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Friday night dinner in the burbs?

Can anyone recomend a fun casual place for dinner for 2 couples in the suburbs? We live in Montgomery County (outside of Pottstown) and are looking for somewhere new to try tomorrow night. We usually go to one of the Tiki Bars for dinner this time of the year and it's getting a little old. I know there are some great places in central Bucks (having grew up there and moved recently) but it's a little too far for the drive. We're open to pretty much anywhere within a 45 minutes driving range (Eastern Montco, Chester, Berks, etc). . We're open to any type of cuisine (as long as there are some items that aren't just fish...) Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. I've never been there, but Majolica in Phoenixville is supposed to be very good.


    1 Reply
    1. re: Buckethead

      Majolica is really good but make sure you have a reservation.

      Birchrunville Store Cafe is another option.

      If you want to drive to Downingtown, Fioravanti, Allegro or Han Dynasty (for authentic Sichuan) would be my recommendation.

      All are BYO and very wine friendly.

      For something a bit more formal, try Duling Kurtz in Exton.

    2. Have you been to The Epicuirean in Pottstown?

      2 Replies
        1. re: gacomole

          Epicurean is in Phoenixville- hit or miss as far as food (great salads), nice beer selection.

          My vote would be Black Lab Bistro (don't skip dessert!) or Funky Lil Kitchen but I'd guess you've been?!

      1. Arpeggio in Spring House (has tables outdoors if the weather is nice)

        909 Sumneytown Pike, Spring House, PA 19477

        1. I don't know how much you want to spend, but Nectar in Berwyn is terrific.

          1091 Lancaster Avenue, Berwyn, PA 19312

            1. re: idia

              Gracie's is absolutely delicious--must go!

            2. Not sure if this is too late but Alison in Blue Bell is spectacular. It is a BYO (heard they are getting a liquor license soon), prices are a little high but the food is worth it.

              If you are looking for a fun night out with your friends, you could try Bridget's in Ambler then have a few drinks at their Monkey Bar after dinner, they have great martinis. Or, you could head next door to KCs Alley for some martinis ($5 martini nights on Fridays) and thye often have live music on weekends.

              1 Reply
              1. re: AmblerGirl

                Don't forget cash if you go to Alison as they don't accept credit cards.

                As for their liquor license, I believe that they will only be serving wine.

                Personally I have found Alison to be overrated and very overpriced.

              2. What tiki bars???? I LOVE Tiki bar places!!

                4 Replies
                1. re: starbuck212

                  Tiki Bar has two locations, one in Earlville on the river and one in Schwenksville. So much fun!


                  1. re: QueenB

                    With all due respect, it I wanted to cook my own food I'd throw a party at my own house for significantly less money on my own grill.

                    1. re: mitchh

                      It's about the atmosphere...and no clean up.

                      1. re: QueenB

                        To each his or her own.

                        I'd rather create my own atmosphere with my friends.

                        For the money that I would save by buying my own food and alcohol, I can hire someone to clean up! :)

                2. Have you tried Henry's Cafe in Pottstown?. It's really good and a lot of fun. At times it can be hard to get a reservation, but last time we were there they said it's a little slower in the summer, and we had no trouble getting a last minute reservation on a Friday night. It's a BYO and they do specialize in fish, but have other items on the menu.

                  Another place we go to alot is Cafe Mosaic, which has a Pottstown address and is in North Coventry. It is also a BYO and excellent. They don't take reservations (I think) but if you call ahead they'll reserve a table for you.

                  Majolica is great, but hard to get a reservation. Black Lab Bistro (next to Majolica) is also good, but noisy. They have a huge menu. The frisee salad is awesome.

                  Our absolute favorite place in the area is Birchrunville Store Cafe, but you need to book way in advance. Every time we go there, we just make another reservation for a future date (usually about 6 weeks ahead). We usually go on Friday because Saturdays are booked way way way in advance. It is definitely worth it.

                  Getting more into Berks County, we like Emily's in Morgantown, which is not a BYO. In a few weeks, we're going for the first time to Sweet Bay Cafe in Reading, which our friends tell us is excellent.

                  Have fun!

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: zelbee

                    I'll 2nd or 3rd Funky Lil Kitchen. I was just there last week and loved it.

                    I will, however, recommend against both Black Lab and Majolica. I was disappointed with both.

                    If you like Cajun, absolutely try the French Quarter Bistro, http://www.frenchquarterbistro.com/.

                    1. re: mitchh

                      I'll 4th Funky L'il Kitchen. I have never been to Black Lab, and was underwhelmed by Majolica.

                      1. re: JanR

                        We've been to Funky Li'l Kitchen a few times and haven't been impressed. I think Cafe Mosaic, http://www.cafemosaic.info/, is much better.

                        1. re: zelbee

                          I'll jump on the Funky Lil' Kitchen bandwagon. We've been probably over 20 times and find them to be consistently excellent. Being a BYO is always a plus.

                          We did a tasting menu at Majolica and thought it was fantastic. Great flavors, a lot of attention to detail, and they were willing (and able) to work within my wife's medical dietary restrictions. We need to return to try the regular menu.

                          We tried the Black Lab on a recommendation and came away very disappointed. The fish I had was a type of cod (from Pacific waters) with a lime sauce. The sauce was so potent that it totally overwhelmed the taste of the very light fish. The details, from bread to salad to coffee, were unimpressive. There are too many good alternatives in the area to bother trying them again.

                      2. re: mitchh

                        funny because I would say the exact opposite- we love the Black Lab and were very underwhelmed by the French Quarter- their portions were huge I'll give you that, but the place was a bit dingy and the food just meh. Your mileage may vary I guess!

                    2. Had dinner with friends in Hereford at the Savory Grill. Can't wait to go back!

                      1. Sorry, the Savory Grille is not in Hereford, it's in Macungie. Here's the link to their website - http://www.savorygrille.com/

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: bucksguy14

                          It's actually in Seisholtzville, but has a Macungie mailing address.

                          When I asked one of the owners why they picked Seisholtzville (they really are out in the middle of nowhere), she said that from any direction they can direct people how to get to their place by taking some fairly major road to a sign for Seisholtzville. Just turn and drive until you get to their place. Pretty funny, but practical.

                        2. Osteria Evansburg (just east of Collegeville in Germantown Pike) has good Italian food. It's somewhat casual (they have an ajoining bar for happy-hour types) but we've been numerous times and never had a bad meal. They have basic dishes like Chicken Parm, but also some original/more gourmet options as well. All in all, it's a nice hearty dinner.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: becky315

                            I had to chime in, since I dined at the Osteria on
                            tuesday nite. the worst Italian sit down restaurant
                            I have ever been to. The sauce tastes like battery acid.
                            Gnocchi cheap frozen crap. Meatballs pre made Casa
                            brand can you spell i-n-d-i-g-e-s-t-i-o-n. Seemed like nice
                            people I'm sorry but gross

                            1. re: becky315

                              Wanted to bump this for Osteria. We ate their last Tuesday for our anniversary. The all you can eat mussels (we only had white, over pasta -- butter lemon) were outstanding. They weren't particularly meaty but the flavors were delicious and the pasta was al dente. Came with a tossed salad for under $15. We also had veal saltimbocca with broccoli raab rather than pasta. Big portion and tasty but not out of this world.
                              We'd definitely go back on a Tuesday for the mussels. My mouth is watering just thinking about them!

                            2. If you like BYOB's there are these are a few GREAT ones to try in Chester County.. all have websites..
                              Sovana Bistro in Kennett Square , This is my favorite, awesome decor...the food just melts in your mouth. They use alot of local ingredients and menu chages with the seasons.
                              Catherine's in Unionville - Great traditional Chester County setting, Lamb is really good!
                              Majolic in Phoexville - Food is amazing...Make a reservation.
                              The Orchard in Kennett Square - Contempary desing, good food!
                              High Street Cafe in West Chester - Fun New Orleans style, and you can talk a walk in West chester after dinner.
                              Fioravanti in Downingtown, very small, limited menu , but very good.
                              The Creme de la Creme is Gilmores in West Chester, expensive but oh so wotht it!