Aksum

4.1
474 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.

Specials

Valentine's Day Special Menus & More

Treat your sweetie to a special four-course pre-fixe meal at Aksum Cafe! Check out our instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/aksumcafe/ to check out the full pre-fixe menu.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

What 474 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.1based on recent ratings
3.9
food
4.2
service
4.2
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
84% of people would recommend it to a friend
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YP
Philadelphia
12 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Great food always. Service and ambiance can be hit or miss sometimes depending on when you go. Enjoyed brunch though. And the BYOB is fantastic.

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JH
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

I always enjoy eating at this restaurant! The food was delicious (had the shrimp and grits) , and the service was great!

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KC
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on January 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome atmosphere food is excellent and byob ...our server was very pleasant and patient..I’ve been before although this is my first brunch visit I can’t wait to return

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OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on January 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Service was exceptional, our waitress was amazing

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D
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went for a prie-fixe NYE dinner. The food was wonderful—the people in the kitchen really know what they’re doing—and the service was attentive and friendly. We had a great time!

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A
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 3

Could not order from regular menu. Food was luke warm. Had taken way too much time for desserts. Not worth the price. Very disappointed.

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S
Philadelphia
26 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

We used to love Aksum but the food selections and preparation are now mediocre at best. Our two favorites, and dependable entrees, lamb shank and chicken with shrimp, are no longer on the menu. At our recent meal, the chicken breast with capers was not the perfectly prepared one we were accustomed to, the lamb burger was over cooked and dry, the very thin rib eye (at $30) came with more poorly prepared potatoes than anyone could possibly eat. And they were not fingerlings as advertised.

Unfortunately, we've now tried twice with the revamped menu and both times have been disappointing. Don't know if it's a new cook, new menu planner, or both. Too bad. We used to love to go and to send people there, too.

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I
Philadelphia
21 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

I have brunch here often , love that it is a BYOB food is good and atmosphere is great.

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OT
Philadelphia
23 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I came here for dinner with a friend. The food was excellent, the staff was very attentive. We had a wonderful time.

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HR
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on December 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Nice ambience. Intimate and casual atmosphere but the food is fine dining.
The service was professional and warm. The server and host checked on us often to see if we needed anything. We were so comfortable. We sat, ate and talked for 4 hours.

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IV
New York Area
1 review
Dined on December 2, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

I would love to see more vegan options on the menu.

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BS
1 review
Dined on December 2, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Moroccan-influenced cuisine. Went for Sunday brunch. Small place, but nice inside, comfortable and reasonable table spacing. Moroccan eggs, green eggs & ham and full mudamass all very good. Moroccan chicken and waffles kind of plain. Saw a lamb burger delivered to another table, that looked awesome. Hostess & waitress both extremely nice and attentive. A good choice in general, and especially if you want a brunch that's not the usual American fare.

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JR
1 review
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Aksum is always excellent! Love supporting this neighborhood gem.

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JF
1 review
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 4

This was my sister’s first time at Aksum and it was not a good experience. It’s a little tight and we had to squeeze into our table. I guess what I am saying is the restaurant is not plus size friendly. Lastly, our food came out and it was cold, not warm, but cold like it had been sittting for sometime. Weird, because the couple next to use was very upset about the same problem. It’s a nice place and the chief was sweet, but I will not be visiting again. I wish the owner all the best.

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OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 3

This restaurant used to be great unfortunately not anymore

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H
Philadelphia
9 reviews
Dined on November 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and ambiance, as always. Great service. Eyob was our server and he was super nice and very knowledgeable about the menu, ingredients and flavors in the selections.

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ML
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 5

I understand that there is a new chef but they need to bring the old menu items back!! There was no honey glazed salmon which was my absolute favorite.
Sorry, but no longer a fan.

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OT
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on October 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very nice experience, amazing food, and service on a quiet night ! Will be back for sure!

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CC
Philadelphia
313 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

What a wonderful surprise this was! The food is as good as almost any Mediterranean fare we've had, and the staff are wonderful. The room is very very nice and the entire place is spotless. The patrons are an eclectic group sharing common appreciations for civility and positive interaction with each other. We loved it and will return for sure!

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TP
1 review
Dined on October 23, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

Our food here was a bit uneven. Some of the food was bland and lackluster (the crab bisque and pumpkin paella special) and some of it was SO good, it made it worth going (the divine Brussells sprouts and gnocchi). The server was nice and friendly, but neglectful. He would stand around folding napkins when we were clearly ready to order, needed drink refills, or were finished with the main course and ready for dessert or a check. I like that they are open late and on Mondays (so few places are anymore), and it is nice inside. For a while, they had two different songs playing simultaneously, which they apparently didn't notice. We eventually had to ask them to turn one off, which they did.
The food that was good at Aksum was VERY VERY good, so I would recommend it overall, but they need to work on a few things to actually make it the must-try restaurant that Philly mag makes it out to be.

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KH
Philadelphia
18 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 4

Usually good food but maybe a slow Monday made for slow service. Food is usually good but was cold and poorly seasoned this time. Maybe weekends are best...

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JH
1 review
Dined on October 21, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 4

Took my parents here since they came to visit from overseas. I was embarrassed, the service was so slow, food was not as good as it should be, and mainly, the waitress gave my mom coffee in a mug that still have lipstick on it from whoever used it before. Mom was super disgusted and completely turned off. I had no way to make my mom feel any better. Some other waitress were pushing my fiancé when they were trying to pass behind her. Ugh will never go back. Done for good.

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P
Philadelphia
26 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Good neighborhood place. Very well done Mediterranean menu.

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AM
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have a great time, can wait to visit again, the food was great and the service was awesome. I will be back soon for dinner,

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a
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2018
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 on October 13, 2018
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 on October 13, 2018
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
19 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
Philadelphia
2 reviews
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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