philadelphia-food-scene

Philly’s culinary scene is often overlooked in favour of the city’s rich historical heritage. Yet in the shadows of Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, top chefs and world-class creatives are curating a foodie hub to rival New York’s gastronomic reputation. Get your phil (sorry) at our favourite restaurants.

Double Knot

While the street-level front of Double Knot beckons hungry shoppers with the scent of freshly baked pastries and recently brewed coffee, this venue is more than meets the eye. Delve into a secret basement where a dimly lit izakaya serves sushi, sashimi and dumplings. Wash it all down with unique Japanese-themed cocktails that use traditional ingredients such as yuzu and cherry blossom.

Le Virtu

Inspired by Italy’s Abruzzo region, this hot-ticket restaurant specialises in rustic dishes with a sophisticated twist. Local ingredients are used to create innovative takes on traditional antipasti, primi and secondi recipes, such as taccozzelle (pork ragu with black truffle and saffron) and scrippelle (ricotta-filled crepes with aubergine, tomato and pecorino). Alternatively, come in the afternoon for a chilled glass of wine and a salumi board – the restaurant has one of the largest cold-cut selections in America.

Suraya

Serving sprawling mezzes of hummus, baba ganoush, kibbeh and tabbouleh, this Lebanese restaurant is well worth its international acclaim. Come at breakfast for cardamom pastries and peach galettes paired with a tahini hot chocolate, or in the evening for kebabs, kawarma and popular mezze dishes. Don’t leave without browsing the Middle-Eastern shop, which is filled with endless shelves of ingredients and cookbooks.

Vedge

As its name suggests, this restaurant triumphantly proves that plant-based dishes are as worthy of culinary acclaim as meat-filled menus. Run by husband-and-wife team Richard Landau and Kate Jacoby, Vedge proves that the future of Philly dining can cater to all kinds of diets. Elegantly concealed inside a brownstone in the city centre, the restaurant offers both signature and seasonal dishes, including wood-roasted carrots and applewood-smoked tofu.

Vernick Food & Drink

Successfully turning comfort food into gourmet works of art, Vernick Food & Drink pairs modern American cooking with seasonally inspired cocktails. It specialises in no-fuss recipes, so you can expect to choose between the likes of toast topped with scallops and black truffle butter, beef tartare and fresh horseradish or fromage blanc and pickled cherries, before delving into the serious stuff – a menu divided into “raw”, “vegetables”, or “simply roasted” dishes.

Vetri Cucina

Although Vetri has delighted Philly foodies for two decades, the restaurant continues to strive for culinary perfection. The menu constantly evolves to incorporate new food trends and seasonal ingredients, while retaining traditional Italian cooking methods. Opt for the tasting menu to sample some of Chef Marc Vetri’s best creations, enjoyed amid the restaurant’s hand-blown glass chandeliers and rustic Italian charm.

Zahav

In spite of its casual aesthetic and laid-back vibe, Zahav is renowned for its sophisticated menu of elevated Israeli dishes. Priding itself on bringing traditional Hebrew flavours to Philadelphia, this is the place to dine on heritage dishes such as wood-fired laffa bread, creamy houmous and mezze boards, washing it all down with Zahav’s award-winning iced Lemonnana cocktail.

Royal Sushi & Izakaya

Royal Sushi & Izakaya is marked only by a glowing red lantern, so those who stumble upon it should count themselves very lucky. At the front of the restaurant, small plates of yakitori, Japanese salads and sushi rolls are the perfect accompaniment to endless cups of sake, but at the back is where the magic happens. Settle down for omakase and fresh fish delicately served on carved stone slabs.

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