Ceiling to floor windows, gold accents, and clean, straight lines: this is what you see when you walk into Walnut Street Café.
Located at the base of the FMC tower on 30th and Walnut streets, Walnut Street Café is a welcome new addition to University City. The windows reveal a picturesque view of the other side of the Schuylkill. Inside, the restaurant possesses an interesting dichotomy: the right side is all sun–dappled café with countertop seating and a gleaming cappuccino machine, while the left side has an open kitchen bordered by another bar and a dozen or so seating options.
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Walnut Street Café caters an American bistro style of cuisine with a modern aesthetic. For dinner, there’s a raw bar and a mix of warm and cold dishes. In the mood for shareable small plates? Try the pan–roasted scallops (with a mouthwatering carrot, ginger, and mint puree), the clambake flatbread pizza (with a creamy white sauce and just enough brine), or the ceviche (it changes everyday). Rather have something all for yourself? Go for the grilled pork loin with tender broccoli rabe, or the hamburger with Wisconsin cheese and caramelized onions. For those with food allergies, fair warning: like the name of the place suggests, nuts are everywhere at Walnut Street Café—in the sauce, in the garnish, as an aftertaste, even.
As for drinks, the menu offers a party on top and business on the bottom. In the morning, you can start your day off with some Rival Brothers coffee and swing by after work for a Concrete Jungle (pictured here) that has enough of a kick to get you through to the next work day. They even have a margarita machine here for hurricane and pina colada requests. At the end of the night, if you’re feeling indulgent, go for the warm, flaky apple pie. Or, if you’re more of a chocolate connoisseur, the milk chocolate mousse comes with caramel popcorn for just the right amount of sweet and salty.
If the food isn’t enough to convince you to come by, know that going to Walnut Street Café is an experience in itself. You’ll walk in, soft pop music tinkling behind you, and slide into a multi–toned leather booth before a waiter deposits a perfect piece of flaky, salted bread on your plate (even the bread here is good). If you leave for the bathroom at any point during your meal, you’ll come back to your napkin folded on your seat, like an offering.
That’s the kind of place Walnut Street Café is.
TL;DR: From pastries to pizza, come here for an all–day dining experience.
Don’t Miss: The pan–roasted scallops or the apple custard slab pie.
Skip: The raw bar shrimp (try the oysters instead!) or the Romaine salad (go for the good stuff instead!)
When to go: When you’re trying to impress the cute date of yours or when you’re looking for an Instagram–able brunch spot that’s within walking distance of campus.
Location: 2929 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Price Range: $$