As the temperatures drop, it’s just human nature to start craving heartier, hot meals. While some occasions call for fancy fare, it’s often the simpler dishes that remind us of home-cooked meals around the kitchen table that hold a special place in our heart. From creamy mac and cheese, warm soup and crispy fried chicken to meat and potato staples like meatloaf and beef bourguignon, these Philadelphia restaurants serve comfort food favorites just like Mom would make for Sunday dinner…but probably just a bit better.
124 S. 18th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Stephen Starr has a way of transporting guests to a different place. Walk off Sansom Street and into a British pub at The Dandelion. The crackling fire, taps of British-style beers and details like a Winston Churchill bust set the scene for authentic British comfort dishes like bangers and mash, fish and chips and lamb shepherd’s pie. Visit on a Sunday after 1 p.m. (or on a bank holiday) to partake in the standout favorite – the traditional roast. Available for one of two people, the roast sirloin is served with puffy Yorkshire pudding, potatoes, the veggie of the day, gravy, horseradish sauce and watercress. Finish your meal with sticky toffee pudding.
The Fat Ham
3131 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Kevin Sbraga took a research field trip through the South gathering inspiration before opening his second Philadelphia restaurant, The Fat Ham. The menu is offered small-plate style, encouraging guests to pick several dishes and share. The casual University City spot serves classic comfort foods such as macaroni and cheese and shrimp and grits, but with a certain flair that you’d expect from a Top Chef. While peanuts and ham are found in the majority of the menu items, it’s the hot chicken that has quickly become The Fat Ham’s claim to fame. Perfectly crispy and seasoned with cayenne, the pieces of chicken toe the line of “too hot,” but they’re tempered with a slice of bread, cool ranch dressing and thinly sliced dill pickles for an incredible combination of flavors and textures. For the complete Fat Ham experience, visit on Sunday between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. At $30 per person, Sunday Supper is a three-course (but about 10 dishes) hearty meal that will make you feel like you’re having a good ol’ family dinner in the Southern countryside.
700 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Probably the most comforting meal of all, the “Thanksgiving Dinner” is a menu staple at Stephen Starr’s Jones. Roast turkey is served with all of the traditional fixings – gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce. The rest of the menu is equally reminiscent of a homecooked dinner your mom would make. Favorites include meatloaf, chicken pot pie, pierogies, matzo ball soup, baked mac and cheese and grilled cheese with tomato soup. If you’re good and eat all of your dinner, treat yourself to Duncan Hines chocolate cake (served with milk, of course!) or a slick of apple pie.
Paris Bistro & Jazz Café
8229 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19118
Paris Bistro is another Chestnut Hill gem from restaurateurs Benjamin and Robert Bynum and Chef Al Paris, the team that previously opened Heirloom and Green Soul. With an inviting bar and dining room reminiscent of the 1930s and a stylish jazz café on the floor below, Paris Bistro has become a fast favorite since opening in January 2014. You can enjoy the menu of French bistro fare from any of the three sections. Classics like French onion soup and beef bourguignon are hot, comforting dishes that are perfect for a cold day. Or order the cassoulet – a hearty stew with duck, sausage, pork belly and white beans.
200 Market St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
At Revolution House, lights created from antique bottles, specially-made concrete tables inlaid with vintage keys and wainscoting constructed from old doors from Philadelphia schools create a relaxed atmosphere that pays homage to the city’s rich history. Chef Luca Sena Jr. serves a menu of comfort food with creative touches to complete the cozy experience. Onion soup, mac and cheese topped with a potato chip crust, lobster pot pie, and the award-winning tater tots are just a few standout dishes, and you’ll definitely want to try the wood-fired pizzas. Keep an eye out for seasonal items such as pumpkin ravioli and butternut squash pizza, too.
Related: Top Tater Tots In Philadelphia
1516 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
At REX 1516, salvaged church pews and other repurposed items from old Southern churches and mansions create an intimate atmosphere that’s unique and cozy. It’s perfect for Chef Justin Swain’s menu of updated Southern comfort food. Open for dinner nightly, happy hour Monday through Friday and brunch on the weekends, favorites include items such as shrimp and grits, mac and cheese, skillet cornbread and burgers with housemade pimento cheese. For an ultimate comfort meal, order the fried chicken, which is served with collards, andouille sausage cornbread stuffing and chicken gravy.
1400 S. Columbus Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Warmdaddy’s brings the food and culture of Southern rhythm and blues to Philadelphia. Entertainment is offered every day of the week with musicians, comedians and other performers putting on nightly shows. On Sundays, you can also visit between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for the Jazz Brunch Buffet, featuring a live jazz performance along with a 40-foot soul food buffet. Favorites on the dinner menu include the skillet macaroni and cheese appetizer, chicken and waffles and chicken and sausage jambalaya. Seafood lovers will enjoy the Southern seafood platter. For $24.99, you’ll feast on shrimp, fried scallops and catfish, a crab cake and two sides. Finish your meal with a red velvet cupcake or pineapple upside down cake.
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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