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Help Me Decide Where to Eat - Anniversary Dinner

It's our five year anniversary come mid-August. We have landed a babysitter and are trying to decide where we want to spend our (well, my husband's, seeing as how stay at home moms don't bring home a salary;) hard-earned money. We're in Phoenixville and have eaten at all the biggies around here (Majolica, Birchrunville Store Cafe, Alba's, Funky 'lil Kitchen) and aren't opposed to a repeat at any of those but are also open to other suggestions in W. Chester or other close-by vicinities as well as Philly.

We're looking for good food with an emphasis on fresh/local. A varied menu is a plus considering I have a wheat intolerance. BYOs are another bonus but not essential. And of course, we'll need a weekend reservation two weeks from now so we'll have to exclude any place that requires a month in advance phone call.

Thanks in advance. Let the suggestions begin!

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  1. If you can swing it on a Friday instead of Saturday, you MAY have a decent chance of doing Gilmore's in West Chester.
    If you can get a res don't hesitate. It really is "anniversary special!"
    There are 2 seatings. 6 and 8:30.
    Also, it is BYOB.

    1. Have you considered Allison at Blue Bell? Not sure how far it is from you, but we have gotten reservations in 2 weeks or less and I think the menu will accommodate you. Here's the link:

      http://alisonatbluebell.com/index.html

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bigley9

        I second Alison at Blue Bell, it's great and not too far from Phoenixville.

      2. Lara's Cafe in Royersford has great food, and is BYOB. It is Mediterranean influences, but they have a specials menu every week w/ about 10-20 "normal/anerican" dishes. It doesn't look like much, as it is in a strip-mall setting, but once inside, it's nice. It's not super-fancy, but the food is great (Chicken Pizziolla is my fave)...

        2 Replies
        1. re: becky315

          I'd highly recommend Parc Bistro in Skippack.

          1. re: becky315

            Great food? Geez, it was average at best. Poor value for the money. Lots of better choices around.

          2. Does anyone know anything about the quality at Talullah's Kitchen (the Bryan Sikora, Amy Olexa restaurant)? If its anything like Django, there will be an absolute emphasis on local and fresh!

            7 Replies
            1. re: Kramer

              That's a good idea but isn't dinnig at Talullah's Kitchen restricted to one communal table? That wouldn't work for an anniversary. I wouldn't recommend Parc Bistro for a special occasion (or any place in Skippack). Considering the restaurants the writer has chosen in thep ast, I think the restaurants in Skippack would be a disappointment. They're expensive and nothing special.

              1. re: JanR

                Jan,

                I'm curious as to why you think that Parc Bistro would be a disappoinment.

                IMO it's not overpriced in the least and the food is extremely good.

                1. re: mitchh

                  I'm sorry. I guess we disagree. I based my conclusion on two visits to Parc Bistro (one dinner and one brunch - during which the restaurant was almost empty from 11am to 12:30pm). I just believe there are more interesting restaurants for the price, especially for a special occasion that requires a babysitter.

                  1. re: JanR

                    Yes, I guess we do disagree.

                    IMO the menu has many different options, not to mention that the specials are almost always extremely good, the service is excellent and it's a lively atmosphere, especially in the summer if you eat outside.

                    1. re: mitchh

                      Thanks. Maybe I'll try outside since it's nearby.

                2. re: JanR

                  I absolutely agree--all of the places in Skippack are overpriced, and the food is nothing too great. my wife and I go go out to at least twice a month (usually three times a month) and we arrely go to Skippack. And we usually spend around $100 bucks an outing. Lots of better places for less money IMHO.

              2. In Skippack, we love the Back Porch Cafe. The food is excellent, it's small and quiet, and they are a BYO.
                http://www.skippackrestaurants.com/?b...

                If you're up for a little more of a drive, Savory Grille in Seisholtzville (west side of Rt. 100 & 29) is excellent. It's a bit more casual and less dozy than Back Porch, so it might not be what you're looking for since it's an anniversary dinner, but the food is fantastic. It's not a BYO.
                http://www.savorygrille.com/

                I agree with the comments on Lara's Cafe but it's even less appropriate for an anniversary dinner. Save it for a non-occassion.

                4 Replies
                1. re: LFC

                  Ohh, I've been off these boards for a couple of days and love all the sudden responses. Thanks!
                  Savory Grille looks wonderful. LFC, how far do you think it is from Phoenixville?

                  I just looked at the site for Talula's Table and I'm really torn. It sounds, in a word, fantastic. I agree that maybe it isn't the best idea for an anniversary dinner but it's totally everything we look for in a restaurant. Local, organic, seasonal, etc. etc. And, they let you rent out the room for a big party and cook like the movie Big Night. That is our favorite movie and my husband is forever saying that would be his dream dinner. Hmm, maybe for his birthday! Yay, I'm already planning for next July.;)

                  Thanks for the tips re: Lara's Table and Parc Bistro. I think we'll save them for another time.

                  You know, Alison's is somewhere we've always wanted to go but have heard lots of mixed reviews. Not sure whether I want to risk it for our anniversary.

                  I'm thinking Birchrunville Store Cafe. We were there five years ago and haven't been back since. Close friends of ours just went and said it was the best dinner since they've been back from living out in CA. I know they're booked for Saturdays until October, but I think we can make Friday work (did I mention my parents are the babysitters?!). So, there's that. If not, I dunno...man, that Talula's Table is awfully tempting! And the fact that it's owned by the former owners of Django's...hot damn! Let's say we were going to go there....is it hard to get a dinner reservation??

                  1. re: isadorasmama

                    Talulah's table setting is very casual, very cafe like. You might want to go for an informal, brunch or snack. I was just there for a cheese flight with my friend and her daughters. It is definately not anniversary material. I think you will be disappointed.

                    1. re: isadorasmama

                      isadorasmama asked... Savory Grille looks wonderful. LFC, how far do you think it is from Phoenixville?

                      Google maps says 50 minutes, but you'll be driving on Rt 422, Rt 100, and a road with no lights. I'd shave 10 minutes off that estimate for the average person, 15+ if you have a big right foot.

                      1. re: isadorasmama

                        Hmmm, I hear you regarding Talula's Table. Some of our best dates have been in less- than- romantic restaurants How about dinner at Talula's and an after dinner drink on the roof of Coyote Crossing in West Chester?

                    2. If you are going to hit the Philly scene Steven Starr's concepts have always proved to be excellent destination dining. Morimoto's A+ watch for the wheat allergy though. You could find out what he was able to do with the Striped Bass. It's been a while for me, haven't been there since Neil Stein ran it.

                      I would specifically recomend both !PaSion! and Bistro St. Tropez fabulous talent in the kitchens.

                      Best of luck.

                      4 Replies
                        1. re: Chefd23

                          I was at Striped Bass last night and wasn't impressed.

                          1. re: Buckethead

                            Yeah, we're not heading downtown, that's for sure. It's just too much of a hassle, especially since there are a handful of restaurants around here that are just as nice.
                            Turns out Birchrunville is booked up next Friday so I'm pretty sure we're going to try Funky 'lil Kitchen for a second time. Dowtown Pottstown isn't the most romantic destination but we thoroughly enjoyed the experience the one other time we ate there, so...hopefully we will again!

                          2. If you're willing to go about 45 minutes, the Savory Grille in Macungie is outstanding. Here's a link to their website - http://www.savorygrille.com/

                            1. We recently revisited Savona Bisto in Willowdale/ North of Kennett Square on Route 926 & Route 41. It was exceptional. It was about a 40 minute drive from Birchrunville.
                              http://www.sovanabistro.com

                              Gracies 21st Century Cafe is always fun. Her food is delicious and the ambience is eclectic. About 20 minutes from Phoenixville.
                              http://www.gracies21stcentury.com/

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: We_travel_for_good_food

                                I love how Gracies serves sustainable fish and organic meat.
                                What's the ambiance like?

                              2. Gracies in Pottstown is very good.
                                Jamaican influenced.
                                Very, very Hollywood - in the best sence of the term.