Aksum

4.0
517 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.
What 517 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.0based on recent ratings
4.0
food
3.8
service
4.0
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
79% of people would recommend it to a friend
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BA
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 1

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

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AB
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 4

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.

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a
Washington DC
21 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

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.

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m
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on May 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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

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OT
1 review
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 4

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.

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G
1 review
Dined on April 22, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 2

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

No music left the ambience feeling odd.

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F
Philadelphia
9 reviews
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

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.

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SG
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on April 14, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 1ambience 2

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.

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OT
Philadelphia
37 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 3

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.

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SB
1 review
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

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. 🌟🌟💫💫❤️

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LG
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on March 28, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

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

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OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on March 26, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

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.

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OD
New England
1 review
Dined on March 24, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

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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N
Philadelphia
22 reviews
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

Decided to go out to brunch and found this place listed as one of the better brunch places in Philly. Made reservations and arrived a few minutes early. I was seated rather quickly and thats where any service ended. The table was incredibly wobbly but i put a few sugar packets under one leg to stabilize since the server never came back with a leveler. Received a cup of coffee after 10 minutes of waiting and server took our order. And then never came back. After 40minutes she returned to ask "are you waiting on your check?" - uhh, no. i was waiting on our meals but i can see thats never happening and so we walked out. What an absolute disastrous affair. Worst service/No service. The most incredible part is the "manager" who was there sitting at the bar just looking at everyone and not checking on a single table the entire time we were there waiting. This place is garbage and I would never recommend this anyone. Stay away.

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OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is one of my favorite BYOBs in all of Philadelphia! Everyone working there is so nice and attentive. The food is always well seasoned and super delicious!

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j
1 review
Dined on March 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Have already recommended to three friends - really great, fun meal.

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DL
Philadelphia
5 reviews
Dined on March 17, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 1ambience 2

I’m a frequent customer of Aksum especially for brunch and am usually satisfied. This visit was not a good one. The items my date and I wanted (which were different) were not available. We both had to order something else and although it tasted ok it was luke warm. I had a reservation and had to wait 10 minutes for a table to be cleared. The waitress didn’t seem to be aware of the menu items. It is unlikely I will go back to Aksum. I was very disappointed.

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OT
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on March 17, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 3

I was there for brunch on this past Sunday 3/17/19 and it was obviously not enough staff to accommodate everyone. We waited at the door for at least 5 minutes before being recognized and seated. Once we were seated, it took at least 10 minutes or more for someone to come over after I asked if anyone was coming to wait on us. We finally ordered food and the food came out barely warm, no syrup for the pancakes, no spoon for the coffee. We were so surprised and fed up that we just walked out. I have never experienced that kind of service at this restaurant. It was not a good day and I’m sure others were not pleased. The servers were overwhelmed. I would like to return but hopefully with a better dining experience - like I’ve had in the past.

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r
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Food was fresh and obviously prepared with care. One dish was very salty (and I'm not usually that sensitive). Restaurant was full, and many people arrived at the same peak time, which seemed to overwhelm the kitchen, but the server was aware and apologetic.

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MC
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on March 13, 2019
Overall 5food 3service 5ambience 5

Not many food choices on this visit. No salmon; no rib eye steaks. A bit disappointing.

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F
Philadelphia
74 reviews
Dined on March 12, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 4

This was our first visit to this restaurant. We made a reservation and arrived on time. We noticed that it looked quite inviting, candlelit tables, quiet. Only one other table was occupied, by 2 people, when we arrived. There was one wait person, who offered us our choice of seats. She came by promptly to bring us water, breadsticks and olive oil. She also took our order (appetizers and entrees) in a timely manner. After about half an hour, she came by to tell us they were out of pita (at a Mediterranean restaurant!). After 45 minutes, we still had not even received our appetizer. Every time we looked her way, she turned her head. We could hear people talking and "working" in the kitchen. We finally decided to leave. I would definitely NOT recommend this experience to anyone.

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G
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Very wonderful & eclectically imaginative & executed menu! Service superb & quite friendly! Very cozy restaurant setting but wish it was bigger. We will return!

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j
1 review
Dined on March 7, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 5

We never got our Appetizers because the server forgot to put the order in. Lamb Chops was a little dry and the food wasn't very hot but everything else was great.

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AD
1 review
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

I was there for dinner and I couldn’t find the Mediterranean Anywhere I felt like I could cook the food myself. However I been there for brunch and they have a really good chicken and waffle.

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s
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 1ambience 3

Food was excellent

service was substandard - some parts of the order were not put in on time and food came out late and undercooked

Kitchen seemed overwhelmed on a busy saturday night

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a
1 review
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 3ambience 2

The food was awful. The squash risotto was tasteless -- except for the salt -- and inedible. The roasted beet salad came with beets from a can, no walnuts, wilted spinach, and nothing resembling the champagne dressing listed on the menu. The waitress was very nice and did not charge us for the risotto. My husband's dish of pasta with shrimp was also sub-par. We had the impression that the the cook had no experience or knowledge of preparing the dishes we had ordered and also lacked the necessary ingredients.

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B
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Food was good, but expensive for what it was. Bad floor plan. Our table for 2 kept getting bumped into.

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AD
1 review
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Aksum has delicious brunch foods, that are always high in quality. My daughter had her first communion party there, and they served many of us with consistent quality. The dinner is also delicious, and I recommend the alcohol free sangria

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VC
1 review
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 2ambience 4

We had brunch and the food was delicious and 5star we had the French Tost and chicken and waffles. The service from our waitress wasn’t 5 star, we hope the she was new and in training and will definitely go again, hopefully the service will be Tyler this time😀

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R
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Our waiter was extremely friendly and personable but our service was a bit slow.

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EE
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on February 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best Sunday Brunch in West Philly! Incredible BYOB Brunch experience!

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AV
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on February 17, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

A great place for Brunch. Cute and small. Delicious flavors. Service could be a bit better. It seemed a bit slow and like they weren't use to waiting more than 2-3 tables. For eg, we had a reservation for 3 people and were placed on a table with three seating. But the table setting was only for 2 and had to be requested for. And then the other time, we were halfway through our Appetizer when the main course arrived, and we were still enjoying our App, and the server almost wanted take that plate from under our forks (lol!). Not a super big deal and not a hindrance to the experience. But could work on those details.
On the other hand, loved the involvement of owner. Dropped by our table a couple of times to check on us. Which was fantastic!
Overall, would recommend 100%.

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NS
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 3

Excellent evening. The food was very good. It was noisy due to a large party

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AM
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

Great service, small intimate atmosphere, good food.

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C
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and service. Will definitely eat at Askum’s again.

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S
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent vibe. Lobster bisque was fantastic. Really friendly service.

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N
Philadelphia
11 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 1

Food was pretty great! Unfortunately we didn’t receive our food on the right order. Seafood bisque was outstanding, but then we waited a long time for entrees bec they forgot to bring the salad! Atmosphere was cramped, music sounded tinny like from a transistor radio. I think the chef is very good but the space leaves a lot to be desired...Overall will not return to this restaurant...

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 5

I don't know if it was because of Valentine's day. The menu was very limited. My waitress seemed to forget about us quit often. My steak was supposed to be a filet mignon. It was really tough. Didn't seem like filet. Then my food was really cold when they brought it to me. I told my server she took my plate brought it back with the same steak that I had taken a bite out of. Looks like the put it back on the grill so u know it was well done by the time I got it and it was still cold. When i got the check they took forever to bring my card back and when i did get it back they brought it back with this tablet that only gave you an option to tip 20% or higher eventhough my waitress didn't deserve the 15% that I had originally planned on giving her.

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LU
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 3

Very tasty and inventive food very busy and a bit cramped nice in the warm weather with windows open and outside seating

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MC
Philadelphia
5 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Excellent food - the Brussels sprouts are phenomenal. This is one of our fave byob restaurants in the city

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