Philadelphia’s dining scene is often — and rightly — lauded thanks to critically acclaimed restaurants like Zahav, South Philly Barbacoa, Vetri Cucina and so many others. But determined diners who peek behind the curtain — sometimes literally — can find a number of under-the-radar food and drink locales that make for quite the memorable culinary experience in the city and the surrounding region.
Who would think an Irish bar serves stellar Italian food? Or that a nondescript building in Malvern offers lauded French and Asian fusion? How about a hoagie omakase, a customizable cookie-and-milkshake setup behind a bookcase, or a listening room in a baja spot?
From a cheese lover’s delight at Di Bruno Bros.’ After Hours events to one of the most difficult (but most definitely worth it) reservations to get in the country at Talula’s Table, the following not-totally-obvious-but-oh-so-awesome spots are worth the effort to seek out.
Keep health and safety top of mind when exploring Philadelphia and the Countryside. As of January 2022, patrons must show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (card or photo of card) to eat or drink indoors at any establishment that serves food or drink in Philadelphia County. Other indoor public spaces in Philly require proof of vaccination and/or mask-wearing. Requirements vary in the surrounding region. Best bet: Call ahead or check online to get the latest info.
Read on for the top-secret (well, now not-so-secret) drinking and dining adventures that await in Philly and beyond.
Note: This article was last updated on January 25, 2022.