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Aug 28, 2006 01:34 AM

Restaurant near Kimmel Center

I am looking for recommendations for a restaurant with the following criteria:
- within walking distance to Kimmel Center for this Friday night.
- reasonable wide range of dishes, no Mexican, Cuban cuisines please.
- < $35 per person (one app, one entree)
- reasonably quiet.
- will be able to get us out in time for a show.
- BYOB preferred, but it is ok if not BYOB.
- Reservation. We are group of 6 so we would like to be able to get in and out in time for the show.
- We tried Ted Montana Grill last week and weren't impressed. The service was good but the food was uninspiring.

After looking through a number of posts on this board, I came up with the following lists, any comments or recommendations outside of this list is welcome.

Ly Michaels

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  1. My first choice, with nothing close, would be Branzino. I think that the food there is superior to most of the other Italian restaurants in the area. (I am not counting Vetri, which is very expensive.) Attractive ambience, good service. We usually go there at 5:30 before an 8pm performance so that we have plenty of time. Ask for the back/upstairs (a few steps) room when you get there. BYOB.

    Ernesto's is pleasant, and they will get you out on time if you go there at 6pm. I have always found the food to be just okay - not bad - though the last time it was much better. Maybe someone in the kitchen learned to season things. Service is good, and you are very close to Kimmel. They have a bar.

    Warsaw Cafe, IMHO, was mediocre. Some good dishes. Past its prime.

    Ly Michael is quite a distance - we like the food, especially the appetizers, but service can be spotty.

    Also consider Valanni, on Spruce between 12th & 13th. Mediterranean/continental, tapas and small plates in addition to regular entrees. If you tell them you need to be out on time, they will do it. Very good food.

    If you want your $35 to include tax and tip, it would only work if you watch what you order and stay away from items like steak and veal chop. Otherwise, you should be okay. Some of these places have websites. I know Valanni does.

    A really reasonable place is La Viola, on 16th just north of Spruce. Very tasty food - really good - and very reasonable prices. Service is quick. Cash only, BYOB.

    All of these places take reservations.


    1. La Fontana Della Città at 17th & Spruce is a very good and reasonable Italian BYOB. I think it is better than Bronzino. I used to live at 17th & Spruce (before La Fontana opened) and I ate all around there. I'd second La Viola as inexpensive Italian, small and nice. There's Audrey Claire at 20th and Spruce (a bit farther), Bliss on Broad Street (not a BYOB), Effie's (Greek food) at Pine at 13th. I can keep going if you want any more suggestions!

      1. Erica, I think that La Fontana has a great atmosphere - warm, friendly, good service - but the food is uneven. We ate there several times. My husband loved his calimari and some of the pastas were delicious. My Caesar salad, which really wasn't a Caesar sald, used lettuce that I would throw out at home. I had a disappointing veal dish. On the other hand, the mushroom ravioli at Branzino were like silk, and with intense flavor - the pastas are excellent. The grilled fish and other dishes have been superior.

        I agree that you could go and have a very pleasant meal at La Fontana, especially if you order what they're good at. Maybe I've just been ordering the wrong things.

        Bliss is very pricey.

        1. I would add Estia to the above suggestions. They have a $30 pre-theater special that would meet your cost and show time criteria. The room is impressive and relatively quiet. In terms of cuisine, they specialize in simply prepared fish that is flown in daily from Greece. While I haven't tried the pre-theater menu, the lunch special was excellent and, at only $18, it was an outstanding value.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Cruz

            Estia is beautiful! We loved it, though it was expensive. I believe the special has choice of three entrees.
            Almost everything on the menu is fish/seafood; if that's not a problem, it's certainly an option.

          2. Thanks to everyone for suggestions. We check the menu of each of these places out and we settle for Valanni. I will let everyone know how it go. As for the rest of the list, we will get to them eventually. Someone told me about this site few days ago and you guys rock !!. Great suggestions. We live outside of Philadelphia for the past 5 years and never heard of some of these restaurants. (We know about Stephen Starr's restaurants but more interested in trying the one that we haven't been before). Thank you.