The Italian immigrants who first settled in Bella Vista knew what they were talking about when they named it to mean “beautiful sight”. Most people get their first taste of the neighborhood walking through Bella Vista's famous 9th street Italian market. This is the oldest operational open-air market of its kind in America. The mix of culture is omnipresent and sets up the neighborhood to be the perfect host for city-best restaurants.
We put together some of our Bella Vista favorites for those looking for late-night dining international explorations in the neighborhood.
Brauhaus Schmitz Resturant
Are you looking for the perfect spot to post up for the world cup? Or if you are just a huge euro soccer fan in general, Brauhaus Schmitz, the German beer hall on South Street is made for you. Their new Chef, Valentin Bay, is originally from Germany and brings top notch German cuisine to an elevated level with house-made sausages, schnitzel and everyone’s favorite Bavarian pretzels. Most of their tap beers are German and they feature over 100 imported selections. Brauhaus is able to do this by cultivating close relationships with brewers during their their visits back to Germany.
Whenever someone mentions Jim’s Steaks we always think about the time Gemma's brother came to visit her from Kansas. As a KU student on spring break, he also brought some of his Sigma Nu brothers to experience Philly for the first time with him. Out of all the local and famous options in the city for a cheesesteak she decided to bring them to Jim’s based on a yelp review. Let’s just say in the 5 days they were here to visit, the boys went back to Jims 3 more times for a cheesesteak… wit wiz. This isn’t uncommon according to Ed Sheeran who downed Jim’s steaks in a similar fashion - 2 steaks in 2 days.
The location of the restaurant is a well known melting pot. Here, tourists, teenagers, families, rockers, artists, and attorneys all mix happily over the taste of one of Jim’s fine cheesesteaks. Trust us, it is worth the wait.
Ralph's Italian Restaurant
Bella Vista is the connecting corner between Center City and South Philly via The Italian Market, so it only makes sense that one of our favorite places to grab a bite has been serving up red gravy for more than a century. Welcome to Ralph's Italian Resturant, 7-time Best of Philly winner, 10-time Reader’s Choice winner, and America’s oldest Italian restaurant. This 4th generation family run hotspot has withstood it all – the great depression, prohibition, two world wars and 19 American presidents… WOW. It only makes sense that Ralph’s has hosted greats like Frank Sinatra and Taylor Swift. The backbone of this place has always been family and to this day their staff sticks to the values that originally made their brand successful. Bring all the generations to the table to this one and get ready to share a historic and tasty meal.
Mr. Tootsie’s Restaurant Bar and Lounge
Last but certainly not least on our list is Mr. Tootsies Restaurant Bar and Lounge who is serving Philly with serious soul satisfying southern cuisine - with an upscale spin of course. Their comfort food is perfectly juxtaposed with their sleek new lounge design that includes chrome chandeliers and 3-bars, including the ‘Luxe Lounge Sky Bar’ making Tootsies a neighborhood favorite since opening in 2000. If this list does one thing for you, it should get you into Mr. Tootsies for a slice of their lemon butter pound cake. Any of their sweets are to die for but make sure you don’t miss their weekly live entertainment of DJs, Jazz, and the occasional poetry reading or fashion trunk show.
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