Group love touring Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In addition to its iconic historic attractions, the city boasts a melting pot of global cuisines.

From gourmet dining to munching on the city’s trademark cheesesteak, the City of Brotherly Love has all of its culinary bases covered.

Many flavors of Philadelphia

“While Philadelphia is certainly the cheesesteak capital of the world, we are a destination that appeals to every palette,” said Anthony Stipa, communications manager for the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau. “At the 2019 James Beard Awards, Zahav, an Israeli eatery, was named ‘best restaurant in the country’ and it’s just another example of how the city is earning national culinary recognition.

“Stops like the Reading Terminal Market and Chinatown are staples for groups, but we’re also becoming known for our outdoor beer gardens and other public spaces outfitted with food trucks and pop-up stands.”

Tasty favorites

Local favorites to try in Philadelphia include:

• Cheesesteaks — Fresh, soft and squishy Italian rolls, typically 12 inches long, filled with melted cheese and tender pieces of beef are the main components of this truly Philadelphia sandwich.

• Roast Pork Sandwiches — These juicy classics, made with a soft roll, sliced roast pork, sharp provolone, broccoli rabe, roasted peppers and long hots, are a true crowd-pleaser. The most famous version, available from DiNic’s in the Reading Terminal Market, was once dubbed the “Best Sandwich in America.”

• Hoagies — The “Official Sandwich of Philadelphia,” hoagies are a regional concoction and overwhelming favorite. The sandwiches are packed with lettuce, tomato, onions, peppers, oregano, oil dressing, cheese (provolone or American, usually) and Italian lunch meats like dry salami, mortadella and capicola — hence the nickname, “Italian hoagie.”

• Soft pretzels: Soft and chewy, the hand-twisted baked goods are the ultimate comfort food for Philadelphians. Baked fresh every day and available at street vendors, local stores, or directly from the factory, they are delicious with a little spicy mustard.

Philadelphia culinary
Urban Farmer Philadelphia
Credit: K Huff for PHLCVB

Group dining

Philadelphia offers plenty of dining options for groups.

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, located in a former bank, has several private dining spaces in the former bank vault.

Estia Restaurant specializes in Greek and Mediterranean dishes. Traditional appetizers are served family style, and diners can select entrees like grilled swordfish, braised lamb shanks or moussaka.

Maggiano’s Little Italy serves Italian-American dishes family style in four private dining rooms.

City Tavern, established in 1773, offers private dining rooms and features 18th-century-style gourmet cuisine served by a waitstaff in period dress. Specialties include West Indies pepperpot soup, roasted duckling, turkey pot pie, medallions of beef and freshly baked breads prepared from scratch.

Urban Farmer Philadelphia is a modern steakhouse that brings “rural chic” to life in private and semi-private spaces.

Refresh with water ice

Johns water ice Philadelphia food
John’s Water Ice, Philadelphia
Credit: Kyle Huff for PHLCVB

While Philadelphia does not have a signature dessert, a cup of water ice comes close in warm-weather months.

The frozen confection is a combination of ice, fruit and sweeteners blended to a smooth consistency.

Outside of Philadelphia, the treat is commonly called “Italian ice,” as immigrants from Italy are credited with popularizing it in the United States.

But in Philly, the texture is smoother and it’s called water ice. The pronunciation: “wooder” ice.

Many purveyors in neighborhoods throughout the city offer a variety of flavors of water ice.

For more information contact Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau at 215-636-3312 or