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Romantic, not-too-expensive birthday dinner in Philly?

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We'll be going to my in-laws' in south Jersey for the Christmas weekend--which means we'll be driving from NYC on my birthday, Saturday the 22nd. So my husband and I figured we'd take advantage of some free babysitting and go out for a nice romantic (but not too pricey) dinner in Philly that night. Anybody got a cozy, warm place to recommend? We're appreciate all kinds of food, from high-end to Road Food-type stuff, but we're past the point of caring about which places are hot. We'd like somewhere that will treat us well even though we're not regulars (and it's a primo pre-Christmas evening), where we can have a relaxing, delicious meal without emptying the bank account. You know, a date night place for after you've already settled down. Italian/Mediterranean/American/whathaveyou...

Thanks!

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  1. I would suggest Modo Mio in Fishtown. Wonderful food, byob, very reasonable for the quality. Just call now for a reservation. Also, I think Chloe in Old City is romantic (also byob) but they don't take reservations and on a Saturday you would have to get there before 5:30pm to be sure of a table.

    5 Replies
    1. re: JanR

      Little Fish in South Philly, small and cozy, BYOB, fairly inexpensive (entree's $20-25) and delicious food.

      1. re: JanR

        i'm with you on modo mio! if you do that, definitely get the 4-course menu and enjoy all the extra "treats" the kitchen sends out!
        il cantuccio in northern liberties on 3rd also strikes me as romantic, and they haven't been terribly crowded lately when i walk by, so you might be able to snag a table in the corner.
        both italian, BYO, cash only.
        sovalo, northern liberties' other italian offering, takes credit cards, has a liquor license, and is definitely romantic. i need to pay them another visit as i was not knocked off my feet the first time, but many others around here have been.

        1. re: rabidog

          Branzino
          Caffe Casta Diva

          1. re: idia

            Pumpkin
            Sovalo
            Gayle

        2. re: JanR

          Modo MIo is wonderful but the service is lacking and it is really noisy. Not a place I would choose for a romantic evening. Overtures is lovely and romantic with good food. I think they have a special prix fix menu but it may not be on Saturdays. Branzino may be a good choice if you can get the back room.

        3. Mr. Martino's in South Philly. It's BYO, Italian, very cozy (dark wood paneling everywhere), you can make reservations, fantastic atmosphere, and the service is always friendly. I've been there now for both a birthday dinner and an anniversary dinner, and both times have been great. Oh, and cheap--appetizer+meal+dessert hovers around $30 a person.

          1. Branzino (BYOB) - center city
            Sovalo - Northern Liberties
            Overtures - old city - if it's open

            Haven't been to Gayle

            1. I second Branzino – ask for a table in the upstair dining room. It's a beautiful room.