Philadelphia’s Fairmount is a largely residential neighborhood of families and young professionals, with the hub of activity taking place on Fairmount Avenue near Eastern State Penitentiary. Read ahead for our guide to the best casual dining restaurants in this low key section of Philadelphia.
The margaritas and bloody marias at La Calaca Feliz will give you as much of a buzz as the vibrant murals. This contemporary Mexican restaurant has been highly-reviewed for its seasonal and authentic ingredients as well as for its creamy and mouth-watering guacamole.
If you’re looking for an extensive beer list in a quiet neighborhood, The Belgian Cafe is a cozy hideaway that offers local and international taps and bottles. The mussels, coming in different varieties, are standouts, and patrons will also find rotating specials on their blackboard that might include creative creations like the sweet potato soup.
The Moroccan-inspired Mediterranean BYOB, tucked away in Fairmount, exudes a warm homey feeling. Hummus is complimentary with extra flat bread and service is friendly and accommodating. Figs creates mild dishes of salmon over plum sauces that hints at Morrocco without being overpowered with the spices. Also, they’re aptly known for their fig ice cream. It’s cash only.
The American sushi restaurant, Umai Umai (meaning yummy in Japanese), is a popular staple in the Fairmount area. The creative ingredients used with traditional sushi techniques helps add a unique style to their designer rolls. Most rolls are made with fruit and nuts so if you have an allergy, ask your server to accommodate you. Portions are large here so it’s worth the price, and the flavor is so good you won’t even need wasabi or soy sauce. Be sure to make reservations.
The humble-looking Greek tavern serves authentic dishes that pair well with BYOB options. Everything on the lunch menu is $10 or under that makes this casual and romantic experience. For dinner try their gyro platters. The cooking here is homestyle, so you get well-crafted traditional meals. Locals also know them for cooking their meats to tender perfection. The rustic interior will make you feel relaxed, and Zorba’s family-run business is sure to make you feel at home.
The Ethiopian restaurant and dive bar offers an authentic experience for Philadelphians. While you dine using only your hands and injera, the Ethiopian ‘tortilla’ bread, ERA serves everything from traditional yebeg wot lamb dishes to numerous vegetarian options. Going for large platter to share with friends which is a great option as well.
The wood-fired, custom-made pizzas make Pizzeria Vetri . Almost everything is made in-house, with the pies changing seasonally. Their Renato oven also roasts salads, calzones and the critically-reviewed Rotolo. The list of eight pizzas can be washed down with decently-priced bottled and canned beers or wines. Also, check out their dessert menu. Cooked to perfection, Pizzeria Vetri will have you craving its treats for days.
Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, Sushi, Japanese, Asian, $$$
This sushi bar is a quaint cafe during the day and romantic date spot during the night. Dasiwa offers not only fresh sushi and sashimi, but also boasts Japanese/Korean hybrid entrees. You’ll find more creative sushi options than most other spots in the city. Sushi rolls come large here. Their BYOB policy allows you to bring your favorite wine or beer. Service is friendly, and it’s definitely a hidden gem of Philadelphia.
Another Marc Vetri creation, this upscale Italian restaurant features dishes inspired form osterias in Northern Italy. Since 2007, Osteria has become one of the most critically-acclaimed Italian restaurants in the city. The industrial decor bodes well with dim-lighting. Choose from fresh seafood dishes like the octopus, authentic Neapolitan and Roman-style pizzas, and the mouthwatering desserts.