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Unusal restaurant for dinner date in Philadelphia?

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I'm still fairly new to Philadelphia and would like to go on a date with my sweetheart at a spectacularly different restaurant. I'm not talking about something swanky or super amazing delicate cuisine -- I mean a I want a restaurant with good food and cocktails but offer something in the way of atmosphere. Does anyone out there have recommendations? The place I'm imagining might have a terrific secluded outdoor patio or it might be a tiny bistro that seats only six people or it might have live music...I don't know, something...different. Price range: less than $100 for two, including wine.

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  1. I love Little Fish at 6th and Catharine - it's a byob so you easily save money on the drinks. It is a small little restaurant that has a great neighborhood feel to it and excellent seafood. I'd also recommend Effies - a greek byob at 11th and Pine that has a cute backyard patio you can sit in.

    2 Replies
    1. re: smackdown

      Effies?!?! They have a lovely outdoor seating area, but the food there is effin' awful. I know it's popular, but the last time I ate there the food was not good at all and if you eat inside I think the ambiance leaves a bit to be desired.

      1. re: Hansel

        SPOT ON

    2. You could certainly try the Morroccan restaurants (Fez and Marrakesh). They serve 6 course meals for like $27 that you eat with your hands, while lounging on cushions on the floor. They have carafes of house wine (that is famously bad but part of the fun). The food is pretty yummy, especially the salad platters and the pie thing. You share everything, but you can order vegetarian if you need to. Better make sure you like your date - it will be either very romantic or the longest night of your life. Thank you.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bride of the Juggler

        My wife took me to Marrakesh when we were dating and I guess you can say it worked out pretty well. The eating with your hands thing can be pretty romantic.

        I always say that my wife fed me an orange that night and she's had me eating out of her hand ever since.

      2. Try Mr. Martino's Trattoria. The menu hasn't changed in years, and the atmosphere is like stepping 75 years into the past. In a good way. It's only open Friday through Sunday though. BYO.

        1. oh - and there's always Victor Cafe as well (13th and Dickinson) Italian restaurants where the waitstaff will just periodically, randomly break out into singing opera!

          3 Replies
          1. re: smackdown

            I that they do this at Franco & Luigi's in South Philly as well.

            1. re: jessicheese

              Dante and Luigi's, I think is what you mean. And I don't think they've done too much opera singing there in a while.

              1. re: bananafishes

                Dante and Luigi's is a different restaurant and does not to my knowledge offer any type of live entertainment. Franco & Luigi's (now named Franco's High Note Cafe), as jessicheese wrote, features live music

          2. Also I really love the food at Shouk and they have fun cocktails too. Just go early. They do serve hookas also and late in the evening it can get a little overwhelming.

            1. I enjoyed sitting outside on the back deck at the Jamaican Jerk Hut on South Street near 15th. It's BYOB, though, but inexpensive and they're not in a hurry to get you out of there.

              1. Try Apamate (16th and South) for a really cute BYOB, tapas experience. The food is excellent. I went on a really great date with my sweetie there about a month ago and it was wonderful. Bring a bottle of wine and they'll make a pitcher of sangria for you. Defintiely in your price range and its really good.

                Also, since you mentioned it, Bump (14th and Locust) has a gorgeous back outdoor patio. Very secluded and romantic. However, I don't know about the food and it is a club, so be warned.

                And I agree with the comments about marrakesh--excellent food, very dark and romantic!

                1. Thanks for all these responses! I think we will try Marrakesh first and some of these other suggestions another night. Thanks again.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: fillie

                    Good choice. Please report back and I believe that they are cash only, so bring your wallet!!

                  2. One great thing about Philly--tons of great little BYOs with character and great food. My latest fave is Mercato, at Spruce and Camac. Also good, but I think a little more than your budget (special night?) is Marigold, in U. City. They do a $50 tasting menu that is creative, well-crafted and delicious. They also do a la carte, if degustations are not your thing. I dreamt about their shrimp with grits for weeks after having them.

                    Bump's food is good, but it can get loud (someone posted this earlier). Effie's, near that, has a cute little back garden and open carriage house. It's BYO, and some of its dishes are miss, but the mezzes are excellent, and I really like the souvlaki.

                    1. If you enjoy a classic cocktail, try Southwark and sit on the small patio in the back with your rye manhattan...

                      1. Dahlak.

                        Good food, good bar, good clientele.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: scrapple

                          mmmhmm! and the ambiance is really fun there - we always sit on the lil stools. every time i go i am pleasantly surprised. good beer selection too. i forget what dish it is, but those yellow lentils = to die for.