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Mar 20, 2002 01:14 PM

Dinner out with Parents

  • j

I need some advice - my parents are coming through town on Friday evening and I need to find a place to take them for dinner! I would love to take them to Vetri - but it's too short notice (I should have planned two months ago for a res there!) I'm thinking along the lines of Brasserie Perrier, Morimoto, but am not opposed to a smaller place that is of equal quality. I'm pretty familiar with the BYOB scene here - any suggestions outside of that? I'm also not opposed to taking them somewhere in reasonable driving distance (does anyone know anything about la campagne?)

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  1. two possible roads,

    if this is the parents coming to visit daughter at college, you can always go the
    "as expensive as feasible" route.

    going that route, i'd choose from:
    happy rooster at 16th and sansom, la famiglia at front and chestnut, l'ange bleu at 7th and chestnut (IMHO best starr place as far as value), deux cheminees at 11th and locust.

    actually even better option, but check to be sure, is to see if any of the book and cook dinners are available anywhere. sure some are better than others, and the better ones may be full, but i'd bet the average ones there would still be better than average dinners at many restaurants around town.

    now going the other route, parents coming to town, i want to take them someplace i like and would normally go, for me that means BYOBs. You're okay there, so let's look at places with liquor licenses just a step above BYOBs as far as price.
    There's Aspen at 25th and Aspen, Lemon Grass or Zocalo on Lancaster between 34-37th, City Tavern on 2nd and Walnut, Fri, Sat, Sun at ?? 21st and Locust ??.

    As far as outside the city, La Campagne is the bastion of old-line French cooking. From what I understand it has fallen from its heyday, but I've not been there myself.

    I'd go with Le Mas Perrier (if you want to go that far), Fuji in Cinnaminson, NJ (doing omakase before Morimoto made it hip), Gilmore's in West Chester (even farther than Le Mas but cheaper probably and Le Bec Fin alum) Dilworthtown Inn also in West Chester, classic French I believe.

    And there's also tons of ethnic choices in the Northeast Phila, Portugese with Cafe Portugalia (see earlier post), Paradise (Russian), Manila Bay (Filipino and next DDC dinner), Tierra Colombiana (Cuban-Colombian)...

    Hands tired...must stop typing...good luck...

    1 Reply
    1. re: herbalicious

      We're parents, or even older - grandparents. We like Brasserie Perrier very much, also Monte Carlo Living Room. We like small BYOBs - but they're usually best when you don't want to sit a long time. They need to turn over the tables and the chairs are usually not too comfortable. Your parents might like Buddakan - we do - and it's certainly different and unique - but again, not to stay a long time. I don't know about La Campagne - haven't been there and don't know where it is. We were to Dilworthtown Inn years ago and were not impressed. La Famiglia is also good Italian. IF they really want to splurge, take them to Le Bec Fin (although we only go for lunch when it's a bargain) or the Fountain at the Four Seasons. Very good food, beautiful atmosphere and well spaced tables.

    2. d
      David De Silva

      Herb (as usual) has listed a plethora of fine dining establishments that run the gamet of cuisines and price that speak to his great chowhoundedness (bow).

      I offer a few more that might also fit the bill (maybe literally) for you. I am a big fan of Overtures at 5th and Passyunk just off of South. A small, BYOB, romantic restaurant serving some of the best food in the city. Their $20.02 three-course price fixe menu is hard to beat but I think offered only during the week. I believe they offer a $45pp price fixe menu anytime that is still a great value for the quality and service you get.

      I recently ate at Figs and enjoyed it. An inexpensive French/Moroccon in the Fairmount section that is BYOB, small, but that I think has a NY vibe to it. Along this line but much higher up on the posh (and attitude) scale is Tangerine in Olde City. And finally, a place that looks beautiful but where I have not eaten is Pagalle, a French bistro on Spring Garden in Northern Liberties.

      I suggest that you not wait too much longer to make a reservation though!

      1 Reply
      1. re: David De Silva

        hey, what can i say, this is my primary timewaster while i procrastinate from doing other things!!

        and as also mentioned before, i take pride in having way more knowledge at my disposal than could ever possibly come in useful.

        BTW, i also love overtures.

      2. Hi Jill,
        Yes you need to waste no time in making reservations. I have eaten at La Campagne many times and think it's wonderful. Its BYO and the atmosphere is like eating in a country french restaurant. They have a prix fix of $60 for four courses as well as a seafood only prix fix menu. The cuisine is mostly provencal with a nice selection of meats and fishes and a few (not many) vegetarian choices.
        Figs, which I also like alot, is not up to the level of the other restaurants you have mentioned.

        1. I love reading people's responses to a question like this - it always reminds me of all the good places we have around.
          Although we enjoy many of the restaurants suggested, I wouldn't choose many of them for parents. I don't know what age range your parents are, but if they are seniors, they would enjoy a place that is fairly quiet, where they can sit and talk to you.
          That rules out many of the "hot" places.
          Friends who have been to Morimoto tell me it's for the young. (Though we'll try it!)
          We haven't been to La Campagne, but I've heard all raves.
          If you feel like taking a longer ride, I feel sure they would like Le Mas Perrier. It's very attractive, great atmosphere, and fine food.
          If you're staying in town, I'd recommend Monte Carlo Living Room (lovely fish and pasta) or Capital Grille, if they are meat eaters. Jake's in Manayunk has fine food in a good setting. We haven't been to La Famiglia in a long time; probably very good.
          We have taken many guests to Siri's (Rte 70 in Cherry Hill) lately and everyone has been pleased. (BYOB)
          These are all places where one can relax and hear what other people have to say.
          Let us know where you end up, and how you liked it!