Aksum

4.3
449 reviews
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$30 and under
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Mediterranean
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
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 449 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.2
food
4.1
service
4.2
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
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a
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Aksum has been one of our go-to local favorites for years so when we heard there was a new chef we had some trepidation. Happy to say our meals exceeded our expectations - even after finding out a new menu item (the rib eye) was sold out.
We split the generous beet salad to start - very fresh and tasty.
The lamb chops w purple potato mash were excellent; the sea bass crispy and delicious, and the vegetarian crabless crab cakes a really nice new option.
Thank you, Aksum, for holding your standards high. We will miss the talent and unique flavors of your former chef, but are optimistic after tonight’s dinner!

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D
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

One of my favorite brunch spots so was disappointed with the presentation ofthe almond crusted French toast. It did not tastethe same, it was semi smashed and burnt on some of the edges. The lentil soup also was a little watery. Would still refer because I support the owner and hope it was a one time not so good tasting experience.

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PK
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 4

Staff messed up the order at all ends. Brought as the wrong item (Pancakes instead of French toast) and when Pancakes arrived they did not have the sausage described in the menu (it was just dry pancakes with a few pieces of fruit and whipped cream). We couldn't tell what was missing until we saw while leaving someone from another table get same dish with their sausages on. Other items on our order had good taste. We were offered the sausage to go once we realized but we had to rush to the train station so we didn't get the offer

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m
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Food was very good and reasonable. The server was excellent—friendly and informative.

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D
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The calamari was out of this world - very sweet and glazed, a new twist on a classic fave. The Barramundi fillet was stellar, served over a bed of couscous and chickpeas. The fact that this restaurant is BYO really sells it though. Incredible food and your own drinks - what more could you want.

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AH
1 review
Dined on September 19, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

When I arrived at the restaurant after making a reservations, they told me that the chef had left! So I had to go to eat at a different restaurant to eat. Very dissapointing to say the least.

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T
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on September 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

OMGoodness! What a find!!! I took my daughter here for her 28th birthday, and we had a ball. Certainly, I raved about my entire dining experience. The ambience was cozy, friendly and fun. The food was super tasty, and affordable. I'm a great cook, so I'm always reluctant to dine out because no one cooks as good as me, LOL! Needless to say, I was wrong, surprised, and satisfied all at the same time. A few of my co-workers at the PD's Office:) and friends in the area all love Aksum.
It was indeed a pleasure to take part in such an awesome experience. I WILL BE BACK MONTHLY!
Saba and staff, "thank you!"

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MC
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on September 15, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 5

This use to be my go to restaurant, until last Friday and my previous reservation to that one (where myself and two others were seated at a table that was made only for two. Uncomfortable to say the least).
"Returning back to last Friday's reservation." They was only one waitress for a booked restaurant, (inside and out). Which, I'm sure made her a bit frazzled. She wasn't personable at all! She took our order; when we order the appetizers, she wanted to know was that it, ("as if she was rushing us"). She never brought glasses, ice bucket, crackers/bread sticks to the table.
So, here we are just looking at an empty table with our BYOB to the right.
We requested some glasses and breadsticks. We were told, they would have to check to see if there's anymore breadsticks. The hostess brought glasses and then a little while after brought some ice. (Saw a patron get up and got his own wine glasses)🤔
After waiting forever...
The appetizers came out," but something was different, something changed". My soup normally comes with pita bread, but had none. So, I requested for some, (was charged $2). The calamari was also different. Three minutes later the entrees came out, (no space on the table, because we weren't close to finishing the appetizers).
I normally visit Askum for their honey salmon and potatoes (delicious), but to my surprise, we found out the menu had been changed, due to a new chef and weren't told before hand (the menus appear to be the same as before🤦‍♀️, but apparently not).
The new salmon entree made me laugh🤣
It was approximately 2-3 tablespoons of spinach, topped with 1" by 5" inches of salmon, for $18.
We had no choice, but to send it back,(didn't even look appetizing).
Our waitress was very aware of our disappointment and did apologize.

But, at the end of the day, I blame management for the rapid turnover and short staffing amongst their waitresses and cooks. This speaks volumes regarding their business ethics.

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DJ
Philadelphia
7 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Late Sunday dinner for 3. Proximate to Penn campus. All menu items available despite the day and time. Food, especially lamb dishes, very tasty. Attentive service. Street parking may be problematic at high times. First time but will return.

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OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on September 9, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Very nice neighborhood BYOB with consistently very good, though not outstanding, food at a very reasonable price. Particularly nice when weather permits eating outside. Reasonable variety though nothing on the main menu that makes my mouth water. Salads and brussel sprouts are excellent. Would like it if they switched things up more often or added several daily specials.

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AD
1 review
Dined on September 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The service was great, the food was tasty and the overall look of the place was comfortable and cozy. Great Job Askum! Keep up the good work and the great service ladies

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JA
Cincinnati
17 reviews
Dined on September 5, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Lamb chops were cooked with all the spices.
Wonderful!

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JT
1 review
Dined on September 2, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Our waitress, Rana, was the best...very attentive, friendly, and helpful with the menu. We were there for Sunday brunch and ordered 1) chicken & waffles, 2) house salad, and 3) french toast with sausage which all were tasty. Everyone in our party said we would come back again...and perhaps next time for dinner.

We give Aksum 2 thumbs up!!

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BJ
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on September 2, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Our server was great! Very attentive!

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h
Philadelphia
17 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

The restaurant has changed chefs. Some of the items that I always order tasted completely different ie the spicy crab soup. It's also a mediterranean restaurant, but they took away the capers and olive mixture they put with the sea bass. The fish was still delicious but different

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r
1 review
Dined on August 25, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 2

Terrible hostess who knew nothing about the food. Quality of the food was below par.

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MW
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on August 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always enjoy the food and atmosphere. Great place for a date or just hanging out with friends.

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WH
Philadelphia
4 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

The two lamb dishes while excellent were spicy which should have been noted. None the less the Lamb cha=ops were excellent. It's BYOB which is also nice.

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JG
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a great and pleasant experience whenever I dine with Aksum!

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VF
Philadelphia
23 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

What a great BYO find! The food is amazing —ethnic, interesting and flavorful. We loved the Brussels sprouts, apple-date salad, and vegetarian tagine. Was a great little neighborhood find and we will definitely be back.

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j
Philadelphia
34 reviews
Dined on August 4, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Everything was very good. The fish--sea bass--was superb. Fattoush was an unusual interpretation; I am more used to more lettuce, cukes, toasted bread pieces + sumac than this version, so that took a little getting used to. We enjoyed bringing a friend from out of town, and she had a great meal!

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SD
Philadelphia
5 reviews
Dined on August 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great food! Great Service! Christina was professional yet warm.

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s
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on August 4, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

I wish they had better beverages but overall great

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b
Philadelphia
7 reviews
Dined on July 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Aksum was nearly full for a late Sunday brunch (starting 1:30 pm). The 3 of us shared the octopus salad and each got a dish of our own. We were all happy with our choices. Will definitely be back.

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CB
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on July 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have always had a nice brunch with family at Aksum. The service is always excellent: friendly and accommodating. The food is well presented and tastes great. It is always a nice experience.

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YR
Orange County
4 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I have tried something new each time I visit this excellent Mediterranean restaurant and loved each meal. The staff are flexible, friendly, and efficient. I

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LA
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on July 26, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Food was great as always, odd thing about this time was there were only two waitresses working and because of that service was a bit slower than usual, which is not the waitresses fault. However, other than that I was delicious food and another lovely experience.

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OT
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on July 22, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

Food is sub-par. Salt galore. Small portions. Flies and no air in restaurant. Definitely wouldn't go back.

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T
Philadelphia
5 reviews
Dined on July 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 4

My husband and I always frequent this restaurant. We frequent the this restaurant at least one a month or more when we have guests in town. Great food great people! Try their other spot Booker’s just as nice

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NH
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 3

Aksum is a years long favorite for us and for a while they literally could do no wrong for brunch or dinner. The servers are always sweet and patient; they don’t get hella defensive if you don’t like a menu item or want it prepared differently. What has changed over the years is the food quality-wilted lettuce in my salad, and the “gravy” for the lamb shank no longer tastes the same-for example. But we’ll dine there again-just not with the same enthusiasm.

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OT
Philadelphia
4 reviews
Dined on July 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We ordered the roasted beets salad, mussels, salmon, non-alcoholic sangrias and for dessert the carrot ginger bread pudding. The food was outstanding!! Enjoyed every bite! And our server Christina was awesome! Absolutely love this spot!!!

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TI
Philadelphia
8 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had an assortment of appetizers. Really outstanding food, great atmosphere, and personal setvucr

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AL
Philadelphia
26 reviews
Dined on July 1, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 2

Great for brunch & group dining. The highlights were the shrimp & grits, crab fritters & the special addition of the grilled octopus salad.

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GM
Philadelphia
16 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

I though the food was great, the meze was very fresh, octopus salad also very fresh and spicy. Carrot-ginger bread pudding was also delicious. Our server could not have been more lovely; helpful but not intrusive and well informed about the menu. Our GF girl wasn't with us but we noted that the GF items were well marked and plentiful. Definitely recommend!

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OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on June 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I always enjoy Aksum when i am there. It was a warm day and they didn’t have the air on but the seat by the open window and friendliness of the staff, the amazing food, and amazing desert more than made up for the heat.

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S
Philadelphia
24 reviews
Dined on June 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Myself and three friends had Sunday brunch and sat outside. It was a beautiful day. All our brunch dishes were delicious and the eggs cooked perfectly. We ordered the lemon poppy pancakes, Moroccan eggs, shrimp and grits, and the Monte Carlo. The food came out in a timely manner but refills and special requests were a bit slow coming or took several requests.
Our waitress was very pleasant.

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M
1 review
Dined on June 24, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

It was a nice spot, me and my boyfriend went this weekend and really enjoyed ourselves. I do think that it is a little congested and there is no such thing as a private conversation between you whoever you are dining with. Other then that food and the service was simply amazing. Will be visiting again.

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AS
1 review
Dined on June 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was soo good, staff was knowledgeable and prices were very reasonable for the quality.

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OT
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Not sure the gentleman name that closed tonight 6 /22/18 taller slim African-American male he was exceptional the service was beyond what I expected it to be he was perfectly amazing everything that I wanted in the dining experience I will definitely book with him all the time that I dine

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on June 17, 2018
Overall 2food 5service 2ambience 3

Went for a family dinner to celebrate Father’s Day. The meal was delicious and smooth despite the restaurant being understaffed with a clearly stressed staff. We ended up being billed twice for the meal and told that I never showed up for the reservation. Contacted bank and they confirmed the double charge originated from the restaurant and to contact them. When I let the manager know about the situation, she just said that it wasn’t her fault and her records only showed one charge. She was completely unapologetic and pretty uncaring about the whole situation. Saba’s response and all of the trouble that followed the meal truly soured the experience. As much as I love the food there, I doubt I’ll be returning anytime soon or if ever again. It’s sad because we’ve been coming for years to Aksum and to Bookers. I can now see why there is such high turnover and short staff. It all starts at the top.

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