Spring always arrives with a sense of novelty—warmer weather, beautiful produce and the beginnings of outdoor dining season. Add to that a fresh crop of just-opened Philadelphia restaurants to explore—a Vietnamese bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) spot on South Street (Ngon Ngon), a Peruvian restaubar in Old City (Vista Peru) and Franklin’s Table Food Hall in University City, just to name a few—and it’s an ideal time to get out and get eating. The region’s budding new venues include:
Center City East:
- Chez Ben and M. Brown’s – Old City’s Renaissance Downtown Hotel unveils a new all-day brasserie and aged-spirits bar. Visitors can expect a raw bar, tartes flambées and steak frites, wines by the glass at Chez Ben and smoked and cured eats at M. Brown’s. 401 Chestnut Street, (215) 931-4260, chezbenbistrophilly.com
- Porta – The Midtown Village branch of a Jersey-based pizzeria lives up to its name with doors as décor, graffiti art and string lights for a stripped-down, loft-like feel. Ovens imported from Italy bake up Neapolitan-style pies with trendy toppings like black pepper gorgonzola crema and long hots. 1216 Chestnut Street, (267) 534-2135, pizzaporta.com
- Vista Peru – The owners of El Balconcito and El Balconcito II in Northeast Philadelphia bring an up-market, purely Peruvian version of their popular Peruvian/Portuguese fusion restaurants to Old City. A seafood-centric menu with updated versions of classic dishes pairs with a pisco bar that also serves cocktails and wine. 20 S. 2nd Street, (215) 398-5046, vistaperuphilly.com
- Heffe Taco – Fishtown’s quirky taqueria just opened a second location, with a bigger menu and breakfast daily. 1543 Spring Garden Street, (215) 665-1397
- Cadence – High Street on Market alums team up to create intimate BYO dining in Northern Liberties. The imaginative chefs produce dishes along the lines of squash and celery root carpaccio, a scallop dish that plays on the roast pork Italiano sandwich and a malted chocolate tart with beet jam. 161 W. Girard Avenue, (215) 419-7537, cadencerestaurant.com
- Goose Island Brewhouse – A Chicago brewery sets up 28 taps in an industrial-chic space in Fishtown. The kitchen cooks up interesting pub nibbles like smoked cod dip and Stilton burgers on rye buns. 1002 Canal Street, (215) 560-8181, gooseisland.com
- Mikes BBQ – A pop-up legend finds a permanent home in South Philadelphia. Taproom on 19th owner Mike Strauss smokes oak-wood brisket, spare ribs and pulled pork, and dishes them out with a tailored but eclectic list of sides. 1703 S. 11th Street, (267) 831-2040, mikesbbqphilly.com
- Ngon Ngon – Queen Village welcomes a cuisine it was sorely lacking with this Vietnamese BYOB pho specialist. In addition to the fragrant bowls of noodle soup, the menu includes bahn mi, rice platters and traditional drinks in limeade and pennywort juice. 615 S. 3rd Street, ngonngonrestaurant.com
- Redcrest Fried Chicken – With seating for only eight (and a few more outside, in warmer weather), Adam Volk’s Passyunk fast foodery keeps the focus squarely on cooking. The chicken can be ordered every which way from popcorn nibbles to half-birds to sandwiches, in a variety of flavors from buttermilk to spicy. 1525 S. 11th Street, (215) 454-6951, redcrestfriedchicken.com
- Franklin’s Table Food Hall – In the proud tradition of University of Pennsylvania founder Benjamin Franklin, the new food hall on campus combines ingenuity with civic pride. With stellar purveyors Goldie (vegan falafel), KQ ( Kensington Quarters) Burgers, DK Sushi (Double Knot), Pitruco Pizza, Little Baby’s Ice Cream, High Street Provisions and The Juice Merchant all available under one roof, the only dilemma is choosing what to eat next. 34th & Walnut Streets, shopsatpenn.com
- ReAnimator Coffee – Philly’s homegrown specialty coffee roaster opens its third cafe, this time in University City (the other two are in Fishtown and Kensington). Along with the signature coffees and bulk beans, the menu offers light bites with ingredients from local purveyors. 4701 Pine Street, (215) 921-5953, reanimatorcoffee.com
- Tipsy Bistro – It may be new to the Left Bank building, but the concept is truly timeless—a sports bar serving rich comfort food. Inside the cozy hideaway, diners can watch the game and munch on duck confit poutine and crispy chicken grinders. 3131 Walnut Street, (215) 921-8551, tipsybistro.com
- Liberty Bell Gastropub – Part of of Parx Casino’s recent $50 million dollar expansion, this entertainment-centric (lots of TVs, a small stage for live acoustic music) restaubar has a farm-to-fork menu that features Pennsylvania-raised beef, pork and chicken cooked in or on? a custom-built rotisserie. 2999 Street Road, Bensalem, (888) 588-7279, parxcasino.com
- Pretty Tasty Cupcake Boutique – This Conshy outpost of a Cape May, NJ bakery specializes in nut-free cupcakes, dainty cookies, macarons and brownies, along with gluten-free treats. 1602 Fayette Street, Conshohocken, (484) 533-355
- Suburban Brewing Company – Eric Yost of Suburban Beer Garden branches into the beer-making game with a brewery in Honey Brook. The festive spot makes use of reclaimed materials and features vintage arcade games, plus several house beers on rotation, Pennsylvania spirits and wine and a limited snack menu supplemented with food trucks and catered dishes. 2536 Conestoga Avenue, (610) 273-3106, suburbanbrewingco.com
- Ardiente – A bi-level Latin/Asian restaurant brings new flavor possibilities to Old City.
- Attico – Situated atop the new Cambria Hotel in Center City, Attico will serve contemporary Mediterranean food with a stellar view.
- The Bercy – Ardmore’s main drag gussies up with French fare in an elegant setting.
- The Philadelphia Bourse – The historic Old City landmark morphs into a food hall, featuring 27 independent purveyors.
- Brickwall Tavern – The companion restaurant to pizzeria Porta will feature pub fare and craft beer.
- Chalaco’s Ceviche and Pisco Bar – Peruvian food and pisco cocktails expand the culinary options on Liberties Walk at The Schmidt’s Commons in Northern Liberties.
- Comcast Technology Center – Esteemed chef Greg Vernick and his mentor Jean-Georges Vongerichten have both committed to opening restaurants in the new Comcast Technology Center.
- Craft Hall – Avram Hornik’s latest concept—combining bakery, barbecue and beer—will open in Northern Liberties in the fall.
- El Merkury – Guatemalan born Sofia Deleon transports Central American street food to Chestnut Street.
- The Finch – Philly native and “Top Chef” competitor Jennifer Carroll returns to the 215 to open a Mediterranean bistro.
- Fitler Club – Center City’s contemporary version of a country club will feature a restaurant helmed by two esteemed restaurant pros: chef Kevin Sbraga and Vetri vet Jeff Benjamin.
- Giuseppe & Sons – Two Philly food forces—Michael Schulson and the Termini bakery family—join up to serve old-school Italian.
- Glory Beer Bar & Kitchen – Old City’s dining revamp continues with a new beer-centric comfort-food spot.
- Hello Donuts – A wholesale doughnut bakery goes retail with a shop in Kensington.
- Hummus Republic – The popular Los Angeles Mediterranean eatery touches down in Center City.
- Imbibe – The team behind Alba and Biga turn to West Conshohocken for a gastropub.
- L’Anima – Melograno and Fraschetta’s owners take on a third Italian BYOB, this time in Carpenter Square (in the southern half of Graduate Hospital).
- Loco Lucho – A lunch stand in Reading Terminal Market gives a caterer a new outlet for his Puerto Rican street food.
- Louie-Louie – The White Dog, Moshulu and Autograph Brasserie owners brings a European bistro concept to the Inn at Penn.
- Main & Vine – Opening any minute in Villanova, Main & Vine focuses on Northern California cookery.
- Mamoun’s Falafel – A New York City-based falafel restaurant will enter the falafel-loving market of Philadelphia in Old City.
- nunu – The owners of Cheu Noodle Bar offer a new concept—Japanese bar—next door to the Fishtown outpost of Cheu.
- Oliveto – Parx Casino welcomes a New York-style pizza and classic Italian restaurant with a marble bar serving Italian cocktails and wine.
- The Pineville Tavern – Bucks County’s historic restaurant doubles up with a Fishtown location.
- Ripplewood Whiskey & Craft – A historic Ardmore property has been rehabbed to make way for a new gastrobar serving spirits, cocktails, wine, draft beer and throw-back American cuisine.
- Saige Coffee House – The Schmidt’s Commons adds a spot to hang, work and nosh sandwiches and salads and drink Red House Roasters brews, smoothies and other specialty beverages.
- SOMO SoPhi – Manayunk’s streamlined restaubar gets replicated in South Philadelphia.
- Talk –Rittenhouse Square’s dining scene claims a new spot serving New American cuisine from the Marigold BYOB duo.
- Tatel – A glamorous Spanish restaurant takes over the former Boyd Theater on Chestnut Street.
- Tradesman’s – An upcoming Midtown Village project from the Craft Concepts Group (BRU Craft & Wurst, Uptown Beer Garden, U-Bahn) promises American barbecue, whiskey and beer.
- Urban EEL – American upscale casual restaurant and bar near Penn Treaty Park plans a wood-fired grill, sushi bar, cigar lounge, virtual reality sports, luxury theater rooms—and an 8,000-gallon saltwater tank stocked with moray eels.
- Workhorse Brewing – On the way in King of Prussia is a brewpub with a taproom, games and food truck fare.
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