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Your favorite restaurant...

...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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    1. Horizons.
      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

        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: saturninus

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

              1. re: saturninus

                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

                  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

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

                    1. re: saturninus

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

            1. re: elgordo


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

            2. 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

                Where is a taste of portugal?

              2. 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

                  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. 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

                    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. 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

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

                      1. re: saturninus

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

                    2. 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.

                      1. 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

                          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. 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. 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.

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

                              1. 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!