Expert recommendations for the best places to eat in four price ranges: budget ($), moderate ($$), expensive ($$$), and luxury ($$$$)


Sarcone’s Deli
“Some say it’s the bread, some say it’s the gourmet cheese, and some say ‘who cares.’ Hands down, Sarcone’s has the best hoagies in the city.”—Anne Taulane, editor, Pennsylvania Wine & Spirits Quarterly. Crusty rolls come from Sarcone’s sister bakery a few doors up Ninth Street. 734 South Ninth Street; tel. +1 215 922 1717.

Tony Luke’s
“The quintessential South Philly stand where truckers and lawyers break bread. Delicious cheesesteaks and juicy roast pork.”—Michael Klein, Table Talk columnist, The Philadelphia Inquirer. 39 East Oregon Avenue; tel. +1 215 551 5725.


“Deciding what to order is as challenging as getting a reservation on the weekend. To get started, try crab-stuffed peppers.”—Anne Taulane. Jumping tapas bar with superior wines and best manchego cheese plate this side of Barcelona. Tables so close you can say “hola” to other diners. 217-219 Chestnut Street; tel. +1 215 625 2450.

“A bit noisy but once you start eating you don’t mind.”—David Snyder, author PhilaFoodie blog. One of Philly’s more than 200 BYOBs. Rhapsodic rustic French cuisine, including crispy chicken livers and pork shoulder over lentils and Brussels sprouts; 44 seats, reservations strongly advised; cash only. 801 East Passyunk Avenue; tel. +1 215 923 7675.

Simple, fresh food, most from the sea—whole fish, octopus, squid—prepared on an open-fire grill and served with lots of pita, feta cheese, and olives for 35 diners lucky enough to cram into this lively Queen Village institution. BYOB, cash only. 795 South Third Street; tel. +1 215 625 0556.

Radicchio Café
“Quality, authentic Italian with absolutely no pretension.”—David Snyder. Grilled branzino and other fish deboned tableside. Delectably inexpensive BYOB in Old City. No reservations. 314 York Avenue at Wood; tel. +1 215 627 6850.

White Dog Café
“Socially conscious, well-prepared dishes, and friendly service.”—David Snyder. Laid-back and eccentric brownstone in University City. American-style menu with an emphasis on organic, locally produced, and humanely raised food. 3420 Sansom Street; tel. +1 215 386 9224.


“Everyone looks like a million bucks dining under the ten-foot Buddha—at ten-thousandth the price.”—Michael Klein. Asian-inspired food in a chic, theatrical setting with floor-to-ceiling waterfall. Dishes served communal style, so everybody gets a taste of the wok-seared lobster with mashed potatoes. 325 Chestnut Street; tel. +1 215 574 9440.

“Great, locally sourced food that’s not too avant-garde and a stylish atmosphere that’s not too much.”—Michael Klein. Simple, scrupulously fresh American bistro fare served from an open kitchen. 306 Market Street; tel. +1 215 625 9425.

“Top pick for a special occasion. Try the risotto alla Kristina.”—David Snyder. Contemporary, 55 seats, cozy fireplace near the Italian Market. Seasonal tasting menu focused on local ingredients, paired with wines; ranges from five to nine courses. 824 South Eighth Street; tel. +1 215 629 4980.

Bram Stoker jotted down notes for Dracula on Bellevue-Stratford Hotel stationery. At this decadent, domed restaurant on the 19th and top floor of the hotel, sink your teeth into crispy striped bass or chilled Maine lobster. Jaw-dropping views of the city skyline. Broad and Walnut Streets; tel. +1 215 790 1919.


Barclay Prime
“Upscale and pricey, extremely delicious beef. So macho they give you a choice of steak knives.”—Kate Kilpatrick, senior arts and entertainment editor, Philadelphia Weekly. Meat and potatoes gone glam on Rittenhouse Square. Sigh-inducing Gachot & Gachot steaks, truffle whipped potatoes, and a $100 Kobe beef version of the famous Philly cheesesteak; green, yellow, and white leather sofas, marble-topped tables, and hanging bookcases. 237 South 18th Street; tel. +1 215 732 7560.

Le Bec-Fin
“Those in the know hit Le Bar Lyonnaise, the restaurant in the basement. You get essentially the same menu but it costs less.”—David Snyder. Elegant dining salon with meticulously prepared haute French cuisine and magical service. Best cheese cart in the city. 1523 Walnut Street; tel. +1 215 567 1000.

The Fountain
Extravagant, multi-sensory experience at the Four Seasons hotel. Romantic room with lavish floral arrangements, German-flavored French fare, and top-drawer servers adept at charming antsy kids with a visit to the kitchen. Adventurous diners go for the prix fixe “spontaneous choice” menu where the chef picks several courses. 1 Logan Square; tel. +1 215 963 1500.


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