Revel & Motion's Guide: Eating in Philadelphia
Updated: Dec 14, 2021
If you know me, you know I liveeee for giving recommendations to people. Looking for a fun bar to dance at? I got you. Inquiring about a good spot for happy hour? I have a detailed list for you. Recently, I had a first timer to the City of Brotherly Love visit me and I took him on a whirlwind food tour. Giving people my (un)solicited recommendations just makes me happy.
I have frequently gotten DMs about restaurant/bar recommendations in the city and finally have compiled a guide to eating your way through Philadelphia. Pssttt there's much more than just cheesesteaks here. Enjoy!
Breakfast & Brunch:
Reading Terminal Market - in my opinion, this is the highlight of the Philadelphia food scene because there's something for everyone here. 70+ merchants call this historic public market in Center City home & it's open seven days a week. It's an absolute must if you're visiting Philly! My favorite merchants at the market are: Beiler's Bakery (amazing donuts), DiNic's, and The Original Turkey.
Cafe Lift - located in the Callowhill neighborhood this place has a great breakfast. The huevos rancheros are bomb and the cannoli french toast is a frequent visitor of my dreams.
Talula's Garden - one of my favorite restaurants in the city that excels in both dinner and weekend brunch. This Washington Square West spot has perfected the cheese & charcuterie board while also having the most dreamy, IG-worthy garden to dine in.
Dalessandros - named the best cheesesteak in the Philadelphia-area. About 20 min drive outside the city, Dalessandros is known as the best spot to get a cheesesteak. Go...enjoy, wiz whit all the goodness of an authentic Philly cheesesteak.
Dim Sum Garden - soup dumplings cure everything, I swear. Arguably, the best soup dumpling spot in Philly. This Chinatown restaurant is always busy but worth the wait!
Pizzeria Stella - located in historic Headhouse Square, Stella is one of my favorite pizza spots in the city. More of a sit-down type of vibe than a to-go pizza joint. If you love authentic Neapolitan- pizza you gotta go here.
Federal Donuts - not only do they have bomb ass donuts... but they also have the best fried chicken sandwich in the city. Great for a quick lunch! There's numerous Federal Donuts locations throughout the city.
JG SkyHigh - the epitome of #views can be found on the top floor of the Four Seasons Hotel in Center City. A quick elevator ride up gives you a preview of the cloud-like atmosphere you're about to enter. The food and drink are pricey here but you're really paying for the romantic, breathtaking views of Philadelphia.
Pssttt... get the calamari.
Oyster House - great happy hour special, decently-sized drink menu and killer oysters. Could you ask for any more? Located right in Center City this is your go-to spot if you want to do some HH drinks & oysters.
Tria Cafe - two locations in the city both serve up great glasses of wine and divineeee cheese. Tria is a great place to get pre-dinner drinks at!
My favorite meal and here are some of my go-to's...
Tuna Bar - a trendy, sushi spot in Old City that is always reliable for a great meal. I love how the restaurant is designed and decorated. Tuna Bar has great speciality rolls and seafood entrees. Plus, it's not a far walk from Elfreth's Alley if you're a history buff and want to step back in history.
Burrata - BYOB, family-owned, Italian restuarant in Passyunk Square (Southeast Philadelphia) which serves fresh pasta and an intimate setting. This used to be my reliable first date spot. Seriously, I think I've been on like five first dates here.
R&M pro tip: seafood stuffato as an app or a R&M secret menu entree. I love the arrabbiata-like sauce so much I ask for it served on my pasta entree.
Fiorella - get the rigatoni. That's all I have to say about this gem of an Italian Market, Marc Vetri shining star of a restaurant. Honestly, get everything on the menu - it's that good. But seriously, get the rigatoni.
Butcher and Singer - my favorite steakhouse in the city. It's such a cool, old-Hollywood vibe with comfortable seating and a great wine list. You can't go wrong with any of the steak selections and get the stuffed hashbrowns, they're to dieeee for.
Veda - if you love Indian food this is your spot in Center City. I've had almost every dish on the menu and have always been impressed. Get the sea bass as an entree! Definitely a fun place to share your dishes so you can try everything.
Barbuzzo - located in the Gayborhood, Barbuzzo has a great Mediterranean menu complete with some great pasta dishes. It's also in a great location to restaurant/bar hop in!
Via Locusta - your girl loves Italian! Located in Rittenhouse Square, Via Locusta specializes in fresh pastas designed to be shared. Get the angolotti it will be on your mind the second it touches your tongue, trust me.
McGillin's Ale House - this will always be one of my favorite bars because it's always a fun time. Get their early to snag a table and enjoy cheap beer pitchers while a variety of music bumps. Can be a younger crowd but you'll still have a great time.
R&M pro tip: their Old Bay wings are fireeeeee. Plus in the summer, their watermelon margarita is fantastic.
Voyeur - stays open until 3:30 AM and plays the best music. You literally can't have a bad night here, it's such a good vibe. Thursday night's are Latin nights and you're guaranteed to dance your ass off.
Ladder 15 - very post-college vibes and cheap drinks. They play whatever music is "in" and "Starships" by Nicki Minaj. Also walkable to other bars and late-night food. Ladder 15 is really fun if you're with a big group of people.
Ubahn - one reason you should go here: air-conditioning. It's in a basement and is always cold down there. Sweaty bitches rejoice! They tend to play good music and if you don't like the vibe it's so walkable to other spots.
I hope you enjoyed this R&M Guide! All the restaurants/bars are linked so just click on their names to be redirected to their sites. Happy eating and enjoy your time in the city of brotherly love!