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Jan 29, 2001 05:23 PM

Philadelphia - solo dining near Convention Center

  • r

A business trip will take me to Philadelphia for two nights. I'd appreciate suggestions for solo dining (preferably seafood) in the Convention Center area. No objection to eating at the bar/food counter, if necessary.

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  1. Hi Rick:

    I don't know what your budget is, but your choices are varied at all price points. Convention Center is quite close to Chinatown, so I'd recommend Xe Lua Viet/Thai at 927 Race Street for fantastic authentic and inexpensive Vietnamese or Thai food. Penang's on 10th Street is Malaysian and also quite good. Or for straight up fresh and wholesome Chinese you can try Charles Plaza on 10th Street - they serve no red meat at all, but the "mock meats" are delicious and they do serve fish and poultry.

    At the other end of the price spectrum is Striped Bass at 15th & Walnut, one of the finer dining establishments in Philly. Pricey but delicious food, although others rave about the service, I personally found it arrogant and sloppy at those prices. I keep pretty stringent standards though, having worked in the restaurant industry for many years, so I might not be in agreement with most people. Also, Pasion on 15th Street is a Nuevo Latino place that serves the BEST Chilean Sea Bass I've ever had, as well as fantastically fresh ceviches. Also pricey, but worth it, and the servers are great at explaining what can be a confusing menu. Sansom Street Oyster House (15th & Sansom) has a wonderful raw bar and great Snapper Soup, a Philadelphia delicacy you should try if you've never had it, as well as great fish dishes. Look in for Philadelphia and you should get some great ideas. The downtown area here is small enough that even if somethig isn't walking distance like the restaurants I've mentioned, it's no more than a 10 minute cab ride.

    Have fun here - there's great eatin'!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Katie Benes

      Among your recommendations was the highly popular Striped Bass. Do you know if it serves dinner at the bar or is otherwise solo-diner friendly? Thanks for your advise.

      1. re: Rick

        Hi Rick:

        I think that they do serve dinner at the bar. The dining room is really pretty (film flash: scene in The Sixth Sense where Bruce Willis' wife is eating her anniversary dinner "alone" was filmed at Striped Bass) so most folks sit there, but I'm certain that they'd be happy to accomodate a solo diner at the bar OR in the dining room if you requested a table.

        On a separate note, the owner of Striped Bass just recently opened a new restaurant called "Avenue B" at Broad and Spruce Streets. It was reviewed in last Sunday's magazine section of the Philadelphia Inquirer. I'll included the link to the article below for you. I hadn't actually been there until last night, but my husband and I enjoyed some spectacular crispy outside-tender inside calamari (lemon aioli dipping sauce is outstanding) and a mushroom pizza with a few glasses of wine there, just last night. WOW - this is definitely my new favorite bar to eat at in Philadelphia. Beautiful room, great service from a friendly but unobtrusive bartender, fabulous jazz music playing and the food was wonderful. We only checked out the bar menu, but I've heard good things about the dinner menu from other Chowhound friends whose opinions I trust. Perhaps you could do Striped Bass for the seafood dinner you crave one night and Avenue B another? Although it will give you an impression of what only one of this city's many resatarateurs are doing, you could do worse than these two venues as examples of fine dining in Philly.

        Enjoy your trip and let me know if I can be of any further assistance.


        link to article =

        1. re: Katie Benes

          Thanks for your recommendation of Avenue B. My own research has turned up Fishmarket as a possible, more casual alternative than Striped Bass. It also seems to be more appropriate for solo dining than its more glamorous counterpart. Have you eaten there or heard anything about it? Would you recommend Sansom Street Oyster House above Fishmarket?

          1. re: Rick


            Fishmarket just closed last week! I don't know why they decided to close it, but it no longer exists so cross it off your list! Sansom Street Oyster House is great and the perfect place for some oysters and a glass or two of Champagne at the bar. The Snapper Soup (a local delicacy) is also top notch. There's a pretty cool brew pub called Nodding Head on the 2nd floor if you're in the mood for a beer afterward. Good luck!

    2. Rick:

      Here's an update for you. One of the managers of Striped Bass is a former coworker of mine at another restaurant. He just stopped in to my wine shop to buy a few bottles and I posed your question about solo dining at the bar to him. He said to please call him and he'll be happy to tke care of you if you'd like, at a table for one, or at the bar itself - whatever your preference. Just call Striped Bass and ask for Michael Churbuck or leave him a message - tell him I sent you from Chowhounds. I hope this helps and again, enjoy your time and your meals in Philadelphia!