Philly Gems: Fishtown & Northern Liberties

LMNO Philly best restaurants fishtown

Since moving to Philadelphia in 2011, J and I love exploring the city and discovering new (to us) restaurants. Fishtown and Northern Liberties are two of our favorite areas that both have a great mix of quiet residential areas and vibrant city nightlife. There are so many good foodie spots that we associate with incredible memories and food that is equally unforgettable. Below are some Philadelphia gems I’ve been meaning to share for some time and now they’re all in one place! I’ll keep adding to the list as I discover new places.

For all the Philly locals, did I miss anything? Comment below with your favorite Philly gems in Fishtown & Northern Liberties!

Fishtown

LMNO – We absolutely love coming here. From the black and white Studio 54 photography by Bill Bernstein on the walls  to the relaxing lounge music, every detail is part of the experience. The photos are all images from New York City club culture and nightlife in the 1970s. All these details together do an amazing job of setting a certain type of mood as soon as you enter the restaurant. When you’re surrounded by pictures of everyone partying, it’s hard not to have a great time. Not to mention there is a bookstore within the restaurant so I was immediately hooked. Most importantly though, the food is really good. The aguachiles are sublime and a perfect way to start the meal. If you’re looking for something to share as an entree, the Pescado Zerandeado is a grilled sea bass with shishito, avocado and a dashi-achiote marinade. My personal favorite are the Suadero tacos – slow cooked brisket tacos that I often dream about.

Pizzeria Beddia – You may have heard of Pizzeria Beddia already as it was once named the “best pizza in America” by Bon Appétit magazine. It’s located on a small street in Fishtown and you may miss it if you’re not specifically looking for the restaurant. The pizza really is fantastic but make sure you order the Judion Beans and Cantabrian Boquerones (anchovies) – they’re not to be missed! We had a pizza party for Brody here and loved it.

Suraya – Come here for brunch and/or dinner and you will not be disappointed. Suraya serves Lebanese food (order the Lebanese Omelette and their signature hummus). If it’s warm out, eat in the back garden area. It’s truly an oasis with beautiful plants, a fire pit, and tasty drinks. I love coming here in the summertime when I want to pretend I’m in Europe eating at an outdoor cafe. 🙂

Love & Honey Fried Chicken – I never liked fried chicken until I had a meal at Love & Honey. The chicken is fried in buttermilk and lightly drizzled with honey and the sauces are made in house. I usually get the tenders and drumsticks with tater tots. I’ve tried other fried chicken since that first time and nothing compares.

Da-Wa Sushi – Da-Wa is a casual sushi & ramen bar located right by the subway on Front & Girard. The fish is high-quality and affordable, unlike many of the newer fine-dining sushi places in other parts of the city. This is a great lunch spot if you’re looking for great quality sushi at a reasonable price point.

Frankford Hall – A German biergarten located in the heart of Fishtown. The space is set up as a large area open to the sky with picnic tables where you can order items like a Warm Bavarian Pretzel and a Schnitzel Sandwich. It’s essentially a modern beer garden right in the city.

Front Street Cafe – This is one of my favorite brunch spots in Philadelphia. We’ve been coming here since Perry was a baby. I come here when I’m craving brunch but still want to keep it healthy-ish. The menu includes local plant-based and organic ingredients whenever available. I have many memories of my kids running around in the garden outside while we wait for our food to arrive. They also have a juice bar that I absolutely love. I’ve been here for private events and casual brunches and the food never disappoints.

Kensington Quarters –  Located on Frankford Ave, Kensington Quarters originally opened as a restaurant-butcher shop but since COVID, has transitioned to a more seafood-centric restaurant. The menu features sustainable seafood, seasonal produce and dairy from local farmers. They also offer pasta and seafood classes upstairs that I’m excited to try as a unique date night idea.

R&D – Previously known as Root, J and I would often come here when I was pregnant with my first baby and constantly craving their Lemon Ricotta pancakes. The restaurant has since transitioned to a cocktail bar with decor that is retro, sexy and an entire mood perfect for date night. With drinks that are tasty and innovative, it’s the perfect place to get a cocktail before (or after) dinner.

Cheu Fishtown – Cheu is a mix of Asian and Jewish food and it’s one of my favorite spots in Fishtown. The menu has items like Brisket Ramen and Black Pepper Yaki Udon and they both somehow manage to be amazing. The restaurant is always packed so get there early to get a seat.

Northern Liberties

Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat – Honey’s is a fixture in Northern Liberties with one of the best brunches the city of Philadelphia has to offer. The menu consists of a mix of Jewish and Tex Mex cuisine. J and I have been coming here since we first moved to Philadelphia in 2011 and we’ve loved it ever since. I usually keep it simple with sunny side up eggs and turkey bacon and it’s always a hit. Sometimes the simplest food is the hardest to make and Honey’s gets it right every time. They’re cash only and do not take reservations so we try to get there on the earlier side of brunch, which isn’t hard to do with little kids since they’re somehow always up so early on the weekends!

OneShot – I love the coffee at OneShot and the variety the menu offers. There’s something for everyone here. The upstairs area is quiet earlier in the morning with decor resembling a cozy living room. It’s a great place to work uninterrupted while having an endless supply of coffee.

Cafe La Maude – A few doors down from Honey’s is Cafe La Maude, another incredible brunch spot in the city where La Colombe coffee flows plentifully and the room vibrates with endless conversation. The owners and staff are so friendly and always do what they can to get you a table, despite how packed the restaurant is on weekends. Some personal favorites off the menu are the Shakshuka and Le Chef, both unique and flavorful. They also have heated outdoor dining available for colder days. This brunch spot is loved by locals.

D’Olivia Pizza – I’m embarrassed to reveal how many times we’ve picked up pizza from D’Olivia’s. It’s where we go after swim class when making dinner is just not in the cards that night and pretty much always when we’re craving something tasty and quick.

Jerry’s Bar –  Jerry’s Bar is a beautiful corner bar located on a cobblestone street in Northern Liberties. We love coming here with our kids for a long brunch – the kids love the food and J and I love the Bloody Mary’s. The menu has your standard bar favorites like wings plus healthy alternatives like Jamaican Jerk Seasoned Cauliflower and the Kennett Square Mushroom Medley. They also have homemade pierogies on the menu!

Heritage – Heritage is where you want to go for great food and live music. I still remember dancing with my kids there when they were toddlers while listening to a live jazz band. J and I also came here for our first solo date night out after Dylan was born and I remember the feeling of sitting at the bar, savoring a glass of wine, enjoying the music and just feeling grateful to be out together, just the two of us. This is truly a gem in the neighborhood.

Spuntino Pizza – Another amazing wood fired pizzeria with excellent pizza. We usually start with the Rucola salad and then split the Gamberi and Funghi pizzas.  All the pizzas are personal size (10”), which is just the right amount.

Añejo – We always have a great time at Añejo. The margaritas are noteworthy and the tacos melt in your mouth. The restaurant is located on 2nd street so there’s always an energetic and fun vibe.

Hudson Table – Not only is the food incredible here but they also have cooking classes where you can sit back and enjoy the magic of chefs creating an exquisite meal just for you. I love unique date night experiences and the pasta class has been in the back of my mind for a while. The restaurant also has cooking classes and baking competitions for kids if you’re looking for a fun child-friendly indoor activity.

El Camino Real – This is a casual Mexican place with generous portions and great (strong) drinks. Their happy hour is popular and usually packed. Parking is not easy in the neighborhood so leave extra time to find a spot.

Hikari Sushi – The owners of Hikari Sushi are lovely and run a wonderfully popular restaurant. So wonderful that you may find cars parked on the sidewalk while customers wait for their takeout sushi. This is a great spot for sushi  that is fresh and reasonably priced.

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