El Rey - Philadelphia

4.6
185 reviews
$30 and under
American
Inspired by the cuisines of Puebla and Veracruz, El Rey captures the essence of Mexican home cooking. Boisterous and broken-in like a laidback roadside cantina, the dining room hums from midday to late-night. Folk art, kitchsy found objects and vintage movie posters adorn the walls, providing plenty of visual stimuli for eaters digging into authentic tacos, tortas, enchiladas, sopes and more. Add a bar stocked with the best tequilas, mezcals and cervezas and you’ve got a cantina fit for a king.

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitising
  • Surfaces sanitised between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitised menu provided
  • Sanitiser or wipes provided for customers
Physical distancing
  • Limited number of seated diners
  • Distancing maintained in common areas
  • Extra space between tables
Protective equipment
  • Waiting staff wear masks
  • Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
Screening
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
What 185 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.5
service
4.4
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
96% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
OpenTable Diner
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined a day ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We ordered the chicken, steak and fish tacos as well as the nachos, replacing chorizo with chicken. Everything was amaZing, the tequilas were also tasted great.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food. Went before a show at Helium. Loud, but fun time.

CD
ConnorD
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service4ambience5

The place has a moody ambience with walls covered in old movie posters. At this Mexican place, I ordered the zucchini blossom and corn quesadilla. It was delicious. And my girlfriend ordered a chicken enchilada covered in mole. She said that it was yummy too and that the mole was comparable to her mother's, who is from Puebla.

MH
MarianH
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We had a great date night! The crabs and avocado salad was some of the most delicious food I’ve ever eaten! And the happy hour drink prices couldn’t be beat!!

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall3food4service3ambience3

The food here is excellent, but pricier given the cuisine. There were only two drawbacks. First, there is only one server working the roughly 10 outdoor tables which means slow service. Second, the happy hour is only until 5:30, which begs the question: is it actually a happy hour if the post-work crowd can barely make it in time? Overall, a solid choice that can usually squeeze you in without a reservation, but they will need to do a bit better to compete with the other Center City Mexican restaurant options.

c
vipcaroln
Washington DC
14 reviews
Dined on 25 July 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Jack the manager was fantastic. I am handicapped and he was a tremendous help

n
nikakel
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on 25 July 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Soooo good! Excellent, good and service!!!

l
viplsbtravel
Philadelphia
98 reviews
Dined on 25 July 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Had the Nachos. 11 inch pizza size pan
Was $15 serving. I
Managed to eat over half but no more. Really a lot. Wanted to also order Mexican Chopped sales but server said would be way too much.
Delicious Very helpful server as you can see from above comment.
Fun atmosphere

RO
RebeccaO
1 review
Dined on 18 July 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food (especially the nachos!), great ambiance, and friendly staff.
We will be going back!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on 18 July 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Went for my son’s birthday. It was the perfect place for a bunch of mid 20 somethings and us adults to enjoy a great Mexican meal. Lots of food and great margs and totally catered to my gluten allergy. Really enjoyed and have been many times and will be back again. Is on the noisy side FYI.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on 17 July 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

It was such a cute restaurant! The food was very good!

S
Sixspeedmaniac
Philadelphia
25 reviews
Dined on 16 July 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was our first time visiting El Rey, and we will definitely be back. Everything was fantastic, the food, drinks and service.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Philadelphia
25 reviews
Dined on 12 July 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience3

I love El Rey and was happy for my 1st time back since the pandemic. A thunderstorm made dining outside impossible so we decided to sit inside. I have to admit, I was a bit uncomfortable that the wait staff were unmasked. I realize it's not a requirement but with delta variant quickly gaining ground in the area, I'm not keen to interact inside with unmasked servers (who are interacting with unmasked patrons and... you get the point...).

OT
OpenTable Diner
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on 10 July 2021
Overall3food3service5ambience3

The acoustics in this establishment are awful. Noise reverberates and it’s entirely too loud.

J
Jasmine
1 review
Dined on 10 July 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Awesome place for a birthday! Great drinks! The margaritas pitchers were well made

K
Kyle
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on 3 July 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great service, delicious food, and good margaritas!

B
Benjamin
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on 3 July 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always great food, this is my go-to spot whenever I want Mexican food in the city at a good price/

BS
BiancaS
Chicago
1 review
Dined on 2 July 2021
Overall3food3service5ambience5

Love this place but there are a lot of changes that definitely altered the experience. Being someone who came to this restaurant often, pre covid, I was slightly disappointed

OT
OpenTable Diner
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on 1 July 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This place is awesome

DJ
vipDoctorJ
Philadelphia
14 reviews
Dined on 29 June 2021
Overall4food5service3ambience4

Food was excellent. We walked in at 5:28 and were told too late for Happy Hour (which was until 5:30). I trust the iPhone to have the correct time. Our bartender was inexperienced- no big deal there, but put his hands in his long hair to get it out of his face and then made drinks and served food. Later he tied his hair up which made sense. The quesadilla with zucchini blossoms and corn came with mole and was terrific. Looking forward to a return to try more of the menu.

G
Gloria
1 review
Dined on 28 June 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Food was delicious and service was very attentive. It was a lovely meal.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on 24 June 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Great spot! Would for sure come again!

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on 23 June 2021
Overall3food2service4ambience2

Waiter was great, everything else was good/okay.

L
vipLoved
Philadelphia
14 reviews
Dined on 21 June 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our waiter was the best!

J
vipJackeepoo
Philadelphia
18 reviews
Dined on 20 June 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love the ambiance. Street corn was amazing, drinks were delicious! Service was excellent

LO
vipLOU27
Philadelphia
120 reviews
Dined on 14 June 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food and staff as wonderful as ever! Great value for the quality!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Denver
1 review
Dined on 11 June 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We are outside and felt the service, food and atmosphere were all outstanding! We’ll definitely be back.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Philadelphia
7 reviews
Dined on 11 June 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Had a great time, and really great service. Nachos were amazing! Get a pitcher each of the mango margs and the frozen pineapple, and then mix them! So refreshing.

OT
OTownDiner
Orlando
8 reviews
Dined on 7 June 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was amazing - try the Chicken Al Pastor Burrito - AMAZING. Serving size was excellent and server was so great. Can't wait to go back

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on 7 June 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Chorizo nachos are to die for!!

TC
ToniC
1 review
Dined on 6 June 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This place was awesome - service, food, all of of it!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on 5 June 2021
Overall2food5service3ambience5

Hostess was rude when we asked to sit outside.

MN
MollyN
1 review
Dined on 4 June 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Best nachos I’ve ever had- every bite had an ambulance of delicious toppings

d
ddenizzcc
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on 2 June 2021
Overall5food3service5ambience3

Outside seating was good. Servers were very nice.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on 1 June 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful food and service was excellent

K
vipK80t
Philadelphia
14 reviews
Dined on 30 May 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The service and food were fantastic!

JC
JessecaC
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on 30 May 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and great service! The staff was very knowledgeable about the menu and vegan options.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 28 May 2021
Overall3food3service2ambience2

Apparently you cannot order an alcoholic drink if someone at your table has forgotten you ID, we were constantly rushed to order and leave, there was no communication between workers as they kept asking us the same questions without consulting each other.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on 26 May 2021
Overall2food3service1ambience2

The waiter wasn't good

WG
vipWhitneyG
Philadelphia
12 reviews
Dined on 26 May 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience4

First off - my ratings for ambiance/noise level are based on sitting outdoors. Since the pandemic, El Ray has built a wonderful outdoor structure for diners. My one complaint is that the tables are a bit small. They're picnic tables that barely fit 4 adults (one person one each side had to sit with their legs straddling the part where the bench connects to the table).
Service - I know that restaurants are struggling to hire right now, so I can't fault slower than usual service. However, it still would have been nice to not have to wait over 10 minutes for someone to come over and bring water and take drink orders.
Food - fantastic. Nothing overly fussy, just well-made dishes with quality ingredients. $40 margarita pitcher is only worth it if you have 3 or less people (we had 4, and it gave us exactly 4 drinks - one margarita is $10, so that was just breaking even).

FAQs

El Rey - Philadelphia does offer delivery in partnership with Uber Eats.

El Rey - Philadelphia is rated 4.6 stars by 185 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting bookings at the moment.