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Mar 3, 2008 09:10 AM

80th Birthday - limited to NE Philly/Lower Bucks area

It's my Dad's 80th birthday, he doesn't want a big fuss, but we would like to take him out to someplace nice.
Our Limits --
-Italian is the most ethnic we can get. Spicy is out.
- One member of the party doesn't eat chicken, pork or red meat.
- Two members of the party has the eating habits of a six year old.
- One members of the party is a six year old.

Any Ideas would be helpful, because I really don't want to end up at Fischer's for this.

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  1. Moonstruck, on Oxford Avenue near Rhawn (near Huntingdon Pike)
    I think they have their menu on line. Fish and pasta options, though we tend to order the delicious chicken dish on the menu or the calves liver.
    There are good choices for kids, too.
    Lovely ambience, excellent service, very good food, popular with all ages.
    Parking lot adjacent.
    It's divided into small rooms, so it doesn't get too noisy to talk. Should be the perfect place for you.

    1. well i hate to answer a question with a question - the NE isn't my area of expertise but it is most intriguing to me because it rarely gets talked about and i just know there are a ton of hidden finds there. anyway, on phillyblog i've been tracking a thread about an (tiny) italian place called zaccone's on cottman ave. across the board it's gotten good reviews. i was hoping to check them out this weekend, but i'm wondering if anyone else has been?

      to the OP: here is the phillyblog thread on it.

      10 Replies
      1. re: rabidog

        Rabidog, I don't know anything about zaccone's but I will tell you that I lived in the Northeast for many years and not only were not a ton of hidden finds there, there were almost none. We always had to drive to another area when we wanted to eat out. There was a good Italian restaurant on Old Welsh Road; I forget the name of it.
        As for Moonstruck, we drive up from downtown every so often. Very consistent, very good looking, and you can park. It wasn't around when I lived in that area.

        1. re: sylviag

          Was Moonstruck called something else before? DiLullo's?

        2. re: rabidog


          please please please tell me what other hidden gems there are in the NE. I consider my neighborhood infested with mediocre chains (although I do love Zaccone's). I always go into Center City for good food. Where else do you recommend?

          1. re: padovana

            nowhere - i haven't started exploring it yet!!! the closest i've been is kim's, a korean place, but i think that's more north philly/olney. i don't live in or near NE philly and i don't have any business that would bring me up there other than food exploration. i know everyone says there's little there... but i just wanted to see for myself. hard to believe there's nothing in such a vast area... but then again, i just have to think back on my road trips through iowa that make me realize it is possible. :) still, though i haven't been everywhere in center city yet, i wanted to branch out and explore other regions. i'm always hearing about the same old same old and wanted to go out and explore new things!

            two places i want to go are zaccone's and then this place visible from i-95 with a green neon sign... four years ago before i lived here i was lost and remember seeing that... then when i moved here, saw it again and for some reason its been calling to me since. i've asked about it before here, and i think the opinions were favorable. i just need to make it up there!

            also what about all those russian places in the NE? they've had good reviews here before. i'd like to try some of them out someday. and though it's more north than northeast, there are a ton of mexican and korean places going up 5th street that have piqued my interest. i just want to see if there's stuff out there that we don't know about. anyway that's enough out of me, i didn't intend to hijack this thread! :) carry on!

            1. re: rabidog

              Oh I read your post wrong.. I thought you meant that you'd been to places there! I've been averaging 4 hours of sleep thanks to midterms this week. I really honestly thing there isn't much in the area though. I do like a good bit of pizza places for being one that doesn't love pizza all that much, but other than than? My parents love El Azteca but me, not really. There's a decent sushi place on Bustelton now that I think of it.

              Zacone's is very good and I recommend it... just don't wait until the summer.. they close for 6 weeks or something like that for vacation! I really love that place.. it's so neighborhood oriented.. and if you ask them which desserts are homemade, they will tell you... the bought ones aren't bad, but I was impressed that they would be honest about which things nonna made and which ones she bought. Is it Curran's wth the green sign? I've never been but I see it all the time.

              Russian places I don't know about. I'm not in that part of the northeast.. I'm extreme northeast.. like Franklin Mills land.

              And yea, sorry to Dervin for going off topic. To make up for it, another recc: Stefano's in Huntington Val and I also know people love Kenny's out on Street Road but I've never been there

              1. re: padovana

                curran's - that's it! for some reason i really want to try it. i'm like a moth attracted to the light.

                1. re: padovana

                  no need to apologize, anything to promote the Great NorthEast is OK in my book!

                  Franklin Mills Mall FOREVER!!!

                  1. re: padovana

                    There is also the high end mexican on Castor Ave - I can't recall the name

                2. re: padovana

                  I grew up in the northeast and it was an absolute wasteland. I now live in the burbs and have since found a few great spots that are worth the loooooong drive. Taste of Portugual on Castor Avenue, the downstairs bar is scary but the upstairs restaurant is amazing. Usually full of locals -Portuguese and Brazilians -delicous food. Great seafood dishes, good wine list, reasonable prices. Love this place. Grey Lodge is also great, mainly known for their great ber list, they have an upstairs restaurant with really good bar food. They serve standard burders cheesesteaks, bu their Thai curry mussels are the best in the area (much better than Monks). I also heard good things about the Brazilian steakhouse, Pinchana, but have yet to try.

                  None of these recs would be appropriate for a 80 year old birthday, which was essentially the original question, but I wanted to highlight them because they are so good. For me to make the hour drive through the traffic nightmare that is Cottman Ave/the Boulevard, it must be worth it!

              2. My family, also parents in their 80's, gave enjoyed both Moonstruck and La Cena on Galloway rd in Bensalem

                1. we moved a while ago but always enjoyed marco polo in elkins park.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: mfp79

                    We lived in Huntingdon Valley for 34 years until we moved to Center City in 2006. We always enjoyed Moonstruck from its first day as DiLullo's. Don't know of another place as good in the NE/lower Montco area. Stephano's is OK. I think the place on Castor Ave is Paloma's, but I'm not sure. Do NOT like Marco Polo. But Moonstruck would be perfect as it is elegant and the food is excellent -- particularly the wonderful pasta!

                  2. Just want to thank everybody who took the time to respond. Your suggestions were over-ruled by the family and we wound up going to the Buck Hotel in Feasterville.

                    As usual for the Northeast, the portions were huge, the quality of the food was OK, but the execution left much to be desired. If anybody wants a complete review, I'll be glad to write one up.