Four Philadelphians share their favorite fashionable restaurants, plus where to sit and what to order.
Twenty Manning Grill’s moules frites with bourbon remoulade.
Restaurants are an integral part of Philadelphia’s fashion scene. Think about it: On any given day, dining out—particularly along the corridors of Rittenhouse Square and Midtown Village, where eating is akin to sport—provides the perfect excuse to reach for the couture clothing. Fox Good Day Philadelphia girl-about-town Jennaphr Frederick, Knit Wit owner Ann Gitter, Men’s Style Pro website founder and director Sabir M. Peele, and Flyers Wives Carnival cochair Nicole Warnecke are all in the know about food and fashion in Philly—and their favorite places to indulge are as diverse as their personal styles. Here, they reveal their top reservations for dinner with a side of people watching.
Southern Cross Kitchen
“If you haven’t noticed, Conshohocken is hopping, and Southern Cross Kitchen has become one of my favorite spots. From the second you peek your head in the door, you know you are in a funky yet sophisticated spot. The décor is shabby-chic, and the vibe is very ‘I’m so cool, I don’t even need to try and impress you.’ I love that. The food is fabulous. There are fried green tomatoes on one side of the menu and unique fish dishes on the other. The drink selection forces you to try bourbon, but they experiment with different flavored infusions every week. Peach was a recent one that I really liked. During the week, my husband and I bring the kids for an early dinner. On the weekends, we leave them at home with the sitter and head upstairs to the bar, where there is always live music and plenty of fun to be had.”—Jennaphr Frederick. 8 E. First Ave., Conshohocken, 484-344-5668
Wasabi lobster at Zama.
“With good food, it’s all about the ingredients. And so it is with a good restaurant. The ingredients at Zama are not just good—they are outstanding. The food is easily the best of its kind in Philly in my opinion. I love a veggie rainbow roll or a microgreen maki, which is often a special, and my husband, Steve, always has a spicy tuna hand roll. We enjoy sitting in a back booth when we go and dine here for both lunch and dinner, since it is so close to the boutique. The staff really knows how to take care of its customers. Once, when our regular server, Mercy, was off, I texted her because our waiter wasn’t sure of our regular order. She texted back immediately from a wedding and made sure we were happy.”—Ann Gitter. 128 S. 19th St., 215-568-1027
Twenty Manning Grill
“If there is one place in Philadelphia that makes me feel like I am home (or the home I wish I had) every time I drop in for a drink or bite to eat, it would be Twenty Manning Grill in Rittenhouse. A few years ago, I stumbled upon Twenty Manning one evening and was immediately drawn to the stylish open-air design and the plush leather seating nestled right under the picture window facing 20th Street. Besides spending hours in the B&B-style restaurant enjoying my favorite dayboat scallop ceviche or hearty eight-ounce bison burger (easily the best burger in Philly), Twenty Manning has become one of my favorite places to enjoy a gin and tonic with a few friends.” —Sabir M. Peele. 261 S. 20th St., 215-731-0900
“Since I’m new to Philly, it took a little bit of exploring to find my favorite spaces in the city. Barclay Prime has quickly become my restaurant of choice. My boyfriend, Philadelphia Flyers winger Jakub Voracek, and I go here for date night or when entertaining guests from out of town. With perfect [appetizers] to start the meal, heaping sides big enough to share, and a wine list that never disappoints, the entire dining experience is flawless. The staff has even come to know us by name. My typical order starts with the hamachi crudo or selections from the raw bar. For the main course, it’s always steak—the filet mignon for me and the American wagyu filet for him. Then we usually order two sides of whipped potatoes. Wine is a must during dinner, so I usually order any Riesling on the menu. From the contemporary décor to the selection of your perfect steak knife, each detail makes the dinner one to remember.” —Nicole Warnecke. 237 S. 18th St., 215-732-7560