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Dec 9, 2007 09:37 AM

we're moving - where to eat before we go?

My husband and I are moving to St. Louis around the end of June/beginning of July and are trying to make a list of everything we want to do before we go. We have a toddler, so these things need to be planned out in advance as much as possible or we won't fit them all in! We're trying to make sure we get in all the meals we want to try (or have again) before we go, both places we can take Molly and places for which we'll need to leave her with my mom. We live in Ardmore and are not just looking for city recs. You can assume that if it's local enough to us (Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Wynnewood, Ardmore, Havertown, Media, Springfield, Villanova etc) that we have already tried it.

Places we have never been that are already under consideration:

1. Le Bec Fin for lunch (I've never been; planning to go with a girlfriend who's also never been; husband has no interest)
2. Alison's in Blue Bell
2. Talula's Table for the Sunday night tasting dinner
3. Morimoto
4. Standard Tap
5. Alma de Cuba

Places we have been in the last year or so: Amada, Naked Chocolate Cafe, Jones, Sabrina's Cafe, the Classic Diner in Malvern, Rx, Pat's, La Lupe, Tango in Bryn Mawr, Tria, Reading Terminal

Places I have never been but my husband has (for business) and I am mildly interested in but he would rather not (so talk me into it if it's a must-eat): Taquet, 333 Belrose, Susanna Foo, Pond/Cassis, Nectar, Striped Bass

Help! More ideas, please. Where would you go if you knew you were moving soon? What are your can't misses for the area - both dirt cheap and overpriced? Do you think one of our considered meals is undeserving of the list? Talk me out of it! Help me, Chowhound, you're my only hope.

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  1. See if you can get a reservation at Vetri. Sometimes you can get them within a day or two when people have canceled on (or just call and beg--that worked for us once).

    Le Bec Fin is overpriced and snobby.

    Have you been to Fountain? It's a nice dinner, if you can't get Vetri.

    Talula's Table will be an impossible reservation to get.

    Standard Tap is fine, but definitely not a "end-of-Philly" experience.

    Lolita is lovely Mexican and I've seen many children there.

    Hope that helps!

    16 Replies
    1. re: cussbucket

      call talula's and tell them the circumstances...they are awesome...i'm sure they will get you in there by June!!! talk about a destination dinner

      1. re: cussbucket

        The menu at Vetri is, unfortunately, full of things my husband will not eat; if I can talk a friend into going, I may end up there. Otherwise, probably not. Le Bec Fin is a definite, though; the friend and I have wanted to go for years. Fountain is definitely a possibility and I totally forgot about Lolita, which has been top of our list for months.

        I'm planning to beg a little on the phone with Talula's, but if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen.

        1. re: ladydisdain

          If you can't get a reservation at Talula's, it is still worth a visit. You can then head over to Avondale for a wine tasting at Va La Vineyards. That would make for a nice day, and I think both places are unique to the area.


          1. re: sballard

            Yes! And you may want to loop in a visit to Longwood Gardens, if you've never been. They have a Children's garden that just opened up, which may be a bonus for you, and the Christmas decorations are lovely.

            If you can't get in at Talula's and are looking for an alternate, we love Sovana Bistro (no reservations, BYO) for special occasions.

        2. re: cussbucket

          Wondering, why would you consider Standard not to be an "end of Philly" experience? They were the first and are still commited to serving only local beer and I personally believe that they still provide the best combination of great food and unique decor/ atmosphere versus the city's other gastropubs.


          1. re: Chinon00

            Personally I think the food there is just slightly above average. Also, their ridiculous free-for-all seating practice is incredibly annoying.

            1. re: Buckethead

              Not to get too off topic but what Philly gastropub would you suggest for food and what particular dishes?


              1. re: Chinon00

                - Any sausage sandwich at the Grace Tavern
                - Pizza at the Dock Street Brewery
                - A burger and fries at the Good Dog, easily the best burger I've had in the city since the Black Door closed
                - Empanadas at Cantina los Cababallitos (although last time I had them they weren't that good)
                - Mac and cheese at the Latest Dish (not really a gastropub, but they do have some great beers on draft and the bar dominates the place)

                The Good Dog burger is the only one I'd recommend to the OP though.

                1. re: Buckethead

                  I agree with just about all of the above (haven't been to the Latest Dish or Dock Street though). I love Cantina, really like Good Dog and just like Grace. The last time I had both the Royal (tavern) burger and the "Standard" burger they were quite memorable.

                2. re: Chinon00

                  there are few things better in this world than a great gastropub, i've been convinced since moving to philly... standard tap's a great experience, but i have to stay for at least three beers to fully appreciate it and soak it all in. otherwise, i'm likely to get annoyed by the aforementioned free-for-all seating... but i find the longer you stay, you can settle in quite nicely and are certainly never rushed to leave. their beers are great. the fries are good there when they're not overdone, and in the summer they have an awesome tomato / moz salad. and mmmm, fireplace in the winter...

                  at the risk of sounding like a broken record, i prefer north third (a block over and down) even a notch above the standard tap. similar dark ambiance. i wish they had the same beer selection... but what i like most about them is that everything is extreme. the dressing on the salad, the mayo sauce with the fries, the pierogies... things there are cooked with love (and butter). always very satisfying food-wise.

                  the abbaye, another block down from north third, has a good beer selection, but the food there i feel is usually average. nothing's stood out yet.

                  and then there's eulogy in old city... love their beers, and love their food... fish n chips are awesome with a couple belgian beers whose names i can never recall the next time around, so i end up ordering something different but equally delicious...

                  those are my four most frequented. personally, if i had to rate them, i'd go north third, eulogy, standard tap, abbaye. there should really be a rate-our-gastropubs thread here, if there isn't already.

                  1. re: rabidog

                    "there are few things better in this world than a great gastropub", very much agreed rabidog! At the risk of starting a new post, I'd add a few to your very good selection. While not really a "pub" per se, I have really come to like Zot for their food and beer selection. Recently had an excellent dinner there along with some great Belgian beers. The waiter really helped pair the food I was having with an appropriate beer selection. Plus, where else can you find Delerium Tremens on tap???They have a quiet front bar area for sipping wine, a very nice bar with an immense selection of beers, and a very nice eating area with exposed brick wall and nice lighting. It really is a nice place.

                    Then I would also add The Bishops Collar to your list, one of my favorite neighborhood jaunts. You can get some great sandwiches (warm proscuitto and mozzarella on a soft, chewy roll) and other good pub fare along with a good selection of beers and very friendly service. Not a dining destination by any means, but a great place to kick back and relax (the outside tables in the warm weather are a great way to watch the city go by).

                    Finally, I like Black Sheep Pub as well. Nice little cozy pub in a very old building. Decent food and good beer selection, a nice place for brunch too.

                    1. re: Schpsychman

                      oooh, good to know... bishops collar and zot were next on my list to try, anyway. after i visit those i'll have to start a gastropubs thread... i used to live by mannequin pis in the DC area which was owned by the same guy that owns zot, so i'm looking really forward to trying this one!

                      never heard of black sheep pub, but when i embark on my gastro-pub-crawl i'll have to add them to the list as well! (...i'm going to have to buy bigger pants...)

                    2. re: rabidog

                      I want to appreciate the annoying quality of the "free-for-all" seating at Tap but it is a (gastro)pub afterall (i.e. a pub with heightened attention to cuisine). Therefore, I don't think that it shoud be all that off-putting considering that fact.

                    3. re: Chinon00

                      I agree with Buckethead...the food is okay (and, I'll admit, their burger is good) but not fantastic. If you are leaving the city, never to return, I just find you can get better food elsewhere--not necessarily at a gastropub (though I think Good Dog may give 'em a run for the money on food and service)--but in general. I'll take dinner at Gayle, drinks at Tria, and seafood at Branzino any day.

                      1. re: cussbucket

                        Well, I would suggest Tap for a worthy final Philly beer experience. Granted, Monk's is nationally respected but what Tap offers in local draft beer is unmatched as far as I know in the Philadelphia metro region.

                3. re: cussbucket

                  Roast Pork Italiano Sandwich at DiNics in the Reading Terminal Market. (Be sure to get sharp provolone and greens). I muffed it before I left and never got mine. However, I don't live so far that I will not be back to visit friends so I will get mine then.

                4. Sunday Brunch at Lacroix! There's nothing else remotely like it in Philly.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: DaisyM

                    Forgot about that! That's on our list too. Thanks for the reminder!

                  2. Lunch at Le Bec Fin. Dinner is overpriced but lunch is not - you get 3 good courses including your choice of the dessert cart -- we usually choose 4 or 5 different ones each and split them!

                    1. Try to squeeze in a visit to Capogiro (13th and Sansom) for gelato. Also, get to Marra's, Celebre's, or Tacconelli's for some pizza. While I know the BBQ is better in St. Louis, I doubt the pizza is.

                      If I were leaving Philly soon, I would head to John's Roast Pork and have a cheesesteak followed by a roast pork sandwich. If you and your husband go together, do what my wife and I do...order one of each and split them.

                      All of the above are places you can take Molly to.

                      For "adults only" I would strongly second Vetri, The Fountain, and Morimoto (if you can afford all of them, go for it!!). Vetri shouldn't be too hard to get into as long as you make your reservation exactly two months in advance (and if you shoot for a weeknight instead of the weekend). Since you have until June, you should be able to plan accordingly.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Philly Ray

                        Girlfriend lunch at Taquet on enclosed front porch. Awesome!
                        Sola in Bryn Mawr. Must not be missed.
                        Blush in Rosemont.
                        Gilmore's in West Chester

                        1. re: idia

                          Haven't done Sola yet; will probably try to get there. We ate at Blush and the service was horrifyingly bad. In fact, it was second only to the horrific service we had the one time we ate at Savona. And unfortunately everyone we know who has eaten at Gilmore's hated their meal, so we've crossed that off our list permanently.

                          I certainly won't be sorry to leave the Main Line's overhyped food options behind. We will, though, try Teresa's Next Door soon. And I still haven't had a cheesesteak at Pie In the Sky, which has been on our list for awhile. Need to eat a lot more ice cream at Handel's and Zwahlen's. I'd like to try brunch at Meridith's.

                          1. re: ladydisdain

                            ...i would skip meredith's...
                            i think what they're good at is hiring hot young male waiters tp please the primarily older female crowd... food, just so-so. i only go when i want to enjoy the weather outside at lunch with the guacamole (by no means the best, or even close to the best guac in town)...

                            speaking of guac, i don't know what STL specializes in as i haven't spent a whole lotta time there, but what about paying a visit to the south philly taquerias? veracruzana, los taquitos de pueblos... some seriously good, cheap grub, easily portable to take out, or to eat in...

                            1. re: rabidog

                              yah, i had the worst brunch of my life at merediths. It took an hour to get some stinkin pancakes. They were good, but not that good.

                            2. re: ladydisdain

                              Please do not go to Meredith's.


                              Please DO NOT GO TO Meredith's.

                          2. re: Philly Ray

                            Oh, we've been to Capogiro a bazillion times - forgot to put that on the "ate there in the last year" (actually, the last month) list. The pizza not only isn't better in STL, it sucks. Haven't tried any of that pizza. Probably won't make it to all three - how should I prioritize?

                            The last time I was at John's was almost ten years ago. Don't think Greg has ever been. We'll definitely get back there. And Morimoto, yes; the Fountain, probably; Vetri...maybe not.

                            1. re: ladydisdain

                              Marra's not only has pizza, but is also a full service South Philly Italian restaurant (and a damn good one). So if you're looking for that experience before you go, make that #1.

                              Celebre's is more like a "pizza parlor." Aside from pizza, they serve stromboli and Italian sandwiches.

                              Honestly, I've never been to Tacconelli's. But I put it on the list since everyone always raves about the pizza. Personally, I can't get past the whole "reserve your dough" concept.

                          3. I agree with the Vetri suggestion. I don't think any of the places your husband would rather not revisit are must-eats.