 25 lesser-known components of Philly’s lush and luscious food scene:
- Richly Rewarding Food Shed:
The BYOB Restaurant: A Philly Phenomenon
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.
Here’s a short explanation of how the BYOB scene came to be—and advice on navigating the landscape.
What Is A BYOB?:
A BYOB restaurant allows patrons to
Poke Makes A Splash In The Home Of The Soft Pretzel
The Hawaiian poké craze has hit Philly in a major way, and no wonder: Raw fish over rice with vegetables, sauce and assorted fun toppings makes for a healthy and satisfying meal. While Japanese sashimi and Italian crudo continue to be widely popular, restaurant goers are also enthusiastically embracing fresh seafood in many new (to the region) ways, whether it’s a traditional dish of Philippino kinilaw or a completely unorthodox Mexican-Japanese mashup tuna taco.
Here are just some of the delicious ways to experience uncooked fish in Philly:
- Bubble tea meets sushi at the aptly named Bubblefish. The
When It Comes To Vegan Dining, The Home Of The Cheesesteak Proudly Vedges Out
It’s a curious thing that a city so renowned for its cheesesteaks and roast pork sandwiches could also foster one of the nation’s most robust vegan food scenes. Upscale diners can find delight in the shared plates at Vedge or the coursed and the home-style elegance of Miss Rachel’s Pantry, while those seeking a quick bite can swing by Blackbird Pizza for fare that is more traditionally Philadelphian. Factor in some coffee shops, bars and even a diner, and vegan eaters will see—and taste—that the city’s offerings have something for every palate, day or night.
Here’s a look at some
Fall For Philly Restaurants
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
Philly Pizza Pleases Every Palate
Philadelphia’s gained some serious pizza cred in recent years. Not only is this city home to a pizza museum and restaurant (Pizza Brain), an artisan pizza truck (Pitruco) and, according to Bon Appétit, America’s very best pizza (Pizzeria Beddia), but it’s also a proving ground for the idea that this traditional food can be reinvented in infinite ways. Whether it’s a straightforward but studious Neapolitan round, a floppy tri-corner slice with cheese to spare or a newfangled pie laden with unexpected but carefully sourced ingredients, there is absolutely a pizza for every eater’s predilection. Here’s...
Many Philly-Area Eateries Make Vegans, Vegetarians & Gluten-Free Diners Feel Right At Home
There’s no doubt that Americans are increasingly health conscious. Current studies, including the Vegetarian Resource Group’s Harris Poll, suggest that there are now some eight million vegetarians in the United States and one million vegans. Veg-loving visitors to Philly have plenty of options from which to choose, from upscale white tablecloth restaurants offering inventive vegetable creations to casual spots serving raw foods. There’s also plenty of great gluten-free goodies.
Here are some health-minded eateries worth checking out:
- Vegetable lovers head to Bucks County, where Mike Jackson’s Blue Sage Vegetarian Grille turns out creative, big-portioned vegetarian food (no
What's In the Callowhill Neighborhood?
Dubbed the “Loft District” by real estate developers and “The Eraser ’Hood” by locals referencing the once-dark landscape that inspired former resident David Lynch’s cult classic Eraserhead, Callowhill is something in between these two extremes. The stylish-yet-still-transforming neighborhood attracts both young professionals who enjoy its high-end condos and close proximity to Center City and artists looking for affordable-yet-expansive studio and gallery spaces. It’s a formerly industrial neighborhood that charms with a rich stock of large, urban buildings, remnants of cobblestone streets, edgy rock clubs, emerging galleries and the kind of hidden cultural gems that intrigue visitors and residents alike.
Vegan Paradise: Philly Leads The Way For Meatless Eating And Sustainable Living
Ever since Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby’s nationally lauded restaurant Vedge opened in 2011, Philadelphia has been a true destination for vegans with standards. Many of the region’s most popular vegan eateries are direct descendants of Landau and Jacoby’s kitchens. The scene continues to bubble over with great ideas, interesting concepts, excellent locally made products and an ongoing mission to make the lifestyle actually livable.
Here are just a few of Philadelphia’s vegan treasures:
Fine Plant-Based Dining:
- A forerunner to today’s hip vegan joints, Blue Sage Vegetarian Grille cooks up plant-forward fare in Bucks County. While many dishes have
Passion For The Pie: Philly's Pizza Secrets Revealed
Philadelphia’s gained some serious pizza cred in recent years. The city is home to a pizza museum, artisan pizza trucks and, according to Bon Appétit, America’s very best pizza. And since it’s Philly, many of the pie purveyors embrace unusual techniques and quirky “rules” that make each pizza experience different.
These pizzerias are just a few of the names that have helped the Philadelphia region earn a rep for travel-worthy pizza.
Twist On Classic Pies And Pizzerias:
- Neapolitan pizza is more than a hobby in Italy—it’s the law. Chef Joe Cicala of Le Virtù earned the right to make
Veg Out: Many Philly-Area Eateries Make Vegans, Vegetarians & Gluten-Free Diners Feel Right At Home
Over the past decade, the number of vegetarians in the U.S. has increased from about one in 100 to nearly one in 30, according to polls from the Vegetarian Resource Group and the Vegetarian Times. Veg-loving visitors to Philly have plenty of options from which to choose—upscale white tablecloth restaurants dishing out inventive vegetable creations to casual spots serving up raw foods and gluten-free dishes. Here are some spots worth checking out:
- Vegetable lovers head to Bucks County, where Mike Jackson’s Blue Sage Vegetarian Grille turns out creative, big-portioned vegetarian food (no meat substitutes) in a cozy,
African Fare Awakens Philadelphia's Palate
The growing popularity of culinary and travel shows have inspired Americans to explore the countries of their ancestral heritage and the cultural traditions of their neighbors. Philadelphia and The Countryside™ adds to this global sense of community with a number of pan-African restaurants, enabling epicureans to use their plate as a passport to dine across the Diaspora. Here’s a look:
- A local institution, Abyssinia is a hit with vegetarians and the meat-eaters in their lives. Authentic Eritrean/Ethiopian preparations of lentils, beans, chicken, beef and lamb dishes wonderfully mix and match with the bar’s assortment of beers.
What's Trending In Philadelphia's Dining Scene In 2014?
The freshest new flavors in Philly’s restaurant scene in 2014? Market culture, replete with artisan goods, eat-in cafes and exclusive dinners at communal tables, for starters. In a town that owns Italian cooking, French cuisine resurges with more chefs turning to classic techniques and traditions. Jewish food in all of its international variations continues to be reinvented in exciting new ways. Meanwhile, the juice bar may well be the new coffee bar, and home-style desserts trump cupcakes. Here’s a look at some trends to watch in 2014:
Philadelphians love high-quality, high-end ingredients, and an emerging crop of
What's New & Notable In Philly's Restaurant Scene This Winter?
Philadelphia welcomes 2013 with a host of new and notable restaurants and bars. The big trends this winter? Italian cuisine and pizza, cocktails and coffee, and existing restaurants updated with new looks and concepts. From neo-Southern cuisine in Conshohocken to a Fishtown pizzeria from a local expert—along with a slew of new openings coming this spring—Philly’s kitchens runneth over. Here’s a look at some of the exciting flavors worth sampling now:
Tasty New Openings:
- Zahav’s Michael Solomonov enters the Main Line dining scene with the upscale glatt kosher restaurant Citron and Rose, where the delicacies include mushroom knishes with