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Morimoto vs. Le Bec-Fin??

We are looking for the best of Philly restaurant for a reward dinner for a group of about 15 people. Ages range from mid 30's up to 60ish. Has anyone been to both that could offer some insight?

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  1. I have been to Morimoto and to Le Bar Lyonnais, which essentially has the same kitchen as Le Bec Fin. Morimoto is a slick atmosphere, which someone older might not find so interesting, and I was greatly underwhelmed by the food.

    I can't speak for Le Bec Fin specifically, but I'm pretty sure the experience there would dwarf Morimoto.

    Have you thought of Lacroix?

    3 Replies
    1. re: DanielleM

      This is like comparing apples and oranges.
      Morimoto, as fine a restaurant as it may be, doesn't begin to come up to Le Bec Fin, which is a classic French restaurant. Check any gourmet restaurant ratings or ask any chef.
      You might compare Le Bec Fin with places like Per Se in NY or French Laundry in California.
      Also, be aware that Le Bec Fin only has 2 seatings.

      1. re: idia

        Although your main point, that these are not comparable restaurants, is completely correct. However, having eaten at both Le Bec and French Laundry, I think that comparison is completely off. In addition to Laundry's food being far superior, it actually is not as hyper-traditional as Le Bec at all, it's more new French, whereas the charm of Le Bec to me is the classic style there. The food is good at both and really this decision would have to be about the type of food (French vs. Japanese) and the type of surroundings (extremely classic vs. extremely modern) you're looking for.

        Personally, of the two, I prefer Morimoto's food. But I prefer Japanese food and I love fish. I also personally find the service at Le Bec unnecessary - no problems with it usually, it just didn't really add to my experience to have someone come over and switch my spoon to one that I thought looked the same, etc.

        I do agree with others who say you have other options, but I agree it might be difficult to get a table the size you're looking for at some places; you might want to call around and see what your options are.

      2. re: DanielleM

        Le Bar is not essentially the same kitchen. Some menu items transfer, but it is a different experience dining wise in every aspect.

      3. If it were just for the food, I'd go to Morimoto, but for an 'occasion' dinner Le Bec-Fin may be a better choice. The service there is fantastic, the atmosphere is more likely to suit your older guests, and the food is more likely to appeal to a wider range of tastes. Personally I think it's too much to pay for the food there, but you do get the full-on, old-school fine dining experience.

        Why are those your two choices? as DanielleM mentioned, Lacroix is a good choice too, there are others as well.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Buckethead

          I am not at all familiar with restaurants in Philly, but those were just 2 we had narrowed it down to and are open for suggestions. This year, the dinner is in Chicago and is at Charlie Trotter's, so we are looking for an unforgettable culinary experience.

            1. re: Chinon00

              Can a group of 15 dine at Vetri? I've never been there, but I was under the impression that it's pretty small.

              1. re: Buckethead

                It could be but as I understand from friends this is the best restaurant in Philadelphia (which I believe is what the post is looking for). I've only been to his osteria and it was tremendous. I love a man (or woman) who is not afraid to season his food!

                1. re: Buckethead

                  Vetri has a round table that seats 6. I have also seen them put tables against the wall together, but I would say there were 8 people at most at these tables. Perhaps, as someone said, on an off night they could accomodate you but it is a very small, very popular restaurant so I would doubt it.

          1. The problem with Morimoto is that for a non-fish eater, much of the thrill would be gone.

            Vetri would be a great choice on an off day (Monday?) if they could accomodate you.La Croix is also very special.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Bashful3

              If you are looking for a special dining experience and want the finest restaurant in Philadelphia, there is little question that Le Bec Fin is arguably in a class by itself.

              1. re: idia

                I just want to add that I love Morimoto (plus they have a great private room for your size group)- but Morimoto is very chic/trendy feeling, while Le Bec is more Old World Classy and elegant. It is very hard to compare the 2. But if you have a lot of people that like sushi and fish- morimoto would be an unforgettable experience if you did a Chef's Tasting. If you just want over the top service, formal ambience and unbelievable food- than Le Bec is for you.

                Vetri is my favorite fine dining in the city!

            2. I'm not sure how they would treat a group of 15, but if they were treated anywhere close to the way the two of us were treated I'd go to Morimoto. Our service was terrible as were at least 3 of the dishes from the full tasting menu. Add to that a management who didn't even listen to us during our meal when very simple requests were made (like, can you please not have the waiters conference over my left ear)

              2 Replies
              1. re: jpschust

                Not sure which place you are commenting on. You say that you would go to Morimoto. So was the service bad at LBF or Morimoto?

              2. I enjoyed dining at both but as many have already said, it is difficult to compare the two dining experiences. If you are looking for a Charlie Trotter type experience LBF is the better choice. The night I was there the service was perfect and very theatrical, my restaurant group loved it. Morimoto's was fun, with top notch service. Most of the dishes were good but we did have a few clinkers but still I would happily go back for another meal.