Roundup: Our Top Picks Of Restaurants To Visit During Center City Restaurant Week 2015, January 18-23 And January 25-30

Barbuzzo
Barbuzzo, shown, is one of the many restaurants that are set to serve up dining deals during Center City Restaurant Week. Make your reservations now! (Photo by N. Santos for Visit Philadelphia)

This information has been updated: Click here for information on summer 2015 restaurant week.

Hungry for a sweet deal? Center City District Restaurant Week returns this weekend, running from January 18 to 23 and January 25 to 30.

Once again, more than 120 restaurants in Center City will offer three-course dinners for only $35 per person and a three-course lunch for $20.

With the huge list of participating eateries, Center City District Restaurant Week offers the perfect opportunity to try new restaurants or spots that might otherwise feel a bit out of range.

Below, we’ve elected some top spots to help diners with the great debate of just where to make those restaurant week reservations.

From new restaurants and global greats to the best BYOBs and lunch picks, we’ve narrowed down the 100-plus restaurant week list to 28 great options.

For the complete lineup of participating restaurants and menus, check right here.

Remember, reservations are a must for any restaurant week dining, so book that table now. Making a weekend of the Friday night deal? Check here for weekend deals on hotels.

Our top picks for Center City Restaurant Week, below.

NEW RESTAURANTS

Abe Fisher

Dinner. Two of Philadelphia’s masters of unconventional culinary offerings, restaurateurs Steve Cook and Michael Solomonov, opened the doors to their latest eatery this past August. The menu at Abe Fisher draws inspiration from the culinary mixed bag of the foods of the Jewish Diaspora, and the creative eats are on full display on the restaurant week menu, which includes four courses of everything regularly offered on Abe’s daily prix-fixe. MORE INFO

Aldine

Dinner. Chef George Sabatino has been a key fixture in acclaimed kitchens all around the city, working at such hot spots as Fork and Barbuzzo before leading his own kitchen team at Stateside. This fall, he took a great big leap with the opening of his very own spot, Aldine, at 19th and Chestnut streets. Taste not three, but four-courses of his thoughtful cuisine during restaurant week. MORE INFO

2nd Story Brewing

Dinner. Philadelphia’s craft beer scene just keeps on rising. This fall, 2nd Story Brewing debuted in Old City and now diners can score restaurant-week deals on the bi-level spot’s rustic casual farm-to-table fare. MORE INFO

Abe Fisher
Abe Fisher is an amazing stop to celebrate Jewish-inspired eats any day — with especially tasty deals during Center City Restaurant Week. (Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)

For tons more picks, see below.

FINER DINING

R2L

Dinner. With amazing city views, animal-print booths, generally chic ambiance and excellent fare to match, R2L consistently delivers on-point dining experiences. The luxe vibe doesn’t fade during restaurant week, either. MORE INFO

Butcher & Singer

Lunch, Dinner. Sure, a number of excellent Stephen Starr Restaurants are restaurant week participants, and delicious deals are definitely in store at Alma de Cuba, Buddakan and The Dandelion. But considering that some steaks on the a la carte menu at Butcher & Singer are priced well above $35, the three-course menu for that reasonable rate feels like a can’t-miss deal.
MORE INFO

XIX

Lunch, Dinner. On the 19th floor of The Hyatt at The Bellevue, the dining room at XIX (Nineteen) deals in opulence — with sweeping city views, a pearly chandelier, elegant furnishings and a menu of high-end raw bar selections and composed entrees. MORE INFO

Bank and Bourbon

Lunch, Dinner. Located on the ground floor of Philadelphia’s first skyscraper, the PSFS building, Bank & Bourbon serves modern updates on American staples — think steaks, chops and seafood — in a spacious leather-clad dining room. MORE INFO

Liberté

Lunch, Dinner. Long a favorite hangout for the Francophile crowd, the Liberté Lounge at the Sofitel Philadelphia Hotel is a perennial choice for its sophisticated atmosphere and French-inspired cuisine. MORE INFO

Bank and Bourbon
A major renovation at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel gave way to the gorgeous restaurant on its ground floor, Bank & Bourbon, a great bet for a Center City Restaurant Week dining deal. (Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)

GLOBAL DINING

Amada

Lunch, Dinner. Dining at Amada, chef Jose Garces first Philadelphia restaurant, never disappoints. The restaurant week menu offers a huge selection of tapas, cheeses, vegetables and more — giving guests the chance to experience the breadth of the menu for practically a song. And if Amada doesn’t strike a fancy, other Garces spots like Tinto and Rosa Blanca are also participating in restaurant week. MORE INFO

Bistrot La Minette

Dinner. Bistrot La Minette’s kitchen has turned out serious cross-regional Franco fare since 2008, and remains a top destination for those looking for a European vacation on a plate. MORE INFO

Buddakan

Lunch, Dinner. Located in the heart of Old City, Buddakan has helped anchor that neighborhood’s dining scene with snazzy takes on Asian eats since 1998. It’s still a great choice for a meal beneath that towering gilded statue of the Buddha. MORE INFO

Lolita

Lunch, Dinner. Chef Marcie Turney and her partner Valerie Safran’s first restaurant, Lolita, reopened last spring after a complete renovation with a fresh layout, an updated menu and a shiny new liquor license, transforming the formerly BYOT (bring your own tequila) eatery into a fully equipped modern Mexican bar and restaurant. Go for the street-style tacos, stay for the awesome margaritas. MORE INFO

IndeBlue Restaurant & Bar

Lunch, Dinner. Swanky Midtown Village restaurant IndeBlue serves its modern take on Indian fare for both lunch and dinner during restaurant week. Don’t miss the garam masala-braised lamb shank. MORE INFO

Amada
Amada in Old City never fails to dish delicious deals during restaurant week. (Photo by N. Sheldon for Visit Philadelphia)

BYOB PICKS

Audrey Claire

Dinner. Audrey Claire, a small cash-only BYOB spot located mere steps from Rittenhouse Square, serves up solid Mediterranean-inspired fare for restaurant week guests. MORE INFO

Pumpkin

Dinner. Pumpkin BYOB, a cash-only resto on South Street, plates fresh food thanks to an ever-changing menu all year round. MORE INFO

Mercato

Dinner. In Washington Square West, excellent Italian food hits tables at Mercato, a longstanding neighborhood pick. MORE INFO

Russet

Dinner. Russet promises fresh, farm-to-table ingredients for all of its diners. Guests can expect largely house-made ingredients to compose fare inspired by France and Italy. MORE INFO

Audrey Claire
Visit Audrey Claire BYOB for three-courses of Mediterranean-inspired plates for just $35. (Photo by K. Ciappa for Visit Philadelphia)

LUNCH PICKS

Zahav

Lunch, Dinner. In terms of exceptional fine-dining experiences in Philadelphia, James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Solomonov’s Zahav never ceases to deliver. During restaurant week, the modern Israeli destination continues to offer its signature, exciting flavors for an even better deal — plus, the Society Hill restaurant offers a restaurant week-only lunch! MORE INFO

Little Nonna’s

Lunch, Dinner. Midtown Village magnates Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran — owners of Barbuzzo, Lolita, Jamonera, Grocery, Open House and Verde — dish Italian classics done to a tee at Little Nonna’s. For those who haven’t been to the uber-charming new 13th Street restaurant, or maybe haven’t been to lunch yet, score a reservation now. And don’t miss the meatballs. MORE INFO

Barbuzzo

Lunch, Dinner. Lunch rocks at another of Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran’s spots — Barbuzzo — thanks to decadent options like the fotina-stuffed meatball, swordfish & romanesco spiedini and the famous salted caramel budino. MORE INFO

Zama

Lunch, Dinner. For sushi in Center City, few spots can claim Zama’s winning combination of chic atmosphere and fresh fish. Stop in for lunch and score a super deal on serious sushi and more. MORE INFO

Red Owl Tavern

Lunch, Dinner. Adjacent to the Hotel Monaco, Red Owl Tavern makes an ideal spot for an intermission while exploring America’s birthplace. With a pretty extensive restaurant week menu — that is, lots to choose from — Red Owl makes for a crowd-pleasing choice. MORE INFO

Garces Trading Company

Lunch, Dinner. Situated in a large space in the Washington Square West neighborhood, the interior of Garces Trading Company underwent renovations to remove the cheese and charcuterie case last year in favor of a long, welcoming bar. The sunny dining room makes an ideal lunch pick for a spot-on deal. MORE INFO

Zahav
Zahav, usually just open for dinner, serves up lunch, too, just for Restaurant Week. (Photo by Jason Varney)

BONUS PICKS

High Street on Market

Dinner. The brilliant cuisine of chef Eli Kulp hits tables at High Street on Market for restaurant week for the first time last year, but since then, the chef and restaurant have been tagged with many an award, making it a white-hot reservation to score. Plus, since High Street’s sister restaurant Fork nor its cousin a.kitchen are participating, a reservation at High Street is the only option for deals on Kulp’s cuisine. MORE INFO

Fitler Dining Room

Dinner. The crew from Fitler Square’s über-popular gastro Pub & Kitchen (also an excellent restaurant week pick) takes a more intimate tone at nearby Fitler Dining Room, a one-room, 30-seat corner bistro. MORE INFO

Petruce et al

Dinner. Petruce et al. exceeds expectations, delivering spot-on seasonal but cutting-edge plates from a kitchen starring a custom wood-burning oven and an Argentine-style grill. Don’t skip a cocktail from the carefully curated bar program. MORE INFO

The Dandelion

Lunch, Dinner. A perennial top pick and enduring crowd-pleaser, The Dandelion’s cozy vibe and comforting plates sound all the more appealing thanks to the deals to be had during restaurant week. MORE INFO

Oyster House

Dinner. Oysters on the half shell during restaurant week? Yes, please. At Oyster House, seafood stars on the restaurant week menu through three courses, and a bonus fourth course tops off the meal with cheesecake or bread pudding. MORE INFO

High Street on Market
Recently named to Bon Appétit magazine’s list of the Best New Restaurants in America, High Street on Market is an excellent choice for Restaurant Week. (Photo by Jason Varney)

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4 comments

  1. This afternoon (January 18th, Sunday) my wife and I went to Bank and Bourbon for lunch. Unfortunately they didn’t honer the Restaurant Week $20 lunch manure. We were very upset and left without having lunch in this restaurant, not because of the price issue, but the unethical of this restaurant. They have the obligation to honer the Restaurant Week manure, or they should withdraw from the participating this activity. They use this opportunity to lure the customers. It is cheating. The organizer of this activity also shares the responsibility and need to take action to correct it, or will ruin the reputation of Philadelphia….

  2. By the way, we end up to have the lunch at Garces Trading Company at 1111 locust st, close to 11th street. The food was delicious. Restaurant setting is gorges. The waiter was so wonderful. We really enjoyed our lunch there.

  3. Aldine, people, Aldine. I went this past weekend on the recommendation from this review knowing full well that they weren’t doing restaurant week on Saturday. I have zero regrets! The tasting menu’s are herbivore or omnivore, so we each for one as well as the paired drinks. Mind blown. My brother and I split just about everything because we wanted to taste as much as possible here. This place is still in its infancy and already serving up amazing fare that is thoughtfully put together. Staff was knowledgeable about the food and wine pairings, but gave off the friendly vibe that we were in our own living room. The chef/owner brought out our desserts himself and stayed a minute to chat. If you haven’t been yet, put it on your list for 2015!

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