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Need a nice place for lunch in downtown Philly...

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Hi, I need a nice place for lunch to take my girlfriend to lunch. Looking for a place with good, ideally conversation inducing ambiance (re: Not Steve Starr) and, above all, good food. All reccommendations are a appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Best Regards,


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  1. how about pasion, the nuevo latino place on 15th south of walnut?

    had lunch there back when it opened, thought it was great.

    black sheep is probably decent, on 17th south of locust, but is more good pub food.

    1 Reply
    1. re: herbalicious

      Sadly, Pasion is not open for lunch any longer. For a truly special lunch, the fountain is my pick. We also had a very nice lunch at Novelty in Old City. It has a french bistro feel with large open windows and light airy atmosphere. The food was pretty good too. Another good lunch place is Bistro San Tropez. Great atmosphere with very nice salads and lunch entrees.

    2. A small group of women from my Computer Club have lunch downtown every couple of months.
      We have tried several places but keep returning to Capital Grille. The atmosphere is pleasant, service is excellent and not obtrusive, and the food is good. The lunch menu includes salads and seafood, and prices are not outrageous.
      If it is someone's birthday, that person gets a free dessert. Also, if you are a subscriber to the Philadelphia Orchestra, you get a free fried calimari appetizer, which is absolutely delicious.
      Even without the freebies, we like it there. We are able to hear each other talk.
      For something plainer and quite pleasant - good salads - we like Ernesto's 1521 Cafe at 1521 Spruce.

      1. Try La Viola...small Italian restaurant with outrageous food...the gnocci is as light as a cloud.It's on 16th Street between Spruce and Locust. Nice ambiance, BYOB.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Barbara

          I agree with you that La Viola has delicious food. Our problem with it is that the tables are so close together and the noise level so high that it is difficult to relax and talk.
          Maybe we've just been there at the wrong time!

        2. b
          Barb Cohan-Saavedra

          I love Siam Cuisine, 925 Arch Street, 215-922-7135. It has delightful food, soft lighting, and an ambiance that lends itself to quiet conversation. After a hectic morning, it's an oasis of tranquility and good food before you head back to work for the afternoon!

          1. b
            Bride of the Juggler

            Cafe Spice is nice for lunch, much quieter than at dinner, and they have a lot of lunch specials that include lighter fare than the dinner menu. Depending on the weather, they open their big windows.

            Link: http://www.cafespice.com/ph_lunch.htm

            1. You could also try Rouge on 18th just south of Walnut across from Rittenhouse square. It gets noisy inside, but on a nice day you can sit outside on the sidewalk where it is easy to carry on a conversation. Also, the view can't be beat.

              1. I heartily recommend ZANZIBAR BLUE, at Broad and Walnut. Terrific lunch menu, including a sensational burger, and some fairly interesting salads, including a crabcake salad to die for. Very intimate, quiet, with professional service and Chef Al Paris in the kitchen, the best part.

                1. No one mentioned the Blue Angel...my favorite, on Chestnut Street around 6th. I believe it actually IS Stephen Starr, but very unlike his other spots.
                  Historic building, very stylish decor and staff.
                  Romantic, unpretentious.

                  1. When I worked in Center City I liked to escape on occasion to a quiet and peaceful lunch at the Cafe at Boyd's on Chestnut St. Just enter the store and after being greeted by the well dressed, very customer oriented salespeople, go to the 2nd floor mezzanine (by the shoe department). The food is good, salads, sandwiches, lunch fare, not too pricey, and if you want to spend more money after lunch the shopping is great. BTY they advertise free valet parking - that's a luxury downtown. I can't vouch for this myself - I walked from my office.

                    Link: http://www.boydsphila.com/Directory.asp