Philly’s a great food town, but it’s also an early town. Since bars don’t stay open past 2 a.m., and often empty out before that, there’s very little reason for kitchens to keep their stoves burning. Chinatown has several late-night restaurants, but in most of the city, your choices for filling up after midnight are grab-and-go cheesesteaks, pizza, convenience stores or fast-food chains.
Happily, in addition to the Chinatown go-tos (David’s Mai Lai Wah is a favorite), some restaurant owners and chefs are willing to go against the grain and offer a solid sit-down dinner through 1 a.m. Here’s the top spots to dine late-night in 15 Philly neighborhoods.
Kensington — Martha
The carefully thought-out list of cheeses, charcuterie, house pickles, sandwiches and salads is offered through 1 a.m. every day but Tuesday, when the restaurant is closed.
2113 E. York St.
Port Richmond — Donna’s Bar
The famous housemade pierogi are available through 1:30 a.m., in multiple varieties, plus there’s also heartier Polish fare like stuffed cabbage and stew.
2732 E. Allegheny Ave.
Fishtown — Johnny Brenda’s
The full menu is offered through 1 a.m. daily, so you can get everything from raw oysters to hummus to skirt steaks, plus whatever specials chef Adam Diltz has come up with for the day.
1201 N. Frankford Ave.
Northern Liberties — Cantina Dos Segundos
Both carnivores and vegetarians can dine in style, with the full slate of tacos, burritos, enchiladas and platters served through 1 a.m., seven days a week.
931 N. 2nd St.
Old City — Khyber Pass Pub
The best gumbo and po’ boys in Philly, plus plenty more New Orleans dishes (including a giant muffuletta), served through 1 a.m. each and every night.
56 N. 2nd St.
Gayborhood — McGillin’s Olde Ale House
For a neighborhood with so many buzzy spots, not many serve food late, so it’s a good thing this family-owned tavern has a surprisingly varied menu, offered till 1 a.m. every day.
1310 Drury St.
Rittenhouse — Monk’s Cafe
Call time is 1 a.m. daily for the city’s best Belgian mussels, backed up by the famous frites and also thick, juicy burgers, light salads and more.
264 S. 16th St.
South Street — Tattooed Mom
A menu that lets you be healthy with crudité or go all out on a fried chicken sandwich or turkey corn dog is served through 1:30 nightly.
530 South St.
Queen Village — New Wave Cafe
An ultra-casual atmosphere belies a kitchen that makes nearly everything from scratch, from hummus to chicken cutlets, and it’s all available through 1 a.m. daily.
784 S. 3rd St.
Bella Vista — The Good King Tavern
Bistro fare this refined and hearty almost seems like a cheat when it’s offered through 1 a.m. daily, but then again, that’s how they’d do it in France.
614 S. 7th St.
East Passyunk — Pistola’s Del Sur
It’s brand new, but jumping right into the thick of things, with the creative tacos, loaded guacamoles and delicate ceviches sold through 1 a.m. every day.
1934 E. Passyunk Ave.
South Street West — The Cambridge
On Friday and Saturdays, the entire list of burgers, salads, apps and platters like fish ‘n’ chips or chicken tikka masala pot pie are available through 1 a.m. (otherwise the kitchen closes at 11 p.m.).
1508 South St.
Point Breeze — American Sardine Bar
Chef Doreen DeMarco does a banner job of making this gastropub menu stand out, and her creative and snacky vegan and meat-filled dishes are served through 1 a.m. daily.
1800 Federal St.
Girard Estates — Taproom on 19th
It’s been called “upscale stoner food” but you don’t need munchies to want to dig into asparagus fries, General Tso’s cauliflower or a smoked turkey BLT, all available until 1 a.m. every night.
2400 S. 19th St.
University City — Kabobeesh
Students, faculty and hospital workers can get their fill of Turkish kabobs and platters until 1 a.m. every day except Monday, when the kitchen shuts down at 11 p.m.
4201 Chestnut St.
Cedar Park — Youma
West African specialties like fatata beef patties, dibi grilled lamb chops and curry chicken are on offer through 1 a.m. on weekends and 11 p.m. the rest of the week.
4519 Baltimore Ave.