Lyle's Guide to Philadelphia Restaurants

This lists my favorite restaurants in Philadelphia. It's shamelessly biased toward center city and the area around Penn, and towards good food. All restaurants listed here are quite reliable, unless otherwise noted. The absence of a restaurant from the list might just mean I haven't made it there yet, especially if it is on the Eastern side of Broad -- but it often means something else. Many popular or well-known restaurants are not listed here; See references at the bottom of the page for more "commercial" guides and contact information for places like the Chart House or cheesesteak or steak places.

* denotes a place recommended to take business guests/seminar speakers
Q is a quieter restaurant
L is a louder one
O indicates outside dining available
All phone numbers are area code 215.

Lyle Ungar

P.S. Feel free to send suggestions or feedback to me at ungar@cis.upenn.edu.

Last modified November 2013

No longer new restaurants still on my list to try

Current favorites

The Passayunk 3; all BYOB (plus one bonus restaurant)

Medium Expensive, Center City (reservations recommended)

Recommended for a great meal. These are where we take visitors; See below for neighborhood restaurants. Listed roughly in order of my current enthusiasm for the restaurant (price adjusted).

More Expensive, Center City

Around Penn

Center City - West (Rittenhouse/Fitler Square)

See also the many restaurants on Restaurant Row in the "expensive" section above. The bottom half of this section are perfectly nice local places, but not worth crossing town for.

Center City - Central (moderate priced)

Chinatown

Chinatown is full of reasonable restaurants; just wander north of Market between 9th and 11th.

Fairmount

A hip neigborhood on my "to try" list. I'm told "Cafe L'aube at 1631 Wallace St is a great crepe place run by a couple of French immigrants, they also make a really good espresso. Lemon Hill at 747 N 25th St is a nice out of the way French Canadian restaurant with a good drink selection. Also as a lover of German food and beer I'd recommend taking a look at Brauhaus Schmitz. It succeeds in replicating the Bavarian beer hall experience, both the positives and the negatives."

Northern Liberties

There are a host of fun places in Northern Liberties; I wish I made it there more often. This section is not really up to date.

South Philly

Fun

Of course, one should cook most nights. Here are a few Essential Cookbooks

Other

I often get asked where to take groups of people for work, parties, etc. This is a bit out of my expertise, as I'm more of a small group person. Still, I'll try to help. I tend to take people to Chinese banguets such as

More On my list to try

Cheesesteaks

I'm not an expert on cheesesteaks, but since I get so many questions, I asked
Craig Laban, and he said that Gino's is better than Pat's, but that much better than either is John's Roast Pork at Front and Snyder. By-the-way, Craig's reviews are quite good, but he is bit less picky than I am.

Takeout

The Graveyard

Breakfast in Philadelphia

I don't eat breakfast out, since I like my own breakfasts better than those in restaurants. Or I just grab a pastry and coffee near Penn e.g. at Picnic (warning: no espresso) or Buck's County Coffee (34xx Sansom). The White Dog serves brunch; I don't know if they do breakfast on weekdays. If you want to travel, Morning Glory 735 S 10th St 413-3999 is a highly recommended breakfast place (with lines on weekends).

Other Restaurant listings for Philadelphia

For convention center visitors


email:ungar@cis.upenn.edu