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The Saloon in Philly?

My husband always asks me what I know about The Saloon restaurant in Philadelphia. I know next to nothing -- anyone? Thanks!

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  1. The Saloon is a family fav of mine and we have been going there for years. Good steaks/Italian/seafood. The decor and setting of the place is very beautiful (especailly the upstairs bar). I can understand how some dislike it. I have had very good meals there as well as very average meals. Unfortunately, they are very pricey. Along the same lines as DelFrisco's and Union Trust. I've eaten at both. Both good meals, amazing layout but the food was nothing extraordinary. I do not see how they are going to survive. i walked in last Thurday night to UT w no reservation at 8pm. There were more wait staff than patrons. I'd love to know the braintrust who thought opening these restarants was a good idea in the current economic environment.

    1. I really don't care for the Saloon, more "eh" meals than good ones, and never great. My final visit involved a plate of stuffed calamari in red sauce being cleared across the face of another diner....

      1. the saloon used to be a shot and a beer bar called the aqua lounge before the owner and his brother (since deceased i believe) bought it about 30 odd years ago. it is a fixture of my neighborhood and everyone who grew up in bella vista etc. knows is and knows someone who works there. it caters to a certain kind of crowd, probably as the one person said a la del frisco's and union trust, but the saloon is low-key and off the beaten path. i've lived on the same street as it my entire life and have seen all sorts of people come and go (harrison ford, michael jordan, patti labelle, chris penn, dhani jones, jeremy roenick). the steaks are excellent, the seafood very good but the italian is super hit or meh miss (but like any italian, i think i/mine make the best italian food). it is a great place to have a cocktail and chill too (as is chick's). i would tell you to go, it has a lovely, old-school mannish feel to it and you should make your own opnion on it. i would go there any day of the week.

        4 Replies
        1. re: mazza3

          My wife and I just had a lovely meal here last week. Miles and miles of cleavage that even my wife appreciated, really beautiful decor, excellent service, and tasty food. My steak was badly overcooked and I sent it back. While we waited, the chef sent out langoustines as a sort of apology. Until I had those, I thought I did not like langoustines (the ones at Exta too messy and not meaty enough). But these were spectacular. And the steak was fine on the second try. I thought it a very classy place. My steak at Union Trust was better, but the whole experience was so much classier at Saloon.

          1. re: brescd01

            I've never been, but my coworker had a horror-story of a meal there last year. Steaks not cooked to order, no langoustines (or even an apology) following a long wait. Rude service and fair food. But they must be doing something right.

          2. re: mazza3

            "harrison ford, michael jordan, patti labelle, chris penn, dhani jones, jeremy roenick"

            yeah, uhm, I'm not so sure that being a mediocre linebacker who wears bow-ties should get you onto a list like that. ;-)

            1. re: Bob Loblaw

              heh. i did say all sorts of people......:) i love dhani though.....

          3. The Saloon is a Philly classic. Can be up and down, but always seems to be worth visiting again

            1. The Saloon is expensive and more often then not I have had meals cooked poorly. Seafood is always overcooked there, unacceptable in my book. I would only go there if someone else was treating me. For my money, at that price point, I'll go where the cooking is done with care and skill. Vetri or Osteria, Savona, or any number of Italian BYOs in town.

              1 Reply
              1. re: thehungrything

                Can't say as I'm wild about it. Expensive, and in my experience, the cost isn't justified by the quality of the food. Saloon has its loyalists, though, so they must be doing something right.

              2. Thank you! This was very helpful.

                1. Every time I go to Saloon I think it looks more beautiful, the service seems warmer and more gracious, the waitresses' cleavage deeper, and the convenience of attended parking and no traffic more important.

                  And the food gets worse each time too. I just had a business dinner there with a colleague. I had a nice time but the food was awful.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: brescd01

                    I have had the same experience. My wife and I live near by and have gone in a few times to eat at the bar. The place is really nice inside, but the food is just not that great. I'm surprised it is still in business frankly.

                    1. re: robot

                      Agreed. The first time I went there, in the early '90's I had one of the best steaks I've ever had in my life. Smothered in mushrooms. It was glorious! Last ate there a couple of years ago, with clients. Not very good at all.

                      1. re: Rondo

                        I remember many years ago, it was a huge event to dine there and the food was incredible! We also went with business associates a couple of years ago and was sorely disappointed with the food. For that amount of money, Philadelphia has so much more to offer

                        1. re: crazyspice

                          I think The Saloon is still Joe Biden's favorite spot when he is in town.

                  2. I think The Saloon is one of those places that just hasn't kept up with the times. Back in the day, before the Philly restaurant scene took off, it was one of the few legit places where you could take a client and truely impress them with the food and the service (at a price, of course). The manly ambiance lends itself to stereotypes of good old boy/paisano clients, smoking cigars and getting business done while they appreciate the cleavage. I think there are still regulars who feel comfortable there, and for whom the quality of the food is secondary to that comfort level, but there a lot better options in Philly now. Too bad, because it verged on the iconic.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: PattiCakes

                      PattiCakes that is extremely well-put yet embittering because its virtues are so important to me (except the cleavage, I don't need that in my servers). Are there alternatives?

                      This place cries out for one of these countless celebrity refugee chefs to take over the kitchen and re-vamp it.