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Your favorite restaurant...

EastCoastWineMan Apr 19, 2008 09:43 AM

...i wanna know everyone's favorite Philly area restaurant. Without posturing, with pretense. Where do you go for a good meal, at good value? A place where you love the ambiance, love the service, love the food and drink. I guess this question is kind of "if you had to have one meal" questions...GO!

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    Buckethead RE: EastCoastWineMan Apr 19, 2008 10:33 AM


    1 Reply
    1. re: Buckethead
      EastCoastWineMan RE: Buckethead Apr 19, 2008 02:19 PM

      elaborate please

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      elgordo RE: EastCoastWineMan Apr 19, 2008 11:35 AM

      This was recommended to me last year when I visited Philly.
      My wife's vegetarian, I'm not however I have never experienced such good vegetarian food and would not miss meat if this was always available to me.

      9 Replies
      1. re: elgordo
        rabidog RE: elgordo Apr 19, 2008 11:31 PM

        at the moment i'm going to agree with you and go with horizons if i had to pick my very fave. everything is perfect from the drinks to the seitan to the service, ambiance, price. and i crave that seitan weeks later.

        1. re: elgordo
          saturninus RE: elgordo Apr 21, 2008 06:09 AM


          1. re: saturninus
            elgordo RE: saturninus Apr 21, 2008 06:26 AM

            If I remember correctly it was you (saturninus) that recommended Horizons to me in early 2007.

            1. re: elgordo
              saturninus RE: elgordo Apr 21, 2008 08:31 AM

              Sounds like me!

              1. re: saturninus
                rabidog RE: saturninus Apr 21, 2008 07:41 PM

                yep, and same here! i don't know why it took me as long as it did to try it - so i should officially say, thanks for the rec!!

                i can't remember (watch the vegetarians take this thread right over) but have you been or not been to azure? it's the local place that 1: plays hockey no matter what and 2: has 1/2 price (cheap ass) wine on mondays, so we've been there quite a bit lately including tonight and a couple nights ago. the tofu tacos - marvelous. blackened tofu and fresh, light taco fixins. also had seitan nachos (perfect 2am food at 7pm) and seitan tips (divine). i started out a bit shy about seitan, but now i'm loving it and azure. really cool place. the wine is truly awful, but a full bottle was only $11. and thankfully we downed our food long before even halfway through the first bottle.

                1. re: rabidog
                  spyturtle008 RE: rabidog Apr 22, 2008 06:16 AM

                  I've been to Azure a few times and have always had good food & service for dinner. The last two times were for brunch, and the service was so inexcusably horrible each time (and they were not that busy), that I'm really hesitant to return, even though I loved their seitan offerings...

                  1. re: rabidog
                    saturninus RE: rabidog Apr 22, 2008 06:25 AM

                    I actually worked at Azure when they opened, right out of college. I still go and reccomend it.

                    1. re: saturninus
                      mazza3 RE: saturninus Jul 3, 2008 11:58 AM

                      azure closed about a month ago fyi. a second cantina is opening in its stead. *sigh*

            2. re: elgordo
              spyturtle008 RE: elgordo Apr 22, 2008 06:18 AM


              Beats out even places like Millenium in SanFran, and always wows my carnivorous friends / family.

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              DaisyM RE: EastCoastWineMan Apr 19, 2008 12:45 PM

              I'm always blown away by brunch at Lacroix and if there's a special occassion that's where I want to go. My new favorite casual place is A Taste of Portugal. Their appetizer of mussels in a red sauce with onions and peppers was truly amazing.

              1 Reply
              1. re: DaisyM
                jl0328 RE: DaisyM Jul 3, 2008 07:37 PM

                Where is a taste of portugal?

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                Chefpaulo RE: EastCoastWineMan Apr 20, 2008 08:09 AM

                Sadly, many of mine have passed into history. If the "without posturing, without pretense" statement pertains to the establishment and not we as commentators, I have a few great memories:

                La Truffe on Front Street: Comfortable, warm red brick atmosphere, cuisine as good as Le Bec Fin. Staff treated you like family. I really miss it.

                Lautrec (2nd Street?) Wonderful fare and a waiter who made us feel as if we were his life long friends without fawning. Introduced us to Mandarin Napoleon liqueur (his treat.)

                Forager House on Rt. 32 between Washington Crossing and New Hope: Warm and welcoming even though we weren't dressed the part for our first visit. Excellent food and service. The chef shared his recipes which I still cherish and serve. Sad to see it become a sports bar.

                Sign of the Sorrel Horse near Quakertown. A memorable birthday dinner and chat with the chef.

                Today, how do you answer the question? There are so many options. To me, memory of a "favorite" connotes a blend of ambiance, cuisine and a personal element that is often elusive. I guess my current vote goes to the Fountain Room.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Chefpaulo
                  givemecarbs RE: Chefpaulo Apr 21, 2008 11:10 AM

                  Haven't been to any of those but I really enjoyed your post nonetheless. Who says modern life is without passion? Not us hounds!

                2. Mawrter RE: EastCoastWineMan Apr 20, 2008 04:32 PM

                  My current fave is Apamate. It has "good meal, at good value," and I do "love the ambiance, love the service, love the food and drink," although in fairness it's a BYOB so the only drink I get from the resto is water.

                  Cash only, no reservations. I should point out that it's not very veg-friendly. I'm sure they could accomodate a veg, but the menu has lots of meat sprinkled throughout.

                  Cafe' Apamate
                  1620 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19146

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Mawrter
                    saturninus RE: Mawrter Apr 21, 2008 06:10 AM

                    True - this happend to me - I really wanted to eat there and ordered a salad I didn't like. I don't think it's their specialty.

                  2. r
                    rachelef RE: EastCoastWineMan Apr 21, 2008 02:16 PM

                    Right now, my fave is definitely Tria. If you bypass the salads and sandwiches and concentrate on the cheeses, beers, and wines, you can get great food and really great drink for a good price. I like the new Tria (12th and Spruce) better than the older location (18th and Sansom, near Rittenhouse) because its a little bigger, has outdoor seating, and a generally better ambiance. The service is also really, really good.

                    And honestly? The cheese list alone is to die for (unless you're vegan....)

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: rachelef
                      saturninus RE: rachelef Apr 22, 2008 06:26 AM

                      I love everything at Tria, including the salads and sandwiches.

                      1. re: saturninus
                        rachelef RE: saturninus Apr 23, 2008 02:23 PM

                        I agree! I do love everything! I just love the cheese list most of all :)

                    2. crazyspice RE: EastCoastWineMan Apr 21, 2008 06:12 PM

                      I would have to say, if you tell me I must pick one great meal, it would be brunch at Lacroix. The variety and creativity is unmatched.

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                        ablejack RE: EastCoastWineMan Apr 22, 2008 07:32 AM

                        Salt & Pepper - a smart, cool, gracious, yummy BYOB.


                        Others have mentioned.
                        Tria is nice too, but a little "snacky" for dinner. But don't miss it for a bite.
                        Vetri is brilliant.
                        Le Bec Fin is among the finest on earth.
                        Check for a beer dinner at Monk's Cafe for a rare treat.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ablejack
                          Buckethead RE: ablejack Apr 22, 2008 07:38 AM

                          When is the last time you were at Salt & Pepper? The chef in the article you linked to has been gone from there for quite a while now, have you been there since he left? I liked it a lot when he was there but I've heard it's not so good now.

                        2. s
                          salvarez RE: EastCoastWineMan Apr 22, 2008 11:22 AM

                          Chick's. Great bar. Concise menu of small plates, cheeses and meats. It is the ultimate neighborhood spot. Great service, romantic and around the corner from my house :)

                          1. j
                            jandrewmanne RE: EastCoastWineMan Jul 3, 2008 11:35 AM

                            Dmitri's on 3rd & Catherine for simple, fresh food... it is consistently one of the finest experiences you will have at a local corner "bistro" byob... yes it is cramped and yes it can be loud but that is part of its charm... and the food just adds to the overall experience.
                            On the finer side of things, Vetri or Tinto are in a word fantastic... mind-blowing in fact... true gems.

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                              percyn RE: EastCoastWineMan Jul 3, 2008 12:04 PM

                              I don't see Cochon mentioned yet. It is located on 801 E Passyunk Ave in south philly.

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                                jl0328 RE: EastCoastWineMan Jul 3, 2008 07:39 PM

                                I was surprised to only see one mention of Vetri. And no Gayle?? Mercato?
                                Haven't been to Matyson in awhile, but never been disappointed!

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