Philly’s food scene is always changing, which means that there are always plenty of newcomers that are worthy of some attention. We’ve got some of the city’s hottest new spots, with ramen, falafel, French, Italian, and American eats all getting some love. Check out the best new restaurants in Philadelphia.
The guys behind Cheu Noodle Bar, one of our favorite ramen outposts in the city, are bringing their chops to Fishtown. Housed in a beautifully architectured, 19th century building that was once a stable for police horses. Cheu Fishtown only looks better when you walk through the bright red double-doors. A mural of a four-eyed octopus, a red-topped bar, and funky drawings contribute to a quirky, eye-catching space. Original hits from the Cheu in Washington Square West, like brisket ramen and black garlic wings, are on a menu that also features buns, dumplings, poke, and a variety of snacks like barbecue duck rolls and Chinese broccoli.
1416 Frankford Avenue
Top Chef winner Nick Elmi has just opened his new Old City eatery Royal Boucherie. Both a bar and a restaurant, the bi-level tavern features a loosely French menu in very pub-like digs—think broody dark browns and deep greens, exposed brick, nautical baubles, and tufted leather. The food is fun and uncomplicated, which is typical of American brasserie fare. Cured meats, a raw bar, and classic cocktails are served up with French-inspired options like smoked trout croquettes, escargot, and steak Au Poivre with green peppercorn jus.
52 South 2nd Street
The Fitler Dining Room has been transformed into a casual Italian trattoria on the corner of Spruce and South 22nd streets. Dan Clark and Ed Hackett closed FDR after the once-neighborhood spot became too popular for the locals to eat at. Their new venture, Trattoria Carina, is more casual than the previous FDR but doesn’t cut short any of the great flavors of its predecessor. Casual Italian plates like grilled Tuscan chicken wings, tagliatelle Bolognese, grilled Branzino, and marinated olives are rounded out with a small drink list with Negroni, Aperol spritz, and prosecco. The cozy interior is completed with low-lit globe lights, red votives on the tables, and subway-tiled walls.
2201 Spruce St.
The menu may be short, but the lines certainly get long. Goldie is a new favorite for falafel and other Israeli flavors. Zahav’s Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook opened the all-vegan falafel shop that features sandwiches, salads, fries, and tehina shakes (a vegan version of a milkshake made with ground sesame seeds—a popular favorite). A few cafe tables and a standing counter provide little seating, so don’t expect to get a seat unless you stop by during off-hours.
1526 Sansom Street
According to Matthew Cahn, breakfast and lunch have a bad reputation in the daily food chain. He calls them the “middle child” to dinner. To combat this notion, Cahn has created Middle child, a modern diner-deli hybrid that’s his take on the classic Philly diner. The bright spot offers daytime eats that include breakfast, sandwiches, and coffee. Visitors can slide up to the counter seating by the open kitchen or peruse a variety of pantry favorites like house-brined pickles, cereal, and Marshmallow Fluff. Check out dishes like blintz toast, egg-and-cheese sandwich, and a vegan bahn mi sandwich.
248 South 11th Street
Have you ever wondered if you could dine in a space that conjures images of Mad Max, Escape From New York? Whether your answer is yes or no, the novelty of Philly’s Mad Mex—a new, post-apocalyptic restaurant and virtual reality lounge in Fishtown—is worth the trip alone. Chandeliers and traditional art are substituted for machetes, skulls, crashed aircraft, and other unnerving but fascinating decor like medieval weaponry and costumed mannequins. Perks include an open lounge for virtual reality, a 225-seat dining room, and a long bar. A solid variety of New American fare like flatbreads, burgers, and sandwiches round out a unique experience. If you’re feeling particularly dystopian, you can cook your food yourself on a black lava rock.
1000 Frankford Avenue Suite 1