Seasonal, fresh ingredients abound at this Bella Vista gem. The menu changes frequently but you can catch up on the latest offerings via the updated chalkboard menu. Pair the seafood selection that most interests you with the BYOB option of your choice for a great meal that's not a repeat of things you've tasted and dismissed before. Selections here include such options as Ora King Salmon with bbq mustard, corn, porcini and farro; Monkfish accompanied by maitake, yukon, fermented pepper, pork belly, and perilla will make your mouth water. Combine these with a starter or delicious dessert for a meal you'll swear was delivered by little sea fairies.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: A history of half a century doing seafood deliciously yet differently enough of the time, makes this tiny BYOB a sure bet for satisfaction.
Sharon's expert tip: Don't sweat the wine you bring. There's a dish to compliment just about any choice you make at this pretty seafood spot.
Fork is an Old City gem that serves up seasonal fine dining in a refined and contemporary setting. The restaurant attracts a crowd looking for delicious yet edgy ingredient combinations and is especially popular among the millennial crowd. They proudly source many ingredients from local farmers in the surrounding area and serve up dinner seven nights a week along with a delicious Sunday brunch you won't want to miss. Chef Eli Kulp's staff continues to churn out creative, handmade dishes that combine unexpected flavors and ingredients. Many times the evening's entire menu will center around a specific ingredient or item and move creatively from there. Stop in to see how this sleek eatery satisfies the palate in an interesting and creative way.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: A delicious New American eatery in Old City where dinner is more than just the same old flavor combinations and the service is impeccable.
Sharon's expert tip: Try something new when you're here, as they pride themselves in continually refining their menu.
Treating oneself to an experience at Hiroki is as much a culture experience as it is a dining concept. This immersive restaurant serves an Omakase Menu at $145 per person plus a 20% service charge. The meal is seasonally inspired and is a nod back to the chef's hometown of Kyoto. Progressing from zensai to meat to two sushi courses to miso soup and finally a dessert, the menu promises not to leave you hungry, yet it allows you to enjoy the incredible tastes and traditions of Japanese cuisine.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Finding an upscale sushi experience is not always an easy task. This venue delivers on cuisine as well as atmosphere.
Sharon's expert tip: Be sure to try the optional sake pairing for an elevated dining experience.
The buzz built for months before this teensy Northern European BYOB opened on East Passyunk, and Chicago chef/owner Joncarl Lachman's house-smoked fish and anise-based sauces certainly don't disappoint now that it's operating and working to please patrons night after night. Lachman adds warmth to his rustic cold-weather seaside dishes by personally greeting guests. Come in and sample this Dutch cuisine and enjoy the white-tableclothed experience, and frequently house-made selections along with whatever favorite bottle you'd like to bring along. Reservations are recommended, along with a rich Alsatian or Burgundian white wine to bring out the flavors of your entree best.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: In addition to being something bit different as far as cuisine, the fare is fresh, local, house-made and delicious.
Sharon's expert tip: As they say, don't be afraid of the Dutch words here, they are friendly and welcoming with fresh food in a BYOB setting.
Before James Beard chef Michael Solomonov opened the only upscale Israeli restaurant in Philadelphia, he took his entire staff to Israel to give them a taste of the land, the spirit and the food. The result is a very modern experience that draws from recipes cooked since ancient times. Innovative drinks, a small-plates approach and one of the largest Israeli wine lists outside of the Middle East make Zahav an ideal place to go to learn about an unfamiliar cuisine or return again and again for old favorites. The restaurant Esquire rated a Top 20 Best New Restaurant in 2008 is romantic, intimate and lively enough to provide a welcoming setting for couples, families and friends.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Looking for something out of your comfort zone for dinner? This place fits the bill with delicious diversions.
Sharon's expert tip: Plates are sized to be shared; order several and let the tasting begin.
With only 35 seats, this nationally acclaimed restaurant is booked one to two months in advance, so call way ahead for reservations. Chef-owner Marc Vetri prepares elegant "new" Italian cuisine, served only as a prix fixe menu for $135. Seasonally rotating entrees include unusual meats like chestnut fettucini with boar and cocoa, baby goat with freshly stone-milled polenta and Texas antelope with squash and Amarone sauce. The signature dessert, chocolate polenta souffl�, sounds wacky, but it's quite good. Business dress appropriate. Vetri closes for one week in January and two weeks in August, so call ahead if you're thinking about dining here during those months.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: A restaurant run by Mark Vetri and booking months in advance is one you'll certainly want to put on your list to visit.
Sharon's expert tip: If you're not able to score a reservation for Vetri, visit Marc Vetri's more accessible restaurants, Osteria, Amis, Alla Spina and Pizzeria Vetri.
This pretty Rittenhouse Square restaurant elevates your American fare palate to the next level. Currently offering an indulgent eight-course tasting menu in their intimate upstairs dining room, this restaurant will leave you feeling like you've had an exquisite, private dining experience. Make reservations for one of their two seating a night and enjoy seasonally inspired dishes culled from locally-available produce, meats, seasonings, and other ingredients combined with loving creativity. Sip a cocktail or glass of wine from their bar and enjoy the upscale yet airy and relaxed environment.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: A restaurant that offers a quaint, attractive atmosphere, elevated dining experience upstairs as well as more relaxed bar downstairs covers all bases.
Sharon's expert tip: Don't forget about this restaurant's downstairs bar, as well as the cocktails they put together here.
Two floors of ingredient-driven cuisine are what you'll find at Vernick Food & Drink. Recognized as a Rising Philadelphia Chef by Star Chefs, Greg Vernick and his wife Julie bring artful dishes to the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood. Cuisine choices include a variety of small plate options, raw choices, selections served on toast, as well as a host of exquisite vegetable options. Vernick also excels at its large plate choices, such as grilled black sea bass, pork blade steak and steamed halibut over pea leaves for seafood lovers. Also, tempting are the delicious meat portions roasted in the on-site wood-fired oven. The lovely open kitchen layout here gives patrons the opportunity to observe their food as it's being prepared.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Vernick consistently delivers creative dishes combined with excellent service and a staff willing to make your night special.
Sharon's expert tip: Make time to have a drink or two before dinner, or try the blueberry pie with gelato for dessert, as diners rave about it.
Anyone who thinks vegan food can't be flavorful hasn't eaten at Vedge. Not only is this friendly and inviting Center City restaurant the best vegan/vegetarian join in Philly and the entire United States (by leaps and bounds) it might very well be among the best restaurants. Period. The husband and wife team who run the kitchen at Vedge manage to produce amazingly flavorful French-inspired dishes that are so decadent, it's hard to believe they're not made with heaps of butter and cream. Housed in a cute, old Victorian rowhome, this restaurant is attractive as well as convenient. Delicious, creatively-presented vegetarian food in a beautiful setting near Center City always puts Vedge at the top of our restaurant list.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: When it comes to meatless, Vedge is an incredible place to dine. The food is not ho-hum, but innovative and tasty.
Sharon's expert tip: Be sure not to skip dessert, a Vedge delivers quality and tasty treats all the way to meal's end.
This BYO bistro serves up French-inspired cuisine to South Philadelphia diners looking for a fresh alternative to fine dining. Chef Nicholas Elmi, who has cooked at other top Philadelphia restaurants like Le Bec Fin, fills his menu with just fourteen choices, comprising four courses. Their carefully chosen, intriguing tasting menu is available 5 days a week. With room for just 22 in his eatery, the atmosphere and the experience is both intimate and personal. Whether you're starting out with the melon and yuzu potage, moving on to the arctic char, or digging into the roasted walu, your taste buds will awaken and thank you. End with chef-chosen cheeses and local honey.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: A small BYOB with expertly-crafted French & American fare fits the bill for delicious dining in anyone's book.
Sharon's expert tip: When a restaurant works as hard as they do on the dishes included in their tasting menus, you'll want to treat yourself.