Philadelphia’s 8 hottest restaurant openings of 2023

Loch Bar, a surf-and-turf spot with outposts in Boca Raton and Baltimore, landed in Center City in October. | Credit: Atlas Restaurant Group
A shellfish tower with Alaskan king crab and mussels at Loch Bar in Philadelphia

Philly is loved for its patchwork neighborhoods and thriving art scene, so it’s only fitting that its latest and greatest restaurants are just as eclectic. 

2023 saw a fresh infusion of global cuisines, from a French restaurant in Rittenhouse Square that landed on The New York Times’s list of the year’s 50 best restaurants to a Graduate Hospital spot specializing in hard-to-find West African food.

Read on for a guide to the eight most sought-after restaurant reservations you need to make at Philadelphia’s hottest restaurants of the year. 

Gaucho’s Prime (King of Prussia)

Philadelphia is no stranger to superb steakhouses, but churrascarias—all-you-can-eat Brazilian spots where gauchos serve barbecued meats from skewers tableside—are still rare. Enter Gaucho’s Prime. The lively rodizio-style spot opened in June and offers a whopping 18 different cuts of meat (beef, pork, chicken, and lamb), plus a gold mine of a salad bar with more than 60 items like imported hearts of palm, aged cheeses, and more. Add a fully stocked bar that stirs up killer caipirinhas, and you’ve got a unique taste of southern Brazil you won’t find anywhere else in the area. 

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Sushi Suite Fishtown (Fishtown)

The omakase counter at Sushi Suite Fishtown only has eight precious seats. | Credit: Sushi Suite Fishtown
The omakase counter at Sushi Suite Fishtown only has eight precious seats. | Credit: Sushi Suite Fishtown

Eight seats. 90 minutes. 17 courses. If you score a coveted spot at Sushi Suite, an omakase counter that opened in October, you’re in for one special night. The sultry speakeasy experience opened in the private room of another popular sushi spot, Izakaya by Yanaga in Fishtown, and was dubbed the city’s “most exclusive omakase” by local press. There’s an ultra-special, hush-hush aspect to dining here that makes it that much more fun—as if the top-notch sushi, rare Japanese whiskeys, and inventive craft cocktails weren’t enough.

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Randall’s Restaurant (Cherry Hill)

The Legacy Club in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, has long been a members-only joint, but its brand-new steakhouse opened in July—and is open to the public. If you’re wondering why you should cross state lines for dinner, rest assured Randall’s is just a quick 30-minute drive from Center City. And the solid steakhouse staples, which lean Italian but pull from flavors around the world, are absolutely worth it. The creative drinks are, too—hello, rosemary negroni—so on second thought, it might be best to call a car.

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The Borscht Belt Delicatessen (Newtown)

Chef Nick Liberato smiles behind a counter topped with assorted sandwiches at The Borscht Belt Delicatessen in Philadelphia
Nick Liberato, a culinary all-star who hosted Netflix’s Restaurants on Edge, opened his ode to the Jewish deli in May. | Credit: Gab Bonghi

Head to The Borscht Belt for all things bagels and lox. This self-proclaimed love letter to the Jewish deli is the brainchild of chef Nick Liberato, a culinary all-star who hosted Netflix’s Restaurants on the Edge—a show about reviving and remodeling restaurants. Since May, his prolific menu at The Borscht Belt has featured 15 specialty fish sandwiches that include nova with cream cheese and pastrami-cured salmon on rye. TLDR: You can’t go wrong at this breakfast legend in the making.

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Prime Fusion Afro Grill & Lounge (Graduate Hospital)

When Anthony Daramola moved to Philly for business school in 2017, he found himself craving the food he grew up eating in Lagos, Nigeria. He was hard-pressed to find things like beef suya and puff puff (deep-fried dough), so in April, he flexed his entrepreneurial muscles to open a spot of his own. Prime Fusion Afro Grill & Lounge spotlights Nigerian flavors with traditional dishes like jollof rice, coconut chicken curry, and six different kinds of wings, including the show-stopping signature version, coated in—yes—edible gold.

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Loch Bar – Philadelphia (Center City)

A Maine lobster roll on a toasted split-top bun at Loch Bar in Philadelphia
Devour some of Philadelphia’s best seafood at this Center City newcomer. | Credit: Atlas Restaurant Group

The newest outpost of Atlas Restaurant Group’s popular surf-and-turf spot (with other locations in Baltimore, Boca Raton, and Houston) splashed down in Center City in October and has already been singled out by Eater as one of Philly’s essential seafood restaurants. Come for some of the city’s best seafood, including oysters three ways (roasted, fried, and Rockefeller), shellfish towers grand enough to feed a crowd, and more. If seafood isn’t your thing, don’t fear: There’s fried chicken, steak frites, and veggie sides to please all tastes at this classic tavern.

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El Fuerte de Loreto (South Philadelphia)

This unassuming Mexican spot debuted in August and has some of the best brunch vibes around—dulce de leche French toast and BYOB make an irresistible combination. It’s typically packed on weekends, no surprise, so if you want to skip the line, head over between 4 pm to 7 pm on Wednesday through Sunday for standout happy hour deals ($8 tlacoyitos, anyone?). At dinnertime, the menu includes expertly executed faithfuls like tacos and chile relleno. There’s something here for everyone at this cozy, family-run restaurant, no matter the time of day.

My Loup (Rittenhouse Square)

It’s been one blockbuster year for Amanda Shulman, who opened My Loup with her husband, Alex Kemp, in May. This is Shulman’s second restaurant—her first, a supper club called Her Place, earned her a James Beard Award nomination, plus a spot in Food & Wine’s 2023 class of Best New Chefs. My Loup, which was named one of The New York Times’s 50 best restaurants of 2023, pairs the dinner party vibes of Her Place with Shulman and Kemp’s take on French Canadian cuisine, which always showcases local Philly ingredients.

Tried them all? Check out other options here.

Nina Friend is a New York-based writer and editor who covers food, drink, restaurants, travel, and lifestyle.

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