Some nights call for a bowl of pad thai as quickly as possible to heal from all the meetings that could have been emails. Or two large cheese pizzas to satisfy a pack of howling soccer champs. But what about a night that deserves a little something special? A meal (to be shared, perhaps) that you’ll want to unpack onto actual plates and maybe even eat at the table with lit candles and "Jeopardy!" softly playing in the background? We’ve curated some of Philly’s finest restaurants on DoorDash for a nice night in, whether it’s date night, a special occasion, celebration, or just a treat-yourself Tuesday. We’ll leave the soundtrack and lighting up to you.
For a romantic night in with dinner from a restaurant called one of the city’s best by Philadelphia Magazine, Ember & Ash offers a select menu of its live-fire-cooked favorites and stellar housemade pastas. Start with the airy chicken liver mousse, on toasted brioche with pickles, and the octopus and potatoes, lightly charred and enlivened with chili aioli, then go for a big, impressive main like hanger steak au poivre or beef shin curry.
French restaurant Parc is for nights when you need to transport your Philly living room into a Parisian bistro. An impressive dinner for two might begin with escargots in hazelnut butter and a crab and avocado salad, and then move onto trout amandine with a side of crispy pommes frites and a milk chocolate pot de creme for dessert. Dinner for one? French onion soup and steak frites, s’il vous plait.
Red-wine-braised lamb shank with grated feta, roast chicken with orzo, grilled halibut with tapenade. The Greek specials at Estia will satisfy your craving for an expertly prepared home-cooked meal without having to dirty any pots and pans. Or you could make a meal out of mezze, with plates like thinly sliced eggplant chips with tzatziki and spanakopita made with crispy housemade phyllo that shatters with every bite.
When sushi night calls for something far beyond the California roll, Morimoto is on standby. Start with a tuna sashimi pizza then scope out the chef’s selection of sushi, or treat yourself to a Wagyu steak or the famed black cod with miso. To be sure, Morimoto can be an expensive choice, but there are more affordable dishes that pull out all the stops, like the comforting chicken katsu curry.
Dig into a memorable Malaysian feast from Penang, a locally beloved spot that doesn’t hold back on spice. Start with the nasi lemak, Malaysia’s national dish (hoard all of the chewy anchovies for yourself!), then choose from classics like the lemongrass-fragrant beef rendang or the golden Hainanese chicken, and don’t forget a side of flaky roti canai to drag through all of the sauces.
The food at Urban Farmer is local and lovely, but never precious. Think shrimp and grits made with local Castle Valley Mill grits and housemade tasso, or a cheese plate with local honey. When you crave a great steak but don’t want to leave your couch, you can find it here — Urban Farmer has eight to choose from.
Charlie Was a Sinner’s name makes more sense when you’re inside the moody, darkly lit, entirely vegan restaurant that’s been voted one of the best veggie spots in the country. The explosively flavorful, hoisin-caramelized eggplant bao buns start your meal with a bang. The fried oyster mushrooms won’t make you miss the calamari they imitate for a second, while the croquettes filled with cloud-like potato fluff will make you wish they came in 100-packs.
Zama is a traditional Japanese spot where you can order your favorite sushi rolls or completely trust the chef to curate a thoughtful chirashi. On a cold night, Zama’s savory side shows up with pork tonkatsu with Japanese slaw, miso-marinated sea bass, and the menu’s sleeper hit: braised short ribs over crispy ramen noodles.
The menu of French-ish bistro dishes at a.kitchen is short but elegant. Don’t pass up those airy comte gougeres. It’s the perfect spot for a night when you want a fancy cheeseburger on a High Street bakery bun, a seasonal salad that’s way more complicated (and delicious) than anything you’d throw together at home, and a fat slice of chocolate-tahini cake.
If your definition of a nice night in is a Peking duck dinner for two or four, Buddakan delivers, along with several other celebratory dinner packages, and it never misses the mark. (But go ahead and add an extra order of pork belly bao buns.) Consistency and quality receive high marks at Buddakan, which is why it’s one of the most popular Philly restaurants on DoorDash, any night of the week.
El Rey is a Mexican restaurant in Stephen Starr’s STARR Restaurant Group that’s designed to satisfy and impress, especially the crab and avocado ceviche — a riot of color, texture, and grapefruit-slashed brightness. You’re here to turn the volume up on taco (or fajita) night, and end on a crunchy churro note.
Steakhouse night calls for the Philly institution Rittenhouse Grill. Carve into a Flintstones-worthy slice of roast prime rib, swerve that forkful into buttery mashed potatoes, and keep an eye on that creamed spinach before it disappears. Who wants to share a coconut shrimp appetizer? Everyone.
Rated one of the best sushi restaurants in the city by The Infatuation, Kaiseki is your spot for a rainbow-colored chirashi bowl of the day’s freshest fish. There are specialty rolls, like an otoro roll with double the tuna for double the fun; uncompromising vegan rolls; and sampler platters with playful themes, like six pieces of nigiri topped with different types of roe.
The Detroit-style square pizza at Emmy Squared isn’t special just because almost every slice is a corner, but also because a sprinkling of cheese is baked into the crust so it gets crispy and burnished in the hot, hot oven. It’s also the rare pizza joint that does one of the best burgers in town, along with complex salads you’ll love as much as the pizza and meatballs like Nonna used to make.
Amma’s is a Philly icon beloved by restaurant critics and all food lovers who’ve crossed paths with its tikka masala. This is your permission to over-order; you’ll be glad to have leftovers. Start with Gobi 65, fried cauliflower with a spicy-sweet chile sauce, and move on to a coconut-creamy lamb chettinad or tamarind fish curry. Pile on the samosas, chaat, and pakora. Date night? Scroll down to the Couples Combos for a feast of mutton biryani and flaky paratha.
When a weekend to New Orleans is out of the question, order in from Khyber Pass Pub, and fill up on fried shrimp po’boys on NOLA’s Leidenheimer bakery bread, warm pimiento cheese, a bowl of deeply spiced gumbo, and bananas foster custard for dessert. The flavors are big, the dishes are hearty, and daily specials — like a party-ready muffuletta — will keep you coming back.
Popular Mexican restaurant El Vez has five guacamole options, including one with spicy crab, to get your taco night off to a strong start. The crispy fish tacos have a loyal following, the short rib enchiladas will stick to your ribs, and the grilled corn on the cob, with lime chipotle and queso fresco, is never not invited to our doorstep.
The Dandelion’s elevated British pub food is the comforting dinner you need when you’re having a night in front of the fireplace with a rerun of "Sherlock," or when you just need food that’ll make you feel cozy. A cheesy shepherd’s pie filled with ground lamb and root veggies — the food equivalent of a woolen blanket — will do the trick.
Mix up a Negroni Sbagliato while you wait for your dinner from Trattoria Carina, a cozy Italian spot (the name means “little darling”) with locally sourced small plates and lux homemade pasta dishes that change seasonally. The plate-sized, uber-popular chicken Parm has just enough melty cheese to blanket, but not drown, the cutlet.
The bulgogi burger at Southgate is the stuff of legend, but the truth is, all of the Korean American dishes at the restaurant will delight you. For a delightful dinner for two, start with Korean fried chicken and mandu (tasty fried dumplings), split a burger with cheesy kimchi fries, and add on a side of spicy cucumber for a vegetable moment. You’ll be stuffed — and very happy.
Local everything, housemade breads, an unwavering attention to detail — all of these are reasons High Street is Philly restaurant royalty. It’s exactly where you want to turn for takeout that doesn’t feel like takeout, but, instead, a meal prepared just for you. Seek out the fresh pasta dishes for dinner, and don’t forget a sesame Caesar salad with, of course, housemade croutons.
For a wonderfully spicy night in, it’s got to be Han Dynasty. The beloved import of a revered Brooklyn Sichuan hot spot, Han Dynasty’s two locations in Philly mean twice as many folks can get pork belly in sweet chile-garlic oil, brothy tofu fish, and renowned dan dan noodles delivered. Many dishes are on the spicy side, but scallion pancakes, lo mein, and sauteed pea leaves can tame that heat.
Tamabayan is a modern Filipino restaurant that mixes the traditional (irresistibly crispy lumpia filled with pork and veggies) with the playfully new (ube fries!). The pancit is the classic noodle dish to build your meal around, and turon, a fried plantain dessert, blows bananas foster out of the pan.
Tuck into a bowl of shredded ropa vieja, a plate of saffron-stained rice, and a side of caramelized plantains, and all will feel right in the world. That’s the world Cuba Libre has created under the heartfelt oversight of celebrated chef-partner Guillermo Pernot. For an evening that transports you to a cafe in Havana, start with Mama Amelia’s Empanadas, filled with beef and juicy bites of raisin, and end with Cuban flan.
Sauce-slathered burnt ends — those fatty, crispy-edged nuggets cut from the edges of spare ribs — overflow from a bun from Fette Sau, turning any routine night into an exceptional one. This barbecue spot, which got its start in Brooklyn, aces all the Southern classics, including tender pulled pork, silky collard greens, and smoke-kissed hot Italian sausage. Plus, the Family Meals can each feed a small army.
Circles is a Philly Thai institution that’s been a delivery favorite since 2008, serving up homestyle Thai classics and creative twists alike, including General Thai Chicken, sweet, saucy stir-fried dish with pineapple, onions, and peppers. To shake up your takeout routine, go for the pad thai with jumbo lump crabmeat, cheesesteak spring rolls, duck breast salad, and delightful, barely sweet taro puffs.
The term “pub food” doesn’t do the menu at Pub & Kitchen justice. Yes, the burger is smashed to perfection, and the thin fries have a hint of potato skin, but you can also find unexpected bar snacks like deviled eggs with togarashi spices and kewpie mayo and nightly specials to swoop in on, like a cavatelli pasta with grilled mushrooms and toasted rye breadcrumbs.
Stellar Sichuan food is the name of the game at DanDan, where, of course, the dan dan noodles are a hit. You can make a nice night in — more of a feast, really — out of the Taiwanese three-cup chicken, fried rice with bacon, wok-fried vegetables in garlic sauce, and your choice of too many pot stickers and dumplings to count.
Pitruco’s smaller-sized, leopard-spotted Neapolitan pies make for an elevated pizza night. Seek out pizzas like the Radicchio — topped with charred radicchio, mushrooms, and funky Taleggio cheese — which will challenge your loyalty to pepperoni. The seasonal special pies are as fleeting as snow days or summer break, so savor them while you can.
Fill your home with the scents of lemongrass, sweet basil, and vibrant makrut lime leaves when you order from Ratchada, a Thai and Laotian restaurant beloved by locals and critics alike. The larb salad is no-holds-barred spicy, yet you won’t be able to stop eating it, especially if you’ve also got golden triangles of fried tofu to balance the heat. Feast happily on sticky-sweet-savory duck, countless curries, and pineapple fried rice.
An old-school, East Coast-style seafood restaurant, Oyster House makes a lobster roll that’s loaded with lobster lightly dressed in mayo. An elegant evening for two might begin with a plump shrimp cocktail, a bowl of New England clam chowder (don’t forget to add on a few free bags of oyster crackers), that lobster roll, and a side of fried oysters for kicks.
On a night when you can’t make up your mind what to have for dinner but want something special, the combination platters from Abyssinia will give you all the options you need. Have an Ethiopian feast of qey wot (spicy beef stew) that comes with mild lamb alicha (curry), doro wot (chicken), shiro (chickpea stew), gomen (ginger-scented collard greens), azifah (lentils) — all perfect for scooping up with spectacularly spongy injera.
For a pizza night that feels like there’s a private chef in your kitchen, Pizzeria Vetri never misses. A surefire date-night menu: the Crudo Neapolitan pizza topped with paper-thin prosciutto, accompanied by an arugula salad with basil pesto and followed up with tiramisu for dessert. Or invite friends over and get the $60 Family Bundle, which helps save a few bucks.
Saffron is a local institution, with multiple locations around the city to keep up with demand for the beloved butter chicken and pillowy garlic naan. Creamy lamb korma, gobi Manchurian with sweet-sour tamarind sauce, and saag paneer is a winning formula for dinner for two.
While the globe-hopping concept is cheeky, the food is taken seriously at Continental Mid-town. Order a memorable dinner that might — make that "should" — begin with French onion soup dumplings submerged under a Gruyere overcoat, move on to pad thai that never skimps on the shrimp, and end with good old-fashioned carrot cake with a surprising scoop of orange sherbet.
At Tuna Bar, you could easily make a meal of the snacky small plates, like crispy brussels sprouts with miso-honey sauce, fried rice with sweet lump crabmeat, and karaage (Japanese fried chicken). But you would be missing out on the standout sushi rolls like the Broad Street, a spicy salmon roll that doubles the salmon and skips the rice.
Veda is a modern Indian restaurant with an elegant edge; see the lovely curried butternut squash soup with a swirl of coconut milk for reference. There isn’t a tikka masala on the menu, and you won’t need it. Fill your table with Goan crab cakes, braised lamb shanks fragrant with cardamom and mace, and paneer makhani with a creamy tomato sauce that you’ll need cheese-stuffed naan to soak up.
On a night that deserves a little more than a foil-wrapped burrito from your usual fast-casual spot, order from Rosy’s. A bowl of sweet corn esquites with creamy chipotle mayo will be the first clue you’ve upgraded. Then pile on the tacos, topped with smoky guajillo-rubbed short ribs, marinated steak, jumbo shrimp, or shredded chicken tinga.
Korean barbecue at home is a big ask, but local favorite Seorabol delivers. Set your sights on the galbi, short ribs that have been marinated with just enough sweetness to char like a charm, and let the rest of the meal unfold with spicy bibimbap, flaky kimchi pancakes, and refreshing japchae to cool your tastebuds.
For a meaty night in, Butcher Bar is your chophouse. That said, the seasonal vegetable starters and sides show just as much care in the layering of flavors and textures as the mighty, meaty mains. Get out the good knives for the strip steak with garlicky chimichurri, and serve the rotisserie game hen on a platter that can capture its jus.
Greek mainstay Zorba’s Taverna gives the people what they want for a festive night in, and what they want is platters of appetizers (because who wants to choose between roe-speckled taramosalata and herby tzatziki?), a chargrilled sampler (because who wants to choose between lamb chops and pork kebabs?), and honey-slathered baklava. Tuck in.
The definition of a decadent night in has to be a Peking duck feast, right? Sang Kee is a Philly icon famous for that labor-intensive, crispy-skinned bird, as well as an array of Hong Kong-style barbecue and Chinese comfort foods. The duck has worthy competition in the tangy, red-glazed char siu pork with a side of dry-fried string beans with XO sauce.
You’ll have to iron the tablecloth and light some candles to re-create the romantic atmosphere of Bistro Romano, but at least the food will remain the same: pancetta-dotted macaroni with a pecorino cream sauce to swoon over, grilled octopus with funky-hot ’nduja vinaigrette, and the meaty swordfish that is one-upped by its topping of rock shrimp and lump crab.
Autograph Brasserie, in Wayne, has a throwback Americana menu that makes you want to blast big bands on vinyl and rewatch "Mad Men." Don’t miss the colossal shrimp cocktail, towering wedge salad with enough crumbled blue cheese to build a snowman, filet mignon with port wine reduction, and, on the weekend, molten chocolate cake.
Recognized by Eater for serving some of the city’s best sushi, Bleu has an expansive menu that includes Cheez Whiz-drizzled kimchi fries and Japanese treats like matcha ice cream. The "Must Try!!!" section of the menu has all you need for a delightful night in, starting with juicy oyster tempura and a torched white tuna roll. From there, move on to the hot entrees and sample the big bowl of broiled eel with shiitakes.
With a laser focus on fresh, thoughtfully sourced ingredients (organic and local when possible), El Poquito is a Mexican restaurant with a Baja sensibility. So yes, you should be ordering the grilled mahi-mahi tacos, or splurge on the Surf & Turf plate for shrimp and skirt steak that share a bright salsa verde.
For a cozy night in, warm up with a big bowl of pho from Vietnam Restaurant, a family-owned spot that put down roots in 1984. The barely sweet broken rice with marinated pork has a hint of smokiness, while the crispy veggie spring rolls will shatter their way into your taste memories. The barbecue platter of appetizers (with beef-stuffed grape leaves, spring rolls, and other can’t-miss snacks) is essential if you’re sharing.
On a night when you wish you were lounging at an Italian beach club, order from Positano Coast. The seafood shines, especially the risotto with prize bites of calamari, mussels, and baby shrimp. The luscious burrata is downright seductive, and the grilled artichoke salad has a bitter edge from the endive and radicchio that cuts nicely through the richness of all the cheese and pasta.
Malbec brings all of the opulence you want on steakhouse night — with a little added fire. Argentine grilled meats are impressive and well-marbled, complemented by just enough acidity from salsa verde or sweet-and-tangy salsa Criolla. Go big and stay home with the parrillada platter, a sampling of barbecued meats that includes blood sausages and custardy sweetbreads.
Old-school opulence is a mood. Turn on some jazz, dim the lights, and order the lobster bisque, crab cakes with mango tartar sauce, and maple-roasted salmon from Devon. Or make a memorable meal for one of the lobster mac and cheese with truffled breadcrumbs and the fried firecracker cauliflower.
Barbuzzo by Bondfire Media
Buddakan courtesy of STARR
High Street by Kate Morrison
Continental Mid-town courtesy of STARR
Positano Coast by Steve Legato Photography
Ember & Ash by Mike Prince
Kaiseki by Crystal Gurin
Courtesy of Vietnam Restaurant