Best Restaurants in Philadelphia

Bar Manager Dan Hamm keeps in sync.
Bar Manager Dan Hamm keeps in sync. Neal Santos

In the city where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed, culinary giants like Marc Vetri, Stephen Starr, Michael Solomonov, Eli Kulp, and Jose Garces are building a community that stands tall next to any of the food havens across the U.S. Craft beer and epic wine lists are commonplace, as is a bold cocktail culture that offers a little bit of everything for even the most refined drinkers. The working-class vibe presents a perfect backdrop to this summer’s Democratic National Convention.

Notable: A wine and cocktail list that syncs with a charcoal grill

This dual concept from High Street Hospitality Group—the Philly team behind Fork, a 2016 James Beard semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurant, as well as High Street on Market and High Street on Hudson in New York City, could be the group’s most interesting.

The separate but synced units ( is next door), feature powerhouse talent, with Jon Nodler, a 2015 James Beard: Rising Star Chef semifinalist as chef de cuisine, and 2016 Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic finalist Eli Kulp serving as executive chef. Beverage director Mariel Wega and bar manager Dan Hamm direct a program that led Wine Enthusiast to name it the second Best Wine Restaurant in America last year.

The beverages play off the charcoal grill in the kitchen, like a cocktail with grilled cinnamon syrup. The restaurant features a long, inventive wine list, fitting beer selections (five taps and five bottles/cans), and classic cocktails that also typically showcase 10 to 12 seasonal concoctions.

Alla Spina

Notable: Around 100 beer bottles and cans with Italian nods

Alla Spina

Italian Gastropub Alla Spina features an extensive beer list. Jason Varney

Marc Vetri, whose Vetri Family group operates six concepts, is one of the city’s true culinary moguls.

He won the 2005 James Beard Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic and has been a recurring nominee for years. Vetri is perhaps best known for his namesake Vetri, which opened in 1998. For a more casual spin with a focus on the beverage side, Alla Spina bears the distinction of being an Italian gastropub.

There are 20 taps, two casks, 100 bottles and cans, and a reserve beer list. Beverage director Steve Wildy’s program also offers five white and red wines by the glass, as well as Italian cocktails, beer cocktails, and a large amaro and brown spirits focus. For an adventurous spin, there’s Negroni and Fernet-Branca on tap. The food is crafted by Chef Julie Kline, and check averages run a reasonable $35.


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