A 2023 Guide to Philadelphia Fine Dining
Philadelphia is about as close to the definition of a foodie city as it can get. While soft pretzels and cheesesteaks may be among the first images to come to mind when you think of grabbing a bite in Philly (and trust us, those are good, too), the city’s fine dining smorgasbord is actually one of the most vibrant in the entire country.
Here you’ll find a stacked lineup of chefs and restaurateurs who have garnered national and international attention. In fact, in 2022, Travel + Leisure declared Philly “ one of the best food cities on the East Coast .” And each year, 2023 included , Philly racks up an extensive list of nominations and accolades from the prestigious James Beard Foundation . Among Philadelphia’s star-studded culinary crew: Michael Solomonov (Zahav), Ellen Yin (Fork), Stephen Starr (Parc) and Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon (Kalaya), among many, many others.
Greater Philadelphia’s fine dining offerings are so vast, you could spend hours picking where to go for mouthwatering, top-quality Japanese wagyu steak; an internationally revered Israeli dinner; or a $1,000 plate of fresh nigiri complete with some gold flake-topped pieces.
With the breadth of high-end dining experiences saturating Philadelphia and the surrounding counties, this is by no means a complete list of the fine dining options available, but it should definitely whet your appetite. Below, our guide to the area’s can’t-miss fine dining institutions.
Call it the holy grail of fine dining in Philadelphia. Situated 59 stories up in the air, this gem in the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center from esteemed, Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten lets you soak up panoramic city views while dining on carefully curated six-course tasting menus available in “From the Land and Sea” and “From The Earth” varieties. Strap in for signature dishes like the egg toast and caviar with herbs; sweet pea potstickers with sichuan flavors, mint and sesame; and yellowfin tuna noodles with avocado, radish, ginger dressing and chili oil.
Laser Wolf — named after Lazar Wolf, the butcher from the popular musical Fiddler On The Roof — is like the little sister to Zahav (see below). Similarly from Michael Solomonov and co-owner Steve Cook, this skewer house in Philadelphia’s Kensington area has been recognized as one of the best restaurants in the world by Condé Nast Traveler .
That’s thanks to delicacies such as the chicken shishlik and spicy lamb kofte, cooked to melt-in-your-mouth perfection on the charcoal grill for more intense flavor. Seafood lovers can try out dishes like whole dorade or tuna shishlik, then wash it all down with zero-proof mixed beverages or a cocktail like the What Keeps You Alive (Aleppo pepper gin, pamplemousse, Meletti, lime and soda).
Local celebrity chef Jose Garces, a James Beard Award winner and Iron Chef , unites the elite worlds of food and arts and culture at Volvér , which serves up a globally inspired menu from inside the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts . Have yourself a whole evening by catching dinner and a show, or drop in just for the cuisine, which is ever-evolving and emphasizes seasonal ingredients.
Inspired by Garces’ own travels around the world, Volvér stands out with its chefs in residency program, which highlights minority chefs from across the region for six-week stints.
Where: Volvér, 300 S. Broad Street
Chef-owner Michael Solomonov’s restaurant Zahav singlehandedly elevated Philadelphia’s food scene when the James Beard Foundation dubbed the Israeli concept the best restaurant in the country in 2019. (That’s the equivalent of winning the Oscar for best picture.) Come hungry: Zahav serves up a five-course tasting menu with an optional beverage pairing.
Dishes like the pomegranate lamb shoulder complete with chickpeas and mint and the date-glazed eggplant with almonds, tehina and preserved lemon are so popular that you’ll have to get crafty to snag a table. Reservations open on the first of the month for the entire following month, and they book up fast. Go ahead and set your reminder now.
Where: Zahav, 237 Saint James Place
This Black-owned eatery in Center City recently nabbed its first-ever nomination for a James Beard Award for outstanding restaurant, which speaks to the caliber of its indulgent eight-course tasting menu. Chef Chad Williams loves to keep his audience guessing, injecting his own personal flair into culinary classics spiced up with seasonal inspiration.
Take a seat upstairs in the intimate dining room and dive into creations like confit artichoke with cashew and buckwheat or grilled quail pâté with coco bread. Equally noteworthy is the expansive cocktail list boasting seductively named concoctions such as the Master of Disguise (tequila, cider quinquina, gran classico and Guyanese rum).
Kalaya shot onto Philadelphia’s hospitality scene with a buzz that first impressed top local chefs and then quickly catapulted chef-owner Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon onto the world stage for her authentic Thai cooking, which pays homage to the recipes of her mother, the restaurant’s namesake.
The eatery and its dishes such as tapioca dumplings with ground pork, sweet radish and peanuts, or a goat and lamb curry with a house spice blend and toasted coconut drew the attention of the James Beard Foundation, which nominated Suntaranon as best chef, Mid-Atlantic in 2022 and 2023 . Kalaya’s popularity caused it to outgrow its original home in Bella Vista , opening a sequel in the heart of Fishtown ’s burgeoning dining scene.
Where: Kalaya, 4 W. Palmer Street
A regular contender in the annual James Beard competition, including in 2023 , this acclaimed sushi spot in Queen Village likes to make sure everyone has a chance to sample the goods: dining is walk-in only, with no reservations accepted.
Don’t miss the eight-seat omakase experience, but rest assured Izakaya has a wide-ranging menu that spans soups and salads, bao buns, sashimi, sushi rolls and more. If you’re really in a go-big-or-go-home mood, ask about chef-owner Jesse Ito’s off-book 104-piece, $1,000 nigiri plate. The luxurious offering typically features super fatty bluefin, torched salmon, Japanese goldeneye snapper topped with gold flakes (for real) and much more. But whether or not you’ll get a chance to try it is up to the chef, depending on how packed the house is.
Suraya has it all: a specialty Lebanese market, restaurant and outdoor garden oasis that will each make you feel instantly transported to the eastern Mediterranean. The concept serves up Levant-inspired dishes like the kawarma (slow-roasted lamb, baharat, dill yogurt, cucumber and pomegranate salad) and fasoli bi fatar (grilled maitake and oyster mushrooms with braised white beans, watercress and almond and radish salad).
And if you’re going to give into your sweet tooth anywhere, let it be here — Suraya got a nod from the James Beard Foundation in 2019 in the outstanding pastry chef category. Try the sesame and hazelnut gâteau for a real treat.
You’re not allowed to say veggies aren’t your thing until you give Vedge a shot. The creation of James Beard-nominated chefs Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby, this vegan restaurant offers a constantly changing menu that relies on seasonal ingredients. Sharing these plant-based “medium plates” (somewhere in between tapas and entrees) is encouraged, and you have plenty of options from fried romanesco “tagine” with black lentil ful, chermoula and pistachio to rutabaga fondue with soft pretzels and pickles and beyond.
Where: Vedge, 1221 Locust Street
Famed restaurateur Ellen Yin’s sultry hotspot in the heart of Center City Philadelphia features a beverage program in a league of its own with an innovative cocktail bar, plus a wine program that received nods from the James Beard Foundation . Drink your way across the world with a Melon de Bourgogne from the Loire Valley in France or a pinot noir from Swartland in South Africa.
The food doesn’t miss the mark either. Try the smoked bluefish rillettes with potato rösti, pickled jalapeno and radish and cucumber salad, plus the bavette steak with squash tahina, honey glazed cipollini onion and grilled lettuce.
Take your pick from two culinary experiences at Ambra , a modern Italian concept. For a night out with your loved one or a double date, pull up a chair to The Kitchen Table, which is set up for two to four guests. You’ll find yourself at the heart of the restaurant with a front-row seat to the fun and hardworking team of chefs, who will spend about three-and-a-half hours leading you through a behind-the-scenes look at preparing the elaborate tasting menu.
Larger groups of six to eight people can check out The Dining Room, a private, family-style space where the night starts with drinks and hors d’oeuvres before chefs guide you through a meal hallmarked by food memories, storytelling and local, seasonal products.
Where: Ambra, 705 S. 4th Street
From the rooftop terrace with views of the river to a cozy fireplace and the walnut and velvet banquettes in the dining room, all the details at Lark scream romance, making it a go-to for dates, rehearsal dinners and weddings. Designer and restaurateur Fia Berisha, alongside chef Nicholas Elmi, fine tuned the atmosphere by focusing an eagle eye on the music, lighting and beyond.
On this coastal restaurant’s menu: seafood-forward cuisine such as striped bass ceviche or squid ink chitarra decked out with mussels, black truffle, preserved tomato and chili.
This stylish, modern French restaurant nestled in charming East Passyunk features an iconic six-course tasting menu formulated in close conjunction with farmers and purveyors to include fresh local and seasonal ingredients in each night’s offering. Adventurous eaters rejoice: The menu here can get very inventive. Think black tea-brined quail with caramelized onion, Carolina rice, date and truffle, or a dish with egg l’arpege, bowfin caviar, maple egg mousse, seaweed vinegar and brioche.
A natural choice for hungry love birds down to its very namesake, this charming Rittenhouse Square eatery from acclaimed restaurateurs Aimee Olexy and Stephen Starr couples homey hospitality with creative, seasonally inspired American fare.
Date night staples include the Lovebird: the restaurant’s signature buttermilk fried chicken, buttery corn grits, comeback sauce and collard greens. Or, kick off your romantic weekend outing with can’t-miss brunch dishes like the Loveburger smothered in garlic aioli, caramelized onions, swiss raclette and dilly pickled long hots all on a sesame bun.
This classy rooftop bar serves up small bites like charcuterie, four-cheese fondue and fennel sausage flatbread with a side of sweeping views of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Logan Square . Cozy up to one of the outdoor fire pits with a Drunk In Love cocktail (Tito’s vodka, cocchi americano, strawberry pink peppercorn syrup and lemon), or mosey indoors to soak up the sophisticated bar setup complete with a healthy stock of champagne and sparkling wine.
Michael Vincent Ferreri graced the kitchens of many esteemed Philadelphia restaurants before settling in to lead as executive chef at Irwin’s , an Italian spot perched eight stories up in South Philadelphia at the Bok Building, a multifaceted makerspace. Mouthwatering Sicilian entrees like rabbit with lentils and parsnip or whole fish with grilled citrus and salsa verde draw you in, but the iconic sky views of the city help convince you to stay for a delectable panna cotta or chocolate mousse for dessert.
Where: Irwin's, 800 Mifflin Street
Restaurateur Ellen Yin’s sleek concept in Philadelphia’s historic Old City neighborhood has been dazzling taste buds since the 1990s, ringing in its 25th anniversary in 2022. The stylish New American bistro impresses for a business meeting, an extravagant holiday meal or a memorable night on the town.
Recognized by Esquire Magazine as one of the “ 100 Restaurants America Can’t Afford To Lose ,” Fork favorites include celery root rösti with caviar, créme fraîche, frisee and cornichons, along with seared scallop and squid with bacon, kale, sesame and apple. Also of note: the dessert menu. Try the coconut custard or dive into a cheese board featuring local offerings, apple date jam and porridge bread.
Where: Fork, 306 Market Street
Located in a historic, 359-foot-long sailing ship that dates back to 1904, the Moshulu is serious about its lavish offerings such as oysters, grilled Spanish octopus, stuffed whole lobster and filet mignon. Soak up riverside views of the city and Ben Franklin Bridge while dining on the dock, or head inside to the main dining room if the weather’s not quite right.
Fun fact: This landmark restaurant was even featured in the quintessential Philly movie Rocky during one of the famous boxer’s workouts along the water, as well as The Godfather Part II and Blow Out .
This beloved French bistro barely needs an introduction. Long considered a Philadelphia institution, this crown jewel from restaurateur Stephen Starr will transport you to the streets of Paris — complete with many design elements imported directly from Europe. Soak up the fragrances of fresh-baked bread; sit back at the charming tables dotting the sidewalk while soaking up views of Rittenhouse Square ; and fill up on delicious escargot, steak frites and duck l’orange.
For an essential Philly experience, drop in for brunch or a glass of champagne on a nice day, when you might find the giant windows open for a breeze that mixes perfectly with the laid-back joie de vivre pulsing through the eatery.
Where: Parc, 227 S. 18th Street
A must for any celebration or special outing, Vernick Food & Drink is an upscale concept from James Beard Award-winning chef Greg Vernick. Reservations are available up to four weeks in advance for parties of four guests or fewer, and trust us, they fill up quickly.
Spring for the six-course tasting menu served in the Vernick Wine “jewel-box” dining room, or choose your own à la carte adventure with “on toast” options such as beef tenderloin tartare with horseradish; raw dishes, including fluke ceviche with pineapple and coconut; and large plates like grilled black sea bass with tender leeks, sauce amandine and sherry gastrique.
Just north of City Hall , you’ll find rustic, southern Italian cuisine served in the chic Divine Lorraine Hotel that dates back to 1892. The restaurant is a labor of love from husband-and-wife chef duo Joe and Angela Cicala, who serve up meals like lasagna al forno and roasted lamb rack, plus desserts that might just be heaven incarnate. Angela Cicala learned how to make traditional Italian cookies and pastries from her mother and grandmother, and went on to become a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s “Outstanding Pastry Chef” award in 2022.
All that’s to say, don’t miss the Cannoli Siciliani. And for an even more memorable dining experience, sit down for a Sunday dinner with the chef-owners, served family-style at a communal table in the dining room.
This Old World concept spanning two converted townhouses in the heart of South Philadelphia’s Italian Market dates back to 1899 and represents the pinnacle of Phillly’s Italian food scene. Here you’ll find a valet, cash discount, jars of sauces made in-house daily for sale, and mouthwatering specialties such as homemade baked ricotta gnocchi; veal parmigiana; and jumbo lump crab cakes.
Osteria is among the country’s most critically acclaimed Italian restaurants, with star-studded chef Jeff Michaud concocting eats such as baked ricotta; chicken liver rigatoni; and 18-hour, slow-roasted veal breast served family-style from a free-flowing kitchen. The restaurant expertly manages to create a warm atmosphere in an industrial setting, and offers a glass-enclosed patio, spacious dining room and private dining areas, plus a chef’s table.
Where: Osteria, 640 N. Broad Street
Italian food is an art form in Philadelphia, and the dishes you’ll find at this intimate townhouse in Center City are no different. James Beard Award-winning chef Marc Vetri has devised a dynamic, prix-fixe Quattro Piatti menu that is the restaurant’s sole offering. It features a selection of antipasti, pasta, secondi and dessert crafted from local, seasonal and specialty ingredients.
Guests kick off their meal with an amuse-bouche and a cocktail before diving into one-of-a-kind fare like swordfish milanese with sauce gribiche, olives and chili; ricotta cavatelli with veal shank ragu, sweetbreads and celery; or whole roasted suckling pig with saffron riso al salto and charred gem lettuce.
Alpen Rose bills itself as a classic steakhouse that’s been reimagined, thanks to its modern twists on age-old dishes like Beef Wellington, which you’ll find shrouded in chive crepe and mushrooms, topped off with bordelaise sauce. While you’re sure to love the 38-ounce, dry-aged Tomahawk ribeye and the melt-in-your mouth, grass-fed filet topped with roasted garlic and pickled shallot, other delectable menu items include the bone marrow toast and expertly crafted oysters Rockefeller.
Barclay Prime boasts a seductive, modern interior that instantly sets the stage for a celebratory outing or date night, and the menu is similarly outfitted with ultra-luxe fare. Here you’ll find caviar service, as well as what may well be Philadelphia’s most gourmet cheesesteak. For $140, you’ll get a fresh-baked sesame roll stacked with wagyu ribeye, foie gras, onions and truffled cheese whiz, served with a half bottle of champagne.
Other menu go-tos include the Barclay Prime Grand Plateau, a chef’s selection of raw bar and seafood cocktail; butter-poached lobster; a 40-day, dry-aged Ribeye; and multiple cuts of American and Japanese wagyu.
Perhaps one of the better kept fine dining secrets of Greater Philadelphia, this gem in New Hope , Bucks County is truly inimitable: It’s set in an old stone church that dates back to 1872. The interior was lovingly converted into a white-tablecloth steakhouse by co-owner and partner Gaspar Ferrara. Keep your eyes peeled for the original bell tower, stained glass, gold railings and an upstairs bar overlooking the sanctuary.
The menu is equally as impressive, with first-rate offerings like a 42-ounce prime porterhouse for two and a rotating butcher’s premium selection, plus a raw bar, South African lobster tails and more. Or, splurge on the chef’s table experience: a five-course dining extravaganza that kicks off with a glass of prosecco.
This oasis of luxury dining is located on Philadelphia’s iconic Avenue of the Arts , smack-dab in the middle of the city’s thriving arts and culture scene. Local and visiting sports stars and Hollywood A-listers are known to drop by here when they’re visiting town, so if you see someone famous while you’re enjoying your meal, play it cool. The bold, modern bi-level space also features a grand raw bar and open kitchen display.
A menu highlight is Steak 48’s prime wagyu cuts, which you can elevate by topping them with black truffle sauteed Maine lobster, foie gras, burrata, or crab cake “Oscar.” Diners also rave about the beloved corn crème brulee side, but true insiders know to end the meal with the off-the-menu beignet tower.