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Monk's Cafe

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(80 Reviews)

264 S 16th St Ste 1, Philadelphia, PA 19102

(215) 545-7005

Today: 11:30 am - 2:00 am
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Regular Hours

Payment method
all major credit cards, amex, discover, master card, visa
Price Range
Center City, Rittenhouse Square, Logan Square

Monks Belgian Cafe

Coffee Shops, American Restaurants, Coffee & Espresso Restaurants, Hamburgers & Hot Dogs, Continental Restaurants, Restaurants
Other Information

Parking: Street

Wi-Fi: No

Bike Parking: Yes

Attire: Casual

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Cuisines: Burgers, American, Coffee House, Hot Dogs, Cafeterias, European, Continental

Alcohol: Beer, Yes, Full Bar

Takes Reservations: No

Outdoor Seating: No

Price Range : Average


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Provided by Citysearch - 
Editorial review from Citysearch

I had heard so many great reviews about Monk's and I went with a group of people. They somehow just FORGOT to seat us and we waited over and hour and a half and never got a table so we all had to leave. I wouldn't recommend it on that experience alone. I don't care how good the food is.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Just go for the beer!..

I have read nothing but great reviews about this place.
I decided to see for myself. Well They do have a great
selection of beer. It stops there!...I had the Brussels burger and there award winning fries????..The burger
was cooked or order but I had search for it in my bun,
Too much bun and NO MEAT!!!..The fries WOW!!..I could have gotten better fries at Mc Donalds..Actually
they should just serve potato sticks. Service was so,so.
I think I could have done A lot better for 20.00 bucks. Next time I'll just go and have my Gyero at the Terminal Market with extra sauce.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Great beer selection and excellent food

After reading some of the negative reviews...I felt like I should post my recent experience at Monk's.

I felt the service was very professional. Both bartenders were pleasant & prompt with service. Perhaps some of the complaining customers are used to be coddled or having their rear ends kissed...but nothing I saw of the staff could have possibly construed as rude.

As testament to that...both bartenders were patient & professional even when putting up with with the obnoxious group of early 20ish lawyers seated next to me.

The atmosphere was very cool. It's dimly lit, really good music over the house PA...just a really cool vibe.

I ate at the front bar. I had the Lapin a la Gueuze (braised rabbit and root vegetables) and thought it was perfect. I couldn't have been happier.

Overall...I think it was an excellent experience and I will definitely be going back. A word of's not the cheapest bar in the city...beers I drank were mostly in the $7-8 range. However...the quality is definitely worth it and personally...I think slightly higher prices chase away the riff-raff.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Best Belgian in the city!!!

This place is a Philadelphia beer institution! Great atmosphere, incredible beer selection and awesome food! Love Monks!!!!



Provided by Citysearch - 
Falling Faster than a Lead Zeppelin

Monks use to have good food and great beer with horrible service. Now it has horrible food and horrible service that makes me forget about the beer. The new owner has been making bad changes every day since he took over a few years ago. I won't be going back ever again since it's getting painful to see it's demise.

Most people I know go around the corner now to Jose Pistoles since the beers are $2 cheaper for the same beers and at least there you can get a burrito that isn't too bad.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Monk's STUNK

I used to love Monk's cafe, but I have to say the last time I went there will REALLY be the LAST time. We sat in the back room where the bartender waited on us. He was sloppy, slow and tired and I kid you not we ordered 4 burgers and every single one was cooked wrong. I got medium rare and it had not a trace of pinkness. My friend got well done and it was pink. My other friend got Medium well and there was red liquid dripping off, forming a puddle on her plate. This was not a mix up in burgers, either, since we all ordered different types and they came with different toppings. We showed our waiter and he said they were training new staff in the kitchen which is why our burgers were royally screwed up. We did not drink beer, but instead opted diet soda, which was RC Cola, and as the bartender/waiter agreed, it was disgusting, syrupy, and flat. In fact, when the bartender/waiter came back to offer us refills, he said, sarcastically, ""would you like some more of our EXCELLENT cola?"". It would have been funny if we weren't trying to enjoy our dining experience. In addition, we ordered a basket of fries, and I don't know if the fries were always less than pinky finger size, but they are now, and dipping them into the sauce (the only good thing about the whole meal) was impossible because they were so short and kept getting stuck in there.
SO, what used to be great burgers and fries has turned into a disgrace. IF you go to Monk's, trust me, stick to the beer.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Great Beer - Knowledgable Servers

This always busy, neighborhood bar delivers the goods. This place has earned it's place as a Philadelphia institution. These guys started the Belgian trend in Philly. Amazing selection of beers from all over the world with an emphasis on Belgian & US micros. They even have decent wine by the glass. The burgers rock & the mussels are the best I ever had. Try the Ghent (bacon & blue cheese) or Thai Curry mussels. The dipping sauce for the fites is addictive - sort of a spicy mayo/remulade sauce. I think the service is great. They are very busy and the wait for a table can be long, so just relax over one of their 250 beers until its time to sit down. I usually eat there earlier in the week or late nites on weekends. Dining out during prime time on Friday or Saturday nite is not for me. The food is great and is a very good value. They do not proport to offer fine dinning. There's a reason they are always is a corner bar with a top-notch beer list & very good food. The servers/bartenders really are friendly and know about all those beers.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Good food, loooong wait.

I decided to try Monks since my co-workers are always saying how much they love it there, and highly recommend the fries. I made the mistake of going hungry with my boyfriend, because after we finally got around to being served, our food took F O R E V E R to come! We after about 40 minutes we did decide to order an appetizer of fries, because we just needed to eat SOMETHING. When they finally got there, they indeed were delicious. But our food just kept taking longer and longer, and we saw people who sat down after us get their food and leave before we even got ours. So when it finally came, it was quite delicious, but for the price, I was expecting to be blown away a little more. I think I ordered a rabbit salad, and my boyfriend ordered filet mignon. Yes, it was tasty. But was it worth the high prices AND the wait? We still aren't so sure.
The staff did not seem too concerned with our wait. The waitress did not come to check on us very much.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Horrible Service

Bartenders are rude and obnoxious. Go to Eulogy, much better beer selection and way better service. Years ago this used to be my favorite place for good food and good beer; now, after multiple visits where i was treated horribly, I wouldn't go there if you paid me.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Great beer list

One of the best places to eat in the city: Food is delicious, service is quick and the beer is very flavorful (I would recommend the draft ""Chimay"" beer), except that the wait can be really long, so it's best to get there early in the evening, maybe around 7pm.



Provided by Citysearch - 
don't waste your time

i'm giving it 1 star because they do have a HALF DECENT beer selection. Eulogy has 300+ selections, plus waaaaaaay better food and service. Monks disappoints every time and we've decided last night was our last visit. the reason we chose Monks was because they serve food later than Eulogy... after last nights dinner at Monks, we joked and said we should have just grabbed a cheesesteak from Pat's.




I think this is the most authentic Belgian place in the US. Noted beer writer, Michael Jackson, calls it "Simply the Best Belgian Café in the United States" in his Great Beers of Belgium book. Excellent mussels and frites. Absolutely the best selection of Belgian beer in the US, plus other world class beers. Over 200 total beers and a beer savvy staff, what else could you want? BTW- the address is listed incorrectly - it's 264 S. 16th (16th & Spruce).



The Best Belgian place

The back room is like stepping into a bar in Brugge, Belgium. Old wood walls, tapestries, old light fixtures, etc. The only thing different from being in Brugge is that the beer selection at Monk's is much more extensive than all but one or two bars in Brugges. Great mussels and frites and authentic Belgian cuisine a la biere. I like the Ghent mussels made with bleu cheese, bacon & leeks. The staff knows the beers well (over 200 bottled beers and 20ish draft lines). The food is great, personable staff and amazing beers. This is the longest running Belgian bar in Philadelphia, maybe the US.



Provided by Citysearch - 
best food and beer in Philly

This is easily my most-frequented establishment in Philly. The food is phenomenal, the prices are reasonable, and the beer selection is unparalleled. The Monk's sour this year is a little weak, but there are plenty of alternatives to go with the succulent mussels and the best frites you'll ever have. Sometimes the wait is an hour, but it's worth it; have a beer at the back bar.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Terrible Service!

I have been to Monks several times over the past few years. I've had dreadful service each time, but continue to give the place the benefit of the doubt (usually as meeting place prior to dinner reservations). I have finally written Monk's off my list completely after yet ANOTHER bad experience. The hostesses are rude and the back bartender is straight out MEAN. They really need to think about the business they lose due to their awful service!



Provided by Citysearch - 
Never again

Due to the reviews I had read online, I walked from the Four Seasons two nights in a row to try this place and was snarled at each time by the hostess who was clearly very busy, and who thought she was under no obligation to speak to me. Never got to try the food, and never will. These dollars walked on.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Finally a place with real beer

Most Americans don't know what real beer tastes like, it's nothing like Coors. The Belgians have made the best beer in the world for centuries and Monk's has been able to bring it to Philly. The atmosphere is filled with dark woods, abbey pews and a relaxed and amiable staff. The beer selection is all top notch Belgian brews available at the front and back bars. The cuisine is traditional Belgian and includes a variety of mussels and sandwiches, but also a full seasonal menu of main courses such as lamb, fillet, pork with barley and most sauces incorporating beer. Monk's is one of my favorite restaurants in the city because of the finest selections of beer, an intimate atmosphere and knowledgeable staff.



Provided by Citysearch - 
great place to be!

One of our favorite places in Philly. Highly recommend the mussels and the hamburgers. The fries are different too (and very tasty). You will enjoy this place a lot if you are a beer lover, as you can experience some great beer there! the only thing we did not like was the lighting: it seemed to be extremely dark at times, but i guess that creates some romantic atmosphere. Things can get pretty noisy, so if you are looking for something quiet, it's not the place for you.



Provided by Citysearch - 
A HUGE disappointment

This was perhaps the most disappointing restaurant experience my wife and I ever had! After reading so much hype about the place we were so excited to check it out when we got a trip to Philadelphia. We were treated like pests by the hostess and should have turned around and left then. The server was surly and uninformed, the beer list was good but not worthy of the praise it recieved in the past (from none the less than former, at one point at least, informed writer Michael Jackson)
The food was bland, slow and expensive and we did not finish it. Our server rushed us and received an appropriate low tip.
Complete disappointment and left a sour taste for Philadelphia.

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