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Anniversary dinner in the suburbs?

  • r

Hi, we live in the Western Main Line area (Paoli/Malvern)....we'd like to try somewhere we've never been to before for our upcoming anniversary. We love Sullivan's and the Dilworthtown Inn.....we'd prefer to stay out of the city....any suggestions?

And, has anyone been to the new Big Easy Saloon in Paoli yet?

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  1. I think the Big Easy Saloon in Paoli opened just about a week ago -- I drive past it every morning.

    Have you tried Restaurant Alba in Malvern? I haven't been there yet (been meaning to) but lots of people rave about it and it just got a really high Zagats rating.

    Another place I would suggest would be the Birchrunville Store Cafe, but I called there recently myself to get a reservation, and they are not accepting any more Saturday night reservations for the rest of 2006, and they are not letting you call now to set up a Saturday night reservation for 2007. So -- If you can do another night except Saturday, you may have a shot.

    Majolica is excellent to -- Seasonal Menu, BYO, and the restaurant is intimate and very nice inside. That is in Phoenixville.

    Another place I've also heard is good --- hopefully someone can chime in with an experience -- is Gilmore's in West Chester.

    2 Replies
    1. re: DanielleM

      Happy to chime in. Gilmore's is wonderful. We have been there many times and loved it each time. Very romantic and perfect for an anniversary dinner. The food is delicious. Peter Gilmore was the luncheon chef at LBF for many years. The service is the best I've ever encountered. And it's byob. Only problem is if you're going on a Friday or Saturday. They are reserved a month to two months in advance for those nights.


      1. re: DanielleM

        I second Majolica--it truly is excellent. It is equal to almost any restaurant in Center City. Also, it is pretty far from where you are, but Birchrunville Store Cafe is terrific, and a great special occassion spot. If you like Dillworthtown, you'll love this place.

      2. I, too, think Birchrunville is terrific. However, the atmosphere is very different from Dilworthtown. Much less formal. You would need to reserve two month's in advance at Birchrunville for a weekend.

        1. I totally agree with the recommendations for Gilmore's and Birchrunville. We're especially fond of great BYOs and those are two of the best in Chester County. If you'd like to travel a bit further west, I highly recommend Sovana Bistro in Kennett. The food is always freshly prepared, with local ingredients used whenever possible. It's also BYO, although there is a $5/bottle corkage fee. Sovana Bistro generally doesn't take reservations, and gets a good crowd on weekend nights, but even waiting for a short while isn't so bad because they'll uncork your bottle and you can chat with other patrons while you wait.

          1. I was just at the Big Easy Saloon last night and can tell you that we will never go back there. The service was inexplicably horrendous and everyone around us was saying the same thing. The orders were mixed up, the wait time to be served even water in your glasses was absurd (20 minutes at the table before a bus boy even filled our water glasses, let alone a waiter come and take our order). We had to go up to the bar twice to get our drinks because the waiter had so many tables, he couldn't handle it all. once we did order our food, there were missing appetizers, incorrect orders, and the blackened chicken sandwiches even came out completely dry with no condiments whatsoever (and of course it took 10 minutes for them to bring any to the table). Even our check was incorrect - we got the next table over's check! unbelievable...

            1. Try the Duling-Kurtz House in Exton. Excellent food and ambiance. Great for an anniversary celebration.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Philly

                I'd like to hear an update on Duling Kurtz. It used to be one of my favorite "special occasion" restaurants, but a couple of years ago I began to find it uninspiring and stopped going altogether. Is it time to re-visit?

                1. re: CindyJ

                  I think it's worth a re-visit. We had a great experience on our most recent, last month, visit. Veal Tenderloin and the Jumbo Lump Crabcakes were both very good. The Mozzarella salad was a nice starter. We are giving the daughter and her hubby a gift certificate for Xmas; believe they'll enjoy their experiece as well.

              2. If your looking for something special you have to try The Orchard in Kennett Square next to Longwood Gardens. It is a BYO and is probably in my opinion the best restaurant around. I work in New York during the week and it is like NYC dining in our own backyard!!!

                1. I have eaten at The Big Easy several times and truly enjoyed my food. The service was a little rough when they first opened but has gotten significantly better. So I recommend it.

                  1. Catherine's in Unionville. The corner of Routes 82 and 162. The food is consistently excellent, the service is attentive,and it's cozy. On top of all that - it's BYOB. In the summer it has a great patio on which to have dinner. You won't be disappointed.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: lrhewes

                      I haven't been to Catherine's in almost a year. It's practically in my back yard, but each of the 5-6 times I was there I was left feeling that I overpaid for what I got, and that the service wasn't anything special. It's biggest plus in my book is that it's BYO, but we've got so many other good BYOs nearby that Catherine's is rarely my top pick.

                      1. re: lrhewes

                        Has Catherine's always been in Unionville, or did it relocate from West Chester? Just curious - I used to live right down the street from a Catherine's restaurant, and then it closed when they out a new shopping center in (it was replaced by a so-so pizza place - progress, huh?). I thought they were going to move and not shut down, so I,m wondering if that's where they moved to.

                        1. re: sceb17

                          You're exactly right. It used to be in a tiny, white stucco building that's now the site of a little strip mall with the pizza place, a day care center, etc. I think that same building once was home to Crawdaddy's, too. I can't recall which came first. Crawdaddy's is now on West Chester Pike (if it's still there, that is).

                      2. Cindy, I don't live too far from Unionville. What other recs do you have for BYO's in that area? Please note, not a big fan of Sovana Bistro. Too up and down in the "quality meal" department.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Rondo

                          I DO enjoy Sovana Bistro although I'm more likely to make a meal of two appetizers than an entree. My hands-down nearby favorite is Gilmores, although you do need to reserve months in advance for a table on a Friday or Saturday. I also like Green Papaya in Exton, across from the library, and the Birchrunville Store Cafe up in the Chester Springs area.

                          1. re: CindyJ

                            Thanks for the tips. One of these days, I'll get to Gilmore's. Green Papaya sounds interesting as well.

                            1. re: Rondo

                              There's also the State Street Grill in Kennett. They feature a prix fix dinner menu on certain days. It's a bit noisy in there, but it's fairly good and reasonably priced.

                        2. I would look towards Alison's at Blue Bell as an alterative to Majolica (which I have been to and loved). Weekends are hard to book but during week not hard.

                          Its not too far a drive ... 422 to Turnpike to Plymouth Meeting Exit, Germantown Pike to 202 to 73 (though if you know the backroads it can be shorter.)

                          I enjoy her lamb with turkish ravioli, her brussel sprouts are to die for, and she does wonderful fish.. I have had skate and striped bass there both done wonderfully. Desserts are good. BYO.


                          1 Reply
                          1. re: cwdonald

                            The website reservation page indicates that you need to call one month in advance. I wonder if that is the case at this time of year?

                          2. for friday and saturdays its sometimes hard to get in, but I have never had problems getting in during the week.