Explore Philadelphia

An Expert’s Guide to Decadent Dining in Philly

Local food writer A.D. Amorosi clues us in on some of the richest dishes in town.

One man’s idea of decadent dining is another man’s daily bread. Still, there are some singular menu items and entire miracle meals in Philadelphia that border on grandly decadent without question. And with temperatures dipping into sweater weather, and the upcoming holiday season (where you’re ready or not), what could be better than a gift of a truly opulent meal?

Amis

Most of veteran restaurateur Marc Vetri’s restaurants are deliriously decadent. Think his Navy Yard wood-fired Lo Spiedo and his North Broad boite Osteria. Yet, it’s his Amis Trattoria in the heart of the Midtown Village with its rustic Italian inspirations that traffics hedonistic, memorable meals. Who else but chef Brad Spence cooks and serves thick creamy mortadella mousse, almond dusted sweetbreads with fennel marmalade or grilled veal tongue with pepper mostarda on a regular basis? 412 S 13th St., Phila., PA,  215.732.2647

Pennsylvania 6

Expect rich takes on Americana dining at this Midtown Village eatery. Standouts include the delightfully juicy Bourbon Bone Marrow, served with garlic herb crust and red onion jam, which pairs perfectly with a long pour of heady bourbon, and the burger topped with smoked cheddar cheese, smothered in secret sauce and served alongside duck fat fried. 11 S. 12th St., Phila., PA,  267.639.5606

Philadelphia's Pennsylvania 6 restaurant
Pennsylvania 6's roasted bone marrow. (Courtesy Pennsylvania 6)

Will BYOB

Chef Chris Kearse at East Passyunk’s Will BYOB knows a thing or two about decadent dining. Start with the Burgundy snails, poached in black truffle red wine sauce and served with sweet-as-candy ham dash or the foie gras mousse with wine-poached figs. Entrees reflect the season. The duck with orange-caramelized Belgian endive and licorice is a sensory overload. 1911 E. Passyunk Ave., Phila., PA, 215.271.7683

Serpico

At South Street’s Serpico, chef and co-owner Peter Serpico's silken steamed egg custard with caviar is a local-approved favorite, with the sliced pig head and burnt onion mustard coming in a close second. Keep an eye on the daily special board, featuring a rotating roster of elegant, unexpected and unique dishes. 604 South St., Phila., PA, 215.925.3001 

Verdad Restaurant & Tequila Bar

There are few meals that the addition of deep dark chocolate couldn’t make more indulgent. Chef Nick Farinia of Verdad’s chocolate chile fried chicken is no exception. Organic Giannone chicken breasts are topped with hot chili pepper sauce and 80% semi-sweet Mexican dark chocolate shavings. A bite into these beauties is a perfect marriage of spicy and sweet flavors. 818 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA., 610.520.9100

City Tavern

Chef and television personality chef Walter Staib’s Old City gem uses the tagline “A Triumph of Tradition. Est. 1773.” One visit to City Tavern and you can see how well the Founding Fathers of Philadelphia truly ate. What to expect? Rack of lamb, roared in Dijon mustard and pecans, pot pies dense with lobster or turkey, red wine-braised and marinated rabbit and sumptuous venison medallions with a leeks, rosemary-bourbon mushroom sauce. If you haven’t been, go and indulge. If you haven’t been for a while, hurry up and make your yearly pilgrimage. 138 S. Second St., Phila., PA, 215.413.1443

City Tavern in Philly
Let the staff at the City Tavern, dressed in colonial period attire, be your culinary guide. (©J. Fusco/Visit Philadelphia)

The Twisted Tail

If it isn’t enough that this off-South Street hot spot has the best whiskeys and the only live blues in town, chef Leo Forneas' kitchen slings southern-inspired dishes that will make you absolute woozy. Simple appetizers such as crawfish mac n’ cheese and entrees such as roasted duck with foie gras jus, and even the hearty complexity of braised short ribs with coconut-squash just burst with boisterous flavors. 509 S. Second St., Phila., PA, 215.558.2471