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12 of Philadelphia’s outstanding spots for celebrating special occasions

Maybe you got engaged on the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art or just picked up the keys to your first rowhouse. It could be that your kid is (finally) toilet trained, or that your noisy neighbor moved away. Sometimes, simply surviving another Tuesday can be an occasion to celebrate over a restaurant meal.

It doesn’t have to be fancy. What makes an occasion special isn’t an arbitrary date on the calendar—it’s the decision to celebrate. Luckily, Philadelphia bursts with places where the food and atmosphere lend themselves to living it up. Grab dinner and a jazz show at a swinging North Broad Street faithful. Opt for a quieter night at a critically acclaimed, plant-based gem in Midtown Village. Or splurge on a swanky steakhouse that presides over a corner of Rittenhouse Park.

Whether you’re after an intimate spot for an anniversary date or a convivial atmosphere for a boisterous reunion, Philadelphia has you covered with these 12 celebration-worthy restaurants.

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Joy Manning
12 restaurantes
Actualizado: 22 de septiembre de 2022
Restaurantes:Estia - Philadelphia, Amada PHL, Jean-Georges Philadelphia Tasting Menu
Rango de precio:$$$ - $$$$
Gastronomía:Griega, Española, Fusión/ecléctica
Zonas:Center City, Old City
Una foto del restaurante Estia - Philadelphia

Estia - Philadelphia

$$$$
Griega
Center City
4.8
7614 opiniones

Bringing a taste of Greece to three locations across Philadelphia and New Jersey, Estia is a Mediterranean restaurant with seafood sourced from the Aegean sea. A selection of whole fish comes charcoal-grilled with capers, lemon juice, and olive oil. Traditional Greek finds include spanakopita (phyllo pastry filled with spinach, leek, scallion, and feta) and moussaka (beef casserole layered with potatoes, eggplant, and bechamel sauce). A celebration isn’t complete without drinks, and Estia has an extensive wine menu of more than 300 wines in its Philly location.


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Una foto del restaurante Amada PHL

Amada PHL

$$$$
Española
Old City
4.7
7890 opiniones

Iron Chef Jose Garces’s first restaurant, Amada, is a deep dive into Andalusian cuisine, complete with tapas, charcuterie, paella, and suckling pig. There are classics such as serrano ham croquettes, paprika aioli patatas bravas, grilled octopus, and garlic shrimp. Start your weekend on the right foot at happy hour Thursday through Saturday with $5 tapas and house-made sangrias. To wrap up a fantastic weekend, return on Sundays for half-priced bottles of wine and a special selection of $7 tapas—or try all nine for $45.


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Una foto del restaurante Jean-Georges Philadelphia Tasting Menu

Jean-Georges Philadelphia Tasting Menu

$$$$
Fusión/ecléctica
Center City
4.9
867 opiniones

After a long closure, the dazzling Jean-Georges Philadelphia is back. Its Comcast Technology Center location means sweeping city views. To that, add one of the most inventive menus in town, and it’s an obvious candidate for the most special of special-occasion meals. Floor-to-ceiling windows display panoramic vistas and cushy horseshoe banquettes provide unusually spacious and comfortable seating. Diners have two options for their tasting menu: “from land and sea,” which is for omnivores and includes meat and seafood, or “from the earth,” a vegetarian feast. Both include a selection of iconic dishes that Jean-Georges restaurants are known for, such as egg toast with caviar and herbs, as well as new seasonal dishes. At $198 per person, not including drinks, it’s now one of the most expensive tasting menu experiences in the city. But reservations disappear quickly so book in advance if you want to celebrate something special in the sky.


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Una foto del restaurante Veda - Modern Indian Bistro

Veda - Modern Indian Bistro

$$$$
Hindú
Center City
4.4
853 opiniones

This Indian restaurant is a modern-meets-traditional gem in Rittenhouse Square. The cocktail menu stands out, with inventive drinks including the drunken lassi made with mango lassi, chile powder, and dark rum or the Punjabi sour with whisky, amaretto, citrus juices, bitters, and a Scotch rinse. You can also pair flights of whiskey with rich curries, which are all gluten-free. Dip onion and sage naan into lamb rogan josh (tender lamb pieces in a Kashmiri red chile sauce) and chicken korma (boneless chicken in a blend of almond and cardamom sauce). Veda is the whole special occasion package with flavors of a home-cooked meal in stylish digs.


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Una foto del restaurante Fork - Philadelphia

Fork - Philadelphia

$$$$
Americana contemporánea
Old City
4.6
4376 opiniones

It takes something special for any restaurant to flourish for decades, and Old City’s Fork has that X factor in spades. The restaurant marks its 25th anniversary this year. Led by visionary restaurateur Ellen Yin, Fork has evolved with the neighborhood around it. From the very start, it’s been one of Philadelphia’s best restaurants to celebrate special occasions. The elegant setting features art, plants, and chandelier lighting. It’s a scene worthy of birthdays, anniversaries, going away gatherings, and other moments you want to etch into your memory. The menu is inspired by local farmers and the seasonal ingredients of the Mid-Atlantic region. Oysters with rosé-peppercorn mignonette, house-made charcuterie, and dry-aged, bone-in steak served with bone marrow, roasted garlic, potato pave, and chimichurri are especially flavorful ways to celebrate. The attentive and expert service is one more touch that places Fork in a league of its own.


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Una foto del restaurante Relish

Relish

$$$$
Regional americana (sureña contemporánea)
West Oak Lane
4.5
2827 opiniones

Bringing a slice of Southern charm to Philly, Relish is a live jazz restaurant with weekend buffets. Signature menu items include the deviled cajun shrimp eggs and smoked turkey wings with collards, cabbage, and smashed potatoes. Both the restaurant space and hearty meals are family-friendly and great for larger parties. Treat yourself to live music on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.


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Una foto del restaurante Talula’s Garden

Talula’s Garden

$$$$
Americana
Washington Square
4.8
11304 opiniones

Talula’s Garden is Philadelphia’s answer to San Francisco’s Chez Panisse; owner Aimee Olexy is an East Coast counterpart to Alice Waters. Here, it’s all about embracing the best of seasonal ingredients from nearby farms. The restaurant is an indoor-outdoor space, but a table in the eponymous garden, lush with plants and twinkling with lights, is the place to be for celebrations. Olexy’s passion for artisan cheese is apparent in her ever-changing cheese board, titled accurately on the menu as a “master class.” Start with the mushroom soup, made from Pennsylvania-grown mushrooms, miso, and herbs, topped with brioche croutons and garlic-thyme cream. Smoked pork belly with roasted peaches, bok choy, and peanuts and pan-roasted salmon with summer corn, butter beans, and zucchini are entrees that make the most of the fleeting seasonal bounty.


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Una foto del restaurante El Vez

El Vez

$$$$
Mexicana/regional americana (sudoccidental)
Center City
4.6
6206 opiniones

The life of the party, El Vez is a Mexican restaurant decked out with a spinning neon bike elevated as the centerpiece of the bar. The festive vibes are also fueled by a sprawling wall of miniature Calavera figurines against plush couches. Dive into five different types of guacamole and an array of tacos, or get the taco tasting platter with chicken, steak, carnitas, mahi-mahi, and árabes (slow-roasted lamb with morita chile). Don’t sleep on the sides of lime chipotle and queso fresco grilled corn. This is the spot for lively group celebrations such as birthdays and family reunions.


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Una foto del restaurante SOUTH Restaurant & Jazz Club

SOUTH Restaurant & Jazz Club

$$$$
Regional americana (sureña contemporánea)
Center City
4.8
2039 opiniones

Sometimes a special night out calls for more than a meal. If dinner and a show appeals, head to SOUTH Restaurant & Jazz Club on North Broad Street. Show tickets come with a reservation for a table where you can enjoy the restaurant’s menu, stacked with dishes inspired by the American South. Start with blue crab and avocado on grilled brioche or cornmeal-crusted fried green tomatoes and shrimp remoulade. Jumbo lump crab cakes with sweet corn maque choux and charred asparagus are sure to harmonize with what’s being improvised on stage. You’ll likely want to linger over something sweet and an after-dinner coffee or cocktail. One highlight of the excellent dessert menu is the bourbon vanilla creme brulee.


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Una foto del restaurante Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti

Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti

$$$$
Italiana
Old City
4.5
3409 opiniones

After a recent renovation that transformed this Old City stalwart, Positano Coast feels more festive than ever. The interior blooms with bold colors and warm woodwork. Combined with the Italianate art, the new interior design instantly activates vacation vibes. The classic Italian plates remain a reason to visit. For something appropriately luxurious, try the chilled lobster with avocado and mango, or go all-in with Aldo’s seafood harvest, a feast of oysters on the half shelf, top-neck clams, shrimp cocktail, and seafood salad. House-made pastas, such as sea urchin linguine with crab, are always a good choice for a special night. Toast to whatever you’re celebrating with the process cocktail, a mix of vodka and hibiscus made bubbly with prosecco.


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Una foto del restaurante Barclay Prime

Barclay Prime

$$$$
Asador
Rittenhouse Square
4.9
4505 opiniones

Nothing says big night out like a swanky steakhouse. Barclay Prime, on the corner of Rittenhouse Square Park, is the place to sip a Manhattan and sink your teeth into some of the best beef on offer in Philadelphia. The dining room is awash in serene shades of sage and blue. Tabletops are cool marble, and the walls are lined with bookcases for a refreshingly adult and library-like vibe. The menu brings a subtle modern touch to steakhouse classics. Start with caviar and blini with all the traditional accompaniments including egg, red onion, crème fraîche, and chives, or try the iconic wedge salad with bacon and blue cheese. The main draw is the steak and there are more than 10 options on the menu. Choose from a wide variety of cuts and sizes as well as American or Japanese wagyu. There are five steak sauces for those who want to gild the lily. Side dishes skew rich and nostalgic. Go for the tater tots and creamed spinach to round out the perfect steakhouse meal.


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Una foto del restaurante Laurel

Laurel

$$$$
Francesa
East Passyunk Avenue
4.7
1210 opiniones

Top Chef winner Nicholas Elmi puts his spin on French-inspired American cuisine at BYOB restaurant Laurel. Simple and refined, Laurel curates a seasonal six-course menu with a focus on locally farmed ingredients. Each artfully plated course is designed to impress; expect dishes such as a L’Arpège egg—chef Alain Passard’s famous dish, with Elmi’s twist on it—with bowfin caviar and two slices of toasted sourdough brioche; brown butter roasted cod with spring peas, white asparagus, and miso; and charcoal-grilled quail with sassafras, purple carrot, and pickled green almond. The exquisite food garnered the highest distinction of four bells from The Philadelphia Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan.


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