Boston chowhound coming to Philly
I'm coming to Philadelphia in December for two dinners and two lunches. I dined in Philly when living in central NJ five years ago. I must say that I miss it compared to Boston fare which is more often overpriced and disappointing. I would love suggestions for fine dining. I am interested in chefs who are doing really creative things with food - not just steakhouse fare. Super fresh and creative seafood? Any chef's using lots of fine PA ingredients such as mushrooms or local produce and livestock? I eagerly await your input.
Listen to Brightman, he is 100% correct. Ansill is a place that you should not miss. If you go, be sure to get the shirred eggs and the fingerling potatoes. If it's just you going for dinner, sit at the bar. The bartenders are very friendly and knowledgeable about wine.
Although they serve wine and beer (good ones, too), they will also let you bring your own bottle, though they do charge a corkage fee. I've been told they only allow it because David Ansill has some die-hard customers who are huge wine aficionados, and they insist on bringing their own bottles.
Oh hey, who knew they updated their website! Finally, the menu! It used to be just a swirly placeholder.
I really like the Fountain in the Four Seasons. It is very elegant, and it has served up consistently great food for years.
I used to also like Striped Bass on Walnut Street(seafood), but I honestly haven't been there since Steven Starr took it over. I did notice that it was listed as one of the best restaurants in the U.S. in the last issue of Gourmet, so it must still be good.
I love the White Dog Cafe in University City - it is one of my favorite Philly restaurants. It has an ecclectic menu and I've never had a bad meal there. They use all fresh and mostly local produce. This would be good for lunch.
You should also check out Reading Terminal Market if you haven't already - you'll be surrounded by fresh ingredients. There are a number of good places to eat inside too, but they are very casual.