Restaurant near Act II Playhouse in Ambler
Coming up to the Act II Playhouse for the first time on a Saturday mid-March. Would appreciate recommendations on where to get a pre-theater meal.
Well...that's tricky. There are a lot of opinions on this board about restaurants in and near Ambler - if you search 'Ambler' you'll see. I think the only 2 restaurants worth eating in in Ambler proper are Bridget's, which is expensive for where it is and La Cava, where the food is good but a lot of people don't want to deal with the owner and his attitude.
If you like Mexican food, try Tamarindo's in Blue Bell. If you like Japanese, try Sushikazu in Center Square or Fuji in Montgomeryville. If you're coming out from Philadelphia, you may be better off eating in town and then going to the show. Or, try Alison Two, which, again, gets very mixed reviews on this board. Unfortunately, Soul, one of the newest in Chestnut Hill, got a terrible review in today's Inquirer, so you might want to wait before trying that.
I wish there were better choices for you - this area (Ambler, Dresher, Fort Washington) has very very limited options.
There are good options in walking distance of the theater. Bridget's is a great bet, delicous food, great atmosphere, wonderful bar (they just expanded) with great martinis and a well thought wine list. Its a steakhouse with a pacific influence. I do not personally think that it is all that expensive for the quality of the meal, if you are concerned about price just check their menu prices online. Across the street from Act II is the Schanachie which has great irish food and a lively atmosphere. Trax Cafe is a good "new american" BYO near the train station. I personally really enjoy LaCava, delicous upscale mexican food, but yes you will see mixed reviews due to the fact that the owner can be a bit, um, old school chauvanistic. I do not mind it myself (it kind of gives me a laugh) but I do know it bothers others.
After the theater, of weather permits, there is an amazing gelato place called Toto's on Main Street that would be a nice place to stop by.
Here's the report on Schanachie...it was buzzing with activity, seems there are a lot of people celebrating St. Paddy's day in Ambler including lots of families with kids...on arriving we were offered "banquet seating" (shared tables). I could have been OK with that except for the folding chairs you had to sit on. We opted to sit and eat in the bar area instead. Had corned beef and cabbage ($15) and fish and chips ($13) which were both very decent thought the fish was a little greasy a splash of the malt vinegar helped and the fries were great...had a bite of the Corned beef my husband ordered, it was served with some kind of white sauce with parsley or dill...Again pretty good ..overall I was not wildly crazy about the food (it was fine for what it was) and it was very convenient to the theater and had a lively atmosphere. Looks like live entertainment is offered most weekends. Washed our meals down with some pints of Guinness and Smithwick ale ($4.50). Total tab around $50 it was a reasonable meal for two and thanks for the suggestion. May try La Cava or Tamarindos next time.
For entertainment the best night to go is Tuesdays when there is a session.. when about 15 different musicians come and take over a corner of the restaurant.
Food wise, when Shanachie opened, they had a great executive chef. He has since left, and they have reduced the offerings on the menu. Good bets include the irish salmon with the brown bread, cottage pie and the guiness stew. It is pub food and doesnt pretend to be anything else but. It used to be a gastropub.. now its just a pub. I still love going there, and the smiling face of Gerry Timlin (one of the owners and an accomplished musician) makes the place an always welcoming place.