Mussels are often an acquired taste due to their strong flavor and texture, but they’re also a great source of vitamins and minerals. As with most shellfish, mussels are high in zinc, but what sets them apart from other foods is that they are a rich source of selenium, manganese and vitamin B12. Mussels can be prepared in various ways — boiled, smoked, fried in butter or vegetable oil, roasted or barbecued. Depending on where you live, mussels are considered a delicacy or treated as a dinner favorite served alongside french fries. Here are Philadelphia’s top five spots for mussels.
Kite & Key
1836 Callowhill St.
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 568-1818

Kite & Key, a Philadelphia favorite for mussels and both craft and imported beer, is located in the heart of the Museum District. Patrons rave about the sweet Thai chili mussels, which are prepared in a Thai sauce with shallots, garlic and parsley and will cost you about $14. The menu features other mussel options as well, and the prices range from $12 to $14. This cozy eatery also allows you to eat outside, weather permitting, and even features a beer garden.

Oyster House
1516 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 567-7683

It gets no fresher than the Oyster House. This restaurant serves as both a seafood eatery and raw bar. The Oyster House likes to sauté its mussels in green curry, basil and cilantro. Feeling particularly hungry and have a large crowd with you? For parties of six or more, the “Dump Dinner” at $25 per person gives you a seafood lover’s dream that includes steamed clams, mussels, Maine lobster, merguez sausage, kale and potatoes.

Monk’s Café
264 S. 16th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(215) 545-7005

Located in Rittenhouse Square, this Belgian restaurant not only gets rave reviews for its beer, but its mussels are at the top of the list as well. Order a small plate of mussels for $10 and you’ll still get an adequate serving of food. Particularly appetizing are the mussels in a Ghent sauce and cooked in bacon, blue cheese and onions. With an extensive mussels menu, you have plenty of options available, and they all come with a side of pomme frites (Belgian fries). Due to Monk’s popularity, one drawback could be a long wait during the lunch or dinnertime rush hour.

Related: Top Seafood Restaurants In Philadelphia

Barrel’s Fine Food
1725 Wolf St.
Philadelphia, PA 19145
(215) 389-6010

Don’t let terrible parking deter you from traveling to the Girard Estate area to try out this four-generation Italian-American restaurant. Covered in either a red or white sauce, you can get a half gallon of mussels for $8.95. A true casual environment with no frills, Barrel’s places emphasis on making sure your meal is enjoyed. This is a BYOB establishment, which is different from the other places on this top five list. If you don’t mind sitting in a small dining room, then check out this place, or take your mussels to go.

Royal Tavern
937 E. Passyunk Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 389-6694

Royal Tavern is located in the Queen Villa/Bella Vista area near the Italian Market. And while this is not a traditional restaurant, tavern-goers often boast that Royal Tavern has some of the best mussels in town. Prepared with chunks of spicy chorizo, poblano peppers and roasted garlic in a corn saffron broth and served with rustic French bread on the side (and some more bread at the bottom of the bowl!), this is a belly-filling dish indeed.

Related: Top Spots For Fish And Chips In Philadelphia

Clarice Williams is a freelance writer covering all things Philadelphia. Her work can be found on