HOME > Chowhound > Pennsylvania >


Is Vetri worth the money?

I am planning reservations for this fall - my girlfriends birthday is in October. I was thinking of taking her to Vetri or maybe Lacroix or the Fountain. Is Vetri worth the money or would it be better spent at one of the other places?

I am guessing a meal would be somewhere around $300 for two? Is that out of the ballpark or with tip, tax, and drinks would this be about right?

I have been doing some reading and I hear a lot of people raving, but also a lot of people that say that its overpriced, food portions are too small, etc. However, it seems like a very romantic, special occasion place so that is why I was looking to go there. Do the portions seem small in general, or is this really only for the tasting menu?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have had the tasting menu many times and never felt the portions were small - I frequently can not finish my last savory plate, and I get the smaller number of courses - and I can eat! Whichever way you choose to go it is most definitely worth every penny (Note: the tasting must be done on some nights and I am not sure it is available every night). Put yourself in Jeff Benjamin's (co-owner/sommolier) capable hands for wine selection(s) as well. 300 to 350 is correct

    1. It's definitely worth it, although we usually go a la carte. Also, would suggest you take an 8:30 or 9:00 reservation, so you can linger as long as you like.

      1 Reply
      1. re: phdfoodie

        I am in the huge minority but I did not find the place either romantic (I did have the table right next to the door and people practically werer bumping into our table as they opened the door), nor worth the high price (and I never fuss about price).
        I also found the menu, which some might consider creative, quite ambitious and therefore difficult for me to order from.
        I would probably opt for the really romantic Fountain.
        But I do admit, this is just me!

      2. I thought the food at Vetri was excellent. However, I would not consider the atmostphere romantic (imo), since it seems so tight in there for me. If your gf is a picky eater (like some of my friends), ordering can be a bit difficult. Some of the selections are a bit ambtitious if you are a person who is not somewhat adventurous.
        Would I go back? Yes. But, I'm not rushing to do so with so many other great choices in town. Personally, I would find the Fountain much more impressive for a romantic dinner. The chairs are really comfortable, it's quiet, the food is excellent, and you're not sitting on top of other people. Maybe you should look at the menus on-line to see what you think she would like best. Good luck

        1. I would pick Vetri over Fountai or Lacroix in a quick minute. I think Vetri is well worth the money. The food and service are both outstanding. When I've had the tasting menu, I've been so stuffed that I usually don't finish the meat course, and I'm not a small eater.

          For me, it is a definite special occasion place and can be quite romantic. It is small, which gives a nice, intimate feel. I've heard several poor reports about Lacroix lately, and while the Fountain is nice, to me it is much more ordinary in terms of food and I don't find the larger space romantic at all. To me, it has a more corporate feel.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

            I can't speak for vetri, i haven't been lucky enough to go yet, but you will likely spend close to $300 at lacroix too--not sure about the poor reports of late, but I went there in april of 2006 and it was worth every penny. Lacroix was very romantic and classy.

          2. Another vote for Lacroix. It is beautiful and elegant, yet comfortable.
            We have been to Vetri twice and enjoyed it very much, but I don't think of it as romantic. Since there are mixed feelings about it as a special occasion place, why take a chance?
            If you go to Lacroix, let them know it is your girlfriend's birthday. She will get a small but delicious treat with her name on it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sylviag

              It comes down to your taste. Just wanted to add my two cents that we think Vetri IS romantic and worth the money for a special occasion. It's cozy.

            2. Vetri is absolutely worth it and around $300 is right. The only reason I haven't been back is that it's so hard to get a reservation!

              1 Reply
              1. re: JennBilMer

                It depends how much (and what) you're drinking, because if you're not going after expensive wines, you can cut that number almost in half.

              2. We go for special occassions and find it to be romantic. here's what I'd do: Ask for the small table back by the kitchen - you won't notice the kitchen traffic, you will sit looking out at the room and be seated side by side in a little "nook". Tell them when you are making the reservation and it shouldn't be a problem.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Bigley9

                  Look. It depends on what your idea of "romantic dining" is? Vetri is and can be very romantic. It's romantic to me because it is THE best restaurant in philly, and the room is very nice. It isn't draped in velvet banquets with crystal lamps, but it's very nice, and not too light inside. The dining experience from the professionalism of the staff, to the food on the plate is romantic. If you are after romantic AND a great dining experience, Vetri is definately your place. The other choices are in hotels for christ sake! The outside of Vetri is more romantic than those places!

                  And as far as price goes, it is surely worth it. It is a real restaurant, with properly executed food, and awsome service. Order a $50 bottle of wine, and you'll get out of there for less than 300. And a $50 bottle there will be quality wine. Very quality. The discussion of portioning, and pricing comes from all these BYO lovers in this town. Don't let it deter you. You are going out, don't worry about it! Portions! What is everyone sooo worried about portions for? 74 year old people worry about portions, and prices. You're not going for the early bird at Del Boca Vista are you!?

                  1. re: mlpkroffal

                    Del Boca Vista!!! LOL. The episode where Kramer runs for board president at Del Boca Vista was just on last week!

                    1. re: mlpkroffal

                      I am far from 74, and portions mean a lot to me. I can't stand anything more than spending a lot of money - ordering an appetizer, entree and dessert and leaving to go make myself a sandwhich.

                      1. re: saturninus

                        well whatever, I don't mean it's never an issue, I'm just saying that at a good restaurant like Vetri, you aren't going to have to make a sando after. Those types of things do occur I know, but I was stretching it a little to make a point to not worry about portioning at Vetri coz I know it is all good there.

                  2. IMO, if your girlfriend is a real foodie, then Vetri could be an option. I went once, and had the tasting menu, and found it to be above average. I am certainly in the minority here, and I do admit that when it is that difficult to get a table/reservation, my expectations rise. We have found LaCroix to be really good lately, after an average experience a couple years ago. Of the 3 though, I would opt for Fountain. Absolutely phenomenal service, and every meal I have had there, start to finish, was fantastic.

                    1. Thanks for all of the replies. I think that I am going to try and make a reservation for there after all. I was looking on the website and they only offer the tasting menu on Saturday nights (her bday is on a Saturday) so maybe we'll go on that Friday. Also, I looked at the menu for Lacroix and I'm not sure that she would like their food as much, so if I can't get the reservation for Vetri then I'll go with the Fountain. I don't understand why, but I have to wait until the day that is exactly 2 months before when I want to go to make the reservation?

                      I'll report back afterwards and let you know what I thought.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: dave80jc

                        That is correct. Vetri will start accepting reservations 2 months to the day before a particular day. Nothing to understand, that is just their system. My wife and I have been there many times over the years and have never had a problem getting a table using this system, so I don't understand why people gripe about reservation difficulties. All you have to do is plan in advance. And to those who say that they can't/don't plan that far in advance, then all I have to say is that's why you can't/don't get the reservations.

                        Also, to clarify about the tasting menu. On Saturdays, that is all that is offered. But on any other night, the tasting menu is offered in addition to the ala carte menu.

                        As for Vetri vs The Fountain, we have always felt that Vetri was #1 for special events like birthdays or our Anniversary...and the we went to The Fountain for the first time for our anniversary last year. Since then we have recategorized...

                        Vetri - #1
                        The Fountain - #1a

                        In our opinion, they both offer outstanding food (for a premium price that, to us, is worth it) and nearly flawless service. But the differences have already been mentioned. Vetri is more of a "boutique" experience while The Fountain is a bit more on a "grand" scale.

                        So that's my 2 cents...

                        1. re: dave80jc

                          I'm surprised no one has mentioned Osteria yet. It's Marc Vetri's new place, and he spends about half his time there last I heard. He's been there each of the three times I've been there. The atmosphere is more convivial, less romantic than Vetri, so that may rule it out for you, but the food is fantastic (not to mention less expensive).

                          1. re: Buckethead

                            I am going to try Osteria probably sometime later this month or early September so I wouldn't want to go back there again. I am taking her out to Tinto tomorrow night. I was torn between Tinto/Osteria but I decided that since I am going to Helium after dinner that I'd rather just go somewhere that we can walk right around the corner so Tinto was the choice.

                            I'm looking for more of a "special" place for her birthday....some place really nice and classy so hopefully she likes it. Oh and I told her that I was taking her out to this place but wasn't sure what day to go because on one day they had a la carte or tasting menu and on her birthday it was only the tasting menu. She seemed to like the idea of the tasting menu so I'll stick with Saturday.

                            Thanks for all of the replies everyone.

                          2. re: dave80jc

                            Just a note...the phones open at noon exactly two months before the day you want your reservation for, so be sure to call as close to that time as possible to guarantee your spot.

                          3. I just checked out their menu. Their pasta items include: swordfish with prunes, squash with amaretto cookies, spaghetti with tripe, sweetbreads, and hen bolognese. I think I will stick to a Primo's Italian Hoagie!

                              1. re: JCap

                                Uh huh!
                                Check with my post above.

                              2. I'm updating this post because I absolutely loved Vetri! I took my husband there for his birthday and loved every minute of it. From the non-intrusive servers, to the educated sommelier and cheese expert, to the food...we were in love. After a few sips of delicious wine, nibbles of amazing food, and great conversation....Vetri got my vote as a romantic night I won't forget.