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Audrey Claire/La Colombe

This is my first month in Philly and first post on Chowhound! I'm having a blast eating my way through my new home.
Anyways, I just had a fantastic meal last night at Audrey Claire and I'm curious why it doesn't have a lot of blog buzz.
Also, if I could please get some CC coffee shop recs. To my boyfriend's downright astonishment, I don't like La Colombe. Coffee and ambience need to be killer if I'm going to make peace with no soy in my handmade Italian cup, and La Colombe doesn't cut it.

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  1. Audrey Claire is good. Unfortunately, the good, solid restaurants that have been around for awhile tend to not have "buzz" but they consistently deliver delicious food. Audrey Claire does the simple "semi-Medi" grilled fish style pretty well.

    I'm not exactly sure what you are looking for in a coffee shop though. Try LaVa at 21st and South, or Last Drop at 13th (?) and Pine.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JugglerDave

      Oh, and I went to LaVa when Ants in the (my?) Pants was closed and I walked away happy, but found the staff off-putting. Most of these places serve La Colombe coffee anyways, though I find the quality varies from store to store. Just my imagination?

    2. Yes, what do you not like about la colombe? that will be helpful.

      1. Hi,
        My main quibble with La Colombe is that they never have soy milk. Also, I'd like to move beyond the basic R-Square boundaries and find some new neighborhoods. Ideally, I can work comfortably in a coffee shop, drink an americano with soy, and eat a pastry-alternative. Regulars, or an atmosphere that breeds regulars, is a plus.
        Thanks for all your help!

        1. So I'm thinking it would need to be a veggie friendly type of place. La Colombe is straight up Italian, not Americanized at all (no soy).

          How about Cafe Ole in Old City, Java Company off South Street?

          2 Replies
          1. re: saturninus

            Success! I went to the Village Cafe today at 12th and Locust and loved it. The shop itself smelled of herbs, hearty (but pricey) coffee, the food looked divine (alas I was between meals so no eating), the staff was friendly, and there was even a heated patio.
            I will definitely keep an eye out for your recs. Thanks!

            1. re: Agrayf

              If you find yourself in the Fishtown area give Canvas Coffee a try. Plenty of soy milk and other vegan fare including desserts baked on site. Staff is very friendly and nice too.

          2. Ditto on Audrey Claire -- was just recommending this on a BYOB post the other day and had the same thought (that it doesn't get much 'play' on these boards), although I had an absolutely lovely meal there not too long ago...

            1. Audrey Claire doesnt get any buzz because it's at least 7 years old.
              Plain and simple, doesnt mean it's bad, its just been around forever and that kind of buzz in unsustainable for simple mediteranean food.

              1. Back to coffee:

                I"m not sure this is CC, but I like the ambience at Chapterhouse Cafe and Gallery on South 9th.

                1. I like Cafe Mocha (I think that's what it's called) on 10th Street between Locust and Spruce, last time I was there they had a lot of interesting kinds of coffee, none of which were La Colombe.

                  1. I second chapterhouse! service doesn't always come with a smile, but it's a great space with good coffee. ;)

                    1. Is La Cigale still around?
                      I think it was on 18th, 19th or 20th near Chestnut back when we lived in CC in 2001.
                      I loved the coffee and it was such a sweet cheerful coffeeshop.
                      If it's still there, give it a try.

                      1. Two notes:
                        Audrey Claire has been around since the mid-nineties. Twenty Manning (spin off restaurant) has been around for at least seven years. Thus these are simply older restaurants which don't get the press that they used to get.
                        Soy milk aside, Philly doesn't have (to my knowledge) a grand Viennese type coffee house (which would be nice). But on second thought, without the cigarette smoke what would be the point?

                        1. You should try Olde City Coffee. I've heard it hailed as Philly's best coffee. It's a block north of 2nd and Market. http://www.oldcitycoffee.com/

                          1. Can't speak to the restaurant, but there are killer coffeehouse/roasters in the Philly area, namely Chestnut Hill Coffee and Crescent Moon (Mullica Hill, NJ) .

                            Great coffee - and I mean great, not good, not SBUX or 'Bou - deserves be drunk black. No milk, soy or cow, no flavorings.

                            If you're looking for GREAT coffee, try those places or look for a place that serves locally-roasted Torreo and has baristas with good bar skills. Maybe for your palate soy adds something, but I'd guess that's only because you haven't had GREAT coffee black. When you're talking GREAT coffees, adding anything would be like putting a lime in a lambic or salting a glass of Petrus.

                            Just saying.

                            FYI, La Colombe sent two baristas to the MidAtlantic Barista Regionals last month. Neither made the finals. And they didn't stick around to learn why. That's a bit of arrogance, IMO.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Panini Guy

                              Ray's Cafe and Tea House in Chinatown has EXCELLENT coffee! I hear the food is excellent as well, but have not eat there. I stop on my way back from lunch at Four Rivers.

                              More info on Ray's at:


                              1. re: jennw36

                                Chapterhouse on 9th and Bainbridge is great. Beautiful space, good coffee and tea. Philadelphia Java Co. on 4th btwn Lombard and South is also great and owned by good people. They do serve La Colombe but they have soy milk. Fork, etc. on 3rd and Market also serves LC but has soy milk and excellent baked goods, particularly bread. There's a place on the east side of 15th street (and Chesnut-ish)with a German (?) name that starts with an H. Also a little shop on the west side of 16th, on a corner (Chestnut or Sansom maybe). I think they are also La Colombe and sell Miel baked goods.