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Main Line Birthday dinner suggestions

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There doesn't seem to be enough choice among the choice restaurants here, west of the city. We enjoy ( very much) The Birchrunville Store Cafe, but they're booked solid until mid January. Alba is very nice, very good food but I have a hankering for someplace different. We've been back (and back again) to Merediths, had great beer ( so so food) at Theresa's Next Door. Legals Seafood has great clams, way way way too many people and has to be avoided until after Christmas.
So what else is new - or at least undiscovered by me? Any suggestions for great food, good service, ( pleasant ambience would be nice), a place where a vegetarian and a meat eater can both have a memorable meal?

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      1. re: productionjon

        Sola and Nectar definitely and do not forget the wonderful Gilmore's in West Chester.
        If you need other recs after these top 3, just whistle.

      2. re: saturninus

        Sola. If you mention it's for a special occasion, they will definately try to make your dinner more special than it usually is.

        While they have a few veggie options, I would suggest mentioning it when you make a reservation in case the chef feels like making something special

      3. Not quite Main Line, but Twin Bays Cafe is nice. http://www.twinbayscafe.com
        Also, as I've mentioned on another thread, if you enjoy Thai food, Thai L'elephant is a great restaurant & nice atmosphere. http://www.thailelephant.com/

        1 Reply
        1. re: pamd

          i've got to say... i couldn't go back to twin bays in the winter. gorgeous little old country dining room with alllll that rustic charm... no heat!!!! i was freezing, so were the rest of my large party. i was shivering so bad my back started involuntarily cramping up, i was totally unable to enjoy my meal! i might give them a try again in the summer. i can stand the heat.

          anyway, i could hardly say there's not enough choice here... i just LOVE this area, because i can drive pretty far in any one direction and at all times stay within three miles of something yummy.

          right ON the main line... i'm a big fan of ristorante primavera (with a new awning)... very good business lunch place, love their marinara and spunky but professional service. the guy remembers my and my boss' (special, not on the menu) orders EVERY time. (wayne)
          used to frequent thai pepper, a little less happy about my last visit where they were out of my favorite noodle, but i can still deal. any meat dish on the menu they'll sub for tofu or veggies; they're super-accommodating... i'm usually all over the spicy noodle dish, sub chicken for tofu. (2 locations, wayne, ardmore)
          carmine's creole cafe - been there twice, once at each of the two recent locations. my experience at the narbeth one proved to be one of the finest dining experiences of my entire life (did the tasting menu). another more recent visit to the new bryn mawr location proved less so, but i am more than willing to give them another chance soon because their menu is so intriguing to me. does anyone know if they've brought back the tasting menu? (that's in bryn mawr)... on second thought, check their menu first if your vegetarian is a strict one. i am a quasi-vegetarian who makes seafood exceptions. :)
          just took an impromptu large group to mckenzie's brewhouse out in malvern... it was the perfect place for that type of group and mckenzie's accommodated us with a private room perfectly. it was a business group, but a more casual group than i'm used to planning for, so we kicked back there for a good four hours. we ordered many of each of the four types of wings, which people say were awesome, and spicy as hell (even the milds)... the rest of us had some good spinach & artichoke dip and other snacky things. had a cod and spinach dish for my entree, which worked out nicely. great beers. uber-cheap. now, i don't think it holds a candle to some of our philly gastro-pubs, but given the options out there i'd say it's one of the best pubs for miles. i do steer clear of the ones by the mall, generally, and john harvard's.
          if you have a couple bucks to blow, general warren's inn or places bistro (adjacent to the people's light and theatre) both near 30 out west, malvern-ish, are good... i had yummy seafood dishes at both... both are old historic buildings, great ambiance. you've got to be prepared to drop over $100 a head at the general though...
          oh, and don't get me started on all the indian places on or right off 30. if you're into those, we've got a whoooooole big thread on that, somewhere around here. a highly recommended read!

        2. Three of us had an outstanding birthday dinner at "Margot BYOB" on Woodbine Ave. in Narberth last night. Cozy, slightly funky atmosphere, nice service and everything we ordered was excellent (grilled artichoke hearts were a highlight). Menu is eclectic American and strives for seasonality, although I was surprised to see so much asparagus on the menu and the veg of the day was snow peas?! The only negative, according to one of our party, was the glare of fluorescent lights from the open kitchen.
          Nevertheless, we will definitely go back. Recommended!

          1. Neither my husband nor I eat red meat -- in fact, he eats vegetarian most of the time -- and we really like Nectar. Susanna Foo's can be very good, as well. Depending on which end of the Main Line is convenient to you, I've also enjoyed Cafe Fresko and the Mediterranean Cafe in Bryn Mawr. But we basically have the same problem as you: we're tired of all the places we already know, and many 'special occasion' places like the fabulous Alba (Malvern) and Majolica (Phoenixville) aren't great choices for vegetarians (unless you don't mind having one, or maybe two items on the menu from which to choose). Good luck.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Fjordstone

              Fjordstone:
              You have just introduced me to a place I have never heard of and because I related to your other restaurant choices, I perused their menu.
              I am now chomping at the bit to get to Majolica in Phoenixville. If the weather were better I'd grab my husband and hightail it over there tonight.