Washington Square is home to some fine and fancy restaurants. We’ve chosen the best restaurants that are on the threshold of Midtown Village and the ‘Gayborhood’ to expose you to locavore havens and high end bistros. Read ahead for our guide to the 10 best restaurants the Washington Square West neighborhood has to offer.
Nestled right by Washington Square Park, Talula’s Garden is a rustic and chic fine dining restaurant that highlights the organic, local farm and garden style menu. Featuring creative plates that pay tribute to the humanely-raised, locavore garden movement. Patrons can choose from pastas such as the smoked corn ravioli or dishes like Barnegat scallops with pan-roasted local orchard apples, Five Spice apple butter and pickled radish. Vegetables range from sweet and spicy sugar beets with honey cardamom vinaigrette to buttery Georgia grits with ‘caramel sea salt’ compound butter. After you’re done, make sure to order the ricotta doughnuts with fresh apple slices to top it off.
The Morris House Hotel’s restaurant make you feel as if you’re eating in a chic Parisian bistro. If you’re wanting to sample a few items on the menu you can order the four course tasting menu. However, if you’re going with just an entree, choose from the New American dishes of spaghetti squash with bell peppers and spinach pesto or pan seared salmon with peanut potatoes and leeks. On Wednesday evenings, join your friends at the copper bar that wraps around a 30 foot holly tree in their garden for jazz night. You can also catch happy hour every night with bar specials in designated areas. Try their garden to glass cocktails created with home grown herbs and infused liquors, like their mushroom martini.
CHeU Noodle Bar takes a spin on classic ramen bowls to a creative, elevated level. The large window makes good use of their relaxing, warm-toned wooden design. The menu is small, but favorites include the black garlic wings and the brisket ramen bowl with matzo ball, kimchi and red chili broth. They also have a cold sesame noodle dish with cucumber, crispy yuba and seaweed, and other ramen dishes with meats like lamb and raita. CHeU’s menu may not be authentic, but it is all comforting and tasty in an inviting and cozy atmosphere.
On the tree-lined side of 11th Street sits the charming blue facade of Zinc. The classic French bistro serves creatively plated dishes that are inspired by traditional Parisian recipes, and it also hosts a vintage Zinc bar. The menu offers up six to seven appetizers, including their cassette escargots with bacon and almonds. Their canard a la press (pressed duck) is served via an 1870 recipe for wild duck, prepared table side by being carved and then the carcass is pressed to release the natural juices. However, this item is available only on weekends, with two days notice and deposit. You can also try their exceptional seafood dishes such as the truite saumonee.
BAP sits on the remote edge of the Washington Square neighborhood. The Korean bistro offers plenty of bibimbaps, which translates to ‘mixed meal.’ You’ll find sautéed and seasoned vegetables, barbecue beef, topped with an egg and gochujang and served over a bowl of crispy rice on the bottom and creamy rice on top. Each dish comes with a variety of veggies including bean sprouts, broccoli, mushrooms and zucchini to name a few. The rave reviews for this hole-in-the-wall restaurant are due to its tender meats, great spices and textures.
Tria Cafe Wash West, Philadelphia | Alexander Schimmeck
Tria Cafe — Washington Square
Tria Cafe in Washington Square is one of the more lively spots, with heavy foot traffic and outdoor seating. However, the calm gold lighting and classy decor help to give an elegance of a special evening. The cafe serves delicious paninis, prosciutto cotto with roasted tomato-sweet pepper spread. Their wine and beer lists are exceptional; they change frequently and feature brands from all over the world. Come for happy hour Monday to Thursday where you’ll find a wine, beer specials and a cheese dish at a discounted price. Also, pop in for Sunday school when the beer, wine and cheese selection are half off.
The trendy Fat Salmon Sushi sits just on the edge of Washington Square Park and plays host to some inventive sushi rolls. The dancing vampire roll with tuna and salmon in chili sauce and the rolling fire roll with shrimp tempura, cucumber and broiled spicy scallion sauce are popular items. Go for lunch as well, when they have a deal for for two rolls or combination platters with from the sushi bar or kitchen.
This 30 seat BYOB on a quaint block of Pine Street is a leader in Philadelphia’s farm-to-table locavore movement. The menu changes seasonally, but each new installation includes sustainably sourced ingredients. Their three course menu highlights creative blends of vegetables, meats and seafoods, like the New England pollock with broccoli puree, sweet peppers and New Jersey spuds. The layered and complex flavors are perfect to bring taste over your own bottle of wine. The white tablecloths and artfully-plated dishes adds modest and refined intimacy to the evening.
Entering the upscale Japanese sushi bar and sitting in the booths that change color is like stepping onto an ethereal modern cloud color. Patrons are on cloud nine when they try the extensive menu of sushi rolls, noodle plates and entrees like the duck dish. The Omakase, the mutli-course tasting menu, is said to be worth every penny. With an Iron Chef at the helm, you’ll get some of the freshest sushi in town.
The Mediterranean and Italian BYOB bistro offers pastas and rich meat dishes. Located in a small dining room of a refurbished brick building, the rustic fare ranges from short rib ragu with ricotta gnocchi, broccoli rage, shaved locatelli and truffle oil or pumpkin rigatoni with pancetta, tuscan kale and horseradish crema. The pyramid pasta with stuffed ricotta, lobster and shrimp in brown butter also gets rave reviews. Other large meat entrees include the ribeye with gorgonzola espuma. To try a nice sampling of gourmet Italian creations, go for the four course tasting menu.