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Mar 31, 2007 01:42 PM

Philly Chowhounds: I'd like to hear

if you think Pasion or Osteria would be a better choice for a date on Friday 4/21. I'm spending the weekend in Philly with my wife and we want some great food. I've heard good things about both but have not been to either. We like both cuisines and don't really care much about price. We're planning on going out afterwards so location can play a role if there's cool bars/clubs in the vicinity of these restaurants (we know somebody at Polly Esthers - is that a cool place?). Service, ambiance quality of the food are all important to me. Any personal experiences / advice / recs on what to order would be helpful. Thanks in advance, Pete.

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  1. wow - tough call.
    Here's my thouht - other chowhounds will undoubtedly disagree, that's the fun - Pasion is a little more formal with more casual service. Osteria (I was just there last night - amazing) is a little more casual but with a bit more formal service. Either will need for you to make a QUICK decision to get a reservation at prime time. Osteria has a better wine list if that matters. Last night, also a Friday, Mark Vetri was "in the house" all night at Osteria. Both places are probably similar in terms of noise level. Pasion! is more "in town" although actually Osteria is probably closer to Polly Esthers if that's where you are going to go (I'm in my 40's - get help from someone else in that area, I eat well, drink well and go home). Food recs at a later date!

    1. I have been to Polly Esthers all of once, and my opinion was NO. Huge, badly dressed crowd, meat market atmosphere, bad music. But that was a long time ago, and like Bigley, I'm too old for that scene anyhow. Plus I have no idea what's cool from *your* POV. Live music (and if so, what kind)? Dancing? A hopping bar scene?

      Check out City Paper or Philadelphia Weekly to get more of a contemporary feel for what's cool/not. They are free weeklies available everywhere, so grab yourself a couple when you arrive in town.

      Have fun! :)

      1 Reply
      1. re: Mawrter

        We've been to both within the last couple of weeks -- Osteria is more a "happening" place right now than Pasion -- and we like the food better too. Mark Vetri was there when we were there last, which is a plus! We're over the hill as far as night life is concerned -- like Bibley we eat, drink and go home -- but you can park right near Osteria (we've gotten a spot right in front twice) and that's a plus!

      2. I haven't been to Osteria yet but that is THE place to go since it's new. Getting rave reviews. Been to Pasion, I think it's a great date place- quiet, cozy, and excellent food & drink.

        Polly Ester's is closed. Even if it was open, I'd say avoid it like the plague. Pasion's in the heart of the city so if you go there, there's plenty of places for a nice cocktail (Alma di Cuba, Brasserie Perrier, Striped Bass, etc.)

        1. I think Polly Esthers has been closed for a year or two. Pasion is much closer to night spots. Perhaps Walnut Room?

          1 Reply
          1. re: saturninus

            I've been to both Passion and Osteria, and you can't go wrong with either one. Passion is in the heart of center city, however Osteria is a short jump to old city where the bars/clubs are or Rittenhouse square area. If you're leaning toward Osteria make reservations for the wkend, they fill up quickly.