Circles, opened in 2009, is a beloved South Philly Thai restaurant by Alex Boonphaya, a Bangkok-born, Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef. A second location opened in 2011 in the Northern Liberties neighborhood, and is a testament to the success of his authentic and family-inspired dishes. If Thai food is your thing, this hotspot delivers and then some. An unassuming eatery just off of Broad Street, the place is BYOB, and also does a mean take-out business. Try their rolls, pad thai, dumplings or coconut soup. Eat in or dine out, BYOB or not. When it's thai you're craving, Circles knows how to satisfy.
Khmer Kitchen in South Philly is a great pick for those looking to sample some Cambodian fare. When you see it, you may not realize it's a restaurant, it seats just a small number. Yet if you're one of those few lucky ones, you're in for a meal you'll savor for days to come. The eatery features reasonably priced Cambodian fare, and it is family run. They serve amply-sized dishes, including a much-lauded chicken curry stew and a traditional pickled papaya salad. This Kitchen is BYOB, just another reason you'll want to stay a while as your taste buds tour Cambodia.
South Philadelphia's Vietnamese delicacy, Nam Phuong specializes in delicious food using quality ingredients, combined with exceptional service. The restaurant itself is wide open and feels spacious. There are a variety of menu items to select from, ranging from soups to salads to noodle dishes, rice dishes, pho, stir fry, vegetarian choices and seafood. Order in English or Vietnamese and choose family-style dinners as well for groups ranging in size from 2, 4, 6, 8 or 10. Portions are large, and options are many so that everyone in your group can be easily pleased. You won't go hungry when ordering from this eatery.
Izumi is arguably Philly's premiere restaurant for sushi lovers. An elegant dining room and world-class presentation, makes Izumi a top destination for lovers of fresh seafood and Japanese cuisine. Eater Philadelphia named Izumi one of Philly's 38 essential restaurants, and Chef Corey Baver (previously of Morimoto and Buddakan) and his team work tirelessly to make sure your sushi, maki and sashimi are unforgettable. Located in trendy and up-and-coming Passyunk, this eatery gets crowded on weekends, as sushi-lovers flock here to get their fix. Try a Philly roll, spicy salmon roll, dragon roll or spider roll. They also have non-seafood options if someone in your party isn't a fan, so everyone wins.
To label the interior of this Sansom Street Pan-Asian "contemporary" is to make gross understatement. Indeed, this �ber-cool space by restaureur Stephen Starr borders on futuristic. White acrylic tables, intimate pod-like booths, sculpted plastic and molded rubber and screens that play sequences of Asian videos � Yes, Gene Roddenberry would have been delighted. The fare, too, is cutting edge, and diners should expect full-on sensory overload from artistically-presented dim sum, sushi platters and stir-frys. Stop in and see for yourself why this Asian hotspot gets such rave reviews from the foodie crowd. Your taste buds will thank you as will anyone who joins you here.
CNN named Philly's Han Dynasty one of the top 50 Chinese restaurants in America, and a trip to this Old City restaurant will have you nodding your head in agreement. Make sure to order a few extra glasses of water for your table; their dishes range in spiciness, but most land on the hot end of the scale. In fact, many say it the Go-To place for heat in Philadelphia. That's because the owner, Han Chiang, dishes up some seriously scrumptious Sichuan cuisine. The place is open for lunch and dinner and is a treat for lovers of spicy food options.
Morimoto is a wonderful Japanese cuisine experience. The eatery features neon colored booths lit from within, wavy bamboo walls and ceilings, and funky little tables in the lounge that give the place a super stylish, modern atmosphere. You may recognize chef Morimoto from his Iron Chef days, or even from Nobu in NYC. The menu includes a number of entrees, including several dishes from Nobu, but for a truly unique Morimoto experience, you must order the Omakase. Be sure to make weekend reservations well in advance, and expect to make an evening of it � this is a dining experience, after all, and well worth it at that.
Chef Michael Schulson presents contemporary Asian-inspired small plates at Center City's Sampan. Sit back and enjoy a cup of sake in the dramatic dining room or head to Graffiti Bar, decorated by three Philly artists, located in Sampan's back patio for happy hour cocktails and snacks. Sampan is a great pick for vegetarians or those looking to a flavorful gluten-free meal. Diners here won't get a limp meal with boring flavors, either. The place slam dunks with quality choices that pack on flavor and look as delicious as they taste. They also offer house wine, sake and specialty cocktails to round out your experience.
This eatery is excellent, but it can easily be missed on first glance. With fresh produce hanging in the front window, you might mistake it for something else, yet inside owners serve up tasty dishes meant to keep you satisfied and coming back for more. Delicious won ton soup as well traditional Chinese specialties, such as crisp duck and golden scallion pancakes are served with a smile. Whether you select chicken, beef, pork, or seafood, you can't go wrong, and staff have been cooking and serving these great dishes for 30 years. Customers know Sang Kee's Peking Duck is the place to go for truly delicious Chinese, and now you know, too.
Upon entering Buddakan, diners catch on quickly that this will be an experience, not just a meal. From the Zen-like entrance complete with its wall of flowing waters to the Buddha statue that begs you rub his belly on the way out, the place is a visual treat. Duck and shiitake postickers, lobster fried rice, sesame crusted tuna, make for a memorable meal. After your meal, try the chocolate Bento box for two, a sampler of five unique little desserts. The bar gets packed and stays packed, but don't let the noise deter your mission to enjoy a wonderful meal. Advance reservations are recommended, especially for weekends.