Explore Philadelphia

Philadelphia's Best Hot Chocolate

Warm up with these interesting, gourmet interpretations on a winter classic.

Finding hot cocoa in chilly Philly is as easy as heading out the door. 

The City of Brotherly Love is blustery and cold during the winter months, so it's the perfect time to cozy up with a cup of drinking chocolate. With loads of flavor options in settings like the market and cozy cafes, hot chocolate can bring people together in a rich, decadent way.

For a drink with some zing, head to RIM Cafe in the Italian Market, where the award-winning Volcano hot chocolate wows guests with its presentation and a burst of rich flavor. Choose from 12 varieties, including salted caramel, white raspberry and tiramisu, and for the adventurous eater, try the version made with melted mozzarella. Behold owner Rene craft his elaborate masterpieces in front of your eyes and find out how the Volcano gets that distinctive bubbly quality. We’ll give you a hint—it has to do with the scrumptious whipped cream!

RIM Cafe, Philadelphia
The Volcano at RIM Cafe (Courtesy RIM Cafe)

For creations by the chocolate alchemist Robert F. Campbell, Jr., Sazon, a Venezuelan cuisine restaurant in Northern Liberties, has an extensive menu of hot chocolate drinks with a twist. Stick with the El Clasico, made with five blends of cocoa from Peru, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, or try one of the many decked-out options that all feature distinct flavor combinations that utilize everything from mascarpone and chili pepper to amaretto and blueberries.

Indulgent chocolaty bliss at Max Brenner Chocolate Bar comes in the form of decadent peanut butter, hazelnut, spicy Mexican hot chocolate and more, served in signature Hug Mugs, which give sippers an extra cozy experience. While you're already at the home of Max Brenner's most inventive and mouth-watering chocolate dishes, test Brenner's theory that "chocolate is good for you" by sampling crepes, sugar waffles or the Chocolate Chunk Pizza.

For a BYOH option—Build Your Own Hot chocolate, that is—visit 10 Arts Bistro & Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton, where children and adults alike will fawn over the extensive toppings bar. Select a base, sprinkle to your heart's desire, and then if you're 21+ decide if you'll take your cocoa nice or naughty with a splash of liquor. What's more is that this fun is for a good cause—a dollar from each hot chocolate ordered benefits Philabundance, a local nonprofit foodbank.

10 Arts Cafe, Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia
Build Your Own Hot Chocolate at 10 Arts (©Danya Henninger)

It's all in the name at Cafe Y Chocolate, a cozy Mexican restaurant in South Philly, where large, frothy mugs of Chocolate Oaxaca (named for Oaxaca, Mexico, the city of chocolate!) are served, sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg. Pair your delicious chocolate treat with flavorful Mexican fare or sweet caramelo churros. If the sun is shining warm, you can make your order a frozen version.

Visitors to Penn's Landing during wintertime should make some room for the Franklin Fountain's old-fashioned hot chocolate beverages (although it's famously known for its inventive ice cream flavors). The European Drinking Chocolate is served with gooey homemade marshmallows, while Wilbur's American Cocoa is a more traditional option piled with homemade whipped cream. A scoop of your favorite ice cream floats atop the appropriately named Hot Chocolate Float. And for a unique option, owners the Berley brothers feature a "hot milkshake" that contain toasted marshmallows, warm slices of pie or brownies!