Bars, Cafes, Philadelphia, Restaurants

Dining in Philadelphia

Philadelphia has a thrilling dining scene, whether it’s fine dining with impressive views over the city or a vibrant bistro hidden atop a designer furniture showroom with only a kitsch neon sign marking the door.  Here are some of my favourite Philadelphia food finds…

Fine Dining

Chef Daniel Stern’s R2L is Philadelphia’s highest restaurant and the views of the city are spectacular.  Located on the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place, the expansive R2L serves Modern American cuisine while Liberty Bar & Lounge offers posh bar plates and cocktails made with hand-cut ice (there is even a Happy Hour).

We experienced the ‘Height of R2L’ seven course tasting menu with wine pairings.  Dishes included Grilled Truffle Flatbread, Hot & Cold Seafood Platter, Tuna Tartare, Lobster Macaroni and Cheese, Black Truffle Risotto, Roasted Chicken Breast and a trio of steak cuts with buttery mashed potato.  We finished with a Strawberry Rhubarb Crostata which came served with pots of vanilla cream and crunchy caramel peanut brittle.

Food is of a high standard and the slick ambiance makes it a great choice for a memorable dinner in Philadelphia.  Request a window table and bring a jacket, as the air-conditioning is fierce!

Hidden Gem

Bistro St Tropez is one of those ‘in the know’ places that only a local would lead you to.  Perched on the fourth floor of the Market Design Center, Bistro St Tropez is a bright, industrial-luxe space with spectacular views of the Schuylkill River, 30th Street Station and the Modern Art Museum.

Owner and Chef Patrice Rames offers a menu of Provençal and Mediterranean dishes alongside a few American classics such as Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes.  I particularly liked the delectable Pain Perdue with house-cured Scottish salmon and cranberry grappa jam.

Just a few weeks ago, Bistro St Tropez opened Le Petit Cafe du Bistro St Tropez on the first floor of the same building.  The cafe is perfect for a light bite on the go, such as breakfast pastries with Illy coffee and freshly squeezed juice, casse-croûtes, home-made quiche and salads.  Apparently, the béchamel-smothered Croque Monsieur is already a big hit.


Enjoy a French breakfast with an American twist at Chez Colette, Sofitel Philadelphia.  The charming brasserie is filled with iconic French posters and nostalgic light jazz.  I started the day with English breakfast tea, freshly squeezed orange juice and a yogurt smoothie shot and shared a basket of the most delicious, flaky croissants.  My Eggs Benedict ($15) with Canadian bacon and roasted red bliss potatoes were perfectly cooked and substantial.

The menu offers so many delectable and decadent breakfast dishes that it’s tempting to really indulge.  However, the ‘Getting in Shape’ section of the menu offers healthy alternatives such as Wheat Belgian Waffles, Egg White Benedict and Seasonal Fresh Fruit.  It’s also possible to create your own omelette.

Chez Colette is ideally situated for a morning of tax-free shopping on Walnut and Chestnut Street, or touring Philadelphia’s sights.  Such an elegant breakfast to start the day is a real treat!


McCrossen’s Tavern is a cosy, family-run pub that is on the cusp of the Philadelphia Museum Mile, but doesn’t seem to have been colonised by the art crowd.  It’s conveniently located just a few blocks away from The Barnes Foundation and the Rodin Museum, in the leafy Fairmount Park neighbourhood.

Opened in 1937, the pub offers a great selection of beer, including the local Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale, and the most delicious Mediterranean and American fare.  We stopped by for some sharing plates of oysters, baked mussels, risotto, marinated vegetables and Cajun fries with garlic mayo.

Kings Oak American Grill in Philadelphia’s hip Northern Liberties neighbourhood is the place to come and watch a game and enjoy exceptionally good food.  As we were a large group, our set menu included Pea Soup with basil oil, Roasted Chicken with mashed potato, haricot verts and chicken jus and Sticky Toffee Pudding with Bassett’s pralines and cream ice cream.  Kings Oak is one of the few sports bars to offer bistro-style food alongside grilled American small plates like crabcake sliders, buffalo shrimp and sweet potato fries.

There is also an extensive range of craft beers to choose from.  I asked our waitress to recommend a light but interesting beer and she picked a winner – the raspberry-infused Abita Purple Haze beer brewed in Louisiana.

Kings Oak overlooks The Piazza at Schmidt’s, so you can enjoy brunch there and check out the indie boutiques or make a night of it and visit the local bars such as Ortliebs Lounge.

See more Philly food on Pinterest.

For more Philadelphia dining tips, visit:

British Airways offer three nights at the 4* Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Philadelphia from £749 per person based on September 2012 departures.  Includes return British Airways flights from Heathrow and accommodation only.  For reservations visit or call 0844 493 0758

Cherie City was a guest of PCVB

R2L on Urbanspoon Bistro St. Tropez on Urbanspoon

McCrossen's Tavern on Urbanspoon Kings Oak on Urbanspoon

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