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Dinner Suggestions Near World Cafe Live (University of Pennsylvania)

Hello all - my wife and I are looking for some recommendations for dinner tomorrow night before a concert we are catching at the World Cafe Live. Doesn't have to be super-close, as we are driving up from northern Maryland anyway. Any/all suggestions are greatly appreciated!

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  1. You won't be far from Nan, at 40th and Chestnut. BYOB. Fusion - kind of continental/asian. The talented chef/owner was from Alouette, a long-time French favorite. Lots of good menu choices. Street parking, moderate prices.

      1. re: isadorasmama

        I just ate at White Dog Cafe for the first time since University City Dining Days from 2 years ago.

        It was much better!

        I love the atmosphere. I ordered the fall vegetable salad and the kung pao tofu. My only complaint is that the rice in the entree was crunchy (not fully cooked) but other than that a good meal. Then again, it wasn't on my dime. If it was, I might have been more critical of the value.

      2. I haven't been in a while but the food at the World Cafe was pretty good and reasonably priced. I recall a great roasted tomato soup and a fabulous mac and cheese. It might be worth trying.

        1. I know that Pod http://www.podrestaurant.com/ has always been very good and has a cool atmosphere. I have not been to the White Dog in many years because it was mediocre at best. I hear a lot of good things about Marigold http://www.marigoldkitchenbyob.com/ but have never been there yet.

          2 Replies
          1. re: bluehensfan

            After a couple of disappointments, Pod recently redeemed itself to me when we had a wonderful time there for a friend's birthday. We had plenty of maki and other sushi. They managed to turn even vegetable rolls into a gustatory delight. If you sit at the sushi bar, don't be afraid to order above and beyond what goes by on the conveyor belt. In my experience, the stuff that goes by on the plates tends to pale in comparison to placed orders. Be warned, however, that Pod's chic- retro- futuristic atmosphere isn't for everyone.

            1. re: gmiles

              Places I'd second:

              Pod is good for funky Asian with a Japanese leaning. I agree that the quality varies.

              White Dog is an institution in that area and is definitely good. It has a locally-grown organic-y thing going on if you're into that. It's over hyped but still good.

              Marigold is a little farther out but has gotten consistently good reviews by everyone but me (their food was fine but for some reason... perhaps the fact that I look pretty young... my table was completely ignored when I went there).

              Another possibility is Rx, which is an American BYO that's pretty reasonable. I've always really enjoyed Rx.

          2. Picnic (3131 Walnut; 215-222-1608) is supposed to be good but call ahead to check hours. Also, there is Bistro St. Tropez on the top floor of the design center at 2400 Market/Chestnut (enter either side; www.bistrosttropez.com).
            And I also vote for eating at the World Cafe.

            1. Wow - thanks to all for the excellent suggestions!

              We are leaning towards Nan - which appears to be Zagat rated at 26/16/21/$38. For those that have eaten there, any recommendations?

              How about after concert dessert?! Thanks again!

              3 Replies
              1. re: pittpanther

                I have had good meals at Nan but the minimalist decor is a little disquieting for me. Perhaps it would work for you. It feels like nothing whatsoever is happening in there. But the staff is nice and the food is fine, if minimally presented.
                Also, Marigold is excellent.

                1. re: pittpanther

                  Pod is a really fun place to go for just dessert. I actually used to do that in college when I couldn't afford to eat a whole meal out -- we'd make dinner at home and then do dessert at Pod and it felt like we'd really been out for the evening.

                  Anyway, they have a separate pastry chef so there are always some exciting dessert options on the menu, and their coffee is really good.

                  1. re: pittpanther

                    my favorite dish at Nan is the chicken and shrimp in a thai red curry sauce. It is excellent.

                  2. OP, if you eat dinner & dessert at World Cafe you'll have a better choice of concert seating.

                    1. Some favorites at Nan:

                      Anything in puff pastry - the chef is so good at that!
                      Recently they still had the cold cucumber soup on the menu, which is the best. My husband loves the lemon grass soup. I love the escargots.

                      We are fond of the pad thai. I frequently order the duck breast, which is always a special, though the regular duck is also very good. The menu never seems to change, but we have always liked whichever entree we order.

                      I do like the apple tart with caramel sauce for dessert, though the chocolate thing with the melted middle is good.

                      Yes, the surroundings are very plain, but we like the food. I would save Marigold for when you have an evening to dine - sometimes the courses come slowly.

                      1. Whatever you do DO NOT eat at World Cafe Live. Last time I was there it was atrocious, although they since changed the chef and menu, but there's so many great little spots aroudn U City you shouldn't go to WCL. La Terasse, Pod, Nan, Marigold Kitchen.. What kind of food/price range are you looking for in particular?

                        1. Thanks again for all of the great suggestions!

                          We wound up eating at Nan and were not disappointed. Since we arrived late (traffic), we were only able to try the Pad Thai and the Chicken Satay, both of which were just right. My wife also really enjoyed the Thai Iced Tea.

                          With regard to the WCL, we had previously eaten there (last year), and were extremely dissatisfied. My pulled pork sandwich was 98% fat. As indicated by adamlouis, it did appear that the menu had changed.

                          We finished the night off with a stop by the Franklin Fountain. A little disappointing, but only because our expectations were so high.

                          Anyway thanks again! We had a great evening in Philly.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: pittpanther

                            Thanks so much for reporting back. Most of the time, we all give suggestions and never find out "what happened." Glad you enjoyed Nan.