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Apr 14, 2009 06:35 PM

Best Dinner in Philadelphia?

My boyfriend and I recently took a trip to New Orleans, and on Wednesday we went to lunch at Commander's Palace. If you're ever down there, it's FABULOUS. However, my boyfriend was sick. I thought he was just hung over, so I made him go, but he was really sick...and now I feel really bad, and want to take him out in Philly to make it up to him.

I was thinking Amada, as we've been there before and he really likes it, but I thought I'd play tourist and ask for recommendations here. I want somewhere delicious more than fancy, but I want it to be an experience...I am going to save up for this to go all out, so cost isn't even an issue! WOW. We like all kinds of food, though I would prefer a non-seafood restaurant.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

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  1. Though it is quite fancy but the food is also quite delicious, XIX (Nineteen) is one of our favorite places to dine in Philadelphia for a special ocassion. The room is spectacular, the views are great (ask for a window table) and the food (which is heavy on seafood) is great. But it is quite expensive.

    Otherwise Amada is a very good choice and a very different vibe. If money truly is no object and you are willing to wait a while for a resy, there's always Vetri as well. Wherever you end up enjoy!

    1. Buddakan is definitely an experience with fantastic food.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Pepsichug

        Buddakan is nowhere near the same league as Commander's Palace for service or food.

        1. re: Philly Ray

          It's funny, to me, that Commander's Palace is so completely EXCELLENT yet relatively cheap when compared to menus I've been looking at in Philadelphia. Sigh.

          What is your opinion of Amada? What about Zahav?

          1. re: peachacid

            Amada is very good, Zahav is awesome, one of the best restaurants in the city. You won't need to spend all that much though, they have a great deal for $36 per person that basically gives you all the food you'd want to order. It's not BYO.

            I'd also recommend Ansill and Kanella, both are incredibly delicious and not terribly expensive.

      2. John's Roast Pork for the best food and the best ambiance by far.

        1 Reply
        1. Philly has so many wonderful casual mid-priced places now that we never go for fancy anymore. If I wanted to take someone out for a wow dinner I would go to Matyson for one of their fabulous mid-week $45 tasting menus. Alternatively, the regular menu there is a great choice too.

          For an "Amada style" experience go to Bar Ferdinand for tapas. It doesn't have the hype of an Amada but the food is just as good if not better than Amada.

          For great Italian go to Caffe Casta Diva or Modo Mio. Casta Diva is more upscale. Ask for the table for two in the corner.

          Distrito has great mexican tapas.

          Skip the Starr factories like Buddakan and go someplace where the chef makes a real difference by creating seasonal choices for innovative menus..

          4 Replies
          1. re: joluvscards

            I agree with the post above. You can have a great meal at a reasonably priced byobs. I recommend Matyson, Modo Mio, or Marigold Kitchen. Splurge and buy a great bottle of wine to go with dinner. I even like Lolita for upscale Mexican. Melograno is another great Italian restaurant.

            A friend who went to XIX recently was not blown away by the food. Maybe go for a cocktail before dinner.

            What about Zahav? Not a byob but keeps getting written up.

            1. re: joluvscards

              Seconding the Matyson rec -- it's definitely one of my favorite meals in Philly that doesn't completely destroy the bank balance.

              1. re: sockii

                really? I've never been that impressed by Matyson. Their desserts were great, but as far as food was concerned I have never been blown away. Maybe I'm not ordering the right dishes? My pick for great dinner experiences in Philadelphia have all pretty much been mentioned. Vetri for having the experience of great food and wine (pricey), Amada for the food, and environment, or Ansill for their creative and delicious menu. If you pick any of the above you will not be disappointed.

                1. re: hassan

                  Personal tastes, maybe? I've been to Matyson at least 3-4 times and always had a wonderful meal, and thought the weeknight tasting menus were an especially good deal.

            2. Mr. Martino's in s. philly. BYO. Best date place in the city. enjoy.