Sep 20, 2023 - Food and Drink

Philadelphia gets spotlight on NYT's 2023 best restaurants list

Animated illustration of three chef hats popping up out of nowhere, one after another.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Three of Philadelphia's best dining spots — Kalaya, El Chingon and My Loup — made the New York Times' third annual list of the country's best restaurants.

Why it matters: Our restaurateurs are knocking it out of the park.

How it works: The outlet dispatched reporters, editors and critics to hundreds of restaurants across the U.S. to find its favorite food spots.

  • Half the restaurants mentioned are first timers to the list.

The intrigue: Kalaya's "head-turning" Asian cuisine was listed as "new" on the Times' list, but the restaurant was for years a South Philly staple.

  • Chef Chutatip Suntaranon, who has received many accolades for her eats, relocated last year to a bigger spot in trendy Fishtown that's described as "dazzling as the original was modest."

The bottom line: The new digs haven't "muted [Suntaranon's] forcefully spiced, luminous cooking," the Times wrote.

My Loup

The new hip "French-ish" restaurant in Rittenhouse Square opened this summer.

The intrigue: The place stands out because of chef-owners Alex Kemp's and Amanda Shulman's decision to close on weekends, when many restaurants get most of their traffic, so they could have better work-life balance.

What they're saying: The weeknight spot "feels like a dinner party in the spirit of Montreal's Joe Beef, where both worked," the Times wrote.

El Chingon

Carlos Aparicio saw that something was missing from Philly's dining scene — a spot to get a "good Mexican sandwich."

  • And so, El Chingon was born.

Zoom in: Aparicio's dishes, such as cemitas and tart aguachile, draw inspiration from the chef's mother, who taught him how to cook.

What they're saying: "El Chingon doesn't clamor for attention or traffic in gimmicks; it's simply a neighborhood restaurant, albeit one of the highest order," the Times wrote.


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