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Rittenhouse Square Area - good food w/o breaking bank?

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Hello - Four of us will be meeting in Philly for a weekend getaway. We'll be staying about a block from Rittenhouse Square, and don't want to use our car or take cabs for every trip, so we're looking for a couple good places within walking distance (under a mile at most) to get great breakfasts and a nice dinner. We've got our "special" dinner spot picked out over in the Historic District, but for our first night, we'd like to be able to walk somewhere nearby and get a good meal at a reasonable price - no $35/entrees or $12 glasses of wine, please! What's Philly got to offer?

Thanks!

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  1. You might want to try one of the good Italian BYOs in the area.

    First go to the State Store on Chestnut St between 19th & 20th, and pick up a bottle of wine.

    Then, some good choices include...
    Salento (on Walnut near 22nd st.)
    Caffe Casta Diva (on 21st near Locust)
    Porcini (on Sansom between 20th & 21st).

    Don't forget Capogiro gelato (20th st at Sansom) for dessert or anytime snack!

    1. For breakfast, try Marathon on the Square 19th & Spruce and Bonte Wafflerie 17th between Sansom and Walnut

      For dinner consider Parc, new French style cafe with outdoor seating, there is a separate thread about this restaurant...

      1. Matyson - 37 South 19th Street - BYOB - price range in $20's for entrees, great place, call now for reservation or try www.opentable.com. www.matyson.com

        Marathon on the Square has a good breakfast/lunch... 19th & Spruce

        1. Thanks for the advice...just a question, though. What's with all the BYO's?? I've rarely seen those in other cities in which I've lived...is it a PA thing?

          2 Replies
          1. re: bflocat

            BYO's are very popular here. Also, there are many restaurants with a license who advertise BYO Sundays. It is a great way to try a new restaurant and keep the cost down by bringing your own. It is not just in town either. There are lots of BYO's here in the burbs as well. Enjoy your visit.

            1. re: bflocat

              The proliferation of BYOs is an effect of PA's antiquated liquor laws. Basically, there are a limited number of liquor licenses available, and there aren't enough available for all the restaurants who want them, so they are very expensive to obtain. That cost is often prohibitive to someone who wants to open a restaurant, so they open a BYO instead.

            2. I really like Tampopo on 21st and Sansom. Great Bento Boxes ($7-10)that you can take to go and enjoy on a bench in Rittenhouse Sq. I love the Bi Bim Bop! I work very close to RSq. and that is my go to place. They also have a few tables and chairs as well.

              1. Reporting back. I only got to Marathon (pretty good!) for brunch. The former Philly-dwellers among us picked the rest of the dining spots. In case you're curious, we hit AntsPants (hit and miss) for brunch, and ended up going to Monk's (great beer, burgers, and mussles, but TERRIBLE, rude service) and Rx for dinners. Rx was disappointing for 5 of us, and great for 1, but we had a lot of fun at least.

                Also, hit Snackbar (I'm pretty sure that's the name) for late nite, and that was a fabulous find. Our waitress was honest about her recommendations and guided us in the right direction, and the atmosphere was low-key and relaxing - very comforting.

                3 Replies
                1. re: bflocat

                  thanks for reporting back!!! i often forget about snackbar when in that area. i owe them a revisit --- they were good and service was stellar! is the menu still funky? i.e. wasabi-pea-encrusted apple slices?

                  1. re: bflocat

                    Snackbar is one of our favorites... they have a great turkey chop on the menu and the servers/bartenders are always very helpful and nice.

                    1. re: bflocat

                      From my own experiences and what I gather from those I know, that's pretty much the standard Monk's experience - good good, great drinks, and very rude service. My service has never been negligent or sloppy, per say, but they're always very rude.