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Valentine's Day - Montco or surrounding areas

AmblerGirl Jan 13, 2007 04:49 PM

My husband and I are planning to go out to dinner on Valentines Day and are hoping to find a nice, romantic restaurant with reasonable prices (BYO would be good) in Montco or surrounding areas. Center City might not be an option since we do not want to battle traffic since it is a weeknight (though we are open to other areas of the city such as Chestnut Hill, etc.).

Our biggest fear is that we are going to go to a restaurant that is normally good, but wants to pack in the customers and hike up prices because it is Valentine's Day. We went to San Marco in Springhouse last year and had a horrible experience - they overbooked the restaurant, made us wait over an hour for our reservation, packed in the tables, offred a limited menu at nearly double their normally high prices, offered horrible service. I'm afraid of going somewhere that is going to happen again. After last year's debacle, I vowed to stay in on Valentine's Day but my husband really wants to go out.

So, any suggestions for a great restaurant that does not totally take advantage of its customers on Valentines Day?

  1. rabidog Jan 13, 2007 07:54 PM

    i feel EXACTLY the same way about the v-day ripoffs.

    give pepperoncini in conshohocken (elm and poplar) a call to inquire if they are serving their regular menu. great romantic little spot; get a table in the back room if you can. good mid-range italian-american place. everyone here seems to unanimously love their food.

    a place i was considering trying this v-day myself (v-day automatically translates to italian cuisine for me, for some reason) is a place highly recommended here - from the boot in lafayette hill. i've never been there myself; anyone have any comments on ambiance?

    1 Reply
    1. re: rabidog
      p
      pamd Jan 16, 2007 02:03 PM

      I would not consider From the Boot a place of romantic ambiance. They actually are a very small restaurant, and while we always go for meals, they do a great amount of their business on the pizza (eat in & carry-out). More of a family reataurant. I do love certain meals there, but disappointed that they no longer include the salad with meals. If not V-day, definitely try it some time (great eggplant parm)

    2. Sloth Jan 13, 2007 08:16 PM

      Second Pepperoncini. Went there for New Years Eve early seating. They offered a limited menu (not a prix fixe)but all 5 of our group enjoyed the food (pastas, crab/artichoke risotto, veal), wine and atmosphere. One couple in the back dining area was certainly acting like it was Valentine's Day, but not in an annoying way. I had previous problems with their sound system (music too loud, intrusive TV noise)but this time it was fine. The staff are friendly and will answer any questions/concerns you have. One caveat, smoking is allowed at the bar so if that's an issue look elsewhere.

      Whatever you choose, I recommend at least a walk-in to check it out first. Your taste may not be ours and unexpected surprises on a romantic night out can wreck the evening.

      1. rabidog Jan 13, 2007 08:26 PM

        yes, it's because of the smoking and the noise levels from the bar that i will always recommend eating in the back dining room. the front dining room is fine for me, as smoking doesn't bother me, but i know it bothers many and you will not be affected by it in the back dining room. i keep forgetting montco's not banned smoking like phila. i wonder if this drives a lot of business to the burbs? i suppose that's another discussion altogether.

        crab/artichoke risotto --- i think i remember this being a special addition to the menu the last time i went, but i would absolutely recommend asking for this dish. best risotto i've ever had.

        1. Peghead Jan 15, 2007 11:51 PM

          Ah yes, the V day rip off. I stopped going out years ago. I'd say go the nite before. It's just a date.

          Chow!

          1. rabidog Jan 16, 2007 03:13 AM

            ah, i would be inclined to agree, but the pre-planning of a night in, i've found, gives me cabin fever and makes we want to go OUT even more! regularly i eat out five times a week for lunch, five times a week for dinner, and once or twice a week for brunch. staying in is often more of an effort than its worth when your pantry is stocked accordingly. ("well, it's... rice, or... saltines... or... (cupboard lazy susan comes full circle)... uhm, rice.")

            after someone else's mention of the crab/artichoke risotto at pepperoncini, though, i've most definitely decided that is the place i'll be visiting. i moved from conshy back in august, so we'll probably also drive past the former house for "old times" sake (we only lived there for a year, so its hardly old times!).

            valentine's day or not, i highly suggest you give pepperoncini a try, if only for a test-run of the real v-day. the FREE salad that comes with every entree is worth it alone. we used to have such wonderful evenings there.

            1. AmblerGirl Jan 31, 2007 06:59 AM

              Thanks. Any idea of the price for the four course meal?

              1. Den Jan 31, 2007 07:03 AM

                You may also want to consider Ristorante Castello Di Mediterraneo in North Wales. It's run by a former San Marco guy named Habib and its alos BYO.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Den
                  c
                  choplee9 Feb 19, 2008 06:33 AM

                  Ristorante Castello is no longer BYOB. The should provide notification having only recently received the license.We had a horrible V-day service there, to top it off.

                  1. re: choplee9
                    l
                    Laura D. Feb 19, 2008 10:11 AM

                    I was supposed to go there for a late Valentine's Dinner on Saturday night, but unfortunately drove around for over an hour and never found the place meaning we had to cancel our reservations. Perhaps I didn't miss much...

                2. m
                  Mag454 Feb 1, 2007 07:26 AM

                  Joseph Ambler Inn in North Wales has really good food and I think that they may offer Valentine's Day Specials- I can't remember. The ambiance is terrific, as is the service.

                  1. a
                    AmblerFoodie Feb 9, 2007 11:01 AM

                    I did Valley Green Inn two years ago. Mediocre. Last year we did Melting Pot in Chestnut Hill (on the day after) and had a fantastic time.

                    I'm finishing my master's and have class on v-day, so we're going to Bridget's on the 15th.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: AmblerFoodie
                      AmblerGirl Feb 12, 2007 09:58 AM

                      We decided to go to Bridget's for Valentine's Day. We went two years ago and it was absolutely wonderful. They offer their regular menu but have some really good specials. The specials each came with a special Valentine's Day dessert (mousse with fresh berries and dark chocolate). I remember having a carmel apple martini with little hearts drawn on the glass in carmel. Plus they gave us ladies roses. Nice little touches. I hope they continue it this year.

                    2. s
                      Schpsychman Feb 12, 2007 11:21 AM

                      I heartily second Castello's in North Wales, though it's probably too late now to get a resy. Best Italian food in the 'burbs IMHO and Habib is a great guy. I always go out the weekend after V-Day, a lot less hectic!

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