The end of the year is always a time of reflection, to reminisce over memories of the past 12 months and look ahead to your plans for the upcoming year. This also applies to the food world! Here’s a look back at just a few of Philadelphia’s best new restaurants that opened in 2015. If you haven’t visited them yet, you’ll want to put them on your list of goals for 2016.

Bud & Marilyn’s (Photo Credit: Michelle Hein)

Bud & Marilyn’s
1234 Locust St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 546-2220
www.budandmarilyns.com

Restaurateur duo Chef Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran have done it again with Bud & Marilyn’s, their fifth Midtown Village spot. The restaurant opened in late summer as a tribute to Turney’s grandparents, who owned a restaurant in Turney’s hometown between 1950 and 1990. As an homage to that Wisconsin spot, Bud & Marilyn’s features retro-inspired American dishes with modern twists. The plan is to add brunch and lunch hours, but for now, you can visit for happy hour Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and dinner daily starting at 5 p.m. The atmosphere is relaxed and homey, yet fun and hip, replete with mid-century decor and vintage kitsch. Seating options include a cozy dining room, comfortable bar and chef’s counter that overlooks the open kitchen.

Related: Top Pierogies In Philadelphia

South
600 N. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 600-0220
www.southrestaurant.net

Twenty-five years after opening their first restaurant, Philadelphia’s iconic Zanzibar Blue, Robert and Benjamin Bynum opened their new Broad Street spot in September. South is a Southern-inspired restaurant, bar and jazz parlor. Chef Paul Martin showcases vibrant Southern-style cuisine with dishes like a weekly gumbo, pressed lamb shoulder, fried oysters and Caroline white shrimp with grits. To complete the menu, South offers a comprehensive beer, wine and cocktail list, as well as a 50-bottle American bourbon and whiskey selection. Visit Tuesday through Friday for “Hours of Happiness” between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., and enjoy half-priced appetizers, drink specials and classes such as “Art of the Cocktail” or “Women and Whiskey” tastings. And then stick around for live music starting at 7 p.m.

Same Same
614 N. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(215) 625-4575
www.samesamephilly.com

In May of 2015, Thuy and Chad Kubnanoff opened Same Same in Northern Liberties, fulfilling Chad’s dream of bringing the Vietnamese cuisine he fell in love with to Philadelphia. Open for lunch and dinner, the casual restaurant offers takeout, delivery and dine-in. Dishes are inspired by recipes from Ho Chi Minh City with a focus on fresh ingredients and creative flavors with very little fat and plenty of gluten-free and vegan options. Keeping with their love of authentic street food, the majority of the menu choices are below $10. The menu is broken down to include mon cuon (lettuce wraps), bun (rice noodles), com tam (broken rice), bahn mi (sandwiches and shareable plates, like spring rolls) and desserts.

Whetstone Tavern
700 S. 5th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(267) 239-0906
www.whetstonetavern.com

Whetstone Tavern comes from the same team behind Brauhaus and Wursthaus Schmitz: Doug and Kelly Hager and culinary couple Jeremy and Jessica Nolen. The Queen Village restaurant and bar opened in mid-July, veering from the German cooking the Nolens are known for and offering upscale American comfort food. Highlights include Philadelphia pepper pot soup, Passyunk pork and mussels sauteed in Bloody Mary broth. Di Bruno Brothers has curated a cheese list specifically for the Whetstone menu, and Pastry Chef Jessica Nolen provides favorite desserts like PA Dutch apple dumplings.

Related: Top Fall Soups In Philadelphia

Bar Bombon
133 S. 18th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(267) 606-6612
www.barbombon.com

Nicole Marquis is a bit of a vegan hero in Philadelphia as the owner of HipCityVeg and Charlie Was a Sinner. Her newest spot pays homage to her Latin roots with a menu that has Spanish, Puerto Rican and Mexican influences. While the city has a multitude of great taco spots, Bar Bombon is unique in that everything has been reworked to include only plant-based ingredients. If you need something quick, there’s also a takeout window that offers food, juice and coffee. You’ll find all the usual favorites like nachos, tacos, empanadas and burritos made with meat substitutes, along with straight-up veggie options such as fried plantains, spicy guacamole, quinoa salad, rice and sweet potato salad. And while beans are typically a take-it-or-leave it side, you’ll want to save room for the black beans at Bar Bombon. Thick with chunks of tomato and stewed potatoes, this is a flavor-packed choice worthy of pairing with any menu item.

Michelle Hein is the social media editor for a women’s fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. If the writing gig doesn’t pan out, she constantly dreams of owning her own bakery…perhaps connected to the restaurant/bar that her lawyer husband would love to open.
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