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Dinner within 30 minutes from Ambler or Warminster

Any suggestions for great food at reasonable prices? We are from Maryland but will be in the area in the next few weeks.

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  1. The Blue Sage in Southampton is fantastic, vegetarian, and reasonable. Vegetarian or not (I'm not), it's the best food in the area.

    1. Thanks, Is it totally vegetarian...some of my family must have meat!!!

      1. If they gotta have meat, then don't go there, there's no meat on the menu. They do use dairy, though.

        1. I would suggest JB Dawson's. It is in Plymouth Meeting (near The PA turnpike entrance and Route 476). 10 minutes from Ambler. Check out the menu at www.jbdawsons.com/
          They have something for everyone. Great casual dining.

          Trax Cafe at the Ambler Train station is supposed to be good, too. www.traxcafe.com/

          5 minutes from Ambler. This is an excellent restaurant: Arpeggio: BYOB I know at lunch they only take reservations for tables of 6 or more.Arpeggio located at the Springhouse Village Center, at Bethlehem Pike at Norristown Rd. (near Clemens) - map Spring House, PA 19477 215.646.5055 ...Call and they can fax you a menu.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Displaced California Foodie

            I would describe Trax as passable in a pinch. I have been twice and have not been impressed. Quite expensive also. I went based upon positive reviews on this board and left very disappointed.

            San Marco in Springhouse and From the Boot in Lafayette Hill are two good Italian options. Also in Springhouse is Arpeggio which has a very good Italian/Mediterranean menu. They don't take reservations though.

            1. re: Displaced California Foodie

              We've had many lovely meals at Trax in Ambler. Not cheap, but good. It's small so make sure you have a reservation.

              1. Trax Cafe in Ambler, baby! Steve's free range chickens served French style with carmelized onions are out of this world!!

                1. The San Marco, on Bethlehem Pike in Springhouse, is 3 minutes from downtown Ambler and is excellent. The best choice in Ambler is La Cava - excellent Mexican BYOB, but there are several other good restaurants there. Another good restaurant in the area is Zake's, on Bethlehem Pike, in Fort Washington, 5 min from downtown Ambler. If you want a longer drive, 10 min away is Carambola, on Limekiln Pike, in the Dresher Shopping Center. There are two other good Mexican Restaurants on Skippack Pike - Tamarindos and Los Serapes - if you want to take a 15 min drive. Tamarindos is BYOB, while Los Serapes is not.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JohnnyT

                    I had a very good meal at La Cucina Fanti last week. It is located in Horsham/Maple Glen at 63 and Norristown Road. I had their dinner special of Chicken Cacciatore and it was very good and it was only $8. Typically, their entrees are $12-$16. They also have pizza and sandwiches.

                  2. Clarification on "reasonable prices" would be helpful... But based on my own interpretation, here are my thoughts.

                    In Ambler, La Cava is a great choice. Haute Mexican white tablecloth BYOB. Prices are high end for Mexican with many entrees in the $20 range, but you save on the BYOB aspect.

                    Several have mentioned Arpeggio in Spring House. I agree it is one of the better options in the area-- try their sampler app. Love their wood-burning oven pizzas too.

                    For great sushi, try Sushikazu in Blue Bell (at 73 & 202). Again, you can easily spend an average of $20-30 and up here, but it is BYOB. I would also suggest Ooka in Willow Grove.

                    For good breakfasts & Jewish deli food, go to Pumpernicks on 309 in Montgomeryville. You'll find some recent postings about this place.

                    As mentioned, La Cucina Fanti in Maple Glen is great for Italian. I also really like Maple Glen Pizza for takeout pizza.

                    The Persian Grill in Lafayette Hill is excellent. McNally's in Chestnut Hill is a standby for home-cooked pub food-- sandwiches, soups, etc. They're reknown for their "Schmitter" sandwich, a twist on the cheesesteak. For takeout, there are a couple of great Jamaican spots on Easton Road/Wadsworth, just off of Cheltenham.

                    I don't know much about Warminster, but you are not too far from the New Hope/Lambertville area, which has some great places too.

                    1. There are so many great options in the area...

                      Trax is a great BYO, delicous food, moderate proces. Great, intimate atmosphere. I'm not sure if there are childern in your family that you are bringing, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it if you have childern.

                      Agave is a good option on Butler Avenue. Tex Mex, fun relaxed atmosphere, great margaritas. If you are looking for something more upscale, I definitely second the recommendation for La Cava. Upscale mexican, delicous food, definitely recommend their whole fish dishes. BYO. More intimate atmosphere.

                      I'd also second the recommendation for Arpeggio in Springhouse. They have great wood fired pizza.

                      The two places I would NOT recommend that were previously mentioned are San Marco and JB Dawson's. San Marco is ridiculously pretentious and overpriced. The prices are nowhere near reasonable. If you want italian, you should go to From the Boot. Also, would not recommend JB Dawson's. Its not bad, but it's nothing more than a chain.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: AmblerGirl

                        I agree with Ambler girl on San Marco - very pretentious and overpriced - not to mention rude. Not somewhere I would normally take children - but I did on a Tues. evening as it was my birthday and they treated us like we had the plaque. We sat for 25 minutes with no acknowledgment whatsoever. No drinks, bread, or even the specials read. We ended up leaving. My son was quiet compared to the neighboring table - he just wanted to eat. I ate there before food was good but there are many other Italian restaurants that I would recommend over this - Arpeggio's, Paganini's (Doylestown), Domani Star (Doylestown), and La Cucina (Maple Glen).

                        I also agree with La Cava is the best for upscale Mexican - the owner Carlos - very funny and personable. Food is fantastic and worth the price! Everything is fresh and made when ordered. One of my favorites!! Make sure you make a reservation though - it is small and you usually need a reservation - especially on the weekend.

                      2. I would agree with AmblerGirl, Not sure that San Marco would be considered a reasonable priced restaurant and the staff does have a hint of arrogance. And JB Dawson's is just like a Houlihans or other nicer chain restaurant.

                        Not to far from Ambler I would recommend: Tamarindo's for Mexican; it's BYOB and they offer Free margaritas. Ravenna in Center Square for Italian. And I've heard good things about Bourbon in Blue Bell, but I still haven't had the chance to try it out.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: EE2000

                          I haven't gone into Bourbon yet - for some reason it is not appealling. But we go to Korea Garden at least once a week. Their food is fantastic and even the least adventurous eater will love the barbecue that you cook on a fire right at your table. On a cold winter night, their Kimchi Chigae is out of this world! They have a liquor license now and a very limited selection of wine and beer but you are still permitted to bring your own with a small corkage fee.

                          1. re: EE2000

                            Ravenna has been closed for at least 6 months and has been replaced by Zacchariah's Creekside Cafe. I've heard good things, but haven't been there as of yet.

                            Can't say I was a big fan of Tamarindo's. The free margaritas are a nice touch, but the food was mediocre at best IMO.

                            1. re: mitchh

                              It was probably open whenn EE2000 posted 12 months ago.

                              1. re: Philly

                                Sorry about that. I just noticed the year of the post was 2006 and not 2007.

                          2. Unfortunately our favorite dishes (the kalbi and the dolsot bi bimbop) at Korea Garden have deteriorated since around the time they got their liquor license (8 mos ago?). Even the kimchi seems tired - fewer varieties. As it happens, my 5yo daughter and I tried these again tonite - she's still happy with the kalbi, but I'm eyeing some of the newer Korean hole-in-the-wall places that have opened up a bit south on 202.

                            30' from Ambler can take you to our own weekly staples: Nadia Thai at Lansdale station, where the duck, fish, and vegetarian curries are great; or
                            Abacus (Chinese) at 363 & Sumneytown Pike, where the shrimp are great
                            Bluefin Sushi on Germantown Pike west of Plymouth Meeting

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: alanalan

                              You should try August Moon in Norristown, it is also good. They make an amazing kimchi bokum with pork. We like Korea Garden, and go there quite often but they are definitely erratic. Try the pork and octopus from the Special Dishes section of the menu, they are really good. Also, do try the Kimchi Chigae if winter ever returns!

                              I agree that Bluefin is great and look forward to trying Nadia Thai - I've often wondered if it is any good. For Chinese we like Golden Sea in Blue Bell.

                              Oh - re. Korean hole-in-the-walls, we tried the place at the far end of the plaza where Sae Han is located and were not at all pleased. That was at least three years ago, so if you go please post an update!

                            2. Friendly Pho, and Thai, too at the newly-opened Pho Thai Nam Restaraunt, 1510 DeKalb Pike, Whitpain Shopping Center (Route 202) in Blue Bell (Tel: 610.272.3935) (sometimes closed sundays). I thanked the owner for making Vietnamese pho (cellophane noodle soups) that is so non-greasy that they are easy for westerners like myself to love, and he swore he'd continue ("for our hearts") and will expand the soup menu. The Thai dishes (summer rolls for the vegetarian wife, grilled chicken for the 5yo) were OK. You must order: the (nonsweet) red bean and (sweet) ices dessert - a fine example of the layering of diverse textures & colorful strata in a parfait glass, a South Asian treat from the Phillipines to Thailand. Stay tuned...

                              1. there is a tiny place called agostos (maybe agustos) in warminster near the old firehouse.

                                1. Bourbon is ok, I have been there several times. It is not near as expensive as Morton's steakhouse but the menu is simliar. The food is ok but the service is not the best, they always seem to be shorthanded and not the most professional. I had the ribeye with BBQ sauce and it was good. The creme brulee is the best I ever had.
                                  After reading these posts, I want to try La Cava and Trax now.

                                  1. Carambola, a BYO in Limekiln Pike is a great spot. (http://www.carambolabyo.com/)

                                    1. I would suggest Zacharias creekside cafe. It is a new byob in the area that has very substantial portions for the price. The cuisine is new American and they have a wide range of selections. They are located in Worcester. Check out the web site.........................I have always had a great experience

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: fanofood

                                        I would definitely second Arpeggio and if you do go to Trax, make sure to take out a second mortgage before you go. Perhaps one of the most expensive meals I have had in the area and the quality did not match.

                                      2. Blue Sky Cafe in the Hillcrest plaza (Germantown Pike, Norristown) is very good. They bill themselves as Carribean influenced. The slash and burn fish is good and the jerk chicken is tasty and a bargain at $14 for a half chicken. All dishes come with starch (usually rice and beans) and vegetables. We've eaten there several times and have had good meals. They are not BYOB.

                                        1. I cant plug this place enough....Magnolia Cafe....BYOB....Horsham Road in Horsham across frm Willow Grove Naval grounds..

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: layla529

                                            I highly recommend Blackfish in Conshohocken which is within 1/2 hr from Ambler.