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November 17, 2022

Her Place, Roxanne and Sweet Amalia named among Esquire's best new restaurants in America

The magazine praised the regional spots for their cozy atmospheres and fresh takes on dining

Food & Drink Restaurants
Esquire Best New Restaurants 2022 Jay Wennington/Unsplash

Her Place Supper Club and Roxanne in Philadelphia, and Sweet Amalia's Market and Kitchen in Gloucester County, were ranked among Esquire's best new restaurants in America. Each restaurant was praised for its comfortable atmosphere and charming take on the dining experience.

Three restaurants in the Philadelphia region are receiving national attention for their laidback atmosphere, fresh take on fine dining, and "crave-inducing" menu items as part of Esquire's 2022 ranking of best new restaurants in America, which the publication released on Thursday. 

In its 40th year, Esquire ranked 40 of the best new spots in the country, picking those that represent what it looks like to dine in the U.S. right now. Many of its entrants were born out of the pandemic or heavily impacted by the global health crisis, and were selected from hundreds of restaurants around the country visited by the magazine's food writers and editors. 

Her Place, the Rittenhouse Square supper club with a biweekly evolving menu, comes in at No. 29 on the list. Esquire wrote that Her Place's vibe is "like you've come over to a friend's house, but there's no need to bring wine and the food is way better." The magazine praised the restaurant's "infectiously welcoming" warmth and bargain prices for multi-course meals. 

Chef Amanda Shulman opened the restaurant in 2021 after hosting a series of dinner parties out of her New York City apartment. The dining experience is meant to feel like just that – a dinner party at a friend's house — despite its Center City location. 

Though the meal offerings shift every few weeks, Her Place typically provides a mix of French, Italian and sometimes Jewish cuisine. Reservations for the week open on Sundays with a $5 deposit. The four-course menu is offered for a flat rate of $75, paid on site. Shulman opens the dining experience by telling patrons where the ingredients are sourced, and concludes by offering customers freshly baked cookies. 

Sweet Amalia Market and Kitchen in Newfield, Gloucester County was ranked at No. 38 on Esquire's list. The restaurant is described as an "unassuming stand on the way to the shore" in South Jersey. Best known for its oyster bar and wide selection of sandwiches, Sweet Amalia's doubles as an artisan market where customers can stock up on olive oil and other gourmet goods. 

Esquire urged visitors to enjoy the oysters slowly, appreciating "how they are pristine, yet wild and buttery, and, yes, sweet and maybe like nothing you've had before." The publication suggested readers grab a hoagie for the road, whether driving to or from the Jersey Shore. 

Chef Melissa McGrath, a Northeast Philly native, previously earned a nod from Esquire for her sandwiches at Palm City in San Francisco in 2020. She worked in restaurants in Philly and Avalon before heading to California just before the start of the pandemic, and joined the team at Sweet Amalia's in early 2021 to sell her sandwiches on the East Coast. 

Rounding out the list at No. 40 is Roxanne, a BYOB on the first floor of a row home in South Philly. Esquire praised the 26-seat restaurant for its $75 six course tasting menu, provided by Chef Alexandra Holt, as well as the playfulness of its "funky purple-walled dining room." 

The restaurant has been compared for Her Place, mainly for its changing menu and $75 flat rate for dinner, but Esquire seemingly challenges this comparison, describing Roxanne's food offerings as "late night munchies manifested as culinary fever dreams." 

The restaurant, located on Ninth and Christian streets in the Italian Market, opened in the former location of Sabrina's Cafe earlier this year. Holt spent the bulk of this year decorating the small eatery to include a tiny window between the kitchen and dining room, allowing patrons to watch the chef put her finishing touches on their meals, Billy Penn reported. 

Kann, a "love letter to Haiti" in Portland, Oregon, was named the best in the country by Esquire. Its owner, Gregory Gourdet, came up with the idea using inspiration from his childhood growing up as a first-generation Haitian American in Queens. The restaurant serves health-conscious versions of classic Haitian fare, balancing Haiti's "troubled history" with Gourdet's own life experience. 

In 2021, Esquire ranked South Philly's Irwin's Upstairs at No. 11 on its list of best new restaurants. The publication wrote that the Sicilian restaurant can make South Philly feel "like the most hip, romantic place around." Previous Philly inclusions on Esquire's annual ranking includes Kalaya in South Philly, Pizzeria Beddia in Fishtown, and The Love in Rittenhouse Square.