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Romantic Restaurant Close to Rittenhouse Sq.

FriskLamb Nov 7, 2007 10:10 AM


Have booked in to the Rittenhouse hotel for a Saturday in early December with the dear lady wife. I am looking for a romantic informal restaurant, that serves lighter food (New American? Italian / French)...Recent postings on Brasserie Perrier not to good. Rouge is OK. Want to escape Rittenhouse - thus no to Lacrois. Not a great fan of Stephen Star restaurants - although may go to Alma de Cuba for a mohito to start the night off. Thought about 20 Manning - would welcome any other suggestions - BYO is OK. Must be walking distance of Rittenhouse Sq.

Please help!!!



  1. FriskLamb Nov 14, 2007 10:45 AM

    Thanks to all. Decided to give Matyson a try - have always intended to go - but never quite got round to it,,,,

    Thanks again

    2 Replies
    1. re: FriskLamb
      FriskLamb Dec 27, 2007 10:40 AM

      So here is the final write-up...Took a bottle pink champagne down with us, bought triple creme cheese from deBruno's on the way over to the hotel. Room at the Rittenhouse was wonderful - even got chocolate dipped strawberris - complements of the hotel. Went to Sidecar for an apertif - fairly disapointed - waiter sat at another table chatting for 10 minutes as we tried to get our check... Matyson was wonderful - both had the grilled Octopus and Veal cheeks. Price I thought was extremely reasonable. Then went over to Tinto which we enjoyed tremendously - had the cheese plate and a couple of glasses of wine each...almost same price as oue dinner at Matyson... also disappointed that they did not have any by the glass wines from Riera del Douro. In the morning (we got up too late) and had to rush to make our time for the Renoir exhibition - so despite grand plans for a great brunch, ended up with a Wawa breakfast sandwich...oh well.

      1. re: FriskLamb
        sylviag Dec 27, 2007 12:57 PM

        Thanks so much for reporting back. We often wonder where our "posters" end up. And glad you enjoyed Matyson and Tinto, two of our favorites.
        Come visit us again!

    2. a
      Alissavlad Nov 9, 2007 01:03 PM

      Has anyone said Tinto? It may be difficult to get a reservation but have the concierge at the Rittenhouse call for you.

      1. h
        hhshames Nov 7, 2007 06:37 PM

        Haven't been in forever, but Friday, Saturday, Sunday was always nice and romantic. Does anyone have anything negative to say or am I still on the money with that?

        5 Replies
        1. re: hhshames
          JanR Nov 8, 2007 05:17 AM

          I always loved Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Been going since the early 80's. However, a dinner a couple years ago was disappointing and I haven't been back since. Granted, it was Valentines' Day, not the best night to dine out. The service was extremely slow, the food was only so-so, and the red wine was too warm and served in tiny glasses. I will say that the wine is a real bargain since they only mark it up $10/bottle. I would go for drinks at the Tank Bar, which is still romantic. I would not recommend it for dinner.

          1. re: JanR
            Chinon00 Nov 8, 2007 05:36 AM

            tough to judge a restaurant on:
            valentine's day
            mother's day
            new year's eve

            in my experience anyway.

            1. re: Chinon00
              idia Nov 8, 2007 06:32 AM

              Here is Matyson's menu.

              Don't overlook Bliss.

              1. re: idia
                Major504 Nov 8, 2007 08:40 AM

                In response to Chinon....I agree not to judge a restaurant on Mother's day and NYears...but not so much with Valentines. Mother's is simply the busiest day of the year, and no one in the kitchen wants that on a Sunday after getting a beat down on Saturday. Also...it usually means brunch, which is the bane of all cooks' existence.

                Valentines is usually a better gauge. It's in the off-season, usually means tables for two, and isn't dedicated to weekend. Also, no chef wants to screw up a Valentine's date. A good meal on Valentine's will have the couple telling the whole world about it.

                New Years??.....we just want the customers to leave so we can go drink.

                1. re: idia
                  Chinon00 Nov 8, 2007 09:19 AM

                  I love matyson as a restaurant but what to you makes it worth a mention as "romantic"?


          2. rabidog Nov 7, 2007 05:39 PM

            i'm going to halfway answer by asking a question i was wondering anyway... :)
            is mantra any good? they look verrrry cozy. my boss loved them, but i have a feeling he likes any place after a couple glasses of wine. if they truly are good, the evening could be kicked off with a nice glass of wine at tria...

            1 Reply
            1. re: rabidog
              saturninus Nov 8, 2007 08:35 AM

              I feel bad - not a fan of Mantra, XIX or Friday Saturday Sunday. I think there are a million places that have much better food.

            2. Chinon00 Nov 7, 2007 03:48 PM

              I don't how it stands up today but I took first dates exclusively to Fri-Sat-Sun (upstairs only) from 1995-2001. The restaurant dates back to the 70s restaurant revolution but I never got any complaints.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chinon00
                FriskLamb Nov 7, 2007 05:27 PM

                We have been quite a few times over the years- often with my inlaws - which reduces its romantic appeal - if you know what I mean.

              2. d
                DaisyM Nov 7, 2007 02:21 PM

                How about Bar Lyonaise (downstairs at Le Bec Fin)?

                2 Replies
                1. re: DaisyM
                  FriskLamb Nov 7, 2007 05:26 PM

                  Daisy hi - thanks for this suggestion - it was where I was leaning - I know the food is good - but is it romantic?

                  1. re: FriskLamb
                    DaisyM Nov 8, 2007 03:17 AM


                    I'm sure "romantic" means different things to different people. Since I don't get to spend a lot of uninterrupted time with my husband (he's a physician)...a quiet restaurant with good food, where we can talk and just be together is very romantic. I guess what I'm trying to say is that to most women it isn't the place...but the person. And since you are going to so much effort to plan a weekend in the city with your wife...I'm pretty sure she is going to think it is a very romantic weekend, not just dinner.

                2. Den Nov 7, 2007 01:54 PM

                  This may be a stretch but have you tried Il Portico on Walnut neat Le Bec Fin? It's Tuscan cuisine and IMO very good.

                  1. m
                    miffyrabbit Nov 7, 2007 12:35 PM

                    ever been to Tequilla's? super yummy upscale mexican. really nice waitstaff and candlelight. not too pricey either. :)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: miffyrabbit
                      FriskLamb Nov 7, 2007 01:19 PM

                      Thanks, wife not big on Mexican (although she does love a good margarita

                    2. m
                      mje113 Nov 7, 2007 12:30 PM

                      XIX - It's the 19th floor of the Bellevue (Broad and Walnut). A great lounge to enjoy a pre-dinner drink (next to the fireplace) and a beautifully romantic dinning room. The dinner menu looks fantastic, though I've only sampled their bar menu, which was great. If you're into oysters, they had a huge raw-bar that dominates the center of the dinning room.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: mje113
                        FriskLamb Nov 7, 2007 01:19 PM

                        Thanks - good idea...thought it may be a little formal...

                        1. re: mje113
                          JanR Nov 8, 2007 05:18 AM

                          I second XIX. Very romantic, great view, food and service are excellent.

                        2. b
                          Buckethead Nov 7, 2007 11:08 AM

                          I would head to Snackbar, it's about half a block north of Twenty Manning.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Buckethead
                            FriskLamb Nov 7, 2007 01:18 PM

                            Thanks - just went to their website and they do not have a menu - what sort of food do they have?

                            1. re: FriskLamb
                              Buckethead Nov 8, 2007 05:14 AM

                              I replied earlier but it was deleted, here's their menu as of this month:

                          2. saturninus Nov 7, 2007 10:20 AM

                            Matyon or Caffe Casta Diva?

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: saturninus
                              FriskLamb Nov 7, 2007 01:17 PM

                              Hi - thanks for the reply. I understand Matyson has changed hands - father in law has taken over - or something like that - is the quality still the same?

                              1. re: FriskLamb
                                joluvscards Nov 8, 2007 08:13 AM

                                We dine there regularly. So far we have noticed no difference in the quality of the food. As I understand it, Matt's cousin and sous chef has taken over. Evidently he has been with Matt since they opened.

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