PHILADELPHIA– East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District (EPABID), home to more than 160 independently owned businesses in South Philadelphia, is a premier destination for standout, unforgettable meals and cocktails for both locals and visitors alike, thanks to its diverse array of acclaimed food and beverage proprietors including Gabriella’s Vietnam, Ember & Ash, Perla, River Twice, Townsend EPX, Laurel, In The Valley (ITV), and Ocho Rios Parrilla. Folks dining and imbibing on East Passyunk Avenue have an extensive selection of distinct culinary finds and experiences, many of which are atypical above traditional dinners and drinks.
One of Philadelphia’s most revered new restaurants, Gabriella’s Vietnam (1837 E Passyunk Ave) spearheads the diverse collection of restaurants and bars along the Avenue, serving authentic Vietnamese cuisine curated by Chef Thanh Nguyen. Named one of the 50 most exciting restaurants in America this year by The New York Times and the Best of Philly® 2022 Best Restaurant winner, Gabriella’s Vietnam is known for flavorful, signature dishes served family style, including Water Fern Dumplings, Shaken Beef, and Savory Crêpes.
Similarly steeped in authentic flavors and classic techniques, Perla (1534 S 11th St) and Ocho Rios Parilla (1710 E Passyunk Ave) bring long culinary traditions from two distinct cultures to South Philadelphia. Chef Lou Boquilla started Perla out of reverence for his childhood and Filipino background, offering guests a prix-fixe Kamayan Feast served on bamboo leaves and eaten “kamayan,” Tagalog for “by hand”. Ocho Rios Parrilla similarly capitalizes on the rich history of Caribbean cuisine, taking its name from region of northern Jamaica with classic island cocktails and authentic favorites like homemade Jerk Chicken and Oxtail Stew.
Conversely, Ember & Ash (1520 E Passyunk Ave) is paving the path of contemporary cuisine with a culinary ethos based in sustainability, seasonality, and locality. Striving to capitalize on not only the finest and freshest of ingredients, but also to use them in their entirety in novel and delicious ways that reduce food waste, Ember & Ash triumphed on the television hit Beat Bobby Flay in 2021 and continues to innovate in the nouveau American cuisine space. Plus, their open kitchen and custom wood burning hearth gives you a chef’s eye view unlike any other restaurant in the city.
For upscale, cutting-edge prix-fixe and tasting menu format meals, East Passyunk Ave has a wealth of options, including (but not limited to) Townsend EPX (1623 E Passyunk Ave) and River Twice (1601 E Passyunk Ave) – both James Beard-nominated restaurants with stellar prix-fixe offerings and impressive wine selections. Townsend EPX, the flagship restaurant of Chef Townsend Wentz, purveys elevated contemporary French cuisine with complex flavors and stunning presentation, with both à la carte and chef’s tasting menu options available in addition to a bevy of both classic and inventive cocktails.
River Twice, brainchild of Executive Chef Randy Rucker and his wife Amanda Rucker, offers hyper-seasonal dishes on a day-to-day basis with impressive seven-course prix-fixe dinners, four-course Monday meals, and intimate Chef’s Counter experiences.
Additionally, Laurel (1617 E Passyunk Ave) and sister cocktail and wine bar In The Valley (ITV) (1615 E Passyunk Ave) both offer truly exceptional beverage options including craft beer and alcohol-free cocktails on top of their vast selection of wines and seasonal, innovative cocktails. Laurel’s six-course tasting menu is curated daily, helmed by Owner/Executive Chef Nicholas Elmi in tandem with the seasonal offerings of local farmers and purveyors. Next door, In The Valley (ITV) offers a more casual night out destination, with small plates based on Laurel’s current menu and thoughtfully curated craft cocktails.
“East Passyunk Avenue is constantly evolving and growing with new, exciting restaurants and bars, all of which have something special to offer guests,” said Adam Leiter, Executive Director of East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District. “Our culinary community has impacted Philadelphia’s food scene, and we’re looking forward to having as many people as possible enjoy experiences that are more than just a meal for themselves.”
Whether it’s the aforementioned restaurants, Avenue classics like Le Virtu, or newcomers like Mish Mish who continue to ensure that atmosphere and attention to detail match with culinary expertise – there is no other corridor in Philadelphia that delivers on dining promises than East Passyunk.