Photography and Text by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2018
Two things I love about Philadelphia are the amazing restaurants and historic architecture. I’ve lived in the city for quite some time now. Being a major foodie I had to let you in on a few of my favorites. Some on the top 50 list , and others that you’d have to search off the beaten path to find . Being that I love cooking it’s a great hobby for inspiration.
Philly is known for its boutique dining experiences. I usually categorize my favorites by section of the city. Some of the major names in food that stick out in my mind are:
Michael Solomnov. He is a pioneer of Israel’s most authentic food in Philadelphia. Zahav located in Society Hill, is on the essential 38 restaurants list in the country . Their tasting menu is my personal favorite, and the food goes on for days. One bite better than the next, and leaves you with the happiest of foodgasms. If that were to be my last meal I’d be more than ok with it. We worked with him at Mr. Bar Stool for the seating in the restaurant. Often booked on the weekends, you can slide into the bar mid week and get full service . His other venues include Goldie, Federal donuts, Percy Street Barbecue, Abe Fisher,and Dizengoff . You cannot choose a bad one. His cookbook is on display in all of his restaurants. It is a must have for the at home Chef. His back story has to be one of my favorites as well .A recovered addict, an immigrant to this country, turned restaurant mogul. That’s an amazing feat.
That takes me to Stephen Starr. Everyone knows his name and conglomerate of restaurants he owns in the city. Parc Rittenhouse is the best people watching spot in my opinion, and a brunch staple in Philadelphia. The outside seating overlooking Rittenhouse Park is just gorgeous. The service is great, and a fresh bread basket that will make you forget you just gave up carbs.
Then there is the amazing female duo Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran. They own Lolita, Jamonera, Barbuzzo, Bud & Marilyn’s, and Little Nonna’s, two boutiques (Open House and Verde) which I get a lot of my gifts at. Of them all Lolita is my favorite. I remember when they used to be a BYO tequila place with fresh mixers before they got their liquor license. After their remodel the food is just as amazing and the cocktails always keep me coming back.
Ardiente is a new spot on my list. Just a few blocks from my work on second street. I had the pleasure of working with Michael Sciore for some of the seating. He also owns Philly’s Latin radio station known as La Mega. He brought a touch of Miami flavor to Philly with the all white interior seating against gorgeous stained glass, amazing food/ drinks, peep shows in the bathrooms, and the pastry chef from the old Le Bec Fin. Be sure to try the stamp collector cocktail when you go it’s my favorite yet lethal!
Pine Fish situated in the Gayborhood has a bohemian Moroccan vibe on the inside to die for. They do an amazing happy hour 7 days a week that is hard to compete with. It has a neighborhood clientele , and quite a few regulars that will absolutely humor you while snacking on 1$ oysters and sipping champagne.
In old city, Tuna Bar recently opened in 2018. Owner Ken Sze and his wife are the nicest people. The lunch specials are great, beautiful cocktails, and tasting menu. They won the Best of restaurant design award in Philly Magazine. Mr. Bar Stool also did the seating for Ken. The live edge sushi bar is my favorite part of the interior. It is a very sexy welcoming atmosphere. Kens wife also owns the Geisha House on 3rd street. If you are in need a perfect weekend outfit that is the place to go.
I have lived in Queen Village for over a year and always overlooked going into the Morning Glory Diner. After seeing the giant mural above it, I had to check it out. They are a cash only diner and have the best pancakes, and I’m not really a pancake person. The portions are huge totally shareable and the staff is so nice! Be sure to try the homemade lemonade.
Barcelona Bar on Passyunk square is the place to go if you love red sangria and tapas. It sits a little further down from the fountain, but well worth the walk. The outside has one of my favorite quotes “I can resist anything but temptation “. – Oscar Wild.
Now, Fond and Noord also sit on Passyunk Square. The owners also together own the breakfast spot The Dutch. All three drool worthy. Fond is my second favorite tasting menu restaurant in the city . Fantastic complex cocktails, friendly staff , and diverse food depending on how adventurous you are . Noord is a BYOB to die for overlooking the fountain. I could sit there all afternoon in the summer.
Devon Seafood has the most amazing happy hour and again overlooks Rittenhouse Park. Sit sipping your wine people watching. Try the mini lobster rolls, mussels , and lobster Mac and cheese . Another secret, Sunday’s they do half price bottles of wine 100$ and under, perfect spot for Sunday funday adventures.
I’m also very into Asian soups and two of my favorite spots are DanDan Rittenhouse which has an amazing spicy beef noodle soup. At Cheu Rittenhouse I’ve yet to pick a bad item on the menu. They also have a cool vibe with graffiti walls and welcoming staff. Nam Phoung is my go to pho spot on Washington Avenue. Ask for the #159 you will thank me later.
If you’re taking a trip to Philly in the near future I hope a few of these have sparked your interest. To me food is love. Leaving a restaurant feeling full from food that was beautifully prepared creates lasting memories, and obvious reasons to go back.
Thank you to all the hard working innovative chefs in this city.
Now where to try next?
About The Author: Katie Kerl. Born 1984. Raised in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. Attended Drexel University for Behavioral Psychology .Occupation : commercial/ residential design Philadelphia resident since 2011 . Hobbies include : Foodie, whiskey drinker, fitness , cooking , tattoos , & house music lover . Instagram: @beatz_eatz_n_freaks .To access additional articles by Katie Kerl, click here: http://tonywardstudio.com/?p=17776&preview=true