Aksum

3.9
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544 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Mediterranean

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Sunday Lunch

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About

Aksum is one of Philadelphia’s favorite BYOB restaurants.
Located in the thriving Baltimore Avenue corridor in vibrant and diverse University City, the year-old restaurant features a bright Mediterranean menu that focuses on simple and fresh ingredients, with accents from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
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Hours of operation
Brunch
Wed–Fri 8:00 am–2:00 pm
Sat, Sun 10:00 am–3:00 pm
Dinner
Mon–Thu, Sun 5:00 pm–10:00 pm
Fri, Sat 5:00 pm–11:00 pm
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Phone number
(267) 275-8195
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Payment options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Jason Ballman
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
47th
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Parking details
Street parking on Baltimore Ave and free parking lot on 47th and Warrington.
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Public transit
34 Trolley
Additional
BYO Liquor, Cafe, Gluten-free Menu, Outdoor dining, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access
What 544 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
3.9based on recent ratings
4.1
food
3.9
service
4.1
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Quiet
100% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
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OT
Philadelphia
5 reviews
Dined on August 18, 2019
Overall1food1service2ambience3

Everyone that knows me and follows me on social media knows that this place has been my go to brunch place. I’m absolutely obsessed with anything BRUNCH! However, I’ve been super busy with life, new promotion, turned demanding job. A child who’s been going through hip surgery and rehab, and all that life can bring you. So, when my friend wanted to go out and I found time to squeeze in “me” time. Of course I’m choosing Aksum, welp! I ordered my fav, chicken and waffles which kept changing from the very first time I had it, but it was good so I kept ordering it, until NOW! Three flavorless chicken fingers and four doughy non flavored waffles, so unimpressed. WTH! happened, I know it’s been some time, but why change a good thing. I won’t even really mention how runny my GF’s grits were, or how cold her potatoes were or the burnt toast she sent back. I’ve suggested this place to friends and strangers and now, I’m literally googling new brunch spots. I was hopeful my experiences would remain positive at Aksum, since my horrible experience at Bookers was ignored by both management and the owner. Sigh!

WS
Philadelphia
13 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was good service was great we had a wonderful evening sitting by the window we are so looking forward to going back again very soon and trying some different things on the menu

OT
Philadelphia
13 reviews
Dined on August 2, 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience3

I’ve eaten here several times and for various occasions - GNO, brunch, Father’s Day... This was by far the worst experience I’ve had.
The online menu is outdated and not reflective of current menu options.
All of the service staff were kids who seemed to be more consumed with socializing with each other than waiting tables. One girl wore a half top and tights; I wasn’t clear if she was coming from the gym or chose that for work. She even danced/jiggled at the table next to us while she waited to collect a payment from other guests.

The lamb chops were tough and fatty. Poorly prepared at best.
When we told the waitress we weren’t satisfied with our order she replied “oh sorry” and walked away. No effort to correct or offer another choice.
Dessert was great.

I won’t be back.

OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on August 2, 2019
Overall1food4service1ambience1

Not nearly what it used to be. Disappointing

OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on July 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I had a nice dinner by myself at Aksum. Food was delicious, BYOB option is always great, and the service was smooth and informative. Another plus, it was restaurant month and it was such a great value! Will def go back.

IH
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined on July 17, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Family came into town from NY and I wanted to try Aksum for the first time. My 9 year old daughter did not like her meal, but she is a picky eater. The waitress noticed that she didn’t like it and offered her a free dessert to make up for it. That was a wonderful gesture. All other meals were great and enjoyed by the rest of us. Good food, excellent service and a great value.

c
1 review
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall2food3service5ambience5

The night we dined there, Aksum didn't have several of the items we wanted to order, including watermelon salad (in the middle of watermelon season!) and lamb chops, my all-time favorite entree. How could a restaurant run out of lamb chops? I wouldn't come again. Don't want to risk paying for food I didn't truly want to order.

M
1 review
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience4

The food was good but too salty for my wife and I. The waitress was nice but too pushy. We were not done with our starter and entrées when she arrived with the dessert asking: "are you ready for dessert?"

OT
Miami
1 review
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

This place is small and intimate yet there is no air on. It’s so hot. The food is good but the servings are modest. $30 for one lamb chop! BYOB is great for dates/special occasions but the value just doesn’t line up with the surroundings/food. Waitress was good, even though she was the only one waiting on tables.

SB
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Great brunch menu

MO
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall3food5service1ambience3

This would be an outstanding review had our food not taken a full hour and fifteen minutes to be delivered to our table. The server was nice, the food was outstanding, but my party was so irritated by the time the food came that it was hard to enjoy. Don't think we'll come again.

s
Philadelphia
10 reviews
Dined on June 23, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Food very good. Restaurant week lamb chop not so great. One shoulder chop. Would have liked to know before ordering.

NL
Atlantic City
1 review
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience4

It took a hour and a half to receive my entire course

OT
1 review
Dined on June 19, 2019
Overall4food2service4ambience4

The ambiance was GREAT and our server Courtney was AMAZING, however the food I ordered was not the best. The fried Oreo dessert was the best part of my meal. The Spicy Moroccan shrimp was not good. This dish lacked flavor. There was no seasoning because it focused so much on the “spicy” which really wasn’t spicy at least not to me. If this dish would’ve incorporated flavor as well as the spicy, I believe this dish could have been a hit.

The Mediterranean platter was ok. The hummus was good, lentils were ok, the loose leaf wasn't good.

Overall, I can’t say I would come back.

CJ
1 review
Dined on June 16, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience3

Sad. Terrible service on Father’s Day. 10:30 am reservation, ordered at about 10:40. Food finally came after about 40-45 minutes. Food came out piecemeal. Parents both ordered lemon blueberry pancakes that came with turkey sausage on the menu. Both orders were brought to the table without the turkey sausage. Some sausage came about 15 min later and the other came with the check. my brother’s cheese grits were hard and chunky with some cheese sprinkled on top. The waffles with the chicken and waffles were cold when they were arrived. Can’t really say anything was good here. It is byob, though, so definitely bring some alcohol to pass the time. Owner definitely needs to deploy more staff to accommodate the customers. Oh I didn’t mention all the flies flying around.

OT
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on June 15, 2019
Overall5food5service3ambience5

We came for Black Restaurant week. The crispy Brussel sprouts were delicious. Lamb chops were perfect. Oreo beignets with ice cream - fantastic. This place is BYOB. The restaurant is small, so please make reservations.

OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on June 14, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience3

The owner was great. The waitress and service no so much. My food was great, but the person that I was with was not happy with theirs. We went during a busy time. They ran out of s

c
1 review
Dined on June 14, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience3

I and one of my foodie friends went to support this restaurant for Black Restaurant Week. We were not disappointed. The food was good and our server was very attentive and kind. I will definitely go back.

SS
1 review
Dined on June 14, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience1

Made a reservation and the restaurant was closed. Need to update!

AC
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on June 12, 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience5

It was very nice atmosphere but only having one server, she needed help, and having the bread pudding take roughly an hour were the hiccup of the night everything else was excellent though. Food was great, atmosphere was great

OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience3

Bad salad, mediocre bisque and lamb chops. Poor service as very few staff employed to serve.

B
Philadelphia
9 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience3

My request for a window seat, made in my reservation, was honored, which was perfect! That’s about the ONLY good thing we experienced. Maybe they were short in the kitchen and unprepared for the number of people that came to eat (although we were but a few when we arrived), but the wait was extreme. That would have been fine- eating a relaxed meal with a great seat, except that the food was not worth waiting for. We began with the Me East Platter to share, which consisted of roasted garlic hummus, lentil mustard salad, stuffed grape leaves and tzatziki served with pita. Not enough to share for 4, although the waitperson felt it would be. No tzatziki unless you count a drizzle over one of the grape leaves. There was about a tablespoon of each of the 3 appetizers. Fine. No worries. But then after another long wait, we received our entrees. My daughter had the Aksumite Vegetable Tagine, which looked like a healthy portion. First bite found the plain couscous extremely salty and inedible. She attempted to mix it in with the vegetable mix, but wasn’t able to completely alleviate the saltiness. We would have sent it back, except our waitperson never came over to check on us and we weren’t able to get her attention for a while. My daughter’s boyfriend had been excited to order the Gnocchi, which was to contain peas and squash. There were exactly 3 small (size of celery piece) slices of zucchini (or at least we think it was zucchini since it was so small) and NO peas whatsoever. When we brought this to the attention of the waitperson, she took it back to the kitchen, returning it to tell us that it had everything it was supposed to except they were out of peas. How to you serve something with one of the main ingredients missing?? How do you NOT tell the customer before hand? Peas were why he had ordered it! Not to mention that the portion looked more like a small tapas than a main meal. Apparently I’m limited in number of characters and can’t tell more. We will not be back

OT
Philadelphia
9 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Very nice place and good food.

SB
Philadelphia
11 reviews
Dined on June 4, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Quiet night but you can tell this place gets exciting. Went for dinner and had the steak. It was perfect. Also had the Brussels sprouts and can’t stop thinking about them. Can get a little pricey but definitely worth it. Can’t wait to go back for brunch. Service was good, and the music is nice.

K
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on May 26, 2019
Overall4food3service3ambience3

The food at Aksum is always good, but I felt like my portion was small and the prices have steadily been increasing (from around $12-13 to now $15). I consistently get the French toast (challah French toast and now the apricot french toast) and over the years the sizes have gotten smaller and we've gotten less toppings (e.g., fruit, whipped cream, etc.). I understand that the cost of ingredients probably increases, but the portions have become smaller which is disappointing at this price point. I was pretty hungry when I showed up and ended up leaving hungry, whereas in the past I would always have leftovers to take home (basically one slice of french toast left over). So I was a bit disappointed to have paid so much to receive such little food. My friend got a tofu scramble that seemed to be a good portion and was reasonably priced. The iced coffee I got there was also really good. Although it was not very busy when we were there, the waitress was a bit absent but definitely quick to respond when called over and was accommodating of requests. Overall, i love the vibe and location of Aksum and will return, but they should pay a little more attention to these fine details in customer satisfaction.

OT
New England
1 review
Dined on May 19, 2019
Overall1food2service1ambience3

Restaurant did not honor the reservation and did not contact me.

G
1 review
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall3food4service1ambience5

Good food, bad service. Waited 15 minutes to be seated even though we had a reservation and arrived a couple minutes early. Waited another 10 to be served. Waited another 15 for appetizers to arrive. Waited another 25 for the food to arrive. And we ordered a second round of appetizers that never came.

The restuarant was short handed, there seemed to be only one server for the restaurant and she was quite stressed out, not her fault, the restaurants' fault.

BA
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall2food3service1ambience1

Much too noisy. Poor service. One server for about 12 tables. Average food.

AB
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall3food2service5ambience4

This restaurant has taken a nosedive. The quality of food was disappointing. They cut out a lot of tasty items from their menu, and the more expensive ingredients from their dishes. The prices remain expensive, but the overall experience was lackluster.

a
Washington DC
24 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience1

This was a horrible experience. We were celebrating two bdays for a 6 pm dinner. 60 percent of what we ordered on a short menu was not available; we only found out about two entrees not being available a half hr after ordering. We asked to speak to the manager and got a dirty chef with a horrific attitude. I felt bad for the young wait staff. Don’t go there.

m
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on May 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Terrific lamb chops done perfectly, best salads in the city.

OT
1 review
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall3food5service3ambience4

The food was as wonderful as ever, however the service was slow. Unfortunately we had theatre tickets so we had to quickly eat.our food once it arrived and weren’t able to fully enjoy it. After ordering, it took 45 to 50 minutes to receive our entree which seemed a bit excessive of a wait to us. I believe they were understaffed, but we never received an explanation or apology for the wait time. We will eat there again and hopefully the issue will have been resolved.

G
1 review
Dined on April 22, 2019
Overall2food1service3ambience2

Lamb burger was $20 and barely the size of a slider. Only came with fries.

No music left the ambience feeling odd.

F
Philadelphia
10 reviews
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall4food3service5ambience5

I usually love the food but this time the crab bisque was extremely salty and the mussels were sandy. However, if you go, try the salmon that's what I usually order and love it everytime.

SG
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on April 14, 2019
Overall2food1service1ambience2

I usually am a fan of Aksum but this visit was extremely disappointing. I made a reservation but was told that I couldn’t sit at the time because they were cleaning up from a private party. We were sat outside for about 45 mins even though I requested a table inside multiple times due to rain. As we waited, multiple other parties were sat inside. We only were seated inside when my party and I stood inside the restaurant to get out of the rain. Once we were seated and received our food, the food was bland and did not include all the fixings that were listed on the menu.

T
Philadelphia
39 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall2food3service1ambience3

We frequent Aksum a lot, it's one of our highest recommended BYOBs in the area. Unfortunately we didn't have a good experience on Saturday's brunch. I didn't recognize our server - but she was not good. She was not attentive in any aspect. She did not return for coffee refill when I asked for it, was not self-sufficient in coming by in checking on us, our water levels etc. She did not come over to greet us the first time - but then did come by to take our orders and asked if she gave us the specials yet..
The restaurant was not busy or full but it took her 15 minutes to notice our table needed the check when we had been finished with our food already. If this was my first visit, I wouldn't have thought about returning. Given that this is one of my favorite restaurants I'll certainly return, but I'm hoping for a better visit.

I'll be honest - my visits to Aksum are very hit or miss. 80% of the time the food is great, 60% of the time the service is great! Service is the biggest inconsistency hit or miss aspect of Aksum and my biggest pet peeve of the establishment.

SB
1 review
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience4

My friend and I when to Askum for dinner. I must say it was delicious. The Ambiance was also very nice. I have had Askum’s brunch which was also very good. It was my fiat time haveinf dinner there and they did not disappoint. Will definitely be coming back. 🌟🌟💫💫❤️

LG
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on March 28, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

We have loved this place for years but the food is not as good as it used to be.

OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on March 26, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience3

Booked in here because it’s local and the food is good. Reservation was for six people so why did our server try to put us at a table for five and then fail to realize it wouldn’t work until several people were seated. And then send us to another table. That should have been worked out in advance, no? Food was good and it was quiet enough we could have a conversation with six around the table. But the menus were dirty (just print some clean ones, okay?), the chair needed replacing (big dip in the seat so it feels like you’re going to fall through), many basic things were not available (no feta? no calamari? huh?), and it was so dark we couldn’t really see the food. The young server did a good job. I want to support neighborhood restaurants and we like the food here, but everything needs to be attended to with close attention to bring the potential of this place up to par. We often need to take people to dinner for work events and it would be nice to have a local place, but I don’t know if this is going to work for future events.

OD
New England
1 review
Dined on March 24, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

The food and service were both great! A lot of GF and vegetarian options, which is wonderful for a crowd with dietary constrictions. My only complaint was that they did not sit us in a table that was big enough for the three adults and a baby.

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