Flavors of Philly: The Best Restaurants to Try in the City

The Philadelphia culinary scene is home some of the best restaurants in the country, from 5-star favorites with James Beard award-winning chefs to modern joints with inventive, flavor-packed menus.

With so many outstanding options around the area, how do you choose where to grab a meal? While there’s no easy answer to that question, my list of top picks is a great place to start your culinary journey!

Suraya

A plate of Lebanese food.

Suraya opened just one year ago, but it’s already made waves in the Philly food community. In fact, it was even named Best New Restaurant of 2018 by Philadelphia Magazine! An all-day market, cafe, restaurant, and outdoor garden all wrapped into one, Suraya is truly one-of-a-kind.

As far as the menu goes, you’ll find Lebanese flavors inspired by the owners’ roots. Lunch and brunch are their specialities. We recommend trying the Za’atar, labne, olive, cucumber, tomato, and mint flatbread or the strawberry galette.

Hungry Pigeon

Pastries.

The Hungry Pigeon is part cafe, part restaurant, with a long counter up front, a communal dining table in the back, and tons of natural lighting throughout. With a dedication to local growers and producers, the owners source their ingredients from nearby vendors, from the grass-fed beef to the leafy greens.

The Hungry Pigeon menu changes based on what’s available from their local providers, so it’s always guaranteed fresh. Be sure to try out a few of their pastries, as well as the poached rock shrimp toast, bread basket, and the beef carpaccio!

Hardena

A plate of food.

When you first look at this unassuming Indonesian restaurant, you might not guess that Hardena was actually a James Beard Award finalist for best chef last year. The restaurant is family-run and approachable, with food served on styrofoam plates in the small dining space.

The menu is both afforadable and full of flavor, with highlights like the beef rendag (which is slow braised for 6 hours), rujak cingur (a salad filled with veggies, fruit, meat, and sticky rice), and the amazing sambal hot sauce.

Friday Saturday Sunday

A plate of fancy hors devours.

Although Friday Saturday Sunday has been around for years, it recently came under new ownership in 2015. With new leadership came a new direction, and the restaurant now has a focus on inventive American cuisine in an upscale setting. If you ask any local in Philly, they’ll tell you that the food here is nothing less than fantastic.

Just browse the menu, and you’ll find mouthwatering offerings like cured Arctic char with crispy nori and cucumber agua de chile, or sweetbread katsu with bone marrow tartar sauce and pickled radish. The menu prices are also more affordable than you’d think! If you’re looking for a classy night out, Friday Saturday Sunday has you covered.

Laurel

Fancy food on a simple plate.

Blending French and American cuisine, Laurel is a little different from other restaurants. There are only 26 seats in the restaurants, and only two menus: a six-course option and a nine-course option. But if you ask anyone who’s eaten there, it’s well-worth the hype.

The tasting menus are seasonal, but you’ll often find some adventurous flavor combinations on them, like coffee-cured swordfish and seaweed sourdough tartine. In fact, the dishes here are so popular that chefs Nicholas Elmi and Adam Erace have a cookbook slated for release later this year.

Find Your Home in Philadelphia

There are so many amazing restaurants to try in Philadelphia, and this is just a taste. The best way to try them all? Find your new home here!

If you’re thinking of making a move to the city, take some time to explore the area, browse my buying guide, and use my specialized search tool to narrow down your options. Once you’re ready to get started, just give me a call!

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