Updated Dec 22, 2021 - Food and Drink

Philadelphia's noteworthy restaurant openings of 2021

Photo courtesy of Korshak Bagels.
Photo courtesy of Korshak Bagels

Philadelphia's food scene continues to grow even in the face of the ongoing pandemic.

The big picture: The restaurant industry has struggled to contend with dining restrictions, rising food prices, labor shortages and supply chain disruptions during the past two years.

Yes, but: Eateries have rolled with the punches and evolved.

  • Restaurants throughout the city continue to offer creative to-go options, and some streeteries are here to stay, depending on the location.

Zoom out: It's not just locals who have noticed the city's ambitious restaurant scene.

Our picks: Here are some of the most talked-about restaurants that opened this year.

  • Korshak Bagels
    • Bagels in the city took a massive step forward when Philip Korshak opened his shop in South Philadelphia this year. To get a batch, be sure to arrive early because lines are likely waiting for you.
    • Location: 1700 S 10th St.
  • LMNO
    • Stephen Starr's new restaurant brought Baja Mexican-inspired food to Fishtown. The indoor-outdoor restaurant also has a unique space called the "Listening Room," touting a high-fidelity sound system and weekly curated programming by select DJs.
    • Check out our review from October.
    • Location: 1739-1749 N Front St.
  • Buna Cafe
    • This restaurant in the Cedar Park neighborhood offers traditional Ethiopian cuisine, coffee, teas, juices and great vibes.
    • Location: 5121 Baltimore Ave.
  • Down North Pizza
    • This North Philadelphia pizzeria opened with the mission of providing formerly incarcerated people with career opportunities and fair wages. The pizza joint has also won awards that go beyond the taste buds, including being named one of Bon Appétit's Heads of the Table this year — an acknowledgement of their work to help the community during the pandemic.
    • Location: 2804 W Lehigh Ave.
  • Primary Plant Based
    • Mark McKinney moved his vegan pop-up out of Khyber Pass Pub to a brick-and-mortar BYOB in the Northern Liberties-Kensington neighborhood. The small menu will change your perceptions about the possibilities of vegan food.
    • We reviewed the restaurant last month.
    • Location: 161 W Girard Ave.
  • General Tsao's House
    • "A taste of Sichuan fire" arrived in Rittenhouse Square this year courtesy of restaurant entrepreneur Dan Tsao.
    • Location: 1720 Sansom St.
  • Ember & Ash
    • This "snout-to-root" concept restaurant boasts a $30,000 wood-burning hearth to bring unique flavors to nearly every item on the menu and sources ingredients from local farms.
    • Location: 1520 E Passyunk Ave.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Down North accolades include being named one of Bon Appétit's Heads of Table, and to remove a reference to a Champions of Change award given to the pizzeria's former owner.

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