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Old City Dinner

Hi Philly Hounds. I'd like to get some advice on dining in or near Old City for a Saturday in June. I actually grew up in the Philly area, but haven't eaten out in the city for a LONG time. On my next visit, my husband and I are going out in Old City and want to get a fabulous meal somewhere. My sister recommended the Continental or Cuba Libre, but she is actually more of a drinker than an eater so I thought I'd consult the experts. Some places I am thinking about are Buddakhan, Morimoto, Matyson. Love the BYO thing, as long as the place takes reservations (babysitter time just too valuable for long wait). Amada doesn't interest me that much because I can get amazing tapas in the DC area (where I live). Lastly, I'm looking for somewhere more fun than quiet/romantic in this case. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Sorry this post is so long - I always find it more helpful to ask a question with specifics.

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  1. You are right on - Cuba Libre and Continental have good food. But are busy and loud and better for drinks out than a romantic meal.
    Quiet / romantic restaurants that take reservations: Matyson, Marigold Kitchen, Caffe Casta Diva, Mandoline, Bistro 7

    1. Hi-as an old city resident, I'd suggest you try the Society Hill Hotel. It's not a scence full of people from the suburbs like many of the old city places. If you're looking to spend some money then I'd agree with you about Buddakhan. I wouldnt suggest Morimoto-I think its overpriced and you leave feeling empty.

      1. I'd go to Bistro 7. Old City is not known for great restaurants, and there are fewer BYOs down there than elsewhere, but there are some good ones. The only place you list that is BYO is Matyson, and that's 18 blocks from Old City. Mandoline is OK too, I didn't have a fantastic experience there but many other people have.

        If you're talking about Jaleo as your DC tapas place, I agree that Amada would be a pretty similar experience.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Buckethead

          we just had a fabulous italian meal + wine flights at a super-romantic place on front street... whose name i can't recall. maybe it was the penn's view inn? how could i have forgotten?! very off-the-beaten path in a nice uncrowded, romantic way. good service even though we were not quite dressed for the place (we'd been out on a bike ride and to see a movie).

          1. re: rabidog

            Panorama? They do wine flights there. It's right by the bus terminal at Front and Market.

        2. Matyson is up in the business & shopping district, rather than in Old City. I'd recommend Mandoline, Positano Coast, Locanda Ghittone, Buddakan, or Cuba Libre. I think the first 3 have the best food but of course, that's purely subjective--ya gotta love Italian!

          1. I agree with several of the recs here that are in Old City--Bistro 7, Mandoline, La Locanda del Ghiottone are all great BYOs. For non-BYO, I second Positano Coast, and Society Hill Hotel Bar as a more casual spot.

            Buddakan is pretty good, but I think you pay more for atmosphere than the food.

            For a really fabulous, non-BYO meal that's not too far from Old City, I recommend Ansill at 3rd and Bainbridge.

            1 Reply
            1. re: gina

              Mmm... Ansill... I can still taste the osso bucco sandwich I had there 6 months ago.