HOME > Chowhound > Pennsylvania >



I am taking out a girl for the third time that I feel strongly about and can definitely see a future with.. she lives in philadelphia and I'm from New York and don't know philly restaurants (aside from the main Steven Star ones).

I want to take her somewhere special, preferably somewhere that she most likely hasn't been. I know about 50 of these type of "in-the-know" spots in NY, but I'm lost when it comes to the city of brotherly love... you would be doing me a HUGE service by helping me with this cause... THANK YOU in advance!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Where did you go the first two times?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Buckethead

      First time was just for drinks ... went to Lucky Strike... had drinks and bowled (i was terrible, which made her feel good that she only got a 37!)... then brunch at Jones on Sunday...


      1. re: Captain O Toro

        Chloe in Old City (BYO)
        Caffe Casta Diva (BYO)
        Dmitri's (BYO)

        1. re: saturninus

          Agree with Satuninus. Would add Pumpkin (BYO) and Southwark. Maybe Horizons? (Much-discussed gourmet vegan; you can search the board for the raves.)

      1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

        It's really hard to guess which cool spots she may not have been to before. A factor that might be important to you is noise level. Being able to hear each other in a relatively quiet environment could be crucial. Le Bec Fin for lunch might qualify, Vetri would also--way over the top in luxe, and has to make an impression if you can afford it. I think Osteria is uniquely cool, and maybe there are times when it would be quiet. In any case, if you decide on Osteria, ask for the quietest table in the room.

        1. re: Bashful3

          The quietest table at Osteria is in the back room, which really has no personality. I agree with your question though - how much are you looking to wow? Are you looking to knock her socks off at a place like Vetri or Le Bec (as high end and oppulent as they come) or more of an out of the way place others haven't heard of? What budget are you working with?

          Personally, I have always been more impressed with a little restaurant know-how as compared to being taken to the most expensive place in town. It's less overwhelming and more impressive.

          1. re: saturninus

            Money is not an issue, but I also am unimpressed with guys that feel it is necessary to take a girl to a well-known top-of-the-line restaurant. I don't think Le Bec Fin would be appropirate for a number of reasons. I've heard great things about Vetri. And obviously, I would like somewhere where we can hear each other!! The ideal place would have a great ambiance, excellent food and top-notch service..

            1. re: Captain O Toro

              Then I would revise my reccomendation to Chloe, Tinto and Gayle.

      2. how about white dog cafe? if you can get a table in the piano bar room (or whatever they call it), it's really cozy and romantic.

        4 Replies
        1. re: missfunkysoul

          I love the ambiance and character of White Dog but find the food to be sub par. Everything I have ordered there was not executed well and it is not inexpensive.

          1. re: saturninus

            really? my husband and i were just there last week, and had an excellent meal. i've never been disappointed there...

            1. re: saturninus

              I agree, the food there took a dive after Michael O'Halloran left and hasn't recovered since. I also love the place itself and the ideals they uphold with their responsible business practices, but it's a restaurant first and foremost and the food there hasn't been on par with the prices for a few years.

              1. re: saturninus

                I agree. I love the atmosphere at The White Dog, but find the food to be lacking and expensive for what it is. Sad, as this used to be a favorite of mine.

            2. Although the founding chef just left, the rest of his team remains at Matyson, one of my favorite Philly BYOBs. They have a great regular menu and also have a four course prix fixe from Monday to Thursday that usually revolves around a common theme, e.g., this week it is mushrroms.


              1. May I ask your age or a general range? That can be helpful to pick an appropriate restaurant. Also, what kind of vibe are you looking for? Romantic, hip, laid-back? Any particular cuisine?

                1. I think Amada and Tinto are great date places. Lots of sharing of food, lots of food to talk about, great Sangria. Either one would be a nice departure from where you've already been.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Elaine

                    You don't say how much you can spend so I am going to go for broke and mention Estia.
                    Request a table on the mezzanine where it is quiet and you can watch the rest of the patrons without the noise.
                    It is a romantic Greek restaurant with a sophisticated New York look and fine seafood (they will take you up to look at the different choices, give you a brief history of each and then you can select the one you want.)
                    Go light on ordering the sides, maybe a glass or two of wine, and the tab won't hurt you much.
                    Lots of good luck.

                    1. re: idia

                      Never had a good meal at Vetri or at Osteria except for the Nutella pizza dessert. Would go with Maytson, Ansill, Estia, Amada, Tinto, Positano Coast, James, or Sabrina Cafe, which is at 9th and Christian and takes reservations for dinner. Hip, young crowd, great food, low prices, decor nothing to write home about. BYOB

                  2. I'd suggest Amada. It is a cool place with delicious food to share. Even if she's been there before, she'd probably love to go back.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: DaisyM

                      I would add Little Fish and Marigold Kitchen to the list. Just had my first meal at Little Fish and it was fantastic. Add in that it's BYOB (impress her with your knowledgeable selection of wine), small and romantic, and definitely has that NYC village feel to it and I would take an important date there. Marigold Kitchen serves fantastic food, is BYOB, quiet for conversation, and romantic in a laid-back and serene way.

                    2. I agree witht he Little Fish recommendation. It is in a low key neighborhood spot, the food is excellent and fresh, and the menu changes daily depending on what kind of fish the chef decides to prepare. I'm from Baltimore (on a long term project here) and I even liked the crab cake appetizer. I'm a single 33 y.o. and I'd be impressed if a guy took me there. Not that it's fancy by any stretch but because it's out of the way, the food is wonderful, and it has character. Plus, you can impress with your BYOB selection(s). I think they have a web site...

                      1. Try "Fork", 3rd & Market, great spot, good food and drinks, nice looking restaurant also.