I used to swear I would move to New York and never leave. I used to say that, and then throw in "or maybe Philly, but I don't know yet." I made that first part happen. I've lived here for three years now and love it more than anything.
But not more than I love Philly. I'm practically consolidating my college schedule so I can jump into culinary school early to move to Philly sooner. New York, I love you, but Philly is where I'm meant to be.
If you know the New York restaurant scene, then you know just how difficult it is to survive. The market is oversaturated, the rent is too damn high, and some of the most famous NYC restaurants are shutting down weekly. It's ridiculous! So as I lay in my NYC apartment, dreaming of the days when I will have my own culinary establishment in Philadelphia, here are four incredible restaurants that you absolutely cannot miss.
Zahav is by far one of my favorite restaurants of all time. Chef Michael Solomonov's inventive modern Israeli cuisine is unique and packed with flavors. The vibe in this restaurant is incredibly fun – the bar is huge, the waitstaff are beyond nice (our waiter brought us out two extra plates on the house when we couldn't decide what to choose!) and each dish is made with the freshest ingredients.
I love this airy Italian corner spot. It's friendly and has a true "neighborhood joint" kind of feel. There's something about huge open windows and an open kitchen that just makes you feel welcome. The dishes here are Italian & Mediterranean-inspired. But beware! This spot is a BYOB.
An Italian restaurant, hotel, and a bar, Wm. Mulherin's Sons pretty much does it all. They have two kitchens, – one features a wood-fired oven! – so your pizzas will have that delicious fiery flavor and your pasta will be cooked to perfection. Located in the up-and-coming Fishtown neighborhood, this is definitely a young spot with an incredible atmosphere.
Talula's Garden is an American restaurant with a farm-to-table concept. Their food is always fresh and seasonal, and the menu is ever-changing, based on the season. Much like Mercato, this spot has a wonderful neighborhood feel, with beautiful outdoor seating and huge windows on the inside. If you don't have time for a full sit-down dinner, pop into their cafe next door!
I absolutely adore Philly's restaurant scene. This is only an incredibly brief list of places that you have to try – more and more must-try spots pop up almost everyday. The food in Philadelphia is the furthest thing from pretentious and it is unashamedly rustic and pure. There are no lines to fall in, no set of rules to follow to be a successful restaurant. So try out these four, and then start making a list of your own must-try's!
My name is Alexandra Jade, but you can call me Alex, or Trin. I am a Food Studies major at New York University, and a freelance photographer, journalist, and social media pro on the side. I run the instagram account @twobrunchgirls.