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Moshulu: Philadelphia's Most Unique Fine Dining Restaurant

Charles enjoys reviewing and photographing food and restaurants for online publications.

Prepare for exceptional outdoor dining with city and waterfront views aboard the Moshulu.

Prepare for exceptional outdoor dining with city and waterfront views aboard the Moshulu.

A Brief History

Prior to becoming the premier destination restaurant in Philadelphia, the Moshulu lived a storied life at sea. Yes, the most unique dining experience in Philadelphia is in fact the oldest square-rigged ship in the world—and is the only restaurant on a tall ship in existence today.

Built in 1904 by the William Hamilton & Company shipbuilders in Scotland, the Moshulu started its storied career as the most state-of-the-art sailing ship to have sailed the seven seas. This 45,000-square-foot vessel, named Kurt at the time, transported coal to ports such as Chile, California, and Australia with 54 voyages around the infamous Cape Horn without issue.

In 1917, she was captured by the U.S. Navy and eventually renamed Moshulu by Mrs. Woodrow Wilson (in the Seneca Indian tribal language, moshulu means "one who fears nothing"). After many years of U.S. service, Moshulu continued to sail, eventually falling into disrepair before finally becoming a grain storage ship for the Finnish State Granary in 1961.

In 1974, the Moshulu was restored and shipped to Philadelphia where this proud ship began her career as a fine dining restaurant on the Delaware River waterfront. Despite changing hands several times throughout the years, Moshulu has been continuously owned and operated by the same owners since 2003 and has been recognized for many awards as well as appearances in the blockbuster movie hits Rocky and The Godfather II.

Moshulu stands today as the premier destination restaurant in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas and can't be overlooked for that special celebration or event.

The magnificent Moshulu stands permanently docked at the Philadelphia waterfront, serving as a romantic, special occasion dining venue.

The magnificent Moshulu stands permanently docked at the Philadelphia waterfront, serving as a romantic, special occasion dining venue.

What to Expect

  • Address: 401 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19106
  • Parking: Provided by the Delaware River Waterfront (for a $20 fee)
  • Reservations: Accepted and recommended for parties of nine or more.
  • Outdoor dining: Available seasonally. The Deck Bar has first come first serve seating in the summer.

The Moshulu is an extraordinarily beautiful sailing ship; expect to be immediately awed as you approach along the immaculate, landscaped pathway that leads you to the welcoming entrance. Prepare to board the ship via the covered gangplank as you are whisked back over 100 years to the past.

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Once inside, you are immediately greeted with polished woodwork and detailed hand-painted ceilings while the bar and lounge beckon you to have a seat and stay awhile. The staff was friendly and pleased to be of service, both swift and accommodating as expected in a fine dining establishment such as this.

Seating is available in either the Captains Quarters, Dining Room, or the State Room, which I am told is inspired by the famous clothing designer Ralph Lauren’s personal yacht. The décor here creates a fantastic dining experience. Intricate wooden walls, a custom mirrored ceiling, and a cozy fully stocked bar with a skylight ceiling above the dance floor, making the State Room the perfect venue for entertaining.

The Captain's Quarters are located just up a short flight of stairs and includes family-style dining tables with skylighted ceilings and intricate nautical-themed decor and artwork.

Outdoor dining is available seasonally and can be experienced on the open-air covered deck on a strictly first come first served basis. Here you will experience panoramic views of the city skyline and Delaware River waterfront while enjoying a luxuriously posh memorable experience.

Crispy Skin Atlantic Salmon

Crispy Skin Atlantic Salmon

Food and Beverages

Moshulu is considered a contemporary American restaurant serving modern takes on steaks, seafood, and sushi in a scenic and romantic shipboard venue. Menu prices range from $8 for house-made focaccia to $95 for the Admirals Seafood Plateau. Ordering is done steakhouse style with entrees and sides served ala carte. You must try the $25 double cheeseburger featuring two five-ounce short rib brisket blend burgers served with truffle fries.

Signature cocktails, wine, seasonal brews, and local craft beers are available in the dining room, bar, and outside seating areas. Featured drinks include pineapple wine, Captain of the Tropics with rum, passion fruit, citrus, and Falernum, which is a tropical syrup from the Caribbean. Drinks range from $6-$52.

Jumbo Lump Crab Cake

Jumbo Lump Crab Cake

A Memorable Experience

Moshulu is available for private parties, events, and special occasions. This shipboard dining experience is open for lunch, brunch, and dinner. Make sure to experience the great Moshulu at least once in your life for a memorable experience not soon to be forgotten. Feel free to leave a comment regarding your special, Philadelphia dining experience aboard the Moshulu.

© 2022 Charles Kikas

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