No matter where you live, there is no escaping the urge to occasionally partake in some delicious soul food. Even Philadelphia natives occasionally put down their cheesesteaks to enjoy some southern comfort. The City of Brotherly Love offers dozens of soul food restaurants, so we are here to provide some clarity. Here are the 12 best soul food restaurants in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
800 N 4th St, Philadelphia, PA 19123
Located on the same corner since 2005, Jeb Woody and Ellen Mogell have combined cultural identities with a fusion of the two cuisines they grew up eating: Tex Mex and Jewish food.
Honey’s Sit N Eat is comfort food to the max, whether you’re getting brunch or lunch.
One of their top items is the hot fried chicken n biscuit is a Nashville-style chicken breast served on a biscuit with a pickle and drenched with homemade ranch. You also can’t go wrong with their chicken fingers, pastrami reuben, shortstacks, or the Honey Cristo (ham and swiss sandwich on challah french toast topped with sunny side up eggs).
210 S. 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
You’re invited to the killer fried chicken party at Wishbone!
It all starts with their tenders and wings which are battered with buttermilk and cider and then coated in their signature pretzel crust and fried to perfection. They’re served with several homemade dipping sauces, such as Tamarind Sweet Chili and Parmesan Pesto, not to mention paired with their legendary mac & cheese.
Take your pick from over 300 beers and ciders and you’ll fully understand why they define their food as “indulgence cuisine.”
3. Love & Honey
1100 North Front Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123
Owners Laura & Todd met at the Culinary Institute of America and have been inseparable ever since, a relationship culminating in their marriage and opening up this fried chicken haven.
The chicken, brined for eight hours, coated in buttermilk and seasoned flour, deep fried, and topped with honey, has been consistently named the best in the city, state, and country.
If fried chicken isn’t your scene (which is highly unlikely if you’re reading this list), check out the Nashville style tots (crispy tots tossed with Nashville-style spices and served with homemade ranch), the fresh cookie of the day, or the homemade ice cream sandwich, rolled in crushed Oreo pieces.
4. Green Soul
1410 Mt Vernon St, Philadelphia, PA 19130
The words “diet” and “soul food” don’t often go together, but at one of Mt. Vernon Street’s most popular spots, it’s a completely different story.
Open since 2011, Green Soul offers entrees that are good for both the soul and the body. Some local favorites include their down-home turkey chili, jerk salmon tacos, and their very own take on the Impossible Burger. If you still have room after dinner, the restaurant offers chocolate avocado mousse and sweet potato donuts.
Green Soul’s delicious meals show that you don’t have to bust your belt to enjoy some good down-home cooking.
5. Rex 1516
1516 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19146
Fried green tomato fans need to be sure to check out South Street’s Rex 1516. The menu is filled to the brim with southern classics that you don’t often get in the North including crawfish pot pie, shrimp & grits, and warm apple bread pudding.
The folks responsible for such mouthwatering delicacies are owners Jill Weber and Evan Malone, executive chef Craig Meyers and general manager Heather Rodkey. If you run into them on the visit there, be sure to thank them and all their employees for the delicious food!
7152 Ogontz Ave #2016, Philadelphia, PA 19138
Relish offers traditional southern comfort food with a contemporary twist.
This restaurant located on Ogontz Avenue serves as a great venue for dates and get togethers with its live jazz performances and top-notch food.
Local favorites include Creole crab cakes, homemade skillet cornbread, and Gullah shrimp with cheesy grits. If you still have room for dessert, you should also check out their brown sugar pineapple bread pudding.
7. GiGi and Big R
5943 Haverford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19151
This hole-in-the-wall restaurant has the best meals you’ll ever eat out of Styrofoam containers. Located on 5943 Haverford Avenue, GiGi and Big R sells delicious soul food with a Caribbean twist.
Locals say their homemade fried macaroni and cheese is amazing, but this eatery also offers favorites like juicy jerk chicken, grilled or baked fish, and candied yams.
1214 N 52nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19131
Located on 52nd Street, Tasties is an upscale soul food restaurant that offers custom cocktails and delicious southern meals. If you want down-home cooking in a beautiful, bright, modern setting, Tasties could be just the place for you.
House specials include the restaurant’s famous wings, Tasties’ crispy sandwich, and Grandma Carrie, a chicken and waffles dish served with your choice of creamy mac & cheese or collard greens.
Pair those with undeniably delicious sides like creamy lobster mac & cheese, yams, or lobster red bliss potatoes and you’re sure to have a deeply satisfying meal.
If you’ve still got room for dessert, why not try one of Tasties’ signature milkshakes? If cake is more your style, the restaurant also offers carrot cake, creamy cheesecake, and decadent red velvet cake.
9. Keven Parker’s Soul Food Café
1312 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Located in Reading Terminal Market, Keven Parker’s Soul Food Café is a quick-service establishment that offers all the staples of southern cooking and then some.
Some of the local’s favorites are fried tilapia, spicy crab cakes, and of course, the fried chicken. Pair those dishes with some of Parker’s decadent sides like crab mac n’ cheese balls, southern collard greens with smoked turkey, or caramelized candied yams and you’ll have a delicious and filling dinner or lunch.
If you still have room, Keven Parker’s Soul Food Café also offers seven delicious desserts including chocolate cake, sweet potato cheesecake, and red velvet cake.
Sadly, because it is an in-and-out establishment, the café doesn’t offer the mixed drinks that go so well with soul food. Foodies will instead have to go to Parker’s second Philadelphia restaurant and our number one spot in order to partake in some delicious cocktails.
10. Ms. Tootsie’s Restaurant, Bar & Lounge
1312 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Keven Parker’s second soul food restaurant is our number one pick for best soul food restaurants in Philadelphia. Ms. Tootsie’s is located right next to Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts and offers soul food with a modern and opulent spin.
This multi-story venue with three bars and a classy ambience features delicious drinks like the Summertime Sangria, the Parrot Bay Tropical Rum Punch, and our personal favorite, the Grown Folks Iced Tea.
However, the main event is owner Keven Parker’s delicious soul food recipes. Local favorites include mini chicken & waffles, buffalo jumbo shrimp with bleu cheese crumble, and lollipop lamb chops with sweet chili sauce.
This delicious food is available only on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, as the restaurant is closed on weekdays. Also keep in mind that due to the current COVID-19 situation, Ms. Tootsie’s is only open for takeout. Regardless, it is one of the best options if you’re craving some soul food in the City of Brotherly Love.
11. Big Boys Kitchen
5082 F St, Philadelphia, PA 19124
(215) 613- 9528
This no frills, late night spot is sure to impress you, and your taste buds. They’re not doing anything fancy here, just serving up some genuinely delicious home made food. Big Boys has just about anything you can think of on their menu.
You want that comfort and soul food? No problem. Order yourself some fried shrimp with roasted potatoes or the honey glazed chicken breast platter. Not exactly what you had in mind? Try the Big Boys chicken sandwich, some wings, chicken alfredo, or the fish and shrimp tacos. And you can’t forget about those classic soul food sides like their mac & cheese that is so tasty, or the string beans and red seasoned rice.
If you can save a little bit of room for dessert, try the butter cake or some pudding. If you wanna enjoy all this goodness in the comfort of your home, place an order, pick it up for carry out and enjoy!
2730 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130
Butter’s is the perfect place to stop by on a cold night to get a hot, fresh, comforting meal. Owner, Kevin Bell, has been in the business of making delicious southern food for over 20 years and has created a menu full of options that will make your stomach and wallet happy.
Choose an entree like the wings or the smothered turkey chops and pick two sides to go with it. Their mac & cheese is the cheesiest, and their candied yams or cornbread stuffing are also great choices. Try the double chocolate cake or the lemon cake, both homemade, so you have to grab a slice before you go. Call ahead to place an order so it’s ready when you arrive! Butter’s also has catering options if you ever have an event that is in need of some authentic soul food.
Editors Note: This article was originally published on November 2, 2021 and last updated on February 10, 2022. Please refer to restaurant websites and social media pages for the most up-to-date information.