Philly’s 10 Best Lunch Spots
Located just off Rittenhouse Square and near the city’s main shopping artery, Parc’s location is unbeatable. The capacious interior dining space is stunning and tile-encrusted, while outside, the space-heated two tops that line the sidewalk allow diners to eat and drink comfortably on all but the coldest days. The unapologetically French menu—onion soup, fresh oysters, salmon tartare—is full of light-but-satisfying midday fare that, while familiar, is expertly executed. The setting and ambiance alone ensure you’ll leave happy.
High Street on Market
Helmed by stand-out chef Eli Kulp, High Street was one of Philly’s first restaurants to emphasize local grains, which the restaurant showcases in a number of exceptional baked-on-site goods. Its mill-to-table approach informs its menu of sandwiches and toasts, and its soups and salads are also excellent.
Contemporary and bright, Tredici’s dining space is one of the most attractive in the city—whether you’re sitting at the marble-topped bar or in one of the blonde-wood wrapped booths. The menu features abundant grilled- and roasted-vegetable starters, as well as raw-bar goodies and satisfying pasta or protein mains. All wines are offered in both full and half glasses, a nice perk at lunchtime if you’re wary of overdoing it.
White Dog Café
This West Philly institution was serving fresh farm-to-table food way before that approach to cooking turned into a trend—let alone a nationwide movement. Composed of more than a half-dozen meticulously designed and decorating eating spaces—from the verdant solarium to the intimate parlor bar—you could visit White Dog Cafe again and again a have a different experience each time. One taste of the food, whether it’s the Kennett Square mushroom soup or the shaved apple salad, is all you’ll need to know you’ll be back.
While Philly has no shortage of excellent cocktail bars, your options at lunchtime are a bit limited. The drinks at The Love are an exception—especially the $20 Manhattan featuring an exclusive rye from local distiller Dad’s Hat. The second of two Stephen Starr restaurants to make this list—the other is Parc—The Love features all the trappings you’d expect at a Starr joint, from first-class service to artful, considered décor. The lunch menu tilts toward the savory end of the spectrum, with several hearty soups and stews, delectable salads and sandwiches, and a smattering of very good pasta entrees.
There is nothing quite like a classic delicatessen. From first-rate pastrami and corned beef to great breads, bagels, soups and desserts, everything here is exactly what you’d hope for from an old-school deli—minus the over-the-top portions and prices. Schlesinger’s also has a great, complimentary “pickle bar” replete with potato salad and other sides that you can dive into while you wait for your main course to arrive.
Acclaimed chef Jose Garces has launched a number of celebrated restaurants since he opened his first restaurant, Amada, back in 2005. But while often overshadowed by Garces’s newer and more ambitious endeavors, this Andalusian tapas spot is reliably excellent. Choose from a selection of cured meats, cheeses, vegetable-focused small plates, and a la plancha entrees, as well as excellent sandwiches, salads, and soups.
The lunch menu at this Queen Village hotspot is spare—featuring just a handful of selections. But there’s a reason Philadelphia Magazine just named Hungry Pigeon the best restaurant in the city. The emphasis here is very clearly on quality, not quantity. And you taste that quality in every bite, whether you’re sinking your teeth into the whipped feta and beet tartine, or soaking your taste buds with the pork and bean soup.
Bud & Marilyn’s
Like The Love, Bud & Marilyn’s features a crave-worthy lineup of cocktails. But you’re really coming here for the down-home dishes elevated to new and excited heights. The “fried chicken in a bucket” is juicy and features just the right amount of breading and spice. The “shareables”—from cheese curds to chop suey—are delectable, as are the buttermilk biscuits. Like the food, the dining room is a mash-up of homey sophistication. This place is a gem.
Perched above Rittenhouse Square on the second floor of the five-star Rittenhouse Hotel, Lacroix is an elevated dining experience in every sense of the word. From its beautiful and fresh fruits de mer platters to its expertly prepared French-focused firsts and seconds, the food here—while not adventurous—is undeniably excellent. Its elegant décor and award-winning wine list are two more great reasons to stop in for lunch.