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Le Bec-Fin

Tonight my girlfriend and I are headed up from DC to eat in Philly and stay for the night (staying at the Sofitel). I didn't see much on here about Le Bec-Fin- are we making a mistake eating here? We want a high class, top quality meal. The price on the meal isn't important.

I know tomorrow we want to head to Monk's for lunch (I adore their frites) and later tonight we are headed to Alma de Cuba for drinks later in the night.

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  1. It's been several years since my wife and I dined at LeBecFin, but it was one of the most memorable dinners we've ever enjoyed. We too stayed overnight in the area so that we could really enjoy the experience, and enjoy it we did, esp. the cheese and dessert cart, which offered unlimited choice. The wine list is endless--we had a Cornas, which is very hard to find anywhere. No place else like it--enjoy.

    1. Le Bec Fin will be a marvelous experience. We stayed nearby, as well, so we wouldn't have to worry about driving after dinner, which was a good idea, considering all the wine we consumed. Beautiful room, fabulous service, truly memorable food. You won't regret it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Deenso

        Indeed. It's not written about much here because there's no need -- everyone knows about them, and they deliver 100%. It'd be like asking a football scout whether he thought Peyton Manning was a good quarterback.

      2. It's very good, but what you're really paying for there is the service and the ambiance, not so much the food. You can get a better meal for much less money at many other places in the city, but if you want the full-on fine dining experience, Le Bec-Fin is a decent choice. The dessert and cheese carts are the best part. You may also want to think about Vetri or Lacroix, but if you're coming in tonight it's probably too late to get a reservation there or anywhere else that meets your criteria.

        1. You are DEFINITELY not making a mistake in eating at Le Bec Fin. Enjoy and I wish that I was going too.......

          1. My wife and I went with a gift certificate and I wanted to hate it. I figured all of the hype will surely lead to a disappointing experience. Boy was I wrong, it was fantastic. Not my style per se (I skew more casual) but despite this I was very comfortable and we really enjoyed ourselves. And I would have to respectfully disagree with Buckethead's characterization of the food....it was definitely part and parcel with the rest of the "show". Enjoy!

            2 Replies
            1. re: G Goo

              Oh, I really liked the food, it's just that if the food itself is your only concern, you can eat better and cheaper elsewhere. When a table of eight diners is waited on by four servers, obviously that's a bigger expense for the restaurant than one server for every three or four tables, and the price at Le Bec-Fin reflects this. It's definitely not a mistake to eat there, but I wouldn't say it's the best food in the city. Of course, it's meant to be a full experience encompassing great service and ambiance as well.

              And I've got to say that the servers at Le Bec are fantastic. Despite working at one of the most prestigious restaurants in the city, they are incredibly friendly, helpful, and totally devoid of the stuffy attitude you sometimes get at high-end restaurants.

              1. re: Buckethead

                Yeah, the service was both impeccable and friendly. I have that built-in middle-class aversion to fuss and extravegance (and pretense). Our servers were loose and accomodating......they destroyed all of my preconceived notions.

            2. Some years back, we had the amazing experience of eating a meal at Bouley (on expense account) in NY and then a week later a meal at Le Bec Fin (on our own dime). At the time, Bouley was no.1 in NY. We were, in some ways, more impressed by LBF. The ambiance was better, the service was much better. The food was different but excellent at both. You won't regret your choice.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Susan H

                I just had a similar experience, having eaten at Per se about a month ago. By most accounts, it's supposed to be one of the best places in New York. While the food and service there was wonderful, given the choice, I would take Le Bec Fin.

              2. le bec-fin is a wonderful dining experience. the food is expertly prepared and served, the room is drop-dead gorgeous (once you get past the vestibule) and chef/owner Georges Perrier is a most charming host. you'll enjoy your meal.

                1. Please report back about your experience. I'm a big fan of LBF!

                  1. This will be a memorable evening, I am sure. Please remember to file a review so we can all enjoy vicariously.

                    1. A quick question- would I be underdressed in business casual (button up shirt and slacks) or do I need to be in a jacket and tie?

                      2 Replies
                        1. re: jpschust

                          Before I went, they explained that jackets were required for gentlemen in the dining room, both when I booked the reservation and when they called to confirm the day before. Don't they usually do this, or did I get extra special treatment...?

                        2. Whenever someone is presented with an opportunity to dine at Le BecFin, they should take advantage of it. Dining there is a grand culinary event. From the moment you walk in the door, you know this is someplace special.

                          Savor every mouthful of food and pay attention to every nuance of your surroundings. And afterward, let us know what you thought of it.

                          1. Here's the thing that just kills me about LBF every time I go: the service is outstanding. Amazing. The best in the world. And here is why: the servers are down with their clientele. They are not pretentious. Their goal is to create comfort. It is a fully luxurious, pampered dining experience and one that every Philly and visiting foodie needs. No snootiness here. They synchronize the plate drop and silver dome lift with the slightest of nods. Theater. All is done with finesse and economy of movement.
                            The food is great. I had my first snails there on my 16th birthday. I have been to the restaurant countless times. Me and Georges, man. Like this.
                            The cheese course is the bomb. The only better cheese course I had was at the best restaurant in Paris.
                            The desserts: pick any, pick all, enjoy the show. Don't be shy.
                            I mentioned in another post that Rae's service has its roots in LBF's.
                            Just totally awesome impeccable staff.
                            The best wines I have ever tasted came from their cellars.
                            Sometimes I have been underwhelmed with the fish course, owing to either lack of taste or volume. But you leave full. So that is the weak link.

                            1. Just reviving this old thread to share an article I read a while back about LBF, detailing one person's first, long-awaited visit there. I particularly like the anecdote about huitlacoche, towards the end.

                              http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/p...

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Buckethead

                                Buckethead:
                                I was wondering why a post from a year ago was being resurrected but your wonderful article was so worth the update that I am tempted to go there myself even though, at my age, I don't dine "that way" anymore.
                                I wonder if they are still serving the "huitelacoche." LOL

                                1. re: Buckethead

                                  It's interesting that the OP never followed up the post with an opinion of the place. Nonetheless, the article was amusing. LBF is one of the only places in the city I've been that I still get truly excited with the prospect of going.

                                  1. re: Den

                                    They actually posted a detailed review of their experience on a new thread on February 3. There was about 25 replies to the post.

                                2. It is very simple. You will NOT get better food anywhere in this city and perhaps anywhere else int this country. It is the FOOD that matters, and the food here is superb.
                                  Have a great time!!

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: OlderPhiladelphian

                                    Strange, isn't it, that the current Philadelphia Rag ... er ... Magazine lists it at #26 in its list of 50 best restaurants.
                                    Whatever were they thinking?

                                    1. re: idia

                                      We ate there last night -- they moved the entire Restaurant Week menu from Le Bar Lyonnais to Le bec Fin and it was superb! I had a seafood appetizer and my husband had stuffed baby eggplant to start. Both were delicious. We both had the scallops with apple and potato (which were shaped like noodles) for main and we split the lemon tart and LeBecFin chocolate cake for dessert.

                                      The meal was absolutely delicious and the service was, as always, wonderful. To top it off, they hd a special Rhone grenache/syrah mixture they were selling for $6 a glass (my spouse doesn't drink so I order by the glass)!

                                  2. I've been going to Le Bec for 30 years, and I never had a bad meal there. It's less stuffy than it used to be, but the food had always been exceptional. We had our 25th anniversary dinner there, the most I ever paid for anything other than a car, but worth every penny. Let us know how you liked it.