A truly memorable restaurant experience goes beyond the plate. From a church converted into a Creole restaurant and a century-old boat with multi-leveled decks for dining to a sleek French bistro with a skyscraper's view and a futuristic Asian restaurant with conveyor-belt sushi, the Philadelphia region is brimming with eateries where the surroundings are as compelling as the food. Here are a dozen examples:

Readapted Spaces:

• Once a train shed, Reading Terminal Market became the city's preeminent indoor marketplace in 1893, replacing the whistling engines with a bustling crowd. Today the market houses dozens of food vendors and more than 30 eateries in its hallowed Industrial Era hall. 12th & Arch Streets, (215) 922-2317, www.readingterminalmarket.org

• An old Methodist church is the stunning setting at Creole restaurant Marsha Brown in New Hope. The raw bar is situated beneath a cathedral ceiling, tables are accompanied by church pews and an upstairs bar is located in what was once a confessional. 15 S. Main Street, New Hope, (215) 862-7044, www.marshabrownrestaurant.com

• Celebrity chef Eric Ripert has re-imagined the glorious neo-classical rotunda of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel—once home to the Girard Trust bank—into a freshly modern bistro. At 10 Arts the menu focuses on seasonal, locally sourced fare and signature cocktails served beneath the rotunda's 100-foot sky-lit oculus. 10 Avenue of the Arts, (215) 523-8273, www.10arts.com

• A glamorous mid-century-styled steakhouse named for a brokerage firm that once operated on the premises, Stephen Starr's Butcher & Singer boasts soaring ceilings, a repurposed chandelier from Miami's Fontainebleau Hotel and a bit of film lore (a scene from The Sixth Sense was filmed in the previous tenant's restaurant, Striped Bass). 1500 Walnut Street, (215) 732-4444, www.butcherandsinger.com

• At the Birchrunville Store Café, an intimate country store has been transformed into one of the region's top bring-your-own-bottle spots, serving French and Italian fare in a charmingly candle-lit setting. 403 Hollow Road, Birchrunville, (610) 827-9002, www.birchrunvillestorecafe.com

Restaurants With A View:

• On top of the Marketplace Design Center building, classic French restaurant Bistro St. Tropez maximizes the drama of its expansive glass windows by seating guests in perfect view of the city’s evening skyline. 2400 Market Street, 4th floor, (215) 569-9269, www.bistrosttropez.com

• Inside the Brandywine River Museum, home to the Wyeth family's paintings, are innumerable visual pleasures, but the museum's casual cafeteria also features stunning views of the sparkling Brandywine River outside. U.S. Route 1, Chadds Ford,
(610) 388-2700, www.brandywinemuseum.org

• Water Works Restaurant and Lounge, a National Historic Landmark originally built in the 19th century as one of America's first municipal water delivery systems, is now one of the city's fine dining destinations. A creative blend of traditional dishes with flavorful accents is served in multiple dining rooms and patios overlooking the Schuylkill's rushing waters and the sparkling Boathouse Row. 640 Water Works Drive,
(215) 236-9000, www.thewaterworksrestaurant.com

• The retro-modern décor at Pod, Stephen Starr's contemporary Pan Asian restaurant in University City, is inspired by Woody Allen's Sleeper and features conveyor belt sushi, brightly colored cocktails and glowing pods for reserve-ahead groups.
3636 Sansom Street, (215) 387-1803, www.podrestaurant.com

Storied Tables:

• The architecture at the venerable restaurant and brewpub General Lafayette Inn & Brewery reflects its Colonial history: Under the orders of George Washington, General Lafayette used the inn as a staging ground during the Revolutionary War. Today, the lovingly restored eatery features historically accurate wood beams and fireplaces and is even said to have a few ghosts lurking about. 646 Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill, (610) 941-0600, www.generallafayetteinn.com

• On the Moshulu, a 105-year-old ocean liner anchored along Penn's Landing, the globally inflected food is only upstaged by the ship's exquisite detail. 401 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 923-2500, www.moshulu.com

• First built for the Centennial celebration at the 1876 World's Fair, The Centennial Café showcases Ohio sandstone and limestone as well as the era’s distinct architectural style. Newly reopened as an eatery serving light bites, the café is a sunny stop-off amid the sprawling fields of Fairmount Park. 4700 States Drive, (215) 877-3055, www.thecentennialcafe.com