Hey there, LA hound here looking for some good Philly restaurant suggestions. One of my buddies (who lives in Center City) is getting married in a couple of weeks and I thought it would be fun to give the happy couple a few (4-5) gift certificates to some of Philly's best restaurants. I've been out of town for about 4 years now and I'm a bit out of touch with the options... I'd like to do a mix - some fancier places that they might not spring for themselves if not for the certificates, some less fancy (but still a nice night out). I'm not sure how adventurous they are, but I don't think they're overly timid with respect to ethnic foods. I'd prefer places within 10-15 minutes of CC, but wouldn't rule out a really spectacular place based on distance alone. Suggestions??
I would select one of the top, expensive restaurants like BecFin, Striped Bass or Vetri, plus Amada, Gayle or Ansill and a tiny BYO like Pumpkin.
I'm going to second the recs of Pif, le Bec Fin, Vetri and Amada, and I would add Matyson to the list.
I highly, highly recommend Amada. It's relatively new, got a great atmosphere, and fantastic food, with something for just about any kind of eater.
I've never been, so take this with a grain of salt, but I've heard a lot of bad things about Farmicia. While some people seem to really like it, I've heard several say the food is quite mediocre. LaCroix is a great restaurant, but Chef LaCroix has apparently just retired, and the jury is out on how the restaurant will survive without him. Django is great, along the same lines as Matyson (though I like Matyson a bit better).
I would not choose Fork, has gone downhill. I think it would be neat to throw in a certificate for something like Isgro - to get some great cannolis or other desserts (isgrobakery.com)
Vetri, Lacroix are great choices.
Brasserie Perrier too, but I'd give the nod to the above 2 first.
Matyson nice but not in same league as above.
Fork, as posted by another has gone down hill, nothing special.
Cant comment on Django havent heard or been
Havent been to Amada yet, but heard only great things.
I've been to Farmacia twice -- the food is okay, but the service has been incredibly slow and not particularly friendly. Once was for dinner for Restaurant week, so I was willing to give a pass. The second time was for brunch and it was downright infuriating. I'd have to be dragged back, which is a shame since I love the concept (organic, veg-friendly, et. al.).
Best place I've been recently, hands down, is Horizons. There's another thread going with several complimentary chowhound reviews. It's a vegan restaurant, but many non-veg's (including la ban's review) make the point that it's good for anyone. Fun atmosphere, too.
For something more casual to round out your list, I'm wondering if Azure has gift certificates? I take friends visiting from out of town there -- a great variety of food, good / friendly service, etc.
Thank you all so much for your feedback! Taking all of the comments into account as well as reviews from some friends... I think the final list will be:
I doubt I'll go *too* wrong with any of those. Thanks again!