Photo of by Gab Bonghi / Redcrest Kitchen.
From art galleries, music venues, and vape shops, to people on the corner running the 40-yard dash between street lights at night, South Street is a world of its own.
And while the liveliest street in town is known for its tattoo spots, clubs, and clothing shops lining the sidewalks, it’s also packed with some great restaurants. We’ve put together a list of the 15 best bars, BYOBs, cheesesteak, Vietnamese, and sushi spots that prove the area offers a whole lot more than Philly taco attempts and PPA traps.
$$$$ | Perfect for: Small Plates, Walk-Ins, People Wathcing, Vegetarians, Drinking Good Cocktails, Big Groups, Casual Weeknight Dinner, First/Early In The Game Dates, Date Night
From our great tequila cocktail to a short rib that’s more comforting than a fluffy blanket in winter, Redcrest Kitchen has lots to offer. Just off South Street, the former (and beloved) fried chicken pop-up has a modern American menu of seasonal vegetables and Italian-leaning dishes like crudos, pastas, and whole fish. The black-and-white booths are great for groups of friends or a casual date night, while the floor-to-ceiling windows are ideal for people watching.
📍: 625 S. 6th Street
$$$$ | Perfect for: Breakfast, Cheap Eats, Coffee & A Light Bite, Kids, Lunch, Quick Eats, Serious Take-Out Operation
Chicken wings and donuts have a lot in common: they’re handheld, can get a little sweet depending on what they’re coated with, and nobody’s sure if they’re a snack or a meal. So it’s no surprise that this spot (with a few locations all over the city) decided to put them both in one shop. On any day, the scent of crispy chicken right out of the fryer and sugary churro or strawberry lavender donuts can waft through the casual corner spot. With the TLA just down the street, an order of perfectly seasoned coconut curry wings with a subtly sweet rub, a fluffy cake donut, and a quick drink at Tattooed Mom might be our favorite pre-show pregame.
📍: 540 South Street
$$$$ | Perfect for: Birthdays, Cheap Eats, Dancing, Day Drinking, Drinking Good Cocktails, Happy Hour
Tattooed Mom is your no-words-needed introduction to South Street. The walls, top to bottom, are covered in years of stickers, spray paint, and sharpie, and it would take an exhaustive “I Spy” search to find all of the different murals by both famous and local street artists. Outside of the atmosphere, it’s the food and drinks that make it one of our favorite bars in the city. When it comes to the menu, you can expect lots of veggie sandwiches like vegan Nashville hot chicken and sriracha “chicken” wraps, or classic burgers, cheesesteaks, and plenty of filling sides like cheesy tater tots. It’s the kind of place you’ll only find on South Street–with a sticker and marker-covered bumper car in the entrance– and one that’ll impress your friends just for knowing it exists.
📍: 530 South Street
$$$$ | Perfect for: Small Plates, Walk-Ins, Late Night Eats, Takeaway, Literally Everyone, Vegetarians, Quick Eats, Cheap Eats, Casual Weeknight Dinner
With Lorenzo and Sons and Rita’s nearby, you’ll usually find a crowd near 3rd and South that looks like the one near the Swann Memorial Fountain on a hot summer’s day. But it’s Nora’s Kitchen–with their lineup of tacos, tortas, and burritos dripping in smoky habanero and salsa verde–that offers the best option on the busy corner. Everything they put on their house made corn tortilla here is excellent, including the shrimp, carnitas, and al pastor. And since they have plenty of vegan options like chorizo tacos made out of TVP (textured vegetable protein), it’s a fast and casual place where you can bring any of your friends when you want a laid-back spot that’s not near one of the busy bars on the street. Once you’ve had all the tacos, end your night with an order of churros. They’ll be the best thing you’ve eaten all day.
📍: 248 South Street
$$$$ | Perfect for: Breakfast, Brunch, Casual Weeknight Dinner, Coffee & A Light Bite, Delivery, Dining Solo, Drinks & A Light Bite, Happy Hour, Lunch, Quick Eats, Walk-Ins
South Street’s Milkboy may not have the music stage like the Old City location, but they’re both all-day cafes, have the same sandwich-heavy menu, and are perfect for spending a Phillies game yelling at the large TVs lining the walls. It’s a no-brainer place to grab nachos and a blacked chicken panini during your lunch break or stop by after 5pm when the bar goes full service. And since you need a distraction from watching the scoreboard anyway, you can bite into their juicy burger while singing your heart out to Lorde during karaoke nights on Tuesdays or tap into your ultra-competitive side on their Monday quizzo nights.
📍: 401 South Street
$$$$ | Perfect for: Cheap Eats, Kids, Late Night Eats, Lunch, Quick Eats, Serioues Take-Out Operation
This blend of melted provolone, soft onions, and ⅛-inch-thick chunks of beef from this South Street spot is the perfect thing after a few slushies from nearby Fat Tuesday. One of the few places in the city that has more chicken options than beef, Ishkabibble’s cheesesteaks can either be topped with American, provolone, or whiz, and go great with their half lemonade, half grape Gremlin drink. Whenever you stop by, you’re guaranteed to get a steak that’s on a long crackly roll and is the perfect squishy texture from all of the residual steak juices.
📍: 517 South Street
📍: 337 South Street (2nd take-away location)
$$$$ | Perfect for: Birthdays
Walking through the doors at Brauhaus Schmitz is like finding a portal to Germany. The all-wood space is covered in German flags and photos of Deutschland soccer teams, and the waitstaff looks like they’ve been teleported from Oktoberfest. There aren’t many great sports bars on South Street, and this is by far the most enjoyable place to watch a game. From currywurst, smokey speckwurst, and pretzels to pilsners, it’s a great place to bring a group of friends and pack the beer hall-styled tables.
📍: 718 South Street
Originally published by The Infatuation.
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