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10 best restaurants in Montgomery County

Greetings to fellow hounds out there! I am pleased to be a new "hound" to the Philadelphia area. My wife and I are looking for the 10 best restaurants in Mont CO to entertain our taste buds with a few rules: 1) taste is absolute 2) plate prices should be reasonable (i.e. $10-20)3)they should be in the burbs of phila. I can't wait to hear your suggestions! Viva la chow!

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  1. As Mont Co is large, be a bit more specific to what area you are in/around, especially since some good restaurants border

    2 Replies
    1. re: pamd

      Hello pamd. As to narrow the region I am around the Royersford area but am quite adventurous as far as distance goes. Thanks for the post!

      1. re: qkalis

        I second all of the recomendations you have received, but you need to add Majolica in Phoenixville to your list. It's a tiny, chef-owned BYO that has food on par with any of the top Center City restaurants (as well as places like Savona). The menu is small, and changes with the seasons, but the food is unreal. I couldn't recomend it more highly.

    2. Arpeggio (a BYOB in Spring House), comes up a lot on the PA board (deservedly). Great value, excellent food.


      3 Replies
      1. re: Karen K

        I second Arpeggio in Spring House. However, it tends to get a bit loud in there.

        I've always had success with La Campagnola in Lansdale, on South Broad Street. Also Cravings Cafe in North Wales, on Welsh Road, they have an eclectic menu and really great gourmet meals for a strip-mall restaurant.

        1. re: QueenB

          La Campagnola has the unfriendliest staff I've every encountered.

          1. re: dmstype

            I love the staff - they are a little different but it's a family owned restaurant and it feels like you're eating with family. GREAT food - MUST get the specials!!

      2. BTW, you should also look at the replies to the posting about dinner recommendations within 30 minutes of Ambler or Warminster.

        1. try Black Lab in Phoenixville- great food! (actually Chester Co, but not far from Royersford) Also, Twin Bays Cafe- oh, but the plate prices are a bit higher at these.

          If you like Indian cuisine- definitely hit Malvern area (Indian Row)- plenty of threads on here about the different restaurants. Also, hit Classic Diner for breakfast or lunch (only open until 3pm daily)- it's great (not really a diner)

          1. The Columbia House is right near you, in Royersford I think.
            We have been there twice and the food and service were good.
            Also, The Sly Fox Brewery has two locations, if you like microbrewpubs. It has actually been better than it had been, as far as food goes. Usually it is the other way around!

            Good luck!

            2 Replies
            1. re: munch_kin

              Columbia Bar and Grill is in Phoenixville, Chester County. Plate prices for dinner are in the $20-mid$30 range.

              1. re: Philly

                Thanks for the clarification.
                We were there for lunch only, so far.

            2. If you hop on 422E to 76E and get off at the Gulph Mills Exit, you will be on your way to Savona, a really nice restaurant. Good, inventive food and nice atmosphere. It may be 35 mins or so from you, and is a but pricy but for a special occasion it is perfect.

              1. I am not sure how far ooka is but its worth the trip

                3 Replies
                1. re: peck

                  Ooka is excellent! Really great lunch deals too.

                  1. re: peck

                    worth the trip for the sweet potato tempura rolls alone! mmm.....

                    1. re: peck

                      They just opened a location in Montgomeryville on Route 309, just north of the Montgomery Mall.

                    2. We're in Phoenixville and our favorites are Twin Bays right off of Rt 23 and Funky 'Lil Kitchen in Pottstown. We were just at the latter two weekends ago and it was fabulous.
                      For Japanese/Korean we love Bonjung in Collegeville. Amazing sushi and incredible main dishes. We were there last night and had another delicious meal. I had Sukiyaki, my husband had Katsu and our 3-year old had a kid's Bento Box. We were so pleased with how everything tasted and with the friendly staff.

                      1. I think there are alot of great restaurants in Mont Co., you just have to know where to look. Here are my personal favorites:

                        Best Upscale:
                        Bridgets at 8 West (Ambler) - great upscale steakhouse, center city feel. Great food, has an asian/hawaiian flair. Great seafood specials, great steak. Nice atmosphere with dark wood bar and fixtures. Good wine list, great martinis.

                        Alison at Blue Bell (Blue Bell) - small BYO, minimalist decor. Amazing food, seasonal menu. Great seafood, great desserts.

                        Best Mexican:
                        La Cava (Ambler) - High end mexican. Small intimate restaurant. Great whole fish specials.

                        Tamarindos (Blue Bell) - Another great mexican, delicous food. More "lively" than La Cava, free margaritas and party atmosphere on weekends.

                        Best Romantic:
                        Trax Cafe (Ambler) - small renovated train station, intimate/candle-lit feel. Great food, I guess it goes towards american classic. Small outdoor patio for warm weather dining.

                        Best Italian:
                        Ristorante Castello - Great homemade pasta, upscale atmosphere. I definitely recommend the gnocci!

                        I also second the recommendations for Arpeggio and Ooka... both are great!

                        1. Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions everyone. It seems like this post has wound down so I will just summarize the suggestions for anyone new: (in no particular order)

                          1)Majolica: Phoenixville
                          2)Arpeggio: Spring House
                          3)La Campagnola: Lansdale
                          4)Cravings Cafe: North Wales
                          5)Black Lab Bistro: Phoenixville
                          6)Twin Bays Cafe: Phoenixville
                          7)Classic Diner: ? (limited hours)
                          8)Columbia Bar and Grill: Phoenixville
                          9)Sly Fox Brewery: Royersford and ?
                          10)Savona: Gulph Mills
                          11)Ooka: ?
                          12)Funky 'Lil Kitchen: Pottstown
                          13)Bonjung: Collegeville
                          14)Bridgets at 8 West: Ambler
                          15)Alison at Blue Bell: Blue Bell
                          16)La Cava: Ambler
                          17)Tamarindos: Blue Bell
                          18)Trax Cafe: Ambler
                          19)Ristorante Castello: ?

                          Feel free to add if anymore come to mind.
                          Ciao` 'hounds!

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: qkalis

                            Don't forget to add Ravenna to your list! It's in Worcester, PA and a wonderful BYOB.

                            1. re: Hellolaura

                              I forgot about Ravenna, great restaurant!

                              1. re: AmblerGirl

                                Ravenna and the Slyfox....save your chow allowance for the others. Went to Ravenna twice and won't get fooled again. The Sly fox in sly because it took my cash in exchange for a fish fry that was more like a fish oil soak.

                            2. re: qkalis

                              Ooka can be found in Willow Grove. They also have a location in Doylestown, Bucks County.

                              1. re: qkalis

                                I think the mainland inn (mainland, pa which is really Harleysville, Skippack, area) is the best restaurant in Montco. Im pretty sure that they were voted this way for zagat too. I go there for every special occassion or for drinks downstairs in the tavern with work friends. I think this list should absolutely include it.

                              2. My vote would go to Savona and Alison's. Definite no for Ooka.

                                1. Alison - Blue Bell
                                  San Marco - Springhouse
                                  Savona - Gulph Mills
                                  Susanna Foo - Radnor
                                  Blue Fin - Plymouth
                                  From the Boot - Whitemarsh

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Den

                                    I was just as Blue Fin for the first time in a few weeks and each time we go I'm just delighted. I still can't believe that such lovely sushi comes from so unlikely an occasion.

                                    BTW the butcher in that shopping center is also very good.

                                  2. I think Carambola in Dresher is one of the better restaurants in Montco. And as far as pub grub goes, Union Jack's in North Hills (Glenside) can't be beat.

                                    1. I second many which were already mentioned, and would add to the list:

                                      - Blue Sage Grille in Southampton... awesome veggie fare (no fakemeat in sight!)
                                      - Yantze in Hatfield... amazing Chinese, everything is so fresh and light and delicious
                                      - Aman's in East Norriton... my favorite Indian (zero atmosphere, though)

                                      1. Though not technically in Montco (about 15 min away), I would add Birchrunville Store Cafe to your list as I am confident it will be in the top tier of your list.

                                        1. Ariana's on North Wales Road near the Mongomery Mall. Very good non-pretentious Italian. Excellent veal dishes; $20 gets you soup or salad, an entree of four big, tender slices of veal and a side of spaghetti or vegetables. There are often discount coupons for Ariana's in the Clipper magazine. BYOB. I hear the pizza is good too.

                                          1. Try Alison At Bluebell. The chef is wonderful and her menu is full of surprises. She has a liquor license and it is BYOB. The website should explain it all http://www.alisonatbluebell.com/. Another favorite is Spring Mill Cafe on Barrel Hill Road. The owner is eccentric, the food is french country and the atmosphere is romantic. http://www.springmill.com/spring.htm. Worth the trip.

                                            1. If you haven't allready, you should totally try Blackfish in Conshohocken!! You won't be disappointed!!

                                              1. I second Savona and Ooka -- totally different, but each wonderful, particularly Savona which has been excellent in every way each time I've been there. If you are willing to travel a little to further out to Doylestown (I noticed you specified Mont. Co. and not Bucks, but I just have to say it) Slate Bleu is absolutely fantastic!

                                                1. Myrna's on Rte202 in Blue Bell is very good ... Zagat Rated. BYOB

                                                  1. I had a superb dinner the other night at Margot's in Narberth. It is in the location vacated by Carmine's when they moved to Bryn Mawr. BYO and very reasonable.

                                                    1. Ristorante Castello has gone major Downhill

                                                      Here is a copy of my unanswered email:

                                                      I wanted to let you know we were very disappointed in our recent meal at the Ristorante.
                                                      My parents wanted to go there to celebrate their 42nd Wedding Anniversary.

                                                      The Timbale used to be wonderful with lump crab.
                                                      Now the Timbale should be re-written to have Tomato as the primary ingredient not crab. The crab is not worth discussing in it. It is a minor ingredient.

                                                      The pasta is the same delicious quality as always, however your Lobster Ravioli now taste like crabcakes and the scallops were overdone - seafood shouldn't be chewy.
                                                      The sauce was also slightly spicy - strange for a pink sauce when the taste is usually sweet. Perhaps there was a mixing with the Diavlo?

                                                      The Salmon Diavlo was too spicy for my father who loves spicy. He didn't eat the salmon at the restaurant. Unknown as to whether he will actually eat it.

                                                      I ordered your lamb dish medium to medium well. I recieved it medium rare - when pressed i got blood. I cut several pieces to check . I packed it up to take home and cook additonally or give to my brother who doesn't mind rare meat.

                                                      My brother had the sole and for something as incongrous as sole it was magnificent.
                                                      Fresh and full of flavor.

                                                      My mother had the tilapia with shitake and crab on top. We were hard pressed to find any crab on the dish whatsoever. She did ask the waiter who assured her it was there however it wasn't evident. There was however a lot of sauce - more than you would expect for your type of restaurant.

                                                      My mother just threw up - the culprit she believes is the souffle which had no souf - it was a dense cake - the opposite of what a souffle is all about.

                                                      The creme brulee was excellent as always.

                                                      Service was good - but when he realized that my mother had a question about her dish he didn't question the rest of us about ours to ensure we were happy. Don't ask don't tell policy.

                                                      Prices - it easy to see why you have no half hour/one hour wait and why most people choose to frequent somewhere else. Your prices are a little higher than what frankly are better, busier restaurants.

                                                      We shall join them and go downtown or elsewhere next time.

                                                      1. For the best cheesesteak you'll ever have, Pudge's on Route 202 in East Norriton.


                                                        7 Replies
                                                        1. re: Redstone

                                                          Second Pudge's vote! The hardest part of eating at Pudge's is waiting for your piping hot sandwich to cool before you can eat it! Longest two minutes ever!

                                                          1. re: givemecarbs

                                                            Pudge's cold hoagies are great also. We always pick up a few on the way to the Phillies games. Sure beats paying ballpark prices and we know the food will be good.

                                                            1. re: dmstype

                                                              I agree Pudge's cold hoagies are great but I find lately that they are putting too much meat in the hoagies. I feel that there could be a better balance. Recently Olde Philadelphia Sandwich Shop in Jenkintown has made me some wonderful hoagies. They use Boars Head cold cuts and red onion which makes a big difference in taste to me.

                                                              1. re: stirzthepot

                                                                Bruno's in Lafayette Hill has to be the dirtiest restaurant in the area. It was disgusting. The tables that were wiped off were grimy with grease and food crusted on them. Same with the counter. Absolutely do not look behind the counter to the grill side. It is one big grease splatter everywhere back there. There is no way that place gets thoroughly cleaned at the end of each day as it should.
                                                                Worse, the chef/manager/owner dropped a container of cut lemons on to the floor where he was cooking and actually put them back in the container and into a fridge thinking no one sitting at the counter would notice. He then took money from a patron in his bare hand and proceeded to pick up a roll for something on the grill with the same hand. What happened to serve safe regulations? This person was grumpy and was very short with his employees and quests. The employees completely reflect his terrible demeanor. I am so disgusted by my experience I am thinking of reporting it to the health dept.

                                                                1. re: misexec

                                                                  Wow that sucks misexec! I've been reading about the restaurant industry having hard times, I think the fine dining places are in the worst trouble but there could be hard times for more casual places too. I'd like to think we are in for some Darwinism, with only the fit surviving, but I bet this place will be still prospering when the dust finally settles, while some more worthy eateries become extinct.

                                                              2. re: dmstype

                                                                I also think Pudge's has great cheesesteaks & hoagies. Also, Bruno's in Lafayette Hill (right across Germantown Pike from Chestnut Hill College) has terrific hoagies and breakfast is also really good there (be prepared to wait during the weekend).

                                                                1. re: bucksguy14

                                                                  Was in Pudge's the other day for a cheesesteak. The meat was sooo good. I noticed they are moving. When I saw the sign on the door my heart skipped a beat or three. But not to worry, it is only to the next shopping center over where Pepperidge Farm is and all. And nosy me I had to ask why, they said a little more room and they are replacing the gold and silver buying joint. December 1st they move I think.

                                                          2. Hands down, the finest restaurant I've yet to eat in in Montco is Hotel Fiesole in Skippack. Very authentic Tuscan fare and environment. You won't be disappointed

                                                            1. If you love seafood and/or you're dining with someone who requires a gluten-free meal, Legal Seafoods at King of Prussia Mall is terrific. Aren't many places to grab gluten-free besides Outback and PF Chang's.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Marisha

                                                                Marisha, I'd disagree with your assumption that there "aren't many places to grab gluten-free". My wife was mis-diagnosed as having celiac disease (unfortunately just before we left for Paris a couple of years ago) and I don't recall one restaurant that would not go out of their way to alter a recipe to accommodate her request. If you'll just ask the server and/or manager, I'm sure you'll find that most chefs are willing to adjust. The first place we asked was Slate Bleu in Doylestown, and Mark was very willing to do whatever needed to be done to change any dish on the menu. From that point on, we never hesitated to ask and were never turned down. You don't have to be fearful about asking - the worst that can happen is you'll wind up going somewhere else where they're happy to help!

                                                              2. Might not make it to 10 - but here are my faves -

                                                                [1] Bocelli's - Lower Gwynedd - small BYOB with great Italian food. They prepare fish better than any place I have ever been.
                                                                [2] El Sarape - Blue Bell - awesome margarita's and not your standard Mexican fare.
                                                                [3] Bluefin - Plymouth Meeting - great sushi - I can walk from my house which makes it even better!
                                                                [4] Blackfish - Conshohocken - another BYOB - a great dining experience
                                                                [5] Arpeggio's - SpringHouse - although I think they have lost something since they expanded
                                                                [6] Brassiere 73 - Skippack - for those special dinners

                                                                I'll have to meditate on 7 thru 10 - I am getting too hungry

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: Betharu

                                                                  Bluefin is closed til further notice due to a fire in their shopping center.

                                                                  El Sarape pales in comparison to their sister restaurant in Chalfont Los Sarapes. Do not recomment El Serape.

                                                                  Arpeggios is good for lunch. I would not recommend for dinner.


                                                                  1. re: cwdonald

                                                                    Take it for what it's worth, but Bon Jung in Collegeville won the Times Herald's top sushi restaurant in Montgomery county in 2008.

                                                                    Personally I think their rolls are very good, but I'm not a fan of how thick they cut their sashimi.

                                                                    1. re: mitchh

                                                                      The Guard House in Gladwyne is spectacular! I love the food there.

                                                                  2. re: Betharu

                                                                    We had a wonderful dinner last night at Bocelli's. What a gem that place is!
                                                                    First, they take reservations which is a huge convenience.
                                                                    Second, the food. We ordered the Insalata alla Funghi (fairly standard salad, with white mushrooms - but wonderful parmigiano reggiano sliced ontop and a lovely lemony salad dressing); a timbale special appetized made with avocado, crabmeat, and smoked salmon(very rich); the crab ravioli in pink sauce (my husband forced himself to eat the last one even though he was getting full since they were so good); red snapper alla putanesca (wonderful big piece of fish, very flavorful and rich (but no cream) sauce with tomato, capers, olives); cannoli (excellent, fresh) and fruitti di bosco tart (good - not stellar). Before we ordered they brought us garlicky bruschetta as a free amuse bouche. After ordering, they brought us a taste of ricotta filled cannelloni in pink sauce that was outrageous. And at the end of the meal, we were brought (free) shots of homemade limoncello.
                                                                    Third - the prices. While salads/appetizers were somewhat higher than other restaurants ($7-12), the pasta and main courses were very reasonable ($14-18 on average). My red snapper was the special and was $23. All in all, our dinner was just under $100 including tip and tax. Not bad for a lovely meal.
                                                                    Fouth - the Italian gentleman (owner?) who seated us was gracious, helpful, and when he heard it was my birthday, brought my dessert with a candle and proceeded to sing along with my husband (to my great amusement and embarassment).
                                                                    Fifth - this place is cute! Not fancy, but definitely a step up from many other spots we've been to lately. Not too noisy, not too quiet, I could definitely see bringing well-behaved kids here for a special night out.

                                                                    1. re: kiwijen

                                                                      We adore Bocelli! We were a party of 12 there recently and they did not miss a beat. The food is always fabulous.

                                                                      1. re: kiwijen

                                                                        Glad you had a great dinner at Bocelli's. It is one of my all time favorites and Rafael - the owner - always makes dinner very special. He was doing the limoncello shots with my friend and I at our birthday dinner!

                                                                        I am usually there once or twice a month and always enjoy myself. Come to think of it - I am due for a visit soon!