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Rex at the Royal
REX at The Royal cuisine pays homage to the great early 20th-century African-American chefs who adapted traditional southern fare to Philadelphia’s urban landscape. The concept’s foundation lies in the Lowcountry cuisine of the Southeast Atlantic coast, influenced as it was by the grains and traditions of the African diaspora melded with the local agriculture and fisheries.
- Surfaces sanitized between seatings
- Common areas deep cleaned daily
- Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
- Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
- Contactless payment available
- Sealed or wrapped utensils used
- Distancing maintained in common areas
- Extra space between tables
- Waitstaff wear masks
- Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
- Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
- Staff is vaccinated
- Proof of vaccination required to dine indoors
Good food, good portion size, reasonably priced. Will be back for sure.
My wife and I used to frequent Rex 1516 and were completely blown away by the major upgrade and the new space of Rex at the Royal. All the excellent qualities of the old restaurant (amazing service, outstanding food, great atmosphere) remain but the space is just perfect. More than just a facelift, the upgrades to the menu, cocktail list, and ambiance make for an even more enjoyable experience. Specifically, the additions of oysters, raw bar additions, fresh fish, and steak have really elevated what was already an outstanding Southern menu. Fortunately the burger (the best in Philly) is still on the menu and is as perfect as it ever was. The space strikes the perfect balance between old time New Orleans flair and modern decor without being too overdone, and the addition of an open kitchen is another great touch.
My wife and I had the cornbread (staple), oysters (east coast, perfectly briny with an outstanding mignonette and hot sauce), burgers (::chef's kiss::), and the infamous "milk and cookies" (beignets with molten cookie dough inside served with a rumchata milkshake). The "royal" cocktails are not to be missed, and the wine list is a major upgrade from the old place - many great names but we were in a cocktail mood that night. The service remains stellar, and manager Brian is the consummate host. All in all, a perfect way to spend a Saturday night
Can't wait to come back on Tuesday night for live Jazz!
Food with flavor! Went for a girlfriends birthday and they hooked us up with a great table and a candle with dessert. Friendly service. They were working so hard but it took a while for the food to come out. I am going to assume there was staffing issues causing the delay. But I would definitely like to come back.
Great booth- great reception. Server was great. Staff clearing plates. Fried Green Tomatoes- pour on more of that pimento on top!
Great atmosphere and interesting drinks adding to a very good meal!
Hi! Thanks for your feedback!
Food was bland, two of our four dinners that came out were cold. The fried green tomatoes were awful — tough and flavorless. I’ve had grits in the South before which were creamy and flavorful but the shrimp and grits here were terrible. The shrimp were bland and the grits were dry and crumbly. My husband had the Frogmore Stew and it was equally bland. The cheesecake we got for dessert was slightly frozen still in the center. Cocktails were just ok and our server was very attentive but considering how terrible our food was, we will not be back.
I made this reservation for my 35th birthday, so I was looking to treat myself. Service was pretty poor. I understand its a pandemic and perhaps they were short staffed. We waited over an hour for our entrees. I think this is because maybe the waiter was overwhelmed.
He took our orders, and came back 10min later saying he forgot what we ordered and asked us for our orders again. So we kept waiting. Each time we ordered a drink to pass the time while we waited for our food, we had to wait another 15min for each drink. As time passed we just kept getting ignored--we were at a high top table and kept getting overlooked.
The waiter acknowledged the poor job he did at the end and offered us a free drink, but the damage was done. We just wanted to get out of there. Our reservation was at 8pm and we left at 11:30--not because we were having a grand time, but because most of the time was spent begging for attention and waiting for our food.
It broke my heart to have to tip only 16%. It’s a pandemic and we usually tip about 30% for average service. But this was just so bad I couldn’t justify it.
It was just a disappointment.
Hi! Thank you for your feedback. I'm sorry you were the recipient of poor service, as we take hospitality seriously here at Rex at the Royal. I did not have any reports from service that a guest was this disappointed with their experience, which gave us no opportunity to attempt to remedy your grievances in this situation, but encouraged you to allow the establishment an attempt at remediation in the future, while dining. We're taking all of your points into consideration with our service team.
Long wait for food
No salt on anything
Overall pretty disappointed considering the hype.
Hi. Thank you for your feedback. I'm sorry you were the recipient of poor service, as we take hospitality seriously here at Rex at the Royal. We're taking all of your points into consideration with our culinary and service teams.
1. The place is amazing.
2. The staff is on point .
3. The She Crap Soup was very good, it could have been hotter.
4. Both our dishes..Duck Hash and Ham and Gravy were so salty it was BAD!!!
Thank you for the feedback, BrentC. We're taking all of your points into consideration with our culinary team.
One of our favorite places in the city!
Thanks for the kind words!
So excited for brunch here. Delicious crab cake Benedict.
Me, and my wife loved this place. The brunch was delicious and the service was extremely excellent. Highly recommended!
Nice vibe great staff mix crowd vibezzz good music
New years eve
My husband and I ate dinner at Rex at the Royal for NYE. They had a live jazz band and we had an amazing time. It was our first time here since the renovation. They offered complimentary mezcal cocktails. The service staff was phenomenal and attentive. Our only complaint was the food. There were not a ton of dairy free options (I have a dairy allergy, so not their fault) and the appetizer and entrée that I chose ended up having the same vegan side dish made with okra that I didn't particularly like. We will most likely be back for the live music and energetic ambience, however cannot say the same for the food yet.
Excellent atmosphere with unique food and drink selections.
Great new space and ambience. Went on a Tuesday evening and a three piece band (trumpet, keyboard, percussion) was playing - great touch! The bar was really nice... drinks were great... and in typical Rex fashion the Southern Comfort cooking was on par. More expensive than Rex1516, but a great spot for the occasional date night.
Incredible cocktails and atmosphere!
Martini tasted terrible, and cost $21.
Crudo fish was mangled, cut horrible, lack of texture to dish.
Bread was dry, cold, and crumbled.
Scallops were way over salted. Green beans and potatoes were undercooked/raw.
Bathrooms were frigid cold.
We loved the old Rex, food used to be so good. Ambiance and decor was on point. Bar was nice. For the price you pay, not worth it. I feel bad writing this but it’s the truth.
Really enjoyed our experience at Rex. Food was delicious - ample and flavorful. I had the pork chop which was huge and delicious. My date had a burger - great sweet potato fries as well. Service was attentive and professional. Prices were a bit high, but I thought they were in line with places like Rex and I thought it was great value.
Fantastic new restaurant with incredible food and amazing service! Will certainly visit Rex many times! I highly recommend!
Each course took a long time to arrive, as two tables who arrived after us were served ahead of us. The appetizers were both delicious (tomatoes and hush puppies), better than our main dishes (burger and shrimp). Sazerac was great but Zinfandel serving seemed stingy.
We were regulars at the old place and miss the movies! The new space is great though. It’s gone from a regular neighborhood restaurant to special occasion only. We wish you well!
Lovely atmosphere and environment, really good food and super filling!
very nice atmosphere. GM was very nice and helpful we will return to try out more of the menu.
Thanks for your review, Ryan. We appreciate your kind words. We hope to see you soon!
Rex - The Royal is as stellar as its predecessor, Rex 1516, now in a larger, beautifully decorated space. Loved the cozy booth our four-top was seated in (from which we would've had a perfect view of the small stage, had it been a live-music night), being able to peek into the kitchen to watch our food being prepared, and the service, which was friendly and knowledgeable.
Definitely recommend coming hungry and with a small group of fully-vaccinated* diners, so you can taste all the offerings! We started out strong with a few appetizers and sides: Hush Puppies and Okra Fries (okra tempura, fried shishito, long hot comeback sauce), Fried Green Tomatoes (jimmy red corn meal, house pimento cheese), Skillet Mac and Cheese (cooper sharp cheese, smoked provolone, gruyere, cavatappi, garlic breadcrumbs), and Buttermilk Biscuits (pepper jam, honey butter). All four were spot on and the hush puppies, fried green tomatoes, and buttermilk biscuits sang to our diners who used to live in the south.
For our mains, we enjoyed (with no complaints**!) the NJ Scallops and Fall Succotash (NJ sea scallops, pumpkin, turnip, butternut squash, sunchokes, corn, crispy kale, brown butter), Frogmore Stew (fish, mussels, shrimp, andouille sausage, potatoes, corn, spicy old bay brodo, grilled sourdough), Chicken and Dumplings (grilled chicken breast, smoked chicken leg, sweet potato dumplings, green meadow farm mushrooms, roasted vidalia onions, pepper jus), and NY Strip Steak (14oz. sustainably raised NY strip steak, grilled green meadow farm mushroom salad, crispy salt potatoes, compound butter). The Frogmore Stew had a wonderful flavor and heat to it, and the andouille sausage was particularly tasty.
The drinks were well-named and generally tasty: Spotted Lantern Fly (cacao washed whiskey, cardamara, lemon, honeycomb, aqufaba), Royal Sazerac (vieux carre absinthe, templeton rye whiskey, cognac, demerara, bitters), and Sorrel Loser (sorrel, clove, allspice, lime, ginger, sparkling water).
The ambiance and staff was lovely . The food is not southern at all. It doesn't taste good! I will visit for cocktails not for dinner .
Thanks for the feedback!
Lovely space with Rex’s good food.
Beautiful setting and amazing food. What more could you ask for?
Service was excellent, ambiance was intimate, the interior was beautifully designed and appointed, down to the flatware. Food was delicious. All around excellent experience- have not enjoyed a dinner out like this in years. Keep up the good work!
Such a fantastic space with amazing food. The new location is special. It feels historic and classy. It’s an instant classic. The wait-staff was incredible as well always there when we needed with out being in top of us. The cocktails were incredible and extremely varied in taste and style. The crab fondue and pretzel was amazing, but the star of the show was the pork chop. It was absolutely incredible. Perfectly cooked with the most incredible greens and sauce accompanying it. The weekly burger was my go to at the old location but the pork chop might be my new item every time I come in town the city.
Amazing birthday meal. Really appreciate the quality of the menu, atmosphere, and the service. Excellent food and drinks with fantastic service. Everyone enjoyed the evening.
Creative cocktails, unique, creative twists of traditional low country dishes. First class dining experience.
Will always drive over an hour just for the rex burger. Beautiful new location made for such a fun date night.
Had a great time at dinner with my friends. The cocktails were great and the food was tasty. Can’t wait to go back!
If you liked the old Rex, you'll LOVE the new Rex. Great cocktails, and that Rex Burger was just how we remembered pre-pandemic!
The space is lovely. The food was good, but not great. I don’t recall being told we had a time limit on our seating, but the server seemed very aggressive about getting our orders. She wouldn’t place our appetizer order until we ordered entrees because the “kitchen likes to know what dishes” will be ordered. Why? Turns out there was a time limit. That’s totally fine, but be upfront about it.
I messaged the restaurant saying it was a birthday celebration, but never heard from anyone. They clearly didn’t get the message or do anything with it.
The decor is beautiful and the location is prime but the food and service were poorly lacking. It took over 2 hours for our entrees to arrive and the server brought our check after appetizers but before our entrees. The drinks and appetizers were fairly good (The Holiday cocktail is stellar), although our server brought the wrong drink at first, but three of our four entrees were bland and two had parts that were significantly undercooked. One of the glasses of wine was corked but the manager addressed it smoothly. Since they recently opened, some grace and understanding is necessary but quality of food and service should be remedied immediately.
A lovely space and one of the few spots in Philly to get half-decent southern food. Can tell they’re still working out the kinks (they just re-opened), the the vibe is hopping.
We were there for the party of 5 people. We kind of liked it. Little overpriced for that food, but I like atmosphere ad design of new location. The manager is a wonderful person, waiter literally charged us for extra bread. It's ok, not a big deal but not acceptable, only $12. They have a good burger, and salad... My friend ordered soup but some reason it was served cold and was little not satisfied with that, it might seated on the counter but the good thing is the manager handled it. It was a ok experience but I would not prefer to go back overall.
Truly enjoyed my time at Rex at the Royal. I was taken away by the decor and how nice it looked. I was greeted with a happy greeting and was asked to show my vaccine card. After checking my coat I was sat and my waitress was Bernadette. She was amazing!!! She made sure to explain to us the entire menu and gave great suggestions on what to eat. Our drinks were so tasteful and def set the bar high when it came to crafted cocktails. I cannot wait for the upstairs to open in order to have us listen to the live music. I don’t know what else to say but GO! Rex is amazing and I can’t wait to go back. PLEASE ask for Bernadette..!! She’s polite, patient and knows what she’s doing.
Rex at the Royal offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (267) 319-1366.
Rex at the Royal is rated 4.4 stars by 48 OpenTable diners.
Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.