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BYO (or not) for Anniversary Dinner - Northern Burbs or elsewhere

For our 8th anniversary (next Tuesday!), my in-laws are watching the kids and treating us to dinner. We're not big drinkers, so we thought a BYO might be a good option (we can bring something we like) but a non-BYO would be great too.

We live near Chestnut Hill, but would be willing to drive about 30 mins max in any direction.

Do you have any recommendations for a romantic and tasty meal that's not too fancy but definitely memorable?

We've enjoyed Alisons somewhat, but not as much as we hear others raving. Fayette Street Grill is good but we'd like to try something new.


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  1. I'm assuming you don't want to go into center city. If that's the case, I would suggest Alba in Malvern. Very good (and byob).

    1. We'd be open to CC, but traffic could be an issue. Let's pretend that traffic's no problem though. Any suggestions?

      1. I recommend Bridget's at 8 West in Ambler. That is one of my favorite special occasion places. It is considered an Asian/Hawaian fusion steakhouse. Odd description, I know, butthe food is amazing. Great ribeye, great fresh seafood specials. Amazing wine list and delicous martinis. I'm not sure what day you are going but it is BYO on Sundays (no corkage fee), free raw bar on Thursdays (if you want to have pre dinner drinks at the bar). Service has always been great. Everyone I recommend it to always has a fantastic time.

        1. I would also recommend San Marco in Springhouse. Excellent food and good wine list.

          1. As always, I recommend Carmine's in Narberth- the tasting menu is great & you can make reservations for it ($30 weekdays per person)

            2 Replies
            1. re: pamd

              I like Carmine's, but I would never describe it as "romantic."

              1. re: vicarious

                well, on weekdays when it's emptier than weekends it is a nice atmosphere, but I understand what you mean. Gilmore's in West Chester has more a romantic feel, but further.

            2. Have you ever been to Jake's in Manayunk? We haven't been there for a while, but the food has always been excellent, and the service topnotch. Unless it has changed, it's a very special place. Not BYOB.

              1. Why don't you try Citrus in Chestnut Hill?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Displaced California Foodie

                  I'll second the rec for Citrus. I'm not sure I would call it real romantic, but your mileage may vary. My wife and I have been there twice over the last couple of years and here are the comments we wrote about the place on the web page I keep for my students:

                  Citrus (8136 Germantown Ave, Chestnut Hill; 215-247-8188). Even the carnivore enjoys lighter fare on a hot summer evening, so we took the advice of fellow chowhound Kim and arrived early at Citrus. To say it's small is an understatement (11 tables total!), but yet we've felt more claustrophobic in larger places where the tables and traffic are much more concentrated. We really came to try the ceviche, which was wonderful. That appetizer was a bargain for the portion and freshness of the tuna, with subtle flavors that complemented but didn't overwhelm. The sardine appetizer was also very good- forget the oily things you buy in cans. This was a larger, lightly breaded sardine with a lovely tomato, basil, and olive oil accompaniment. It was something out of Provence or Italy. The entrees were also good, but not as incredible as the appetizers. The scallops were good quality and the soba noodles made an interesting blend. The skate fish was also good, but the dessert hound got a bit carried away eating the roasted garlic cloves cooked with the fish, and may have overwhelmed her palate a bit. The green tea creme brulee dessert, however, helped to ease it. The BYOB serves only fish and vegetarian dishes, and fur and shearling are not allowed. Pictures of the dogs and cats that adorn the glass of the dessert case show also their love of animals. No reservations are accepted, but they will take your cell phone number and call you when a table is ready, or open your wine bottle while you wait in a small area at the front of the restaurant.

                  Citrus-UPDATE: After about a year since our last visit, we went back to Citrus on a recent Saturday evening in August and enjoyed our dinner as much as the first. We again got the same two appetizers (tuna ceviche and sardines), which again were the highlight of the meal. For our entrées we tried the crab cakes and the grilled yellowfin tuna. Both were solid, and a good value.

                2. Umbria is a great cozy eclectic-Italian BYO, located on Germantown Ave. in Mt. Airy. It walks a fine line between upscale and a welcoming neighborhood favorite.

                  1. I live in Chestnut Hill. I can recomend Trax Cafe in Ambler. It's charming. The Cafetee here on the Hill is charming as well.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: misexec

                      I second the recommendation for Trax! Very small, cozy, and romantic. Great food and atmosphere.

                    2. You are not too far from the Jenkintown area. The newly renovated Kitchen Bar (formerly Alexanders) on Old York Road has a fun, New York feel. The menu is huge and the food is great. They are not a BYOB but it's fun. How about Thai food? There are two great spots (Thai Thanee in Abington and White Elephant in Huntingdon Valley). Both are BYOB and great food.