Best Places to Eat in Philadelphia Pa

Philadelphia is one of the best cities to explore for foodies – from restaurants owned by world-renowned chefs to hidden gems where local culinary artists create delicious masterpieces to wow anyone’s finicky palette on a daily basis. Depending on the atmosphere (from upscale to casual), location (downtown or suburbs) or scene (sophisticated or young and hip), Philadelphia offers a good variety of food for everyone and that is why it is, without a doubt, one of the best cities in the United States for dining out.

Because there are just too many food joints to pick from while in Philadelphia, this article will focus on restaurants that are the best of the best in the city. They are one-of-a-kind spots that everyone – a local or a tourist alike – must experience in Philadelphia. These restaurants have it all – unforgettable atmosphere, unique interior design, great service, amazing drinks and, above all, memorable food. Although they might not be the cheapest (so those on a strict budget, be warned), these places have, time in time again, impressed this Philadelphia native with consistently amazing quality in all of the categories mentioned above.

1. Square 1682

Square 1682 is one of those exceptional restaurants that will attract a visitor from the outside with its lighting, enticing interior drowned in dim lights from the outside and a fantastic menu. The place is never too crowded and the atmosphere is sophisticated but laid-back, without being overly stuffy. The dinner menu is impressive – from small plates to main courses – if there is anything to experience at Square 1682, it is the uniqueness of flavor and the dishes that may sound similar to other restaurant menus but bring an unexpected burst of flavor.

2. El Vez

El Vez is hardly a hidden Philadelphia gem. Rather, it is one of the tourist attractions that many out-of-towners tend to gravitate to, because of the restaurant’s exceptional reputation. El Vez is owned by Jose Garces who has opened up a slew of restaurants in Philadelphia, with each one being as successful as the last. True to its web site’s opening line, El Vez boasts to have “the finest flavors in Philadelphia” and rightfully so. The drinks are filled to the rim and are delectable and the guacamole is to die for. One can literally taste the freshness of the fresh avocado on his or her tongue – the guacamole is, indeed, made just minutes before being served and is one of the most unforgettable in the city.

3. POD

Pod is a restaurant by Steven Starr, located on University of Pennsylvania’s campus, loved not only by Penn students but locals as well. Chic, hip, reminiscent of the interior of any Apple store but with a little more ambient lighting, Pod is heavy of seafood and sushi. The lounge seating at the front sets the mood for the entire restaurant as being of the the “It” spots on campus and in the city. A little cooler-than-thou vibe overall but so worth the flavors, sounds and sights.

4. Mixto

Mixto is unexpectedly festive, whatever the celebration may be. It is tucked away in a somewhat-residential area and is, thus, a little removed from the row of easy-to-find restaurants of the busy downtown. But this somewhat-remote, in relative terms, location is what makes Mixto stand out in terms of the attentiveness of the servers, quick drink delivery and the amount of time a visitor will need to decide between so many delicious choices on the menu. Mixto is a Cuban, Caribbean and Latin American restaurant and the menu reflects this mixed heritage by presenting its visitors with a range of interesting dishes. From traditional paella and churrasco to stand-out, Latin-inspired appetizers and main courses, Mixto is a great place to have a stand-out dining experience.

5. Cooper’s

Cooper’s is located in the somewhat-removed neighborhood of Manayunk and, thus, takes some time to get to, transportation-wise… but is well worth the travel and the wait. Cooper’s offers an extensive collection of wines and cheeses and is a prime spot for, arguably, best appetizers in the city. But if there is something to be impressed by, it is not the selection of wines or appetizers, it is the consistently delectable main entree items that range from seafood to steak to vegetarian dishes. With outside seating in the summer, overlooking Main Street in Manayunk, Cooper’s creates an incredible upscale dining experience, still close to all the action, drinking and dancing that Manayunk has to offer.

6. Tria

Tria is, in official terms, a bistro. But visitors should not confuse it for anything less than a local Philadelphia dining spot with a heart of big city that is universally beloved by all. With two locations in Philadelphia, Tria is a welcomed favorite that offers cheap appetizer items (including the ever-so-loved cheese plates), salads and burgers, among other dinner items. Every Sunday, Tria also offers a trio of discounted menu items, including a featured cheese plate and a selected beer.

7. El Distrito

Finally, El Distrito – another one of Jose Garces creations – is the last, most colorful addition to this list of Philadelphia restaurants to experience. El Distrito is kitschy, pop-y, a little vulgar and ever-so-colorful. It is an experience for one’s eyes as well as one’s taste buds. And nevertheless, El Distrito is anything but raunchy – it offers a selection of traditional Mexican staples like “los tacos”, “los moles” and, of course, las margaritas in a sophisticated, but fun, environment that will beg its visitors to unbutton their suit jackets and loosen their ties, without requiring them to take their shirts off.

So this just about wraps up a quick overview of the restaurants to visit in Philadelphia. Of course, excluded were the mom-and-pop joints, diners and dives and drinkers’ favorites that also just happen to have simply amazing food. But if a visitor is expecting to spend only one or two days in Philadelphia, he or she must try the above restaurants to have a truly authentic and unforgettable Philadelphia dining experience. Trust this Philadelphia local, you will not be disappointed with these suggestions!