Award-winning chefs, international menus, and plenty of open-air seating options establish Rittenhouse Square as one of Philadelphia’s premier dining destinations.
Start the day with a coffee and a babka, boreka, Jerusalem bagel sandwich or other baked good from K’Far, an all-day cafe and bakery from Zahav’s Mike Solomonov and Steve Cook, located on 19th Street just a few blocks north of Rittenhouse Square park. Cook N Solo’s other nearby ventures include the popular Federal Donuts – fried chicken, donuts, and coffee – and Goldie – falafel sandwiches and salads, fries, and tahina shakes – both found on Sansom Street. Also on Sansom Street, CookNSolo’s Abe Fisher serves elevated Jewish cuisine in a cozy, chic dining room while neighboring Dizengoff features fresh hummus, pitas, and Middle Eastern salads in a colorful, casual setting.
Enjoy a Parisian brasserie experience in the heart of Philadelphia at Starr Restaurant’s Parc. Complete with alfresco seating beside Rittenhouse Square and known for its brunch, Parc offers charming and comfortable dining any time of the day for any occasion and was declared one of the 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America for 2019 by OpenTable. Other nearby Starr Restaurant ventures include The Love., The Dandelion, El Rey, and Barclay Prime – a modern steakhouse with an extravagant cheesesteak on the menu comprised of wagyu ribeye, foie gras, onions, and truffled cheese whiz.
On Chestnut Street, a taste of Italy awaits at Gran Caffe L’Aquila, which was built in Italy and shipped to Philadelphia for true authenticity. This part-market, part-restaurant is known for award-winning gelato (available by the scoop or by the pint) and a menu that spotlights dishes from multiple Italian regions. Not far from Gran Caffe L’Aquila is the Rittenhouse location of popular Italian Market cheese connoisseurs, Di Bruno Bros. Shop for produce, meat, seafood, and cheese, of course, while also grabbing freshly prepared meals, sandwiches, and more for take-out. Upstairs is Alimentari, an Italian café serving lunch, aperitivo, dinner and Sunday brunch with menus featuring Di Bruno’s signature selection of cured meats and cheeses.
At Harp & Crown, one of several Schulson Collective restaurants in Rittenhouse, guests can enjoy a new-American menu, cocktails, and over 40 beers on tap in a stylish setting, complete with 32-seat bar and a bowling alley speakeasy in the basement (which can be booked for private events). Neighboring Giuseppe & Sons serves South Philadelphia-inspired Italian American dishes in bi-level space, prioritizing hoagies and quick items to-go upstairs, with an elegant restaurant and bar space in the basement. Schulson’s other Rittenhouse Italian restaurant, Via Locusta, focuses on shareable plates and handmade pasta.
Top Chef Jennifer Carroll presents a menu of inventive modern-Mediterranean dishes at Spice Finch, located at the base of the Warwick Hotel. Find farm-to-table fare at Pumpkin, a charming BYOB with a seasonal menu. Italian-born Chef Gianluca Demontis serves authentic Italian dishes and made-from-scratch pastas at Melograno, his airy BYOB eatery.
a.kitchen and a.bar occupy the first floor of the AKA Rittenhouse Square hotel at the corner of 18th and Walnut, with a menu of seasonal American bistro dishes complemented by an innovative wine and spirits program. For Mexican-inspired cuisine, seek out Condesa on the ground floor of the Motto by Hilton hotel, or head to the top floor for El Techo, a rooftop taqueria featuring tacos, margaritas and more beneath a retractable glass roof that offers impressive views of the surrounding city.
A one-of-a-kind experience awaits you at Ancient Spirits and Grille. This three-story, 7,000-square-foot spot on Chestnut Street bills itself as the first “Ayurvedic herbal restaurant and cocktail lounge” in the United States. Here diners, have the unusual option of scanning a QR code to create a personal menu tailored to their body type, metabolic energy, and dietary restrictions. Another Rittenhouse restaurant with unique offerings is Bar Poulet on Walnut Street. From the owners of Tria, this chic fried-chicken joint serves up the perfect pairing — champagne with buckets of crispy-juicy white and dark meat. Vegetarians can opt for the “chicken-fried” portobello and maitake mushrooms, and sides include mashed potatoes with truffle gravy.
Fried chicken, brisket, swordfish, and more are served on house-baked milk bread and sourdough at artisanal sandwich shop Huda. After making a name for himself at Abe Fisher, Chef Yehuda Sichel took the casual route in 2020 with his namesake sandwich shop, which offers an array of mouth-watering sandwiches, vegetable-rich sides and seasonal salads.
Beer lovers should not miss the storied brewpub Monk’s Café, considered to be one of the best bars to have a beer at in the world. Monk’s boasts one of the city’s greatest draft lists (often hosting hard-to-find ales) and an equally impressive bottle list filled with imports from Belgium, all paired perfectly with a menu of mussels steamed in various styles of beer. For wine, seek out Garces Group’s Tinto, serving sharable small plates beside a wine shop with bottles available to-go. More wine is available at the nearby Vernick Wine, in bottles to-go or to be enjoyed on-site for a private, seated dinner. Just next door is the acclaimed upscale American eatery Vernick Food & Drink, helmed by James Beard Award-winning chef, Greg Vernick. Vernick’s other area restaurant, Vernick Fish, can be found at the base of the Comcast Technology Center.
Other area eateries include Dim Sum House by Jane G’s, Rouge, Rittenhouse Grill, and Village Whiskey, home to a menu of inventive burgers. For more restaurant recommendations in Philadelphia, including some of the city’s essential eateries, click here.
Cover photo courtesy of Spice Finch.