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recs for a grown-up night out in philly

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With many thanks to the grandparents, the spouse and I will be enjoying a day and night out on the town in Feb. What a nice change from the 'burbs!

We've been to Tria, Matysons and the Public House and enjoyed them all (especially Tria - spent an entire rainy afternoon there!) but would like to try something new. We'll definitely do Fugo de Chao on another trip.

I've made dinner reservations at Amada as a fall back.

Does anyone have any recs. for . . .

1. a relaxing, yummy lunch - BYOB or decent wine list/beer selection a must

2. dinner in place of Amada - BYOB OK

3. alternatives to the Contintental or Plough and Stars for pre/post dinner drinks.

Spouse does not drink wine (yes, it is a bummer).

We're going to be staying near city hall but are willing to drive or take a cab.

TIA,
FlashDog

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  1. What day of the week are you planning this for? That may affect your lunch options.

    I personally really enjoy Amada and think it makes for a good place for a special night out. Does your spouse drink other beverages, other than wine? Meaning, would she enjoy a place that had a full bar more than a BYO?

    If you'd prefer a BYO, I'd recommend Lolita on S. 13th St. Not far from your hotel. If you'd prefer something other than Amada, but not BYO, perhaps Ansill, another small plates place, which I haven't tried, but have heard wonderful things about.

    Depending on the price-location-atmosphere you want for pre/post dinner drinks... you might want to choose something closer to your hotel and not in Old City (which, overall, I wouldn't describe as "grown-up"). Maybe a pre-dinner drink at the bar at the Ritz-Carlton or Loew's hotel bar (SoleFood). If you want something more lively, El Vez at 13th and Sansom for a margarita.

    If you're willing to get yourself to Rittenhouse Square before or after dinner, perhaps you'd like to grab a drink/snack/dessert at SnackBar, just off the square on 20th Street. Another new place that's getting great initial reviews.

    1 Reply
    1. re: urbanfabric

      These are EXCELLENT reccomendations. Agree that drinks in Old City would be a mistake and it would be nice to stay in the Center City area.
      There are big production restaurants that are a little older (Amada, El Vez, Sole Food) and smaller, quirkly, interesting options (Lolita, Ansill, Snack Bar. Matyson).

    2. drinks/snacks at Snackbar, followed by dinner at Matyson or Caffe Casta Diva, both byo.

      1. Amada is good, but expensive. In my opinion, there are better options, in terms of the price/quality ratio. My personal favorite is Figs (a BYOB). When the owner isn't in, it can be iffy (usually on Tuesday and Wednesday nights), but when he is, it's usually fabulous, friendly, and affordable.

        For lunch, I'd recommend Monk's: great burgers, great fries, great mussels, and an outstanding beer list.

        I'd definitely steer clear of Old City, as well as the Continental. Lolita is goot, but not great. And El Vez . . . well, I'm not a fan.

        1. many thanks! I just reviewed some of the many posts about Monk's, and it sounds like a great place for lunch!

          In response to the questions, 1. the spouse drinks anything but wine (and I am willing to bring beer or booze to a BYOB), and 2. it's a saturday afternoon/night.

          does that make a difference to anyone?

          is Amada opening a sister rest.? I saw something on the open table website when I made reservations.

          1. If you enjoyed Tria for drinks, I would recommend Vintage Wine Bar - it's right next to El Vez (13th & Sansom) and walkable for any CC dinner you choose.

            http://www.vintage-philadelphia.com/

            I know your wife doesn't drink wine, but I think she would be very impressed with the beer options available.

            1. You've gotten some great suggestions. I'm in the same boat (stuck in the burbs with kids with occasional foodie getaways into CC) and have really enjoyed Amada. Here are a few more:

              Another great lunch spot is Good Dog or, if you want more upscale, Estia has a lovely atmosphere and fantastic fish.

              For small, relatively relaxed but yummy BYOBs, check out either Mandoline (on the same block as Amada, the must try appetizer is lobster truffle mac and cheese) or Bistro 7.

              For dessert/snack places either in the afternoon or after dinner, there is either Capogiro (2 locations depending where you are) and the Naked Chocolate Cafe.

              1. I agree with many of the recommendations, except for Lolita and El Vez. El Vez is attractive, but the food is bland. Even if Lolita had consistently good food (it doesn't and the quality of their meat and fish is very poor), I would skip this restaurant. Many of my friends wanted to try Lolita so I have, unfortunately, been there a few times. Each time, the head hostess (and co-owner) treated us very poorly. I assume in what is an effort to make as much $ as possible, she rushes you through dinner and asks you to leave the second you have eaten your last bite. The last time I was there a waiter accidentially poured some kind of red salsa down my back as he was passing by. The owners did not offer to reimburse me for my dry cleaning costs (the shirt was ruined) and, even though the hostess saw what had happened, she did not apologize.
                Instead, you should try Radicchio. Great, quality food and a fun atmosphere.